top of page

Discover differences
Include one another
Navigate new perspectives

What if we could break down (in-person or virtual) lunch at a time?

DINE! is a unique grassroots program that encourages co-workers to share a meal to get to know each other on a deeper level.

Stankey DINE.jpg

The DINE! Story

In September 2016, Randall Stephenson, the former Chairman and CEO of AT&T gave a passionate speech about the racial tensions that are plaguing the United States. He encouraged employees at our company to move from tolerance to understanding and to dig deep to understand one another.

Everything he said spoke to me. I thought a lot about his words, but I didn't know how to go about having these sensitive conversations. Yet I would think about it every day.

Then one day, a few months later, I was perusing social media, and I stumbled upon this meme:

DINE original.jpg

I thought to myself, this meme is the missing link! I came into work the next day and invited 5 people to lunch who are different than me.

I am Jewish. I invited a colleague who is Muslim, a colleague who is African-American, a colleague who is gay, a colleague who is Latina and a colleague who is a Chinese immigrant. We went to lunch and we just talked. We talked about our backgrounds, about our communities, and the lens through which we view life. And it was magical. We all listened to one another and learned so much that we previously didn't was hard to believe that I had worked with them for years, but we had never talked like this. The conversation was powerful - we talked about our experiences with our races, religions, genders and more.

I asked them if they would host a lunch. And I asked other colleagues if they would host a lunch. And something amazing happened...DINE! events were planned. A lot of them. People from all over the company started to submit photos of their lunches. Within months, thousands of people had participated in a DINE lunch across the company.

A movement was born.

Are you ready to join the DINE! movement?

How to Host A DINE!

Invite 4-5 people to an in-person or virtual lunch. You may use the following verbiage or send your own. Feel free to change it to suit your writing style and personality.

I recently heard about a grassroots initiative focused on diversity and inclusion. It’s called DINE! which stands for:

  • Discover differences

  • Include one another

  • Navigate new perspectives

  • Eat!

We have been encouraged to think about diversity, challenge our own biases, and get to know each other’s stories. I believe many people want to…they just don’t know how to engage in these sensitive conversations. The concept of DINE! is that I will organize a one-time, in-person or virtual lunch with a small handful of colleagues who are different from me (different in any way…race, religion, gender, background, culture, upbringing...). At the lunch, we will openly share our backgrounds and the lens through which we view life. This is a casual way to network as well as gain and grow by listening and learning from each other.

I really like this idea, so I’m going to organize a DINE! lunch and I am inviting you to be part of it.

If this sounds good to you, I will look for a date that works for all invited guests. I am looking forward to a great conversation – and perhaps everyone will be inspired to host a similar DINE! event to keep the grassroots initiative going!

How to Guide the Conversation

Step 1 - Welcome participants
At the beginning of the session, remind everyone why you are there. The goal is to create a welcoming, inclusive space where people feel safe to share. Encourage everyone to leave their judgments and biases behind (we all have them!) and simply seek to listen and understand others’ experiences.

Step 2 - Share stories
You may wish to go first to share your story to set the pace and the tone. What should you share? Whatever you are comfortable with regarding your background and how you see the world. You may offer some insights into challenges you have had and what you have done to overcome them. Some ideas of what you may want to share – your experience with:

  • Race

  • Gender

  • Religion

  • Sexual orientation

  • Socio-economic background

  • Level of privilege

Step 3 - Engage in dialogue
It’s recommended that questions are held until the end to ensure everyone has had an opportunity to share before time expires. Suggested questions could be “what was that particular experience like?” or “what was most challenging about that situation?” A great way to begin a dialogue is to open with "tell me more about..."

Step 4 - Take a photo!
Take a selfie or capture a screenshot of your DINE! and send it to to all participants to commemorate the event.

Step 5 - Keep it going
Encourage all participants to host their own DINE! to keep the dialogue going. Although this is a one-time event, see if there is an interest to gather this same group together for another DINE! lunch down the road to stay in contact and learn more about one another.

DINE 2.jpg
DINE 1.jpg
bottom of page