June 4, 2009, 11:25
Filed under: Gender Fights, Market Trends, MBA

As the president of a school organization, I had to go to one of those school-wide diveristy meetings. Basically, my school wants to put its force behind diversity iniatives and make a whole big thing about it next quarter. If this group defines and executes its diversity strategy the way every other organization I’ve ever been a part of executes it…then the diversity efforts will fail.

If you put a flyer out that says “Diversity is important, join our Diversity Initiative Club” then you’re going to get a very small number of atendees. They will be a diverse group of people, but their lack of scale prevents them from having much impact.

Really, diversity is more about persective than it is about skin color or ethnicity. Diversity is all of the following:

  • Being the low-income kid in an expensive private school
  • Being a staunch Republican
  • or staunch Democrat
  • Being the only white girl in a Hispanic school
  • Having gay parents
  • Being adopted
  • Being black, going to a historically black college, ¬†then working in a company that lacks diversity
  • Working at a nonprofit to save the whales
  • Being a prep-school, Ivy-League trained I-Banker
  • Having overcome substance abuse

All of these things create diverse perspective. All of these people are likely to draw very different conclusions when considering the same topic.

Firms, private/public/non-profit, all benefit from having a staff that is diverse in its breadth of perspectives.  Going to a top MBA school and glimpsing into these different perspectives adds to your own and broadens your thoughts.

Diversity iniatives, when properly defined, add value to absolutely everyone within an organization becuase absolutely everyone can contribute.

Those are my thoughts, which I have shared/will continue to share with the powers that be.