Mary-Frances Winters

Named a thought leader in the field, for nearly four decades Mary-Frances Winters has inspired hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals with her thought-provoking message and her approach to diversity and inclusion. Ms. Winters has extensive experience facilitating change by creating dialogue and empowering individuals to dismantle inequities.


Ms. Winters believes her purpose on earth is to break down barriers and build bridges across difference. She is known to be a provocateur and not afraid to have the difficult conversations. Among her many awards and distinctions, she was named a diversity pioneer by Profiles in Diversity Journal, received the Winds of Change award from the Forum on Workplace Inclusion, and featured twice in Forbes as one of the DC Metro area’s most powerful women, as well as one of 10 trailblazers in diversity and inclusion. She has served as a torch bearer for the Olympics and has previously been recognized as an Athena Award winner from the Chamber of Commerce for her contributions to women and the community.


Ms. Winters is President and CEO of The Winters Group, Inc., a 38-year-old diversity and inclusion consulting firm, and the author of six books, including her best seller, We Can’t Talk about That at Work!: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics; and her two latest books, Inclusive Conversations: Fostering Equity, Empathy and Belonging across Differences and Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit.

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Effective dialogue across different dimensions of diversity, such as race, gender, age, religion, or sexual orientation, fosters a sense of belonging and inclusion, which in turn leads to greater productivity, performance, and innovation. Whether in the workplace, faith communities, or educational settings, our differences can tear us apart rather than bring us together if we do not know how to communicate. Recognizing our collective responsibility to earnestly address our differences and increase understanding and empathy will not only enhance organizational goals but will also lead to a healthier, kinder, and more compassionate world.

Award-winning diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant Mary-Frances Winters has been leading workshops on what she calls Bold, Inclusive Conversations for years. In this book she offers specific dialogue strategies to foster greater understanding on the following topics:
• Recognizing the importance of creating equity and sharing power
• Dealing with the “fragility” of dominant groups–their discomfort in engaging with historically subordinated groups
• Addressing the exhaustion historically marginalized groups feel from constantly explaining their different lived experience
• Exploring how to build trust and create psychologically safe spaces for dialogue
This guide is comprehensive for anyone who wants to break down the barriers that separate us and facilitate discussions on potentially polarizing topics.

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Black Fatigue is the first book to name and describe a phenomena Black people know well: the multifaceted physical and psychological damage wrought by simply living, day by day, in a racist society. This is a vital resource for Black and non-Black people who are looking for ways to heal, learn, and have productive and supportive conversations about racial injustice and trauma. To move forward, we need to know where we came from and where we are — Black Fatigue is the foundation from which we can begin to imagine a better world, together.

Black Fatigue highlights the history of white supremacist, racist systems that led to Black intergenerational fatigue. It focuses on the impact of Black fatigue on Blacks and on society. The racist system is not just literally killing Black people; it is tearing the nation apart. In every aspect of life, from socioeconomics to education, the workforce, criminal justice and, very importantly, health outcomes. It is paradoxical that with all the attention over the last 50 years on social justice and diversity and inclusion, we have made little progress in actualizing the vision of an equitable society.

Black Fatigue provides an in-depth account of why Black people are fatigued and what we can do about it. White people who read Black Fatigue will not only be educated on the history of racism but may also be motivated to become an anti-racist, an ally, and a power broker for systemic change. It will provide a necessary context to engage in inclusive conversations. For Black people, it will also be educational and affirming, and when one of your white colleagues asks you to educate them, you can refer them to this resource so as not to exacerbate your fatigue.

We Can't Talk About That At Work!

Politics, religion, race—we can’t talk about topics like these at work, right? But in fact, these conversations are happening all the time, either in real life or virtually via social media. And if they aren’t handled effectively, they can become more polarizing and divisive, impacting productivity, engagement, retention, teamwork, and even employees’ sense of safety in the workplace. But you can turn that around and address difficult topics in a way that brings people together instead of driving them apart. In this concise and powerful book, Mary-Frances shows you how to lay the groundwork for having Bold, Inclusive Conversations®.

Inclusion Starts With I - Eight Steps to Inclusion

Creating inclusive cultures is a critically important business imperative as the demographics of the US become more diverse and as organizations operate increasingly in global contexts. If we are to work effectively together we must learn to understand, appreciate and accept differences. Our strength lies in our diversity. This book outlines 8 steps for the personal inclusion journey in a delightful book of quotes from voices as diverse as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Seneca. A very popular book for gifts, over 7,000 copies sold to date.