WSLCB - Board Caucus
(September 24, 2019) - Implicit Bias Training

Director Rick Garza reported some WSLCB staff experienced a "little bit of a hiccup” when undertaking implicit bias training provided by the agency.

  • Board Member Ollie Garrett mentioned the need for WSLCB Enforcement officers to receive implicit bias training when discussing enforcement practices in late March 2019. At that time, she indicated she had suggested the idea in 2018 and been rebuffed.
  • Garza brought the topic up by saying he’d met with Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) Organization Performance Advisor Lenora Sneva. He explained that she had experience in “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) and was “very knowledgeable around some of the implicit bias training that we were doing” (audio - 6m).
    • Garza said that during the WSLCB training there was a "little bit of a hiccup” in how staff responded leading him to consult with OFM staff “who are part of the state team that’s working on this.” He asked them “how would you move forward in this training,” saying that he believed “when you look at DEI you got to look beyond just training, right? It's how you recruit." The OFM staff provided quality input in Garza’s view and he planned to return to board members with new bias training guidance.
  • When Garrett asked if the DEI staff from OFM had provided the implicit bias training to agency staff, Garza replied that WSLCB’s training had been run by Caprice Hollins of Cultures Connecting. “[OFM] use a lot of different folks,” Garza commented, “some from the universities, some that are consultants.”
  • Garrett said she knew that the Washington State Office of Minority & Women's Business Enterprises (OMWBE) had conducted similar training in the past and they were received “very positive[ly].” She noted that the “hiccup” during WSLCB training was atypical when she’d asked around at other agencies where staff went through implicit bias education. Garza said, “There have been [issues] with this one” and noted that “conversations” which had come up during WSLCB’s training had occurred at other agencies. He felt it boiled down to “the approach that you use.” Board Chair Jane Rushford said the reaction following the training was “revealing” and would “help to clarify” next steps for the agency.
  • Garza reported that OFM hadn’t conducted their internal implicit bias training yet but had “started with a large survey that was done to all employees.” OFM, which was almost the same size as WSLCB according to Garza, “created focus groups from the information they garnered...then created action committees given the results that they learned and they’re moving slowly into the training.” In contrast, he said that at WSLCB, “we went straight in with the training.”
  • Rushford said that either she or Garrett would participate in Garza’s next internal discussion on implicit bias training. Rushford added that she hoped that the scope of the agency’s implicit bias education would grow to encompass “other areas of gender.” Garza mentioned that gender identity was part of the “whole gamut” of OFM’s survey on which they based their “committees that were created afterwards to address the issues that they found in the survey.”
  • Garza reported that he’d asked OFM staff for guidance and they responded that WSLCB “learned a lot in what you did.” Rushford agreed that the training had been “a big reveal.” Garza said “there's a lot of different trainers out there and part of the discussion” with OFM was to get their help to “figure out who might be good for us to bring in next and then lay it out so that it's more holistic than just the training.”