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A Sound Environment

A Sound Environment

Finding Commonality in a Diverse World

About the Program

When it comes to friendship, you probably wouldn’t give Drs. Richard White and Kevin Sanders much of a chance. From totally different backgrounds and cultures — White is African-American and from inner-city Baltimore, Sanders is Caucasian and grew up in Arkansas — they didn’t seem like they would click. Read More >

And yet, their love of music, passion for helping others, interest in education and entrepreneurial spirits drew them together when they first met at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and created an enduring bond that has lasted more than 20 years. They truly want to make a difference in the world. And that’s exactly what they have done.

White, an inspirational speaker and full professor at the University of New Mexico, and Sanders, director of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, have spent almost two decades in higher education working with students, teachers and entrepreneurs from all over the country. They are passionate about collaborating with organizations to develop positive change and leveraging creativity and unique skillsets to bring about cultural transformation. They specialize in program management, strategic planning, consulting, facilitation, curriculum development and capacity building. And most recently — energized by the racial and social justice movement — White and Sanders earned certificates in Diversity and Inclusion, from the Ivy League’s Cornell University.

“We’re always thinking how we can make a bigger impact and how we can help the people around us,” White says. “This is just an extension of a conversation that has been going on for over a decade.”

White and Sanders’ talks, which include interactions with their audiences, are filled with humor, wisdom and solid information on how to make the world and organizations better places to work, live and be more inclusive. They’ll inspire you to do more and show you how to think differently about our ever-changing society. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

A Sound Environment: Finding Commonality in a Diverse World Video

Speech Topics

Communication Strategies for Diverse Teams & Why They Matter

Working with people different than ourselves isn’t always instinctive and deviation from our comfort zones can be hard. However, research shows that although homogenous teams make quicker decisions, diverse teams make better decisions. Through the lens of their 20-plus year friendship, Drs. Richard White and Kevin Sanders share their stories of how they have helped each other see their own blind spots, embrace their differences and empower each other to be their best. They’ll show you how to create an inclusive culture at your workplace or organization, where everyone is involved, and share the best communication styles to get you there.

A Sound Environment: Unifying Your Team for Success

When a symphony orchestra takes the stage, the audience hears 85 individuals of diverse backgrounds, lifestyles and emotions all play beautifully together as one. So, how can they achieve such an amazing performance with so many different musicians? It takes a great conductor who creates a culture that celebrates cooperation, communication and collaboration in order to fulfill the mission of sharing the power of music. The orchestra and its leader become a unified team. In this conversation, Drs. Richard White and Kevin Sanders share the tools for any team — including yours — to do the same. You can get them to a place where they work in harmony, so they can manage controversy, communicate well and unify their goals to achieve a sound environment for success.

Boosting Employee Engagement Through Diversity

Study after study shows that diversity and inclusion in the workplace create higher levels of employee engagement, which leads to increased productivity, creativity and profits. Sounds awesome, right? Yes, it is but it may not be as easy to accomplish as you think. Hiring a diverse workforce is a great first step but that’s just the start. In this conversation with Drs. Richard White and Kevin Sanders, they explore the issues of creating an inclusive environment, where everyone is given a voice and employee recognition is as important as the bottom line.

How Failing Helps You Win

What do Henry Ford, Jay-Z and Jeff Bezos all have in common? They all spectacularly failed before making it big. You can’t grow or learn without these tough life lessons. Failure is a building block to success. With lots of humor and heart, Drs. Richard White and Kevin Sanders share stories of their own missteps, how they try to prevent them and how you, too, can use your failures to lead you to success.