LGBTQ Under 40 – Alfonso Wenker
Alfonso Wenker is a 2009 University of Saint Thomas graduate, and the founder of his consulting company, Team Dynamics, which helps teach employers how to diversify their companies and retain new talent. “We launched officially in the summer of 2017, and when we first started, we thought we would do all kinds of nonprofit facilitation. But focus on race and gender equity very quickly became our main area of work, because so many organizations wanted to make that environment in their team.” He works closely with fellow activist, Trina Olson, the co-author of his first book and co-host of their podcast.
This book, Hiring Revolution: A Guide to Disrupt Racism + Sexism in Hiring, came out last year. “It’s an element by element guide,” he says. “If you follow it, you will be successful in diversifying your search.” In a capitalist system that prizes innovation, diversity is literally good for business. We are in a time of change as we adjust after COVID restrictions, and Wenker says employers need to adapt. “What we’re inviting workplaces to do is not try to force people to go back to what was before, but to accept the current reality,” and work to remain relevant and competitive in this post-pandemic world. “There are actually twenty-eight million available people who are ready, willing, and able to work, but because their resume doesn’t look exactly like the people who are moving jobs right now, organizations are missing out on that talent.”
When asked what the most important first step for an employer to take on a journey toward equity, Wenker says, “Tell the truth. Here’s what I mean: tell the truth about what your current demographic composition is, tell the truth about what your current organizational culture and experience is, and tell the truth about why you think recruiting new identities will be helpful.” Employers need to consider how a diversity hire may feel being the only person of their community represented, and this could prevent them from fully participating or feeling welcome. In a healthy, equitable work environment, nobody should feel isolated. “All systems are made up of people,” he continues, “and so when the people start to make different behavioral choices, they can transform the culture, reset the policies and the expected practices.” In our new, rapidly changing world, this is necessary to remain competitive.
Wenker’s book, Hiring Revolution, is available for purchase at hiringrevolution.com, and their podcast can be found anywhere podcasts are streamed.
On behalf of Lavender Magazine, we congratulate Alfonso Wenker on making our LGBTQ Under 40 List for 2022.