My we’ve come a long way.
From the early days when “being different” was somehow not something that was particularly welcome in some circles to today’s modern organizational environment where almost exactly the opposite is true, diversity and inclusion are now sought-after characteristics.
What is also true is the near-universal understanding that diversity in the workplace is a competitive strength in itself.
Yes, it makes for a decidedly healthy flow of ideas and insights that simply isn’t as strong in a homogenous atmosphere where everyone tends to act, look and speak in the same way.
Embracing diversity and inclusivity in an organization is also seen as a benefit when it comes to attracting talent. And we know by observing how top-performing companies dominate their category — they do so not by gathering a group of people that look alike but by celebrating what makes the team different.
This year’s standout examples of diversity and inclusion come, unsurprisingly, from every industry imaginable.
In short, their stories are powerful, inspiring and worth celebrating.
Consider, for example, Danielle Acton, who has become the first female owner in the Independent Basketball Association as she serves as general manager of the Grand Rapids Fusion and paves the way for youth she and her colleagues encourage “how to work together for a better future.”
Or Sylvia Daniels, supplier diversity coordinator at Henry Ford Health System, who sees inclusiveness as helping to create a culture for creativity, genuine ideas and a variety of perspectives. “Organizations that embrace diversity have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the most talented workforce, addressing the specific needs of customers and partnering with innovative and cost effective suppliers.”
And Rajeev Gandhi, president of Sistar Mortgages, who has a vision for a community that sees immigration as being a strength that means a stronger America. “I want diverse peoples to have opportunity. I want diverse groups to be a strong part of America, by owning homes, as they have for generations.”
Steven Gold, a public health professional who serves as Macomb County’s director of Health and Community Services, is one who understands how important diversity, especially in the area of language, is to his mission. “More than 90,000 of our residents were born in other countries and more than 100 languages are spoken in the homes of our school children. We cannot provide efficient, economical and ethical government to our residents without acknowledging and accommodating their diversity.”
And yes, there are the ideas.
Nagji Sutariya, who heads Saturn Electronics, makes the point that having more than one voice at a table helps his firm succeed. “That has contributed to our success in a highly competitive industry.”
Tom Watkins, who serves as head of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, makes the point that removing barriers is also part of what it means to be diverse and inclusive. “Society as a whole has a stigma against those with mental illness, as if they are incapable or unable to do a hard day’s work. This is the furthest thing from the truth.”
An awards breakfast with keynote speaker Bing Goei, director of Michigan’s Office for New Americans, celebrated the winners Sept. 10 at MGM Grand Detroit. The honor of overall winners went to the following:
Vivian Pickard, president General Motors Foundation, Diversity Business Leaders.
Varnum LLP, Diversity Focused Companies
Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, Diversity Champions
Be inspired. Celebrate our diversity. And we will all be stronger as a result.
Source: Corp! Magazine
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