Diversity and Inclusion

Connect the Visible to the Invisible

As humans, we are tribal by nature so we want to gravitate towards what we understand and what is familiar. 

We fear what we don’t understand because a lack of understanding represents a lack of control.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with similarities though but I want to encourage you all to reflect on how you react to differences. 

Do you avoid them or make an effort to understand them? 

I think if you make an effort to understand them, you’ll find that we have a lot more in common than we initially think. 

Diversity to me is much more than the color of our skin, our age, gender or affiliations. It’s also about the inside. 

Essentially, true diversity is being able to connect the visible to the invisible. 

How will you connect the visible to the invisible today?

When you don’t see something or experience something, it’s hard for you to acknowledge there’s a problem so awareness is key. 

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Both/And vs. Either/Or

I believe in both and NOT either or

 I refuse to believe humanity is this intellectually poor.

How did we get here?

Where your fear 

is translated as me not having a care 

and leads to despair.

Impulse is to react, react, react.

It’s like we've signed a contract that we can’t retract to overact. 

Meanwhile, we've lost sight of the many voices around us. 

Voices that can’t compete because they aren’t loud enough. 

Now THEY think they aren’t enough. 

But even YOU must admit that being this invisible is pretty rough. 

These days, it seems like we only have two options 

My way or your way. 

It doesn’t matter what I say, anyway.

We have created binary systems to govern the nuance.

Where is the balance? 

I’m just as guilty. I’m no innocent. 

But as I sit with my thoughts and inspect, 

I can start to see the cause of the confusion

and the blurry vision.

The whole picture just isn’t being seen and no one is clean.

We need to examine our lenses and take down our fences.

If we address our blind spots, 

we can connect the dots. 

Next time you want to tell a story from your perspective, 

be more inventive and think of the collective. 

Next time you ask a question, let it be open ended instead of close minded. 

Step back to look at the whole picture.

You'll see that we are a beautiful and complex mixture. 

Examine the canvas frame by frame 

It will be hard, but do it all the same.

Move past homogeneity and create spaces for more forms of identity. 

We all need to apply this sensitivity.

Please don’t ignore this because that’s how we got here in the first place

where what’s limited now is grace.  

Seek to affirm not and not to confirm.

Remember, people want to be heard. 

They don’t want to be a part of your herd.

Life should be liberating and enriching 

not selective and elusive. 

Your presence should invite other forms of existence. 

I believe in both and NOT either or. 

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Walls vs. Bridges

I reached out to connect. 

But I was met with no interest. 

My bridge came crashing into your wall. 

I wondered what caused this stall. 

Will it ever fall?

So I sat and observed

as you continued to layer your walls 

with bricks of sameness, fear, hate and a false sense of security. 

This is how you found your happy. 

To you, I’ve never been an option 

I seem to be as dark and unknown as what’s hidden in the depths of the ocean. 

Instead of getting to know me, 

you’ve weaponized your friends and family to be afraid of me. 

These stories you tell of me 

They are exaggerated and limited. 

These walls you built to protect yourself from me. 

 They are enclosed spaces with the same ole faces. 

Here’s what you’ve missed while living in your bubble.

your barriers have become outliers. 

your limited scope has inspired hope.

I will not just be tolerated. I will be appreciated

As your walls continue to crack, and you continue to attack,

my revolution will be televised and I will no longer be generalized.

I reached out to connect. 

But I was met with no interest.

My bridge came crashing into your wall and caused it to fall.

I looked behind me and I saw I wasn't alone.

Together, we built a bridge and knocked down the walls.

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Diversity & Inclusion Roundup #1

 

Diversity refers to the who and what of your environment. It is the makeup of your team. Inclusion is the how you're giving the who and what a voice. It's how comfortable they feel expressing their authentic voice.

On a regular basis, i'll be sharing different examples of how brands and people are embracing diversity and inclusion. Here's the first installment.

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Example 1

Who and What?

The Royal Wedding: History was made over the weekend when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged vows and became the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

How the Who and What Get A Voice?

Meghan broke royal wedding tradition and proceeded unaccompanied on the first part of her walk through St. George’s Chapel to meet groom Prince Harry. 

Markle is the first royal bride to walk unaccompanied down the aisle, and reportedly came up with the idea herself as a way to "assert herself as a strong, independent woman who is prepared to challenge royal norms," reports CNN.

Why It's Important?

I think this is really significant because of one word: representation. Young girls and women will be able to define their very existence in rich ways. It's true multi-cultural representation. A new semblance of normalcy was created and my hope is that this ushers in a new era of embracing people for the fullness of who they are as opposed to putting them into monolithic boxes.

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Example 2

Who and What?

NASCAR: The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) will welcome its largest class in program history during the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race weekend. Since its inception in 2000, NDIP has offered a select group of students from diverse backgrounds a unique hands-on experience in the motorsports industry. 

How the Who and What Get A Voice?

Over the years, the perception of NASCAR is that it is an industry that isn't open to people of color and women so by expanding this program, opportunities for growth will be created both on and off the track. It will also provide career opportunities for multicultural students as one of the premier internships in sports. 

Why It's Important?

It's hard to have conversations when you hear only one perspective. I consider this a step in the right direction because multiple voices will get to be heard. Another important thing is that as representation increases, the pipeline will expand and more multicultural individuals will be able to see themselves in positions of power which could increase retention rates and provide more mentorship opportunities.

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Example 3

Who and What?

Pinterest: Pinterest recently adopted the "Rooney Rule" in their hiring process. For those that don't know, the Rooney Rule is a practice that is implemented in the NFL regularly. The practice states that all teams must interview at least one minority candidate for senior roles before making a hiring decision.

How the Who and What Get A Voice?

This is best exemplified by Pinterest's recent hiring of its new head of engineering, Li Fan. She joined after spending more than 10 years at Google where she held senior engineering positions. Candice Morgan, Pinterest's Head of Inclusion and Diversity talked about the importance of this rule and Fan's hiring. Here's what she said to Fast Company

“[That Rooney Rule Initiative] has actually been very, very successful for us. We actually had hundreds of candidates that we looked at who were women for the head of engineering role, even though women are under 5% of that talent pool.”

When talking about the importance of the hiring, she says it is important for two reasons.

"One, appointing a female head engineer was a first not just for Pinterest but has rarely happened before in the tech sector at large. Two, because it shows our senior women engineers that they could lead the department. I believe that that is a result of the extra vigilance of the Rooney Rule.”

Why It's Important?

The number one "problem" a lot of tech companies have stated as a hindrance for them when attracting diverse talent is that there is a pipeline issue. Whether this is in fact true remains to be seen, Pinterest implementing this policy is ensuring that minorities and people of color get exposed to EVERY opportunity in the company. These opportunities are for senior as well as junior positions. What that communicates to me is that they are making a concerted effort to expand their talent pool and not sticking to traditional methods of hiring.

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Want me to help your organization become more inclusive and attract diverse talent? Then, check out some of my previous work here.

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