Dionne Griffin McGee, President & CEO of DG McGee Enterprises

Ask the Expert: Empowering Leaders and Entrepreneurs to Stand Up and Roar!

Articles May 2, 2024

Through our work with hundreds of clients, The Diversity Movement has connected with thousands of fascinating people who are creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces and communities. For this “Ask the Expert” series, we invite leaders to talk about their DEI journey, lessons they’ve learned, and what inspires them every day.

Dionne Griffin McGee, President & CEO of DG McGee Enterprises

Dionne Griffin McGee, President & CEO of DG McGee Enterprises

Dionne Griffin McGee, President & CEO of DG McGee Enterprises, is a speaker, author, and dynamic business leader. Named the 2024 NC Rural Entrepreneur of the Year, Dionne and her team specialize in guiding organizations and individuals to leadership and entrepreneurial success through customized programs and flexible solutions. With over 25 years of corporate experience and multiple certifications, Dionne is also the author of Finding Your ROAR and the founder of R.O.A.R University. An advocate of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dionne has also been featured in Formidable Woman and Voyage LA magazines.

Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share the story of how you came to your current role?

I spent 25 years of my career in corporate America, primarily in male-dominated industries. However, during the last decade of my corporate journey, I faced a glaring lack of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. In a company of 4,000 employees, less than 10% were minorities, and I found myself as the sole African American female leader. These statistics highlighted a clear issue. Feeling enough was enough, I wrote my first book, Finding Your ROAR, and decided to leave corporate America. I then founded DG McGee Enterprises, a federally certified program management firm with a focus on career development and entrepreneurial growth cohorts. Through our online courses, conferences, workshops, keynotes, digital workbooks, and more, we empower our clients to thrive in their careers and businesses.

How are you working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your community?

Overall, my work in promoting DEI is multifaceted, ranging from education and awareness through my book and events to practical implementation through conferences, retreats, cohorts, courses, and inclusive team practices.

First, my book Finding Your ROAR serves as a guide for individuals to navigate and embrace diversity in their personal and professional lives.

Second, at the ROAR Conference and Retreats, which I host, DEI topics are central. These events provide a platform for open discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities aimed at fostering inclusivity and understanding.

Third, through our coaching programs and courses, we equip individuals with the tools and knowledge to champion DEI efforts within their spheres of influence. This includes strategies for creating inclusive work environments and promoting equitable opportunities.

Finally, in my keynotes and speaking engagements, I amplify the message of DEI, encouraging others to make the necessary changes for a more inclusive society. I emphasize the importance of having a diverse team and ensuring that all team members feel a sense of belonging, as this fosters innovation and growth.

Can you describe a personal experience that fuels your passion?

After years in leadership and securing multimillion-dollar accounts, I realized that my voice didn't carry the weight it should have because of my identity as a woman of color. This personal experience fuels my passion and serves as a reminder of the critical need to advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in all aspects of life, from the workplace to the community. It motivates me to continue my work in empowering others to find their voice and make meaningful changes toward a more equitable society. This is what pushed me to start my own company. This is why we help our clients Find Their ROAR!

Can you tell us about a DEI win that you are proud of? It doesn’t have to be big, just meaningful for you.

Debuting as an author with Finding Your ROAR, was unexpected, however corporate challenges prompted me to share my story, aiming to assist others facing similar hurdles. Founding my company, DG McGee Enterprises, was also not in my original retirement plans from corporate America. My goal was to provide opportunities with a fresh perspective, informed by the challenges I’ve encountered.

I've actively sought collaborations with like-minded, diverse, equitable, and inclusive business owners to expand opportunities. That mindset informed the inaugural ROARCon22 Women’s Conference, and I’m equally proud that we could host the women’s ROAR Retreat in 2023.

Most importantly, I wanted to show my children that we all have choices, and no one should feel undervalued or unappreciated in their work environment.

Character is so important today in our professional and personal lives. Which character trait do you think has been most helpful in your journey? Can you please share a story or example of that trait in action?

On my journey, I've embraced R.O.A.R. as my four guiding character traits: Relentlessness, Optimism, Ambition, and a Results-Driven mindset. These qualities have shaped me into the person that I am today. Now, as a businesswoman, I passionately share these traits with my audiences and clients. This means not settling for the status quo in your careers or businesses, owning your decisions, and being the example needed for the little boys and girls who may be unaware of the challenges they may face in non-diverse, inequitable, exclusive, or unwelcoming spaces.

We do this work because it's necessary and it matters. We need to be the proof of possibility, showing that nothing can stop us from being or doing what we've been called, equipped, and created to do or be.

What does inclusive leadership mean to you?

Drawing from my previous experiences and challenges, inclusive leadership means fostering an environment where everyone's voice is heard, valued, and respected. Inclusive leadership starts at the top and permeates throughout the organization. It means that all leaders, especially those in Human Resources roles, must prioritize attending DEIB training. This training is essential for understanding the nuances of creating a welcoming work culture for all.

In an inclusive environment, all individuals are treated fairly and justly, regardless of their background or identity. It's about creating policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level of the organization. When leaders embrace inclusive leadership, it fosters a sense of belonging and trust among employees. People genuinely want to work for companies that prioritize inclusivity because they feel valued, supported, and empowered to contribute their best.

Inclusive leadership is not just a buzzword; it's a mindset and a commitment to creating a workplace where everyone can thrive and succeed.

How can people follow you online or connect with you?

Please visit my website, dgmcgee.com, and subscribe to our email newsletter to receive exclusive content, events, news, and announcements directly in your inbox. You will also get details about our ROAR Con24 Women’s Conference, in August 2024. This event is designed for career and businesswomen to grow and scale with a lens of diversity and to network with like-minded women. Also, let’s connect on LinkedIn.

For more on inclusive leadership and how it drives employee engagement in any industry, look for The Diversity Movement’s new book, The Inclusive Leadership Handbook: Balancing People and Performance for Sustainable Growth, by Kurt Merriweather, VP of Innovation, and Donald Thompson, CEO. TDM has also created LeaderView, a leadership assessment tool that uses cultural competency as a driver for improving whole team performance.

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