Inclusion and Being Your Authentic Self


I have a strong passion for diversity & inclusion. My passion for this important subject is personal. For a quarter of my life, I was never comfortable in my own skin and felt like I was not my true self. I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Over a decade later, I couldn’t be happier. Why? Simply, I am my authentic self. Since being true to myself, I couldn’t have a better life. Sure, life has its ups and downs but it truly is so much easier when YOU ARE YOU.

Recently, I presented to the North Jersey – Rockland SHRM Chapter (NJ-RC SHRM) about inclusion and storytelling. In the presentation, I repeated, on purpose, that one of the most important things in life is to be your authentic self. Why you ask? It is because we are at our best when we are our authentic selves and this applies to our personal and professional lives.

When you are your true self, you’ll notice that is when you are at your best. This includes coming up with great ideas and having a clearer vision. Obviously, this enhances your inner being but who else benefits? Hmm…Yes, you got it, your employer. Inclusion enhances performance which in return increases retention and an employer should also see higher revenue. Organizations with inclusive cultures are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. In order to be your authentic self, the employer needs you to be included. If you are not included, you are not going to be your true self. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to have an inclusive environment for all.

Deloitte reports that teams with inclusive leaders are 17 percent more likely to report that they are high performing, 20 percent more likely to say they make high-quality decisions, 29 percent more likely to report behaving collaboratively, and have a 10 percent improvement in perceptions of inclusion that increases work attendance, by almost one day a year per employee. In turn, this reduces the costs of absenteeism.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “No culture can live it if it attempts to be exclusive.” Inclusion refers to the degree to which diverse individuals are able to: use their voice, participate in the decision-making processes within a group, increase the amount of power they have within that group, and people of all backgrounds feeling like they actually belong.

Storytelling connects with inclusion because telling our individual story helps us connect to other people and hearing that story also helps us connect. Unique experiences are assets that make us better employees, better companies and by extension better societies. When you tell your story, highlight something unique about your personal history, D & I experience or commitment.

On the same day, I presented to the Westchester Human Resource Management Association – SHRM Chapter about unconscious bias and how it impacts diversity & inclusion. I am very fortunate that I will also be a speaker about this very topic at the 2019 Garden State Council – SHRM Conference (GSC-SHRM) in October. Please check out my other blogs relating to D & I by clicking here for my blogs on SHRM and my personal site.

Remember, we are all in this together…


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