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NOLA SHRM Diversity Moment

     NOLA SHRM Diversity Moment

    November 2019

    Webster's dictionary defines diversity as the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: VARIETY. In a nutshell, diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, age, social class, political beliefs, national origin, physical abilities, and religious and ethical value systems.


    In July, we hosted a contest encouraging NOLA SHRM members to share their America story. Stories that would highlight the things that connect and reconnect us. Through our individual stories we come to the realization that we are more alike than we are different. Below is a story submitted by Dawn Peterson Hazen. Dawn is the Human Resources Director at BRG Hospitality. Her story is a great example of how diversity can make lasting connections. 

    "I met my best friend in 2008. The "Best Friend" moniker doesn't do our relationship justice. We are self-proclaimed "sisters from another mister", sister soul mates, ying and yang. We are different as night and day. Barbara is a Black woman from south Florida, an Air Force veteran/retiree; I am a farm town girl from South Dakota, married to an Air Force veteran/retiree. We have differing opinions on most issues. Conventional wisdom and today's society would suggest that we have too many differences to be friends. But what could have divided us has actually brought us together in ways we never imagined. Where I am lacking, she fills the gap. Where she is lacking, I fill the gap. Do we disagree and argue? Of course we do! But that is the beauty of our relationship and commonality--we know that disagreements and differences do not define us or our relationship. Our friendship has transcended politics, race, religion, geography. I am her Boo; she is my heart. That is my America--where individuals seemingly so different in many ways are able to come together and forge a lifelong friendship of mutual love, respect and support."

    As a gesture of thanks, Dawn will receive a gift card for her story submission. 
    Key Dates in November:

    • November is National Native American Heritage Month
    • November 11 Veteran's Day
    • November 28 Thanksgiving Day
    October 2019

    Diversity, Inclusion and Equity are the new buzz words in businesses today. And rightly so, we have all read articles about the benefits of diversity in the workplace. Take a step back from that conversation for a minute. Ask yourself, have you ever thought about those words? Individually, what do they mean? How are they connected? We can't truly champion the charge for Diversity and Inclusion without knowing the answers to these questions. 

    Let's make this month an exercise in learning. Quick get out a piece of paper, yes the sticky note will do. Write down these three words: diversity, inclusion and equity. Now define them. Don't worry about Webster's definition. Write down whatever comes to mind. It may take you a few minutes to answer but when you're done look at your answers. Are there clear differences between these words, do they overlap? Can you explain how they all relate?

    Over the next couple of months we will examine these words individually so we can be on the same page about their meanings. Don't throw that sticky note away yet, there's more to this than meets the eye. 


    October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.

    October is LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay-rights movement.

    September 2019

    Our opportunity to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society is coming up this month. Below we've highlighted four notable Hispanic Americans. 

    Jorge Ramos is a Mexican-American journalist who anchors the Spanish language Univision nightly news, and was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People. Known as “The Walter Cronkite of Latino America,” Ramos left Mexico for America at 24 after the Mexican government censored a critical story he produced, and he became a U.S. citizen in 2008. He has co-moderated presidential debates, interviewed world leaders like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, and has been an outspoken pro-immigrant voice. Jorge Ramos will continue to be a major figure in Hispanic-American life.


    Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican born parents. Before being appointed to the U.S Supreme Court by President Obama in 2009, Justice Sotomayor was on the board of directors of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and an instructor at New York University School of Law and Columbia Law School. 

    Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. These two share a lot in common: both have parents that emigrated from Cuba, and made names for themselves in the Senate after being elected in 2010, and both were contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Before arriving in the Senate, Cruz clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and was the Solicitor General of Texas, while Rubio was the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. As two of the four Hispanic Americans in the Senate—Cruz and Rubio bring to light the role of Hispanic Americans in national politics.

    This is only a marginal list of the many Hispanic Americans that are making effectual change in this country. Make time this month to celebrate Hispanic Americans in your own organization. Looking for ideas on how to celebrate at work, click on the link below.

     Celebrate Hispanic heritage month.

    August 2019

    On August 26th, we celebrate 99 years since women gained the right to vote in America. Yet, the conversation about women's equality is still very much alive. Discussions about equal pay, gender pay gap and sexual harassment are topics our nation's lawmakers are taking notice to address. Yes, we've come far from the days when women were expected to be seen and not heard. But clearly, there is more work to be done. 

    Click here to read an in-depth article on why women's equality is still important and how you can help drive change. 

    July 2019


    The United States of America

         Union Pacific was the first transcontinental railroad, with a route that ran from the east coast through the mid west to the west coast. In 1945 when WWII was coming to an end, Union Pacific Railroad sponsored a radio show called Your America. The show featured true stories of Americans at work and at war. Our nation has always found ways to unite. In 1945 it was the railroad that united the east coast to the west coast. In 1964 is was the Civil Rights Act. In 1990 it was the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2009 it was the election of our first African American President. In 2015 it was the legalization of gay marriage. I could go on and on but, I think you get the point. It's in our nature to be united. We are the United States of America

         This month's article was inspired by Union Pacific's radio show. During the month of July when we're celebrating our nation's independence, I thought it would be a great idea to share our stories with each other. True stories of Americans at work. As you reflect on what "Your America" story looks like, think about your family's history, traditions and values and share your story with us. It's our stories that connect and reconnect us. Through our individual stories we come to the realization that we are more alike than we are different. Share "Your America" story by clicking the link below.

    Submit your story here  The Deadline to submit your story is July 31, 2019. 

         As a gesture of thanks, all submissions will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of 3 gift cards. Winners will be announced on August 2nd on NOLA SHRM's Facebook page. All stories submitted will be published in the forthcoming months on this page, so stay tuned. 

    May 2019 

    Click the picture below to watch this month's video!

    April 2019
    Sound the alarm, get the streamers out, make some noise. April is Celebrate Diversity Month

    In the last decade Diversity & Inclusion has become a hot button item in organizations. Creating diverse and inclusive workplaces isn’t just a “nice” thing to do. Research shows that workforce diversity can bring about an increase in productivity, competitive advantages and increase employee morale. It's clear that our workplaces benefit when we strive to create workplaces were everyone feels like a welcomed essential part of the team. 

    Celebrating our individual differences and similarities, helps us to get a deeper understanding of each other. This month we challenge you to focus on ways you can recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. Not sure where to start? Read this SHRM article, "6 Steps for Building an Inclusive Workplace". 

    Looking to expand your understanding of diversity? Here are some good books to add to your corporate library.  

    •  “Change the Way You See Everything” (Kathryn D. Cramer and Hank Wasiak)
    • “El Deafo” (Cece Bell)
    • “Esperanza Rising” (Pam Munoz Ryan)
    • “Just Mercy” (Brian Stevenson)

    March 2019

    National Women's History Month celebrates the contributions of extraordinary women and the ways they have impacted our society. Women like Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President; Alice Paul, who organized the first-ever march on Washington D.C.'s National Mall; Mary Church Terrell, who established the National Association of Colored Women; and Patsy T. Mink, who at thirty one years old became both the first Japanese-American woman admitted to the Hawaii Bar Association and to serve in the Hawaii territorial House of Representatives. You can learn more about these trailblazers and others at The Smithsonian's Woman's History Initiative

    These women and so many more I could name have made a huge difference in our society. It's because of their stories we have the opportunity to highlight some of our own. 

    Like Betty Reid Soskin. This 96 year old New Orleans native is the nation's oldest National Park Service Ranger. And that's not all ya'll. Mrs. Soskin is also an activist, pioneer and author. Her new memoir, 'Sign My Name to Freedom' reflects on the many lives she's lived. The National Audubon's feature on Mrs. Soskin gives you a glimpse of her fierceness. Let's not forget, Latoya Cantrell, the city's first female Mayor in the 300 year history of New Orleans. We're excited about what her legacy will bring to the city.

    Take time this month to recognize the importance of gender representation, and women in your organization who are doing things worth celebrating. For ideas on ways your office can celebrate this month click here. 

    February 2019

    In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a "BIG" party. It's all about music, parades, family fun, picnics, floats, and throws. It's a great time to invite everyone to the party and ask them to dance! One local organization is doing just that, Arc of Greater New Orleans (ArcGNO). For over 30 years, ArcGNO has created wage-earning jobs for individuals with intellectual disabilities by collecting, sorting, & repackaging Mardi Gras throws. They work to secure for all people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to develop, function, and live to their fullest potential. Click here for more information on how you can support their mission. 

    New Orleans is a melting pot of diverse history. There are many great opportunities to foster diversity and inclusion in our community. If you pick an area of responsibility and focus on it, it is by definition an act of inclusion, and depending on the focus can really move the needle in terms of diversity and inclusion as well. Perhaps your focus this month, Black History Month, would find you touring the Whitney Plantation or learning the history of Congo Square. Something really powerful and beautiful happens when we make a conscious effort towards change. Click here for some interesting places you could visit in honor of Black History Month.

    Below are additional resources that can help you move the needle in your organization.

    January 2019

       Diversity and the Holidays

    Click here to find out more info!