Diversity and Inclusion Touching All Areas of My Life – Five Examples

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Figure Skating is perhaps my favorite active leisure activity

NOTE: This blog has over a dozen links – please do explore them.

After retiring from IBM 11 years ago, I started my own diversity and career development consultancy. Naturally, I now look at everything I am involved in through a diversity lens. What I have been increasingly seeing is a tremendous focus on diversity and inclusion across the many hobbies and groups I am involved with. Here are five extremely varied examples:

1 – Figure Skating. At the age of 59, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a competitive adult figure skater with no prior experience. (Link to one story.) And for a long time I have been an avid figure skating fan, attending US Nationals year after year, and a financial supporter through Friends of Figure Skating. Historically, there have been very few African Americans and Hispanics enjoying this sport.

But US Figure Skating has started ramping up its efforts to make the sport more inclusive and welcoming to all people, including forming a diversity task force. In the past, I have written about out gay figure skaters throughout the years, and you can read about 14 fabulous men and 1 woman in these blogs written in 2016 and the follow on in 2018.


2 – Numismatics. For those of you who do not know, numismatics is the collecting of currency – coins and paper money. I have been a coin collector since elementary school days, using my allowance and birthday money to buy rare coins. The American Numismatic Association (ANA) magazine has often featured interesting stories about our money that connects with diversity.  Two such stories inspired my blog about the derailed plans to place Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, and a second about an American coin inspired by the Ku Klux Klan.  And throughout 2020, the editor included a special feature about outstanding women in history (for example the November issues introduced me to educator, historian and political activist Dr. Pilar  Barbosa de Rosario), since women are sorely under-represented on American money.

My partner Rich and I enjoying a long trek with the Sierra Club in Morocco

3 – Nature and Conservation. I love long hikes and nature travel, and support several conservation organizations including the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Foundation and the National Wildlife Foundation. Their magazines now often include stories about the need to increase diversity within the conservation and natural resources professions, as well as the historic negative impact that conservation work has had on under-represented and economically disadvantaged communities. Examples: The NWF’s stated commitment to equity in their work and a focus on women in conservation leadership.

And they also are featuring the diversity of their employees and stakeholders. I recently spoke to Mark Steudel, a Loyal Donor Officer with the Nature Conservancy, and he shared about their focus on inclusive recruiting and reminded me of a story featured in a past issue of their magazine about the leader of the LGBTQ Pride Employee Network.

It is always great to get back to Georgia Tech and the University of Chicago

4 – Georgia Tech and the University of Chicago. As an active and involved alumnus, I always read the alumni magazines from my two alma maters, and almost always there are one or two  articles with a very strong diversity and inclusion connection.  Examples:
• The Scheller Business School at Georgia Tech where I received my Bachelors, prominently features its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity as a key strategic initiative imperative.
• The University of Chicago’s recent alumni magazine had an excellent multidisciplinary in depth analysis of racism, policing and protest by 5 faculty members.
• The U of Chicago Booth School of Business where I got my MBA is offering a free series on unconscious bias for students, alumni and staff, a gift from the MBA class of 2020.

The NC Council of Churches strongly believes people of all faiths need to unite against racism and islamophobia

5 – The North Carolina Council of Churches. I am a past president and current board member of the North Carolina Council of Churches, founded in 1935 by black and white clergy people wanted to address racial injustice within the church and society. Over the years the organization has grown and now works on how faith relates to poverty, health, conservation and more. But now, given the recent focus again in our nation on racial disparities and systemic racism, the council has reconstituted a Racial Equity and Peace Committee which is starting deep work to address racial disparity across all aspects of our organization’s structure and work. Racial equity is now listed at the top of the priorities list on the Council website.

In addition, the North Carolina Council of Churches is now connecting their work on climate change with environmental justice, recognizing the intersection of diversity, racial justice, economic justice, faith and environmental advocacy.  

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I encourage you to look at all the various activities you are involved in and notice the increase focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Happy New Year! My Top 7 blogs of 2020

2020 saw a renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement superimposed with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Every Year for the past several around New Year’s, I share my top 7 most read blogs of the year. It is really fun to go back and pull my website stats to see what people read the most. And interestingly enough, once again a few blogs I wrote several years even ago made it into the current “Top 7” List.

Quick stats about his year’s list:
• Four of the top 7 were published this year, and 3 are from previous years
• Six of the 7 dealt with some kind of diversity topic and one was around career development
• Three of the 4 blog published this year had a connection to Black Lives Matter

Here are the seven most read of 2020, starting with number 7 and working up to number one.

7) This year’s number 7 was last year’s number 3 – a blog published way back in 2011 on using career mapping as a tool for career development. This performance of a 9-year old blog certainly signals an ongoing focus on the importance of investing in skills and career development as a way to recruit and retain the best employees. You may also want to check out my 11-question Skills Development and Career Road Mapping organizational self-assessment.

6) Published in late September, Trump cancels federal racial sensitivity training – Five reasons why this is so wrong discusses Executive Order 13950, which basically attempts to curtail any discussion of the USA’s historic systemic racism.

5) Published this past June given the intersection of June being LGBTQ Pride Month and the recent protests around racism and police brutality following the killings of George Floyd and other Black and Brown Americans; Five Intersections – LGBTQ Pride Month and Black Lives Matter.

4) Also published in June, yet another example of blatant racism and sexism in American life and politics. Black Lives Matter and the $20 Bill – An Awful American Travesty. What happened to the plans to place African – American abolitionist Harriett Tubmam on our $20 bill? This story is a slap in the face to “Black Lives Matter” and women’s rights.

3) And published in July, another blog that deals with our nation’s racism and connection to our monetary currency. In “A Black Lives Matter and an American Coinage Travesty – blog 2,” I recount the sad story of a Ku Klux Klan-inspired coin.

2) With the growing number and visibility of Hispanic Americans, Number 2 for the third year in a row was “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People”, a guest piece written in 2016 by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado.

1) And finally, With over 5,500 hits across the two blogs were 2018’s Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman) and my 2016 personal labor of love which included several personal photos that I took, “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating.”

I wish all of my faithful readers a happy 2021 and hopefully a return to normalcy both with a new more inclusive President and with multiple vaccines leading to an end to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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