Recently, I had the pleasure of participating in the Workplace Inclusion Forum, held in Minneapolis, Minn., and hosted by St. Thomas University. The forum attracts diversity and inclusion practitioners at all levels; some teach and some absorb.
This forum has become a foundational platform for D&I practitioners to learn from and, more importantly, connect with one another. (Kudos to Steve Humerickhouse and his team for continuing to do this exceptional work; for more information visit www.stthomas.edu/workplaceforum.)
I left the forum filled with energy and a spirit of encouragement to further my work. I had an opportunity to share our big data platform with participants, coach both emerging and executive leaders, meet with existing partners, break bread with old friends and, of course, develop new relationships. What more can you ask for in three days?
The forum is not only a place of connection and learning but also a place of celebration for those who have had a lifelong impact on others. The forum took the time to recognize Dr. Johnnetta Cole, who has compiled a legacy in education and continues to share her wealth of wisdom with the world through her leadership at the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution.
Dr. Cole shared with a group of diversity practitioners about her passion for and longevity in doing her work. She emphasized that our passion comes from our hearts and, most importantly, that we need and/or should take care of one another.
The nature of inclusive diversity work requires us to pull from the depths of our intellect and experiences. It shows up in how we engage and support others along the journey. We all know this too well. Dr. Cole’s resounding message, though, was that at the end of the day, when the journey gets tough, remember what is in your heart of hearts. Just sharing some moments with you.