The Rotary Club of Akron had the pleasure of listening to James Knight, an individual with extensive research in cultural humility and who specializes in cultural sensitivity trainings, at our Tuesday, September 14 Club meeting.  Mr. Knight has developed an innovative approach to building equity and belonging rooted in cultural humility. 
The meeting video can be viewed by clicking here or copy and paste this link into your browser
Mr. Knight is an educator, coach/mentor, consultant, author, itinerant speaker, and equity and inclusion strategist.  Much of his works revolves around leading with humility and partnering with other leaders to build dynamic and inclusive communities where people collaborate, innovate, and engage in fearless dialogue.
Annually, he designs training programs on cultural competency, cultural humility, cultural safety, and a wide array of topics designed to increase awareness and support of diversity and equity.
What is Cultural Humility?
According to Mr. Knight:
“Cultural humility, a process of reflection and lifelong inquiry, involves self-awareness of personal and cultural biases as well as awareness and sensitivity to significant cultural issues of others.
Cultural humility is a way of leading and managing self (and personal biases) with the goal of bringing your highest self into diverse situations so that you can create, influence, and sustain culturally safe environments where others can bring their best selves.”
“Cultural humility is a posture of the heart that shows in how you live, lead, and listen.  Culturally humble people recognize the value in others and therefore are always looking for ways to inspire, connect, check-in, and elevate those they touch.”
According to Mr. Knight, there are three tenants of Cultural Humility
  1.  Lifelong Learning – involves self-critique, where can I change? Where can I grow? Intentionally engage in self-critique to recognize and accept biases and assumptions.
  2. Redressing Power Imbalances – Know our audiences.  Really listen.
  3. Institutional Accountability - Importance of strategic partnerships.
Some of Mr. Knight’s favorite quotes either from himself, or others addressing cultural humility:
  • “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
  • “Humility makes transparency authentically possible.”
  • “The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.” Albert Einstein
  • “Being seen and heard can produce a force of healing that you could have never imagined.” Dr. Mariel Buque
  • “Be the reason someone feels welcomed, seen, heard, valued, loved, and supported.”
Mr. Knight believes one of the major goals of his work is to “assist others in building safe environments where everyone can thrive and bring their best selves”.
Cultural humility is a continuous self-study:  It is…
  • Learning to lower your own sense of self-importance
  • Understanding that we all have things to share
  • Creating partnerships…. In other words, what can we create together?
  • Recognizing that you don’t have all the answers
  • Understanding that body language is important
  • Being okay with maintaining the posture of a “student”
  • Empathy – seeing what others see and feeling what others feel
Mr. Knight provides a variety of services including:
  • Professional Development -Customized to meet an individual or organizational needs.  This can include 1-on-1 and executive coaching: small group or team coaching and larger workshops and trainings rooted in cultural humility.
  • Anti-Racism Work – In partnerships with schools, non-profits, and institutions, he offers a comprehensive and holistic approach to dismantling systems of oppression that hinder people from being their best selves.
  • Thought Leadership – Public speaking engagements, such as panels and keynote speeches.  He works with numerous clients in designing new frameworks rooted in humility.
  • Framework Design – Developing customized frameworks rooted in cultural humility that will assist your leadership and organization in disseminating your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
To learn more about Cultural Humility and the services available through Mr. Knight, check out his website at