Inclusion Expert Encourages Company Leaders to Expand Their DEI Conversations


SHREWSBURY, PA.—January 12, 2023 —Attracting and retaining diverse talent builds stronger businesses capable of deeper client connections, but are the leaders behind DEI efforts missing a critical piece of the puzzle?

“I wanted to expand the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion because it’s not just race; it’s not just gender; it’s not just sexual orientation — it’s those things but so much more,” inclusion consultant Christopher “CJ” Gross said in a recent interview.

That “so much more” Gross refers to is the concept of class division and the brain science behind class bias.

“I wrote the book because people were not having  that  conversation,” Gross noted. “They were having what I would consider a topical conversation about the symptoms of the problem and not the actual problem. And if you don’t address the problem, the symptoms will persist.”

In his new book,  What’s Your  Zip Code Story? Understanding and Overcoming Class Bias in the Workplace,  Gross  takes a deep dive into the ways in which  where  and  how  a person grew up can impact employment opportunities and where the discussion regarding class bias fits into a company’s DEI efforts.

“The renewed focus on class, race, and equality in the workplace and beyond is making an indelible mark on society,” Gross said. “This clarion call for change is sweeping inequality from every corner of the nation, including law enforcement, schools, and businesses.”

What’s Your Zip Code Story offers research-based solutions for employees seeking professional growth and for business leaders seeking new ways to engage their teams. Gross provides strategies to help class migrants — whether college students, recent graduates, or overlooked employees — climb the career lattice and transform themselves from undervalued employees into respected leaders. He also offers insights to help organizations understand the impact of diversity on a business’s productivity, turnover, and revenue.

What’s Your Zip Code Story is a powerful book that expands the conversation surrounding class bias, race, and equity in the workplace, and offers effective solutions.

“Each of us has our biases and cultural preferences, which makes it very hard for us to understand the perspectives of others,” Gross added. “It’s time we talked about it.”

Author CJ Gross is a TEDx presenter, international speaker, and the founder of Ascension Worldwide, a firm dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity training and consulting based in the Washington, D.C., area. Gross has 20 years of experience as an international organizational development consultant specializing in leadership development and diversity and inclusion. He is a certified Social + Emotional Intelligence coach, trainer, Keirsey Temperament professional, Intercultural Development Inventory Administrator, and executive coach, with additional expertise in organizational mediation.

He also serves as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Master Faculty for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Center for Innovation and Business Management, Adjunct Faculty for the Community College of Baltimore County, and Adjunct Professor in the MBA program for St. Bonaventure University.

Gross holds a B. A. degree in Organizational Management from Ashford University through the Forbes Entrepreneurship Scholarship and an M.A. degree in Strategic Leadership from St. Bonaventure University. He has been featured by Bloomberg, the  Washington Post, the  Washington Informer Newspaper, and other print, radio, and television outlets.

For more information, please visit  and

Cleanfax Staff

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