August 23, 2019

Diversity at workplace-Seeing beyond color

When many people start businesses or form organizations, most of the time they’re driven by ideas aimed at building brands or improving a particular product or service. Some conceive these astonishing ideas effortlessly and venture out into the market quick. However, the difficult part is maintaining a high score in leadership as the idea evolves. This undoubtedly makes virtues of leadership an extreme requisite at any level.

Speaking to Jamhuri News, Jo Ann Simons who is the CEO of Northeast Arc, an organization helping people with disabilities become full participants in the communities north of Boston; and one of the many and largest human service organizations embracing cultural diversity in Massachusetts, spoke very passionately about her 24 years as CEO in three organizations. Her success in the career has not been smooth sailing, but she says there are some fundamental rectitudes that she has held so dear to her along the journey. Among them, equal employment opportunity and cultural diversity.

Jo Ann says the inclusion of the immigrant community at the company is something personal to her referencing her immigrant grandparents who had to fight for opportunities. ‘’Many immigrants that have entered this county have made it richer and better.’’ She says. ‘’The human service industry involves taking care of people of different cultures, races and religions and so in order to understand them, it is paramount that we employ people of different cultures as well’’ She added.

Talking of diversity, the CEO goes on to talk about one Kenyan staff, Festus Mbuva who has a managerial position in the company. ‘’ Consider someone like Festus, he is so remarkable. Looking at where he came from and the contributions that he makes here, and those that he want to make in the future make him very exceptional.’’ Jo Ann talks very highly of Festus, saying she first met him at one company meeting of about two hundred people, but she was able to notice him; not from his color, but his intelligence and commitment to the work they do. ‘’I have learned a lot from him. Leadership is not only by the CEO, there are some informal leaders that go without a title but influence an organization in a big way, and that is who Festus is’’

The numerous challenges that many immigrants face before getting to the US make them resilient than those who have been privileged to go through life with little strains. ‘’My grandchildren will be working for these immigrant’s children, so there’s every reason to embrace diversity’’ Jo Ann concluded. Recently, as a sign of appreciation to one staff, she gave out two tickets to watch Boston Rex Sox play, where the staff had the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend during the game in Boston.

Another local CEO shared the same sentiments. Saying he looks at different cultures in his small but growing company as a strength where everyone gets a comfortable environment to grow and develop their careers without distraction, thus contributing towards the growth of the company.

Diversity in America has become such a preeminent issue in the recent past Increasing attention to workplace uniformity.

By Thuothuo Anthony- Jamhuri News 

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