The PTF Parent Up Speaker Series for 2020-2021, with the theme of “community wellness and connection,” kicked off this week with Dr. Dolly Chugh, award-winning psychologist and author of The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias
Dr. Chugh spoke to the St. Margaret’s parent community on Tuesday in a Q&A hosted by Victor Cota, St. Margaret’s director of equity and inclusion. The next day, she spoke to Upper School students in a conversation with Mr. Cota and St. Margaret’s seniors Kaelyn Dunnell from the Tartan Inclusivity and Diversity Education (TIDE) leadership group and Nicholas Jacome from Associated Student Body.
In entertaining and insightful conversations, Dr. Chugh spoke of her work striving to be “good-ish” people in the world, noting that most of us strive to be “good” people but “good-ish is not worse than good. We are people with a growth mindset, who view ourselves as a work in progress and always learning. If you take that definition, good-ish is a higher standard than good.”
Dr. Chugh spoke of our subconscious mind at work in everyday life, mentioning how we often forget mundane tasks or even the drive home from school, because our brain can operate in autopilot.
“That’s how our mind is built, and that’s good,” Dr. Chugh said. “But it also means that all that unconscious work is doing things you’re unaware of.”
This subconscious bias can sometimes influence social settings, including situations with people of different races and genders. Dr. Chugh, for example, did not notice that she calls on males more than females in her class until a teaching assistant kept track of the interactions and reported them back to her.
Dr. Chugh encouraged people to activate their growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset, to start noticing shortcomings and audit the environment you live in and the media you consume.
She also encouraged parents to talk to their children about issues like racism. “Most parents do not discuss race or racism with their children, and if they do it’s in an historical context instead of a present context,” she said. “Your children can handle it, and should be handling it.”
If you missed the presentation, you can view a video recording of the parent presentation by clicking here
(password: smes) and the Upper School student presentation by clicking here
The Parent Up Speaker Series is funded through a generous PTF grant, and speakers are selected by PTF leaders in conjunction with St. Margaret’s school leaders. This year’s Parent Up Speaker Series committee includes PTF President Dana Melsom, Parent Up Speakers Series Chair Kristen Olosky, Parent Up Speaker Series assistant Carrie Quintanar, St. Margaret’s Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives Ryan Dahlem, Director of Equity and Inclusion Mr. Cota and PTF Office Manager Beth Adamany.
Dr. Chugh was invited to speak to St. Margaret’s community in part because her book was included on St. Margaret’s recommended summer reading list related to diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism.
The next Parent Up Speaker Series event will take place January 22 and feature Steve Pemberton, chief human resources officer of Workhuman and best-selling author of A Chance in the World
, who will share lessons on resilience and connection from his compelling personal story.