After taking a couple days off and finally catching up with my google reader, I came across Tiffany R. Warren’s Ad Age piece Are Diversity Initiatives Obama-Proof? : Taking the White House Might Give the Impression It’s OK to Cut Back on Diversity Programs. Being a young, black professional in the DC area, Warren’s title triggered several sensors in my mind making it a must read: Diversity, Obama, Politics and Workplace.
Warren leads off by recalling her experience at a NYTimes/Reuters/Time Inc. panel:
“At a recent panel discussion sponsored by The New York Times, Thomson Reuters and Time Inc., someone asked, ‘If Obama wins, do we lose?’ By ‘we,’ the attendee meant those that lead the diversity efforts in corporate America. In other words, will a Barack Obama win create the false impression that America has gotten over its racial issues? And will that in turn give corporate America ‘permission’ to trim or dismantle diversity programs?”
The attendee’s questions make a pretty loose assumption and Warren doesn’t accept it, but she does express a level of caution that I can understand.
What will happen to those programs if Barack wins? Even if he doesn’t win, when people cry foul in terms of the level of workforce diversity, will claims be dismissed with thoughts of Obama and what he was able to achieve? I hope not.
Ryan Healy recently wrote an inspirational post titled 10 Ways Gen Y Will Change the Workplace. In it he mentions some great ideas that I believe are very doable and really will change the workplace for the better: only holding productive meetings, shortening the work day, higher starting salaries, and promoting based on emotional intelligence.
It’s my hope that in the new American workplace that Gen Y is creating that we:
- truly value diversity
- take into account the experiences and perspectives brought to the table
- break the mold and
- really commit to making an environment where we can all succeed.