by Don Henninger
Executive Director of SCOTT
Changing hearts and minds.
That was the lesson that stood out the most for me on Diversity & Inclusion Day for Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 32.
What can be more authentic and genuine than that theme? And if you, indeed, embrace diversity and inclusion in your own heart and mind, then you are capable of accomplishing change. And the first two steps are not all that complicated:
–Learn how not to be judgmental.
–Remember always to be a willing and engaged listener.
We had a chance to experience all of that on our day together, Oct. 20, 2017.
Many think that diversity and inclusion is all about race, gender and sexual preference. It’s all of that but it’s also more. It goes much deeper in all of us, and it often is not visible on the surface. And in a series of exercises and experiences during our day on Oct. 20, we all discovered that firsthand.
Our leaders for the day were Ernie Flores, manager of Wilhelm Automotive, Antoine Skinner, a Class 31 graduate, and Rich Slavin, a commander in the Scottsdale Police Department. They worked together as a team to keep participants focused and open to learning new things about each other and ultimately ourselves.
How we think and evaluate things are based on factors that may not be easily seen on the surface. In Class 32, we have a lot in common with each other – we are successful, we already are leaders in our own ways, we are educated, we live and/or do business in Scottsdale. That’s the surface look.
But we all grew up in different ways, were taught different customs by our parents, schools, religious affiliations and friends. Some grew fat or skinny; some short or tall; some wear glasses. Many have overcome major challenges in life; others have sailed through with few obstacles.
All of these things combined give each of us our own unique experiences on our journey through life. And it influences they way we think, act, and communicate with each other.
We all came to be members of Class 32 with our own unique life experiences that can’t be discovered until we take the time to talk to each other, learn from each other and respect each other.
We took the time to do all of that on our Diversity & Inclusion Day.
I left the day feeling upbeat and energized, knowing that everyone we encounter – be it in Class 32 or anywhere else in our lives – brings their own unique view of the world that is there for us to learn and grow.
Scottsdale Leadership’s Diversity & Inclusion Day changed a lot of hearts and minds, and now we have the chance to make that a lasting impression.