Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important in the workplace, but in today’s world DEI is more than just a buzzword. DEI has proven to be crucial for success, fostering innovation and increasing revenue and productivity while improving a company’s reputation. It also helps improve employee job satisfaction, which has seen more individuals push for an increasingly diverse and inclusive work environment. But this is a long journey for corporate and entrepreneurial spaces, and many people are not comfortable talking about DEI, which is where Steve Jones steps in.
Steve Jones is a keynote speaker and author of the popular marketing/branding books, Brand Like a Rock Star and Start You Up. Steve uses his 30+ years in the music business to show how the core strategies of rock legends can be applied to business success. For over a decade, this award-winning keynote speaker has been speaking worldwide to conferences and organizations on what they can learn from the stars of rock ‘n’ roll, and these days much of that focus is on how to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment.
According to Jones, the methods and strategies many organizations use to talk about DEI often turn employees off to a concept that should not be feared. He explains that the strategies implemented by many organizations are ineffective. “So many companies are afraid to have fun with DEI and talk about the great things that have come from it,” says Jones. “They present it as a box to be checked or a mandatory course to be taken, instead of a concept to genuinely be excited about.”
By using real-life backstage stories from legendary rock stars, Steve is working to close this gap and show the amazing things that can happen when companies embrace DEI.
Jones cites Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama as an example. In the mid-1960s at the core of America’s racial unrest, the recording studio brought together some of the best musicians in the world, regardless of race. Nobody could have ever predicted that a recording studio deep in the American south would become a hotbed for some of the most progressive and racially-integrated rhythm and blues music ever made. Founder Rick Hall called his studio “a safe haven where Black and White could work together in harmony.” That harmony can be heard in countless hits from Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, Wilson Pickett, The Allman Brothers Band, Etta James, The Rolling Stones, Staple Singers, and Paul Simon, among many others.
Beyond recording in Muscle Shoals, Paul Simon pursued racial diversity with a passion. He traveled to Jamaica to record with true reggae musicians to create his 1972 hit “Mother and Child Reunion”. Simon recorded an album in Brazil and created his landmark album Graceland in South Africa, giving voice to musicians supressed by the country’s apartheid system. Many credit that album with expediting the fall of apartheid.
As DEI becomes increasingly important, Steve Jones is implementing a unique angle to push for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. He shows the audience how they can look for inspiration from music legends and uses an incredible soundtrack and inspiring stories to drive meaningful DEI conversations.
Aside from being an author and public speaker, Jones is also SVP/Brands & Content for Stingray, a global media, music, and technology company, where he oversees over 100 radio brands across Canada. He is a two-time winner of the International Radio Programmer of the Year award at the Worldwide Radio Summit. For speaking engagements, Steve is represented worldwide by Goodman Speaker Management at www.goodmanspeakermanagement.com. Steve can also be reached via his website at www.brandlikearockstar.com.