The beauty of the world lies in the diversity of it's people.
My family is from Ghana, a beautiful country in West Africa. My great-grandfather founded the National Liberation Movement that helped Ghana to become the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonization in 1957. Knowing that is part of my DNA, I have always felt a strong need to help others. Figuring out my own path was challenging and worth every struggle.
The earliest fantasy I can remember having was that I was so rich I had my own plane and I would fly to Africa to feed starving kids. Because I grew up in in a white town learning only white history in school and being separated from the black community, self identity was an issue for me. How could I pursue my dreams if I wasn't clear on who I was? My parents preferred I become a doctor or lawyer (like many other African parents). So, having a career in healthcare seemed like a natural fit.
I went to Penn State University and got a BA degree in Health Policy & Administration. When I got there I was shocked to be experiencing the same situation as grade school - segregation. I did not see Penn State as very diverse and it definitely didn't feel inclusive. After graduation, there wasn't one job I had that fulfilled me or that felt inclusive. I knew I was smart, but why was I always one of the only people of color at every job? A lot of thoughts ran through my mind: "Was I an affirmative action hire? Are they hiring me because of my skills or because they want to appear to be diverse? Where are all the other black and brown people? I don't feel like I can wear my natural hair here. I won't last long here."
Corporate America did not feel like a place where I truly fit in. Not feeling like I could be fully myself started to impact my mindset. My mental and physical health began to suffer. I lost my inner confidence and didn't trust my decisions. I wasn't happy but I had to make my purpose a priority.
I wrote down all the things I enjoyed. I developed a relationship with my intuition. I traveled to other countries, and gained perspective. My most life changing trip was to Ghana in 2017 when I visited a historic slave castle. When I returned to America, I saw every black American as my brother and sister.
When I witnessed two innocent men being arrested in a Starbucks, what was most frustrating to me was the the majority of the people in that location were white and none of them recognized the blatant discrimination that was happening in front of their eyes. I knew if I didn't say anything, this was going to go unnoticed. Besides wanting to take off everyone's blinders, I needed to stand up for my black American brothers. That day changed my life. It lead me to a passionate career promoting the one thing that had been missing my entire life - diversity and inclusion.
I am now a coach on the power and profitability of diversity and inclusion. Corporate's lack of emphasis on diversity and inclusion is costing them great talent which is expensive! Diversity and inclusion enriches the lives of everyone, and it should not be solely the job of those who don't fit the mold of corporate America to handle. Rather, it should be everyone's job, especially those at executive levels, to make sure their company culture one where diversity and inclusion is embraced and taken seriously.
Click below to schedule a call with me to discuss your coaching needs, whether that be at a department or individual level. Diversity is a strength. Invest in your people!