Diverse Voices

Get to know Coltrane!

At Macmillan Learning, Coltrane dedicates considerable effort to address diversity and inclusion matters, actively leading and implementing measures.

What is your name and what do you do at Macmillan Learning?

My name is Coltrane Stansbury and I’m the VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

What does DEI mean to you and why is this topic important to you?

DEI is a type of commitment that individuals and organizations make towards cultivating and promoting equity in the spaces where we live and work. DEI is important because it is a key component to propagating the values, mindset, and behaviors necessary to ensure that the rights, contributions, and experiences of all people are recognized, respected and rewarded.

What does DEI mean in the work context/environment and why is it so important?

DEI in the workplace is about finding solutions to the systemic barriers that create inequities in the hiring practices, talent advancement process, and team experiences at an organization. It is important that every individual at an organization, but especially its people managers, have a true sensitivity towards their own biases that prevent diverse perspectives from being heard and acknowledged.

What helped you to feel welcome and comfortable at Macmillan Learning?

Macmillan Learning brought me on board as its first dedicated leader for DEI. With that responsibility has come the challenges of building an initial strategy for the organization for how we will ensure a more inclusive culture and equitable practices. What attracted me to the role and has excited me about the work so far is that the leadership is open to change and is willing to embed DEI in the way we treat our employees as well as the way we show up for the diversity of our communities of learners.

How do you experience cooperation and interaction with each other?

The Office of DEI at Macmillan Learning is a small team and therefore can only accomplish its mission through deep and broad collaboration with the business units, HR, the Employee Resources Groups and the many community partners who provide supportive services and content. Most of the change we are driving through DEI occurs through volunteer efforts that are coordinated through the Office of DEI.

Who / what empowers you?

I’m empowered by the fact that, in the role of VP-DEI, I have the support of my boss and the buy-in of senior leadership to continue driving change throughout the organization. I’m motivated each day by the number of volunteer leaders we have been able to mobilize, from ERG leaders to employees signing up for affinity celebrations and community volunteer efforts.  

What do you do at ML to promote DEI?

In my role as VP-DEI, I manage the Office of DEI Team, which is responsible for the overall DEI strategy for the enterprise:

  • We help foster a more inclusive culture at the company through supporting Employee Resource Groups, deploying DEI training opportunities, and developing managerial resources for hiring and promoting diverse talent.

  • Foster relationships and connection with external stakeholders, community partners, and DEI experts to advance DEI at our company and within the communities where we live and work.

  • The DEI Team also works towards providing guidance to our business units on advancing our products and services to be more inclusive of the diverse communities we serve.

What do you wish for the future in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion

My hope is that DEI becomes part of the fabric for how people think, learn, and behave within the workplace in their everyday lives. DEI should not feel like an external set of values where leaders try to convince their colleagues that communities of people are important. Learning DEI principles in the workplace is challenging for individuals because we must often unlearn so much of what we’ve been exposed to in order to understand and make way for the diversity of contributions and perspectives around us. The future of business, community, and democracies will depend on people being willing to propagate DEI values throughout their lives, starting within their youth, and being willing to champion DEI values within their relationships and within their institutional capacities.

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