Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Diversity is just the start: Startups need to encourage inclusion - e27

Originally published: August 8, 2017

Diversity and inclusion are equally important in the workplace. The words are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Diversity means “differences” – religion, race, age, sexual orientation, gender and culture – the things that make us unique. The definition of “inclusion,” on the other hand, is the act of using all of these individual characteristics to create a beneficial and meaningful whole.

As someone who serves on the Commission on Women for Atlanta and is a black female CEO with a doctorate in engineering, I’ve been told over and over again that there is no benefit to contributing my perspective and experience to the entrepreneurship conversation. Though many people believe that inclusion is just a distraction based upon their comfort level, it makes businesses more financially successful and often helps them better connect with their target markets.

Inclusion embraces the fact that everyone is different and that we all have something distinctive to bring to the table. In short, diversity is about numbers, while inclusion is about putting diversity to work.