On December 1, 2016, as companies and organizations across the Tampa Bay area put the final touches on their upcoming holiday parties, one event was being held that focused on a more purposeful conversation. Local professional and business leaders in the community came together to be “color brave, not color blind”.

Hosted in collaboration by PwC and the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. – Tampa chapter, the color brave conversation was designed to encourage attendees to become more aware of the experiences of others and get more comfortable engaging in conversations around race. Attracting more than 100 people, the local Tampa event was an extension of the PwC Talks session with Mellody Hobson in 2015, who led an inspiring and influential TED Talks session titled, “Color Blind or Color Brave”. The conversations centered on addressing how to help people move to a place where they can openly talkabout race and how it makes for better business and a better society.

When asked about the value of the night’s conversation, Tamara Burks, a Manager at PwC commented, “I’m proud to work for a firm that sees the importance of starting and continuing the dialogue about race. If we take the tabooness out of speaking about socially charge topics and come together to seek understanding and different perspectives, we can then begin to value the diversity in our workplace and in our communities. It’s important to take these conversations from within our certain social groups and invite others to the table. Only then can we begin to truly be inclusive.”

Brian Campbell, President of NABA’s Tampa chapter added, “This evening’s event was a very thought-provoking, stimulating, and very enlightening topic of conversation about being color brave in the workplace.”

The event kicked off with a viewing of Ms. Hobson’s TED Talk and a question posed attendees, “What does it mean to be color brave?”. At the conclusion of the opening video, attendees broke out into table discussions around race and being color brave. “Everyone had an opportunity to share personal stories and perspectives in a safe environment” one attendee added. “What I loved about tonight’s event was that in such an intense time in America, we can come together and talk about something as uncomfortable as race without any repercussions”.

The discussion was one of several events hosted by PwC in cities across the country with professional organizations, such as NABA.

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