Inclusion is a choice we make every single day. Every day, we decide how inclusive or not we want to be. Diversity is not a choice—diversity is a fact. We are who we are, and we’re not who we’re not.
I’m what we like to call a Nuyorican—born and raised in New York City of Puerto Rican background. I have an accent that some people may perceive as less intelligent. This perception makes me—along with some others with accents—edit myself constantly. In turn, this self-editing means it take a lot more energy when you want to contribute in a business setting. You are aware that what people are hearing, first and foremost, is that accent.
People want to feel embraced, and they want to be celebrated. So, I tell people, “No matter how you sound, be heard.”
Throughout my journey, personal and professional, I’ve pulled upon my courage. There are times I advocate for changes that are not popular, and I have to be courageous to get everyone to understand why inclusion and diversity is so critically important. Diversity is very much part of the success of any organization. It is about people feeling equality.