Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Archive for March, 2013

My Thoughts on “Being White in Philly”


As I perused through the news sites the other night, I read a headline about an article by Robert Huber in Philadelphia Magazine that was receiving alot of backlash. The article is entitled, “Being White in Philly”  (available at This seemed like my type of article. I quickly googled the writer’s original piece and read through it in its entirety.

As a former Philadelphia resident, I understood the writer’s perspective– and I was excited about it! Not only is Philadelphia the perfect place to host a Diversity Lunch and Learn discussion, “Are We There Yet?”, but it is about time someone had the courage to speak up.

In September 2010, I posted a LinkedIn discussion entitled, “There’s an Elephant in the Room! Why the Lack of Discussion About Race is Taking Away from Diversity.” This particular post received more comments than any of my previous or subsequent discussions.

Indeed, race in America is still a huge issue that won’t seem to go away. The EEOC’s 2012 year-end data shows that retaliation (37,836), race (33,512) and sex discrimination (30,356), which includes allegations of sexual harassment and pregnancy were, respectively, the most frequently filed charges.

What does this mean?  It means that we can’t move forward as a nation until we acknowledge the elephant. Diversity is always going to be a program for blacks until someone other than a black person acknowledges that diversity includes me, you, and everyone else. Diversity will continue to be a term that is viewed as “overkill” until people can be brutally honest about their feelings and not receive “backlash”, or be called a racist because they are telling the truth.

Let’s be frank here. There are pockets of black communities where some of the negative stuff is true. Welfare, drugs, crime…yep, true. There are music videos to back it up. Recently, I was flipping through the channels and I saw two different music videos with images of dead people in the streets. It’s not a matter of Hollywood showing the videos on TV– it’s a matter of influential artists making a decision to “get paid” by promoting these images as their brand.

Nevertheless, what we see on TV is not representative of the entire black community. Yes, we have a higher unemployment rate– but what about all of the folks that are hard workers (which is more than 80% of the population)? Yes, we have more broken homes– but what about the families that are whole and happy? Just as white people don’t want to be viewed as racist, black people don’t want to be stereotyped as the worst in society. Additionally, aren’t there other groups that we systematically exclude when we view America as a place for blacks or whites?

Our ability to talk openly and honestly about the things that make us uncomfortable is a necessity. We have to move past the fear, the stereotypes and the name-calling though. We need to reward courage– and not ostracize people for sharing their opinions. And we need to do our part to learn about and understand others, regardless of the color of their skin.

Maybe I’m the eternal optimist, but I believe we can do it. Let’s kick this elephant out of the room.

By Leah Smiley, CDE

Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, and is a global thought leader and speaker. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto, or follow us on Twitter @DiverseSociety

A Big Thanks to the World! By Enrique Ruiz, CDE

                             After a Successful Delivery!


This week my relatively petite wife gave birth to our son, André, a healthy 10 pound 3 ounce baby in the Washington, DC area. It was an anticipated moment preceded by ample planning and childbirth classes. When labor began, we thought we knew the outcome and general timing. As it turns out, my wife labored for 36 hours, much longer than most impending childbirths, 24 of those hours in the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, MD.


The Dr.’s note summarized the complications as “unusually large fetus causing disproportion in pregnancy.” My wife’s birth plan had outlined beforehand the importance of a natural birth and the hospital staff honored us with stellar support throughout the entire process.  In the end, the only alternative possible was a C-Section to protect both baby and mother.


I don’t know if the faith based principles of the Adventist Hospital had everything to do with the incredible care the staff bestowed or if it was superb leadership and management (coincidentally, the hospital’s mission statement is shown on every computer screensaver in the building); maybe it was a combination of the two. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the little “extra;” this hospital team was EXTRAordinary!


The care that individuals with birth names such as Thu, Gerald, Michelle, Anders, Radhika, Hirut, Amanda, Werknesh, Cynthia, Sylvia, Constantine or Elizabeth gave us was attentive and very professional.  Why did we get such fantastic personal care in a profit-based enterprise where some might think conservative care is the norm? Why did we have nurses staying with us throughout the labor process? Why did they check in so often before, during and after to make sure we were OK fulfilling the most menial of requests with a generous smile?


The cadre of personnel assigned to this birth, and the three days of attention that followed, came from all over the world: Columbia, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Nigeria, Philippines, San Salvador and Vietnam to name a few countries and from states across the US. They were a synchronized team. The behind-the-scenes orchestration of each successive specialist visit was comforting, and reassuring. Every shift communicated with their counterparts. There was no need to repeat where we were at that moment in time, with any staff member. The needs, follow-up and verification of results were seamless from one staff person to another as they each studied our roster before entering the room. Ironically, it was a hospital team we had entrusted to help deliver our new family addition but in the end we were a symbiotic team of both patient and specialists.


The inherent beauty of total strangers coming together from such far-away places, with a common purpose to help another set of strangers deliver a baby with such care, is something to behold. The Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennial generations all had their role to play in orchestrating emerging life. Thirty years of tenure was just as important as the relatively new team members’ contributions. Our faith leaning was immaterial. An important job, with a human touch, was all that mattered.


Unfounded fears of the “other” culture or the “different-than-I-look” person are often misguided misunderstandings. Humanity is a “You & I” endeavor.  On behalf of my wife, son and family I want to extend tremendous accolades to the management team at the hospital for the pre-planning that goes into making a well run facility, the vision and mission expectations that the Board has set, the first-rate training evident in the results and the caliber of people they have brought together. One can sense palpable leadership with a very definite human touch. Altogether, we witnessed beautiful people from across the globe, all within the confines of a brick-and-mortar building, helping make OUR world a better place!


Thank you.

Enrique Ruiz, CM, CDE, MBA, PgMP (Proud Dad to 6 children)

Enrique ‘Rick’ Ruiz, is President of PositivePsyche.Biz Corp, a Washington DC based consulting and training firm ( He is an accomplished Program Manager that has led large scale IT operations over the past decade involving teams up to 15,000. His credits involve Census Operations in the UK, Canada and the United States plus military/commercial manufacturing (including a maquiladora in Mexico).


He serves on the Society for Diversity board and the worldwide Institute for Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) Board of Regents. He is the author of four books speaking regularly on Diversity Management and Leadership Building skills. Follow Rick on Twitter @RuizSpeaks

Society for Diversity & Media Tec Publishing Establish a Subscription Partnership

DiversityExec Mag

All Society for Diversity members will now be offered a 1-year subscription to Diversity Executive Magazine

March 21, 2013:  Indianapolis—The Society for Diversity and Media Tec Publishing Inc. have reached an agreement to provide all Society for Diversity members with a free subscription to Diversity Executive Magazine (a $29.95 per month value). The magazine subscription is part of an ongoing effort to provide up-to-date information and industry best practices to diversity executives and professionals throughout the U.S.

Leah Smiley, President of the Society for Diversity says, “Every organization needs a reliable source for news, data, and information—especially in the field of diversity and inclusion.  So much changes within the industry on a day-to-day basis that it is imperative for employers to ensure that diversity executives, as well as line supervisors, have regular access to in-depth business intelligence.  This is what the Media Tec partnership will allow our members to obtain.”

Society for Diversity members include C-level executives and other professionals who lead diversity efforts, share an enthusiasm for facilitating inclusion, and are responsible for transforming dynamic places to work. These proactive and savvy individuals look for innovative ways to positively impact their business objectives and strengthen their organization’s competitive advantage. They require intelligence that will help them communicate better, infuse leadership skills and execute strategies that will help their companies succeed.

Diversity Executive magazine provides strategies to create a more diverse and inclusive business culture and help leaders leverage diversity for maximum organizational gain, moving the needle beyond awareness into action. This partnership is ideal for tapping into a larger circulation base.

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About Media Tec Publishing Inc.

MediaTec Publishing Inc. is a leading integrated media company serving the human capital, management and workforce development industries. MediaTec publishes Certification Magazine, Chief Learning Officer magazine, Workforce magazine, Talent Management magazine and Diversity Executive magazine and operates the online industry resource MediaTec leverages its award-winning editorial content with innovative integrated media products, including targeted e-newsletters, webinars, interactive websites, special print and online supplements, resource guides, industry research and conferences that bring together international audiences to network and discuss leading-edge strategy and best practices in the industry. For more information about Diversity Executive magazine, log onto

About The Society for Diversity

The Society for Diversity is the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. With members in 34 states, The Society for Diversity represents a highly specialized association of Fortune 500, nonprofit, government and education professionals throughout the U.S. The organization was founded in 2009 for the purposes of equipping diversity and inclusion professionals with the education and resources needed to design and execute effective diversity and inclusion strategies. The Society for Diversity is also the parent company of the Institute for Diversity Certification, which designates qualification credentials to diversity experts through a professional diversity certification program. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto



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