As we’ve discussed in our other blogs this month, we’re focused on Resetting our Mindset. During a reset, you examine your beliefs. That includes today as we recognize Juneteenth and Pride Month. This week, I'm challenging you to examine your beliefs around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging.
Most will recognize the concepts of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging because of your workplace or other associations that have adopted policies around DEIB. You might have been asked to take an online course or acknowledge a statement. When you completed those steps, did you become aware of your own beliefs?
The encouragement to examine your beliefs around DEIB may seem controversial, political or like I'm imposing my beliefs. It’s your choice if you continue reading this blog post. We don’t have to agree. What I highly encourage is curiosity. Curiosity in your beliefs. Curiosity in what others believe. Curiosity that prompts you to ask questions and gain information.
What I Believe
I’m sharing what I believe as a starting point. This year, I told myself I would be bolder. Being bold for me includes being brave and being willing to show my authentic self. I’m not traditionally a person who proclaims my beliefs on social media, however, I feel it’s important that I make clear what I believe. Again, we don’t have to agree.
I believe that:
Diversity should be appreciated.
Equal is Equal in Every way, Equal Treatment, Equal Opportunity.
There is White Privilege.
We should be able to love who we love and marry who we want to marry.
All should be included, No one left out.
Everyone should feel as if they belong.
Acknowledging White Privilege
As a white woman, I know there is white privilege. I’ve never experienced adversity due to the color of my skin. A couple of years ago, I began to follow Emmanuel Acho, a former NFL linebacker who is known for his YouTube video series “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man." (I encourage you to be curious and check out the series of videos). He recently posted an Instagram Reel defining white privilege. In it, he acknowledges we can all have difficulties in our lives, but those difficulties for white individuals such as myself, did not come as result of my skin color.
Acknowledging that white privilege exists is a step toward being a more effective ally. We must first become conscious of the conditions that create bias so that we can create the conditions that will drive a more inclusive environment.
What does diversity mean to you? When working in the “melting pot” within the Baltimore –
Washington D.C corridor for over 20 years, I was able to live and work in a widely diverse community.
Diversity can include differences in national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, educational level and family structure.
In Social+Emotional Intelligence, the competency of Interpersonal Effectiveness embodies what it means to embrace diversity: “being attuned to others, demonstrating compassion and sensitivity, putting others at ease, and having the ability to relate well and build rapport with all kinds of people, having diplomacy, tact and interpersonal skills and knowing how to use them to ease transactions and relationships with others”.
There are advantages to a highly diverse workforce. In a recent article from Forbes, the author offers 3 benefits of a diverse workforce.
Diverse Teams Boost Creativity and Innovation
Workplace Diversity Creates Better Opportunities for Professional Growth
Better Decision Making
In my personal experience, I saw the value of leading a diverse team. I felt our level of creativity and innovation was high as we faced challenging goals. Relationships were created among team members with different experiences and backgrounds, and this helped us become more inclusive as the members of our team grew and changed. The skills established while working within a diverse team became significant when working with external clients, thus making our unit more profitable as we achieved goals.
Love is Love
For me, early influences were very conservative relating to who a person is supposed to love. As years have passed and I’ve had more experiences with those of differing sexual orientations and gender identity, my belief has expanded to believe that each individual should be able to love who they love.
I’ve referenced earlier that at one time, I lived in a more diverse area on the East Coast. Today, I reside in the more rural area of Evansville, Indiana. As the local community celebrated Pride month, I’ve been excited to see how my new community is embracing diversity. The Evansville Regional Economic Partnership newsletter highlighted the road of change the community has experienced related to LGBTQ Rights.
I hope that you do evaluate your beliefs around DEIB during our Mindset Reset month. Get Curious.
~Jenn Montague (she/her/hers)