Breaking Barriers: Empowering Diversity in the Corporate World
By Pam Colvin
July 18, 2023
July 18, 2023 – Two weeks ago, I had the honor of attending my very first Diversity Action Alliance Gala in the heart of New York City. As I stepped into the iconic Gotham Hall, a venue that seemed straight out of the superhero stories I adore, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Little did I know that this evening would be more than just a glamorous event—it would be a celebration of diversity in the corporate world, in which I would represent Evoke Kyne alongside some of my dearest colleagues Jennifer Gallo, Hannah Oros Amiya Peddada, and Stephanie Ross-Carman.
As a Brazilian woman from an underprivileged background, this experience was nothing short of extraordinary. The journey that led me to that glittering gala involved countless challenges, but it also taught me the immense value of perseverance and self-belief. The 11 years old homeless me would never believe how far we have come. To honor her besides my direct work as a Global Diversity Action Committee (GDAC) team member who focuses on employee retention and engagement, this communicator is amplifying her voice by sharing a few actionable strategies to help overcome diversity barriers.
1. Defying Expectations:
Individuals from underprivileged backgrounds often face unique challenges and obstacles. However, it is their unwavering determination and big dreams that empower them to defy expectations. By showcasing inspiring stories of individuals who have risen above their circumstances within your organization, you continue to inspire big dreams and the drive for success.
2. The Power of Diversity:
Diversity should not merely be a business buzzword; it should be a catalyst for growth and innovation. By fostering a diverse workforce, companies gain access to a range of perspectives, ideas, and experiences that drive creativity and problem-solving. Embracing diversity leads to enhanced productivity, improved decision-making, and greater impact. It also helps companies better understand and address the needs of diverse markets.
3. Overcoming Diversity Barriers:
While the benefits of diversity are clear, it is essential to address the challenges that individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds may face. Below are some of the strategies that helped me through the years.
- Mentorship and Sponsorship: Establishing mentorship programs can provide valuable guidance and support to individuals from socio-economic challenging backgrounds, particularly those working remotely. For example, at Evoke, we have a Sponsorship Program dedicated to empowering employees, from underrepresented groups, such as myself, by providing continuous career guidance and mentorship. This initiative, pairs us with experienced leaders, fostering professional development and promoting a more inclusive workplace environment.
- Education and Skill-Building: Investing in education and skill-building initiatives can equip individuals with the tools they need to succeed. By partnering with educational institutions or offering training programs, companies can bridge the skills gap and create equal opportunities.
- Compassion and Kindness: Every individual’s journey is unique, and we must recognize that external factors don’t define a person’s true potential, but rather bring them to where they are today. What may seem unremarkable to one person might represent an incredible achievement for someone else, so be kind.
- Inclusive Hiring Practices: Implementing inclusive hiring practices, such as diverse interview panels and partnerships with community organizations, can ensure fair representation and access to job opportunities for groups that have been economically/socially marginalized.
- Cultivating Inclusive Culture: Companies must foster an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity and promotes belonging. This includes creating safe spaces for open dialogue, providing diversity and inclusion training, and employee recognition.
Companies are enriched by the inclusion of individuals from underprivileged backgrounds who bring diverse perspectives, expertise, and experiences. The journey of those who have defied expectations serves as a testament to the power of determination and education. By acknowledging the importance of diversity, embracing big dreams, and implementing strategies to overcome diversity barriers, we can create a more inclusive and prosperous workplace. Let us collectively work toward building a future where talent and ambition triumph, click here to learn more!