Throw Out the Excuses

Posted by: Nika White on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my first American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Convention, where I co-facilitated a session on growing diverse business. The entire convention experience provided great perspective on the work we are doing through CAPACITY.  Specifically, the convention yielded an opportunity to benchmark against other chambers across the country.  I look forward to implementing some of the ideas shared.  It was refreshing to see the industry as a whole take a leadership approach to diversity and inclusion.  In planning the curriculum, it was evident that ACCE considered the significance of D&I to the process of creating the “chamber of the future.”  While attending the convention, a chamber exec from a different market engaged me in a conversation about Greenville’s initiatives and proceeded to share that, his chamber “invites diversity into its culture.”  At the time, the comment did not conger concern because I understood the intent.  Reflecting on the conversation later revealed an inaccuracy, which is that we do not have to invite diversity.  Diversity is already here.  We must; however; be intentional about welcoming and cultivating inclusion, because inclusion does not happen organically.  Intentionality is incredibly important to the work of inclusion because it requires leveraging diversity to accomplish the organization’s mission. Recognizing that diversity already exists in our community, the question becomes what we each will do about it to make our community better.  One frequent reason organizations cite for not operating in the space of diversity and inclusion is that they simply do not know how to manage and implement a D&I initiative.  I do not doubt this to be the case, but I also know that what an organization values, is what they pursue and dedicate resources to.  Dr. Mel Gravely, when presenting at ACCE on “The Inclusion Imperative” said it best when sharing that if you do not know how, consider the thousands of resources available through textbooks, white papers, webinars, consultants, conferences, etc.  In short, he helped many in the room draw the conclusion that if an organization is not engaged in diversity and inclusion practices because the organization does not know how, is simply an excuse to not get started.  Dr. Gravely is quite an icon in the space of diversity and inclusion and minority business development, as well as an author, entrepreneur, civic leader, and corporate advisor.  My challenge to all organizations is to throw out the excuse of not knowing how and invest the time and energy necessary to learn how.  It is just that important. Learn more about CAPACITY, Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Follow CAPACITY on Twitter Like CAPACITY on Facebook Check out the CAPACITY YouTube Channel

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