Choosing to offer ‘the benefit of the doubt’ eases diversity conversations

Carolyn White turns uncomfortable moments into learning opportunities.

Carolyn White, CoastHills Credit Union

Carolyn White aims to create conversations that focus on “building up” instead of “tearing down.”

Whether White is leading diversity courses or teaching employees about the need for compliance, she gives people “the benefit of the doubt” when they ask questions or make comments about sensitive issues, which can occasionally touch on her Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage.

“Living by that philosophy has taken me a long way,” says White, who is vice president of education and communication at $1.4 billion asset CoastHills Credit Union in Santa Maria, Calif.

White’s great-grandparents were Japanese immigrants who settled in Hawaii. Her parents left Hawaii to attend college in Oregon and then accepted teaching positions in Lompoc, Calif.


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