Our Stories

MARC: A Program That Addresses Preconceived Biases

June 25, 2020

Mark Vercruysse and MARC Program - 300px

By Mark Vercruysse, DTCC Managing Director and Head of Global Relationship Management

Sometimes two people can look at the same thing and see it very differently. That was a lesson I learned when I participated in DTCC’s Men Advocating for Real Change (MARC) Leaders Workshop, a program designed to help create an inclusive workplace and teach the importance of becoming strong advocates, sponsors and allies.

This was the first training of the sort that I’ve had, and I can honestly say that it’s truly changed the way I look at things. During the workshop, about 30 colleagues and I–both men and women–participated in a series of exercises about gender and racial awareness. While I thought I already knew a lot about my co-workers, I quickly realized there were many sides to them that I had never seen. What I learned is that it’s one thing to be taught by workshop leaders, but another to hear directly from your colleagues and to be challenged by their different points of view and experiences.

For example, we held a frank conversation about the way African-American parents teach their children how to interact with police. As a white male, I’ve never had much of a reason to think about this in detail. When my boys were young, I simply told them to be respectful and courteous to law enforcement. The experience of some of my co-workers, however, was very different. They had to stress to their kids to always keep their hands visible on the steering wheel or to avoid making sudden movements. Listening to their stories, I began to understand their concerns and why they felt the need to do this.

This was just one of many times during the workshop that I had to confront my own lack of awareness or preconceived biases. It was difficult and uncomfortable, but the experience was eye-opening. And it taught me the valuable lesson of questioning my own biases by asking myself, “If I was a person of color, how would I react in this situation?”

After the workshop, I began to apply the lessons I learned by rethinking my approach to recruiting talent. Because most people tend to associate with others who are like them, we often take too narrow a view of candidates when hiring new employees. So instead of focusing solely on subject matter expertise in the future, I’m now committed to finding people with diverse viewpoints or untapped potential. Our long-term success as a company requires us to hire the best and brightest, but how I define that moving forward will be different than in the past. And I have no doubt I’ll build an even stronger team because of it.

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