All of us are multi-faceted, whether apparent or not beneath the layer we reveal at work. You may not know or guess, but I’m an Irish-Latina-American woman, married to a Greek man, with 6 years of military service (Air Force), an anthropology degree, and a speaker of several languages. I’ve always been completely fascinated by other cultures, other ways of thinking, and other perspectives.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was last week to be asked to assume an interim role as Head of Diversity in addition to my Marketing job. For me, this role will briefly bring together some of my personal attributes with my professional passions.
There are numerous ways in which Marketing & HR can, and should, interact: in building a brand for talent, in leveraging a campaign and funnel orientation for the business of recruiting, in crafting unique positioning & messaging, in bringing a people focus to events, in developing targeted engagement strategies with our managers & employees, among others. At their best, these two functions complement each-other in successfully humanizing the people behind the products and services our organizations build and sell. And those people are a diverse bunch!
It’s one thing to absorb the existing research on Diversity, which reminds us that diverse teams innovate more, that diverse companies better reflect their customer & partner base, that diverse companies (especially when diverse at upper echelons) are more profitable. It’s another to live it day to day – to encounter a communication challenge due to differing cultural norms, to be a new mother (or father) and have the concept of work-life balance take on a whole new meaning, to be the lone female in a sea of male faces. But perhaps most importantly, to feel that glow of achievement and pride when your team successfully delivers or generates a more effective customer solution because the members bring different backgrounds, skillsets, and perspectives to the table.
To me, the world is richer for its diversity (maybe more problematic too, but I’m an optimist). And given that our jobs, our lives, our colleagues & friends more and more represent ways of thinking & living different from our own, a focus on how to harness that diversity seems key to me.
What do you think? What does diversity mean to you? How does it impact your marketing teams and how would you like it to? I’d love your thoughts on how we can leverage the power of marketing to make the diversity topic more relevant, impactful, and human.