As a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and trainer, I continue to lead with the positive message that every single person is a valuable part of our diversity tapestry, and that diversity is not about setting one group against another, but about all of us being in this together. Yet so many people seem to fear diversity; that valuing and listening to people different from them will somehow make them “less than.” I simply don’t get it.
And every single human being is comprised of their own unique combination of various diversity attributes. The term intersectionality was coined in 1989 by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how race, class, gender, and other individual characteristics “intersect” with one another and overlap.
And now comes Ashley T Brundage’s new book, “Empowering Differences” where she explains how every single person should value every aspect of their diversity and leverage it for good.
Ashley first tells her own story of coming out as transgender woman and moving out of parent’s home at age 17 to be on her own. She took on multiple jobs and long hours to fully support herself and worked her way up to a Boston Market store manager. Ashley at a fairly young age did start a family and then embarked in her second career in banking, and quickly rose to become Vice President of Diversity at PNC Bank. In her remarkable journey, Ashley discovered the power of leveraging her various dimensions of diversity instead of viewing certain characteristics as negatives.
In her book, Ashley then provides the four ground rules for empowering differences:
- Knowing who you are
- Knowing those around you
- Using your differences strategically
- Empowering others
Then a good portion of the book goes through various dimensions of diversity and how any attribute of a diversity area can be used for strategic advantage, and she provides short testimonials using a wide range of people. Some of the dimensions include:
- Empowering ability – whether you have no physical limitations or have disabilities
- The value of age – whether you are younger, older or in between
- Ethnicity – getting value out of being white or a person of color
- Gender – leveraging your identity as female, male or nonbinary
- And many more
The remaining sections then go into practical strategies for leveraging yours and others’ diversity, and then how to develop into a leader who can bring out the best in all the diverse people you interact with.
I highly recommend this practical and positive book. Isn’t it time that we stop focusing on how differences divide us, but instead how a diverse team, community, country and world can achieve so much more when we all value each other and seek to bring out the best in ourselves and others?
To order Ashley’s book you can use this link: https://empoweringdifferences.com/product/empowering-differences-book/