The Similarities and Differences of Diversity

24 May

Last week I did a D&I workshop for TAVA (Toronto Association for Volunteer Administrators). The focus was on managing a diverse group of volunteers with an eye to inclusion. It was a great group. One of the participants brought up a point that I hear often – that she focuses on the similarities rather than the differences.

Today I bought a book on a clearance table: To Bee or Not to Bee by John Penberthy (ok, the bee theme caught my attention). One of the passages that has struck me so far is this:

“The power of the mind lies in perceiving differences; the power of the heart lies in perceiving similarities.”

My usual response to the statement made by the workshop participant is that of course there are more similarities than differences in groups, since we are all human, and that celebrating those similarities is wonderful. And, because we are different, we also may have different needs, experiences and contexts that also must be acknowledged if we are serious about building inclusive spaces.

After my serendipitous purchase, however, I may have to add that we need to use both our mind and our hearts to create inclusive environments where people can thrive because of (not in spite of) their diversity.

See more. Bee more. đŸ™‚

copyright 2013 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker and Facilitator on issues of Diversity and Inclusion


One Response to “The Similarities and Differences of Diversity”

  1. Frances Olsen May 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Participating in groups with our minds and our hearts sounds like a very good thing! Fran

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