Our Approach

A sustainable culture that works for all people begins by seeking to understand our biases.

Step Up: Equity Matters is a movement for change. Every strategy we implement to improve organizational and individual capabilities to practice equity begins with three key steps.

01

Recognize

We must recognize that biases are not inherently wrong, but they can cause inequities in our workplaces and communities when left unchecked. For example, I may have a bias in favor of people with postsecondary degrees. Without further examination, this positive bias may cause me to exclude perfectly qualified candidates from a job opening. In recognizing the inequitable outcomes this bias creates, I can begin to adjust my processes (my thought processes and organizational processes) to create a different result.

02

Own

Accepting our personal and organizational biases can be challenging. As humans, we naturally want to see ourselves in a positive light. But, owning our biases does not make us bad people; it can only make us better. If everyone recognized and owned their biases, it would trigger individual and collective healing.The key is to own our biases with compassion – for self and community. It is easy for us to judge our own and others’ behaviors. We must recognize that we had little control over the biases we inherited and simultaneously hold ourselves accountable for the biases we will leave as our legacy.

03

Disrupt

Disrupting biases, like any progress toward equity, is a lifelong commitment. While our prejudices are deeply rooted and may never be entirely “gone,” our self-awareness and ownership empower us to decide how we act on them. It is essential to recognize that doing nothing is in itself a choice. Recognizing, owning, and disrupting biases empowers us to redesign our systems to safeguard against inequitable outcomes.

Photo of Step Up Team Members

Established 2014

Step Up: Equity Matters was co-founded in 2014 by a collaborative team of people representing corporate, nonprofit, and small businesses. Since that time, the team has grown and our work has evolved, but we remain true to our original goal of advancing equity within organizations. Pictured above are co-founders (left to right) Amy Kesling, Haywood Simmons, Tania Ibarra, and Sara Alvarado.

Our Curriculum

Work with us to advance your goals.

Our collaborative approach to strategy and curriculum development combines the rich and broad experience of consultants, facilitators, and practitioners ranging from industries across engineering, financial services, public health, non-profit, higher education, real estate, energy, and utilities professional services.

Since 2014, our team comprises certified professionals who employ best-in-class technology and an engaging mix of learning activities such as discussion, presentation, games, self-reflection, case studies, and quizzes to meet the diverse learning needs of 1,000+ participants.

We embed evaluation techniques to every lesson to measure the progress of our participants as they learn to recognize how biases create inequities, own their biases with compassion, and explore their role in disrupting individual and organizational biases.

50+ workshops across Wisconsin since 2014

99% of participants would recommend Step Up: Equity Matters to a colleague

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92% of participants found the content relevant and useful to their work

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Eye-opening!

Who knew learning how to have Brave Conversations could be so enjoyable? This workshop was eye-opening, educational and very well run. Thank you!

MARY r.

Until we start talking about it...

We can read about bias, diversity, equity, but until we start talking about it – together – we’ll never be a just & equitable city.

John Donne

Tangible tools

The workshop gave me tangible tools to evaluate biases I may have in the workplace. I would recommend this session to any professional.

Jane D.

Dynamic and challenging

A dynamic and challenging workshop that lets us think about our biases in an environment that promotes animated discourse.

BoB E.
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