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The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Blog Happy New Year, Everyone!

January 15, 2019

Can you believe it is 2019? I can't tell you how grateful I am that Drexel gives us the gift of time during the holiday season. The entire University shuts down between Christmas and New Year's Day, allowing us to enjoy time with our family. When I return to work, I'm rested, rejuvenated and energized for all that the New Year has to offer. Until I dive into my email…

My inbox is flooded with articles and posts prodding me to think about what my New Year's Resolution would be for 2019. "New Year, New You!" I will admit, I did expect to see some announcements for local gym memberships, but I was surprised to see that professional organizations were jumping on the bandwagon: "Diversity Trends for 2019," "Better Ways to Promote Inclusion In 2019," "What 2019 Holds for Diversity and Inclusion" and so on. Don't get me wrong—I'm always looking for resources and suggestions on how to improve our processes, programs and events at DUCOM, but I was a bit overwhelmed and didn't know where to begin.

I took a deep breath and a big gulp of coffee and started scrolling through my email to see if I could gather some inspiration for my resolution. Nothing really grabbed my attention or told me anything I didn't already know, but then I get to a recommendation from YouTube. The funny thing is it's from March 2017—so not quite the "New Year, New You" theme. Wanting to see why YouTube recommended the video, I went ahead and watched it.

The video featured Damien Hooper-Campbell, EBay's Chief Diversity Officer. In his talk, he mentioned that a lot of companies show their commitment to diversity and inclusion by investing a lot of money toward diversity recruitment, training and data analysis. Education and data are clearly important, but he challenges us to think differently about what drives the programs we create and how we define success.

Hooper-Campbell suggests that we should make diversity "more human." To illustrate that, he invited the audience to share an experience of when they felt left out. A few brave souls raised their hands. Each one shared their story as well as the impact it had on them. All the stories were poignant and centered on the theme of being an outsider. None of them revolved around our traditional definition of diversity—race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Hooper-Campbell strongly believes that as we work towards a diverse and inclusive environment, our biggest motivator should be ensuring that no one in our sphere of influence ever feels "less than." How do we do that? By making sure we know how our community defines diversity and using that information to drive conversations and programs.

This is clearly not ground-breaking nor is it a new trend for 2019, but among a slew of messages in my inbox, it was the only that made sense. And then it dawned on me: my New Year's resolution didn't have to be new or novel at all. Instead, I decided to take Hooper-Campbell's challenge and make diversity "more human" in 2019. So with this resolution in mind, I began my quest to learn how our DUCOM community defines diversity. With this knowledge and information, I commit to focus 2019 on the development and implementation of programs that will prevent people in our circle of influence from feeling like they don't belong.

Learn how DUCOM faculty, students and staff define diversity

Video Credit: Chris Beltran

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