Written by Stephanie Freid (Communication BA ’89)
“Embracing workplace diversity”… “Fostering cultural understanding”…“Best workplace practices”….We are increasingly hearing those terms from colleagues, bosses and HR staff but what do they mean?
As offices go global, understanding terms and practices applied to shifting workspace cultures is critical…To foster that understanding, UC Friends of Communication Alumni held an evening workshop in November on Diversity in the Workplace. The event was part of the ongoing COMMplete Alumni Learning Workshop Series.
Dually moderated by The Central Ohio Workplace Development Board’s Currecia Gamble and UC Alumni PR Director Professor Suzanne Boys, board panelists Alyssa Wallen, Maria Rolling, Tayler Tarvin, Tiffany Turner and Torry Cornett led talks on a variety of topics including: communicating across different time zones, getting stuck in “this is how it’s done” routines and habits, and overcoming language barriers.
Alumni panelist Tayler Tarvin said the biggest takeaway for her was discovering diversity in defining ….diversity “Everyone has their own definition of diversity and has experiences in defining what diversity in the workplace means to them. It could be someone that is a different race than you, being a professional woman and a mom, or being from a different country.” – Tayler Tarvin, Director ofSelection, Northwest Mutual
The two-hour workshop that included networking time was a candid exchange of first-person experiences between panel members and attendees. Tiffany Turner, a Sports and Entertainment Program Manager with PNC Equipment Finance talked about her work with senior populations; Jacobs Senior Inside Sales Coordinator Maria Rolling shared challenges she faces when it comes to breaking communication barriers with engineering teams.
“Diversity includes race, gender, role types, athletic lifestyles versus working with people in an office environment.” -Maria Rolling, Senior Sales Coordinator, Jacobs.
Discussions also focused on tips for reducing stress while traveling & best or most interesting cultural lessons learned. “Having enough self-awareness of not just our own ideas but being transparent enough to allow others in, as well as putting ourselves in the perspective of others, on a local, national or global scale, is the first step of creating an engaged culture that is truly diverse and inclusive.” – Tiffany Turner, Sports and Entertainment Program Manager, PNC Equipment Finance
Workshop participants say they came away from the evening session with food-for-thought and contemplation on incorporating tools and ideas presented by panelists and attendees for implementing best practices into routines and workplaces.