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Gateways to Inclusion

Turning Tense Moments into Productive Conversations

In today's diverse workplace, tense moments occur. When you hear something offensive, when you’ve said something wrong, when something you say has been taken out of context...these are things that can lead people to feel hurt, embarrassed, angry or resentful. But such negative encounters don’t have to stay negative. When handled properly, they can be transformed into “gateways” that lead to better working relationships and increased understanding.

  • Improves teamwork and productivity by showing how to effectively handle diversity-related tension
  • Enables organizations to expand existing curricula in the areas of diversity and inclusion
  • Models respectful communication--a key competency for today's workplace

This product does not have:
  • Sample Training Guide

Gateways to Inclusion

Run time: 17 Minutes

Diverse workplaces--because they are diverse--can be mine fields of misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and even conflict. Left unaddressed, these events undermine working relationships, hurt morale and diminish productivity. But, when dealt with effectively, they can provide extremely positive breakthroughs. That’s why Dr. Sondra Thiederman calls them “gateway events”.

In this video program, Dr. Thiederman explains that opening such a gateway to conversation—and holding it open, rather than slamming it shut in fear or anger—has immeasurable benefits. But, to make this work, people need to talk to one another.

The program provides 4 immediately applicable skills that will turn tense moments into productive conversations:
1. Manage How You Feel
2. Set Productive Goals
3. Assess Intent Cautiously
4. Communicate in a Way that Demonstrates Respect

Through a series of vignettes, your team will learn:
  • How to manage the emotions that can arise in the face of diversity-related tension
  • How to set productive goals for various types of gateway conversations
  • Why it is important not to jump to conclusions about intent (and three strategies for assessing intent accurately)
  • How to communicate in a way that demonstrates respect and encourages further conversation

Gateways to Inclusion is a flexible package that can be used in short or long training sessions. The program can stand alone; or, if you wish, it can be easily integrated into your existing diversity and inclusion curriculum. In addition to the main workshop, the package includes a 45-minute Refresher Workshop to solidify the program's skills and provide more opportunity for practice. It includes a bonus 4-minute video scenario for discussion.

A SunShower Learning Title


  • chaptered DVD includes:
    - Main Video
    - Video Quiz
    - FAQs with Sondra Thiederman
    - Case Study Video
    (includes subtitles in English, Spanish and French Canadian)
  • CD-ROM containing:
    - Leader's Guide
    - 2 PowerPoint Presentations
    - reproducible Participant Handouts


Praise for Gateways to Inclusion

Gateways to Inclusion is a powerful video. It shows how tension and disrespect can derail even the best of intentions. This is definitely an effective tool to use in preparing leaders and employees for tough conversations that can lead to productive outcomes.”
-Effenus Henderson
-Vice-President, Diversity
-Weyerhaeuser Company

"This video is full of real situations that we can all relate to. It shows the viewer a mirror that validates their experience and gives them a productive way forward. Gateways to Inclusion is a terrific teaching tool and deals with a much needed topic."
-Lee Gardenswartz and Anita Rowe
-Gardenswartz and Rowe

“Very interesting. I could see using this in a 'harassment prevention / working together with respect' class - especially for clients for whom I've already shown Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts, or a diversity class or a 'difficult conversations' class, as a way to demonstrate micro-inequities, increase awareness of the fact that uncomfortable situations create opportunities to improve relationships and to help participants build their skills to address such situations.”
-Mary Chlopecki
-Consultant & Trainer

“Gateways is a practical training tool for any organization that is working on fostering an inclusive workplace. Through realistic vignettes, Dr. Thiederman provides clear steps to avert diversity conflicts and convert them into opportunities for productive conversations. The scenarios will resonate with any organization as will the tools to address the disconnects.“
-Rohini Anand
-Senior Vice-President and Chief Diversity Officer

“In an increasingly diverse world, you can count on running into a tense moment at some point. This video, Gateways to Inclusion, gives people the basic tools and insights for turning potential breakdowns into breakthroughs. Everyone can benefit from this honest, direct, practical, and extremely well executed tool for building inclusion.”
-Michael Wheeler
-Assoc. Director of Diversity
-Omnicomemedia Group

“Gateways is fabulous! Here's what we liked about it: it was real with situations that we can all relate to. The gateway metaphor is helpful and non-threatening and the four steps are practical. They are reinforced and demonstrated throughout the video. We think it is a terrific teaching tool that deals with a very needed topic. We find people often knowing that something is wrong but not knowing what to do about it. This gives help. You show them a mirror that validates their experience and you give them a productive way forward. We found ourselves totally engaged in the vignettes and eager to see the resolutions.”
-Lee Gardenswartz and Anita Rowe
-Gardenswartz and Rowe

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Cage Code: 3Q5F1, Status: Active, Expiration 01/20/2021

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