What Does Inclusion Mean to You?

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we discuss the importance of taking a look at diversity and inclusion, in both our business life and our personal life.

What does inclusion mean to you?

Last year, I read an article on LinkedIn about unconscious bias against pregnant and working moms in the workforce. It was written by a woman who highlighted startling statistics, then admitted her own bias and exposed it in the rest of us.

I hired her.

Why? Because she’s good at what she does and we needed her skill set on the team, but also because she had the courage to speak her truth.

Last month, Centric Consulting’s M.H. Lines, a Senior Program Manager in Seattle, spoke at a technology industry event that called upon all voices in the industry to support diversity and inclusion. She was one of seven speakers who addressed the question: “What does inclusion mean to me?”

Her answer: take ownership. Take ownership of your unconscious bias, but also of your choices, your talents, differences and similarities.

Mostly, take ownership of doing the right thing.

At Centric, we have a commitment to doing the right thing; it’s called Diversity and Inclusion, and that commitment is played out in offices across the country. And yet, we need to continuously find ways to act on it – and improve it.

You might think it’s odd for a Caucasian male to write a Diversity and Inclusion blog post on International Women’s Day. But it’s incumbent upon ALL of us – male, female, whatever race we call our own and whatever country we come from – to recognize that each of us has unique talents and perspectives that add to the richness of our offerings.

In Seattle, our technology-focused team reflects the diversity of the market. With 105 team members (and growing), 44 percent are women and 60 percent mark different ethnicity boxes when renewing their driver’s license. During a discussion with a local media company, someone referred to us as the “Little United Nations.” I’m not sure that’s true, but our team-members do represent a number of countries: Cameroon, China, India, Spain, the Philippines, and several others.

So on International Women’s Day, let’s take ownership of the steps each of us can take to recognize the unique gifts of all of our team members, clients and communities. You can start by asking yourself the question: “What does inclusion mean to me?”