Doing the Right Thing: Ella F. Washington, PhD, on Taking The Necessary Journey

Dr. Chris E. Stout
10 min readApr 1, 2023

Quiet quitting has become quite topical in the media as of late. But perhaps the real story is quiet FIRING. That refers to an employer who doesn’t give raises, or doesn’t provide promotion opportunities. Or they slight team members and actually diminish or stall their employees’ professional growth.

Everyone, both personally and professionally, wants to feel seen, and heard. Some employers struggle to listen in order to learn, and inadvertently cause their staff to shut down. And this can be in spite of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Belonging programs being in place. Harmful inequity, influence, and ignorance can be found in many a boardroom and work setting.

Work should create a space that elevates the minds of the people in it, and collectively supports each person’s voice. These are the concepts researched by organizational psychologist and DEI expert, Dr. Ella F. Washington.

Dr. Washington offers a wealth of experience as the Founder and CEO of Ellavate Solutions, serves as a Gallup Senior Scientist studying race, strengths and other DEI workplace topics; and she co-hosts the Gallup’s Center of Black Voices Cultural Competence Podcast.

She is also a Professor of Practice at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where she recently received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Georgetown’s MBA Class of 2021, and she is the author of “The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion” published by the Harvard Business Review, which we focused on in this episode.

Dr. Washington’s consultation practice has impacted clients in various Fortune 100 companies, financial services, sports and entertainment, oil and gas industries, higher education, and government. Her research and client work focuses on women in the workplace, barriers to inclusion for diverse groups, and working with organizations to build inclusive cultures. She has developed learning workshops, facilitates strategic planning sessions, and conducted inclusiveness audits with executive leadership teams who have…