Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Posts tagged ‘multicultural’

The Imprint of Diversity and Inclusion’s Impact

By Leah Smiley

This week’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of the March on Washington coincided with our diversity certification prep course on Measuring the Impact of Diversity and Inclusion“. While this topic is definitely a difficult issue, it’s hard not to think about impact when we consider the power of diversity and inclusion.

The impact of the March on Washington was that it led to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And without that legislation, there would be no discussion about women in the C-Suite or even in the boardroom. There would be no recourse for older workers in a technology-driven economy. There would be no protection from harassment for different religious groups. There would be no accommodations for workers with disabilities. And there would be no equal tax treatment for gay marriage.

Impact.  What was initially seen as a predominately African American event actually positively impacted millions of individuals who were NOT African American.

So when we have students, employees, managers, and others who are concerned that only “certain” groups benefit from diversity and inclusion, history refutes that illogical fallacy. Everyone benefits– especially the organizations that master it.

The Big Picture is that when employers leverage differences and demonstrate cultural competence, they are in a better position to take advantage of market trends, demographic shifts and global business opportunities. They are also more likely to be fair, inclusive, and caring about the people with which they work (i.e., students, workers, customers, etc.).

The question is: How have you measured diversity and inclusion’s impact at your organization?

Since there is no official “diversity” leader, the assumption is that we are all individually and equally responsible for making a difference. But the difference that you make must go beyond merely getting a job in the field of diversity, or hiring 1-2 people of color, or even getting buy-in from the leadership team.

Impact has to alter business performance. It must also contribute to professional development, team functioning, and achievement. Additionally, impact should leave an imprint. An imprint occurs when “pressure leaves a firmly fixed mark“.

The starting point for your imprint must entail:

(1) A vision for diversity and inclusion. Don’t get so bogged down with activity that you neglect your vision.

(2) Next, you must execute a simple plan of action. The key here is Keep It Simple. Build your plans around business issues and not events.

(3) And finally, you must evaluate, or measure, your efforts using quantitative and qualitative data. We often report things like attendance figures, what people like about an event, the number of meetings held or business units served, or a new award as impact. While some of this information provides context, none is impact.

Impact can be demonstrated by changes in sales, grants/donations, or tuition through student retention, to name a few. You can also indicate shifts in productivity, the ability to recruit and retain talent, cost savings, or product development. Note that these impacts are linked to financial objectives. This means that you must understand how your organization makes money (even if you are a nonprofit, educational institution or government agency) and you gotta get comfortable with numbers.

When diversity and inclusion is successful, it will impact more than certain groups and the bottom line– you can create more employment opportunities for everyone, contribute to the local tax base for all citizens, and allow individuals to feel great about working for or doing business with your organization.

Let’s go beyond traditional ideas about diversity and inclusion, and make a conscience decision to leave an imprint.


Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity. For more information, log onto

The Power in a Name: A Free Reward with Lasting Organization Impact By Enrique Ruiz

Rick Ruiz



What is your name? Why were you given that name? What does your name mean?

Our name, a perfectly crafted combination of characters distinguishes us among 7 billion people on earth. It is our being, it carries our heritage and it was a gift of love from our parents. Our name gives us human definition in our early years and as we grow older, we further define our name in the global landscape. Are we smart, successful, kind, strong, talented or another characteristic that helps set us apart?

Will we forge new ground? Will we blend in with the masses? What difference will our difference make?

Our name may be common, complex, ethnic or unusual; in all cases, it was carefully selected just for us. It is inscribed on the very first certificate we will be given in life, and on our last. We carry the label given for life. It is a word that proclaims our existence, and value. We protect it, announce it and we sign it.

Our name will ideally command respect and be recognizable. Some of our names may be on marquees, the news, a business registry, our home titles or the titles to our vehicles. Its very existence is easily printed and sent around the globe introducing the individual behind the words, the deeds, the actions and even our potential.

In our youth we learned to pronounce our given names with fluidity honoring those who bestowed this familial identity. As time passed, we continued to build our persona in the world landscape. It is the most valuable symbolic possession we have had to offer the world on a personal level. It is a treasure that conveys meaning and purpose.

If a name is all of these attributes to us, could it not convey the same worthy characteristics to another person? Do we carry that message? Do others show their respect to us and, conversely, do we in turn show others our respect by pronouncing their name correctly?

In our organizations, as leaders, we cannot say with all honesty that we truly value and respect the individual in our ranks if we do not take the time to learn how to pronounce their names correctly. All too often, our team members will use a pseudo name (e.g.- call me “Sue” instead) to make it easier for their teammates OR we will volunteer a name for someone, such as “We will call you Pete,” because their name is too difficult to pronounce. When this happens we can clearly see that what we say does not match what we do. There is a mental disconnect within the organization.

I started my career having a very difficult time remembering names, any name. I had to work on this mental shortfall and develop ways to remember my team members as my organization grew. Invariably though, I had customers, team members or other associate’s names that were also very difficult for me to pronounce. I would ask once, twice and three times over several days as I mentally rehearsed their names until I was able to master each of them. The joy and twinkle in the eye that you witness when the individual sees that you remember their name, or realizes that you have made an effort to pronounce their name correctly, is a free and extremely valuable reward tool. We all want to feel valued. When we see that our organization really cares about us, we are more apt to give back to the organization in innumerable ways. Will your employee’s enthusiasm be evident with their sales calls, will it enhance your organizational synergy, will they be more willing to share new ideas with you or go the extra mile to get a job done?

“Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you” is an old adage that easily applies in our daily communication habits. Have you felt a twinge of ire when someone has mispronounced your name? Do you feel they care? If they do not care to correct the pronunciation… how apt are you to give that person your full attention?

Take a moment and reflect on your own personal habits, and your organization. What example are you setting? What values are you communicating? Consider a exercising a free habit that has rewards of its own and which has the power to build up your own name!

By Enrique ‘Rick’ Ruiz, CDE, CM, MBA, PgMP

Excerpt from “The Biggest Problem Faced by Hispanic Marketers Today” By Terry J. Soto

Terry SotoWe talk endlessly about the Hispanic market’s size, its language preferences, the deep and multi-segmented insights, the culture, and the “right media spend,” whatever that means. And, we continue to live in a Hispanic marketing world of soccer sponsorships, celebrities, concerts and festivals, media properties, in-language and in-culture creative and a host of other above- and below-the-line investments which seldom tie back to corporate growth platforms.

Let’s face it; internally and externally, we aren’t doing a good job of thinking and talking business first and marketing second. We complain about not being invited to sit at the “adult strategy table” to participate in the big conversations, but have yet to elevate “our talk” to the required levels – the levels that track with industry threats and big picture direction setting. And we aren’t having the conversations about using our deep market insights to help organizations become business ready to leverage company assets to their fullest potential.

As a result, we perpetuate a view of the Hispanic market as a separate endeavor and as the end in and of itself. Two problems arise from this approach – the first is the inability to attribute any portion of top and bottom line strategic growth to the Hispanic market. And second, we can’t justify the value of our existing efforts because they are irrelevant to the focal points companies have set for growth.

We must elevate our thinking. If we expect corporate America to “walk the talk,” we must be prepared to talk their talk – and to help them take more productive steps. So what are you doing to make a difference for your organization today?

Learn more.  Join the Society for Diversity and Terri J. Soto, Author and President of About Marketing Solutions Inc., for a webinar on How to Identify and Attract High Profit Hispanic Consumers to Your Brand on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:00PM (EST).  Register at

Also, read more about marketing to the Latino community at

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