On June 1, my eight-year term on the Bucknell University Alumni Association Board of Directors came to a close. Transitions such as these are momentous and reflective in many ways. While a chapter of giving back has closed, a new one of ambassadorship will continue.
As I take a fresh look at my tenure, I find that some of my most profound and definitive memories relate back to the people that I served with, and exposure to diversity and inclusion education. To name a few: a panel discussion to understand how the University has evolved to embrace the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, understanding the role of admissions and rounding out a class population that spans almost 50 countries, learning how university students across the U.S. go hungry because they don’t have enough money for food, experiencing the introduction of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, and celebrating individuals through our alumni awards because of their loyalty, service to humanity, achievements in their chosen profession, and impact on their communities within five years of leaving the University. Each experience opened my eyes to evaluate and embrace people from different angles and encouraged my growth as a friend, parent, marketer, and leader.
Fast forward to June 13th. I am sitting at the NJBankers Women in Banking Conference listening to Dr. Patti Ippoliti, assistant professor of professional practice at Rutgers Business School, lead a discussion around “Unconscious Bias in the Workplace.” Diversity and inclusion … again. This topic is real, it’s relevant, and worth raising awareness on.
While diversity and inclusion have their own definitions on paper, it becomes apparent that we have our own personal definitions that we are emotionally tied to, and influenced by, our own cultural and societal experiences. Dr. Ippoliti shared this video from Accenture, which is a catalyst for change. (And, yes, I wish Rizco created it!)
Almost 385,000 people have watched it, including the entire Rizco team. My hope is that the words “diversity and inclusion” will not continue to be catchphrases, but instead, we can encourage each other to take the necessary steps to just BE BETTER.
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” — Maya Angelou, American poet