I have worked in Human Resources since I graduated from college. Initially, my major was Psychology and my intention was to save the world. But when I realized how much the world was going to pay me for doing so I opted for a corporate job – or I would be forced to endure the “horror” of living with my parents for many years.
As an HR professional a big part of my role has always been the voice of Inclusion and Diversity in some fashion. I would describe myself as “evolved” in my awareness of others and their differences, in my acceptance and openness to understand and learn, and to be inclusive.
However, while aware and non-exclusionary I don’t think up until now I truly ever felt what I&D was about until this week when I stared my PULSE assignment at The Food Trust in Philadelphia working with the Get HYPE Philly initiative. As I sit here day 5 I can honestly say I am struck – or should I say blown away – by the fact that for the very first time in my life I am different. I look different, my circumstances are different, my way of dressing is different, I commute with a different means, my work is different, my work style is different, my expectations are different, my speech is different, my ethnicity is different, my socioeconomic situation is different, and my path in life is different. I am a Privilege White Girl, and I honestly never REALLY knew it. I may have said it, thought it, and of course was grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had in my life thus far. But I never really felt that privilege …… not to this depth. It has hit me at my core so much so that I’m almost ashamed it took me so long. I am also feeling Inclusion for the first time in my life as well. Not sure it can be felt unless you are different, can experience someone acknowledging you are different, and then accepting and supporting that difference.
I see the value diversity can bring as I look around the office at all the amazing and brilliant employees at The Food Trust, who use their various skills and thinking in the incredible work they do for the good of our underserved communities. I have been humbled beyond words. I’m looking forward to learning more and supporting the great work that this organization is doing to take steps to save the world – one program and interaction at a time. I will be sharing more about their work and my work in the coming months.