My visit to DC earlier this month combined two passions – empowering people who want to increase diversity and inclusion and empowering kids in Ethiopia – my daughter’s birth-country. I spoke at a Women in Influence, Power and Law conference on the former which took me back to my suit wearing, court appearing days. But my message to the attendees were routed in my research and experimentation in more recent years as I struggled to make sense of the research that shows diversity and inclusion lead to better results on all levels and yet, many still remain underrepresented decades after efforts to increase began.
Then I met with a couple DC based OHBD Volunteers at a local Ethiopian Restaurant. We discussed how best to move forward our ambitious plans to increase literacy rates, access to technology for problem solving and valuing art as a learning tool. And I enjoyed the wonderful communal experience of some of my favorite Ethiopian foods eaten family style with no utensils – injera does the trick. The topics ranged from local engagement, to bridging the American Diaspora and Ethiopian experience, and the amazing power of opportunity and freedom of expression combined with innovation.
I believe hard problems like diversity and inclusions and the inequity of opportunity for kids in different parts of the world, require the same fundamentals to address.
1. Dogged optimism – the problems are solvable but need extreme experimentation – don’t keep trying the same if the results are inadequate,
2. Radical collaboration – across generations, races, disciplines and countries – use the best of everyone who wants to be a part of the solutions, and
3. Inspiring story telling – elevate and amplify the voices and choices that are improving our world to create a power ripple of positive change.
The journey continues and there is more to come. Until Then…