Diversity has really come to the forefront in recent years; the lack of skilled worked in industry and administration, migration to Europe and the increasing numbers of women in senior managerial positions are all key issues which have caused a veritable wave of diversity to sweep over Germany.
On the whole, society, politics and enterprise try to capitalize on the major economic benefits diversity offers and it’s generally seen as a chance to address and effectively tackle the pressing unsolved problems of the age – the lack of skilled workers and integration of non-nationals.
Yet when I first started to write this blog in 2012, my inspiration was equally weighted to the not for profit side of things. Because diversity also means accepting people who might be considered as “foreign” or “strange” as being equal to yourself and just as worthy of equal opportunity. This conviction which I hold dear comes from my passionate commitment as a professional consultant and human resources manager to create a future for people not just in terms of career opportunities but in terms of their personal development as well. Diversity is based on an enlightened and human system of values which can point the way to a future of inclusiveness for people.
The realization that each person is a unique individual endowed with a unique personality in terms of age, gender, culture, religion and sexual orientation nurtures respect and tolerance to people different from ourselves and has changed our very notions of what leadership involves and should do.
Because a diversity of attitudes, skills and intelligence at leadership level can embrace a far greater number of people. When a company’s corporate culture enriches and furthers people in their personal development, it also inculcates a much deeper sense of company loyalty and makes the company more attractive to new applicants. When different types of individuals work together in an inclusive environment, the better decision-making, greater creativity and innovation such synergies produce lead to new ideas and better product development and ultimately to higher profit margins.
In my non-profit activities too I have been enriched by a wide range of people: my mentors have given me much greater insight into innovative systems, Vietnamese deaf and mute boys and girls have shown me how to run a restaurant service, and the shining example of networks of business women has inspired me to start my own company.
This blog will give a voice to people from a wide range of different backgrounds in commercial enterprise and not-for-profit research organizations. The common quality they share is that they are all ambassadors who can open doors, hearts and minds for the opportunities diversity can offer.
I warmly invite you to share your own expertise in dealing with diversity in business and life. And I hope that in doing so you will find much inspiration for new ideas.
Sincerely yours, Erika Schroth