Uniquely You: Finding Your Professional Calling

This Thanksgiving week, I would like to thank those who attended the career discovery panel and workshop entitled “Uniquely You: Finding Your Professional Calling” that I organized and hosted this past Wednesday, 16 November 2016. I would also like to thank those who supported financially, logistically, and with words of encouragement. This event was the manifestation of two desires: (1) to help my Darden classmates, many of whom have voiced uncertainty about their post-MBA career plans, identify and pursue a meaningful career beyond simply repaying school loans; and (2) to expose the Darden community to broader diversity, not only of gender and cultural background, but also of thought and experience.

As we reflect on this past U.S. presidential election and all the lessons we have learned about leveraging diversity in Leading Organizations in Q1, the insights that many attendees walked away with and later shared with me would not have been possible without the stories shared by our exceptional guests.  First, the courageous journey of a woman and refugee from the Liberian civil war who experienced the highs and lows of banking from Goldman Sachs to a front-row seat during the collapse of Bear Stearns.  Second, the decision of a woman to walk away from a six-figure “dream job” to take on an MBA coaching role with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), a non-profit diversity and professional development organization partnered with the top business schools and companies globally, while pursuing her passion for yoga and receiving a certification in mindfulness.  Finally, the path of a woman who overcame rejection after a seemingly successful internship at Google to cultivate a career in social media at NPR and become the voice of inspiration for female entrepreneurs through her podcast, Side Hustle Pro.

This Thanksgiving week, I hope we all can appreciate the diversity, in one form or another, that each of us brings to the Darden experience.

Wishing you all a warm and bountiful Thanksgiving!

Courtney Harris

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Statements from the Darden School, the Darden Student Association and Darden’s Black Business Student Forum

Today, the Darden School, the Darden Student Association and Darden’s Black Business Student Forum released the following statements:

 Statement from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The personal comments made by University of Virginia adjunct lecturer Doug Muir on his personal social media accounts do not in any way represent the viewpoint or values of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

A core value of the Darden School of Business is a supportive and diverse community that encourages its members to collaborate and excel. At the Darden School, we value and respect all identities, commit to engaging members of the Darden community as unique individuals, and promote a multicultural, global and inclusive environment in which each person feels valued.

This week, we have celebrated Diversity Week at Darden, which has provided an opportunity to appreciate what each person brings to the community — and to dialogue about how diversity impacts our learning community and our lives. Organized by Darden students, with the participation of the entire community, the week has included lectures, open dialogues and creativity expressed through media such as this video.

As a school within a public university, we respect and recognize people’s rights, including their First Amendment right to free speech. As an institution of learning, we also recognize that diversity of opinion is foundational. However, the personal statements made by Doug Muir regarding Black Lives Matter do not represent the views of this School.

At Darden, we embrace the challenging discussions surrounding diversity, equality and justice that face our society because it is our mission to develop leaders who are prepared to lead responsibly through the most difficult issues confronting business and the world.

Statement from the Darden Student Association

Darden Community,

It is of serious concern to us that one faculty member — Douglas Muir — has taken it upon himself to publicly express views which are factually and historically inaccurate and which are undeniably intolerant — link to UVA Cavalier Daily.

The DSA has worked hard in collaboration with student clubs, community stakeholders, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader Darden community to foster and promote a culture which elevates and celebrates diversity and inclusion. Diversity Week has been a tremendous celebration of this spirit and a marquee week in the DSA calendar. We are proud of our community, and the grace with which it has worked to foster and maintain Darden’s core values.

The values of our community exist in striking opposition to Doug Muir’s stance. We vehemently disagree with his statement and we call upon the University of Virginia and the Darden School of Business to respond swiftly to uphold our values of inclusion, equality, and a dedication to truth and accuracy.

It is the mandate of the DSA to represent the best interests of the Darden student experience. We take this mission extremely seriously and will not stand for intolerance which directly affects our classmates and those around us.

Statement from the Black Business Student Forum

On October 4th, 2016, Douglas Muir, adjunct Professor at the Darden School of Business and the University of Virginia, posted the following message to Facebook: “Black lives matter is the biggest rasist organisation since the clan. Are you kidding me, Disgusting!!!”. This comment does not in any way reflect the Darden community. However, mindsets like these have the potential to significantly impact the positive community we seek to foster and protect. Presumably, the statement was in response to the recent presence of Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, as a speaker on grounds at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Muir’s statement likens Black Lives Matters’ decision to exercise their First Amendment right to gather to the actions of the Ku Klux Klan – an organization which has bombed churches, murdered men, women, and children, and violently protested such proposals as the integration of schools and the extension of the right to vote to African Americans.

Mr. Muir’s comparison of Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan is outrageous. Black Lives Matter was founded as an expression of Ms. Garza and others’ justified discontent with the experience of many African Americans. The Ku Klux Klan is an organization with a 100+ year history of murder, racism, and intimidation of innocent people. No protest can compare to the terror which the Ku Klux Klan has inflicted upon citizens of our community.

This week was a monumental week for diversity at Darden. Not only did we have great attendance at our event on racial injustice, but we also stood together as One Darden and wore black to represent solidarity. This progress will not be overshadowed and discredited by the comments of one faculty member. The kind of inaccurate and offensive comments made by Mr. Muir threaten to damage the inclusive community that the student body, alumni, Dean Beardsley, and the faculty and staff of Darden have worked hard to foster.

The ignorance of Mr. Muir’s statement speaks for itself. Our goal is to urge the University of Virginia to respond to its own faculty member’s expression of blatantly incorrect views and demonstrate its commitment to enlightenment and intellectual honesty by correcting this false message. This is an opportunity for Darden to stand behind its commitment to an inclusive community.

How Darden reacts from an administrative level will have a huge impact on how students view their experience at Darden. We believe in what Darden represents and we would hate for Mr. Muir’s actions to damage our unique and welcoming community. Mr. Muir is entitled to his opinion, no matter how ignorant it is. He is not entitled to his own facts. We are hopeful that the actions that the University of Virginia takes in response to Mr. Muir’s comments will reflect its commitment to truth and an inclusive environment.

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It’s Time to Talk: Engaging Across Difference

It’s 2016 and we are connected across the globe, and in our own backyard, in ways that many of us could not have imagined, even just 15 years ago. We now have a window into the lives of others who may have experiences and perspectives that diverge significantly from our own.

Both exhilarating and scary, peering through the window can open our eyes to new ways of thinking, new places, new people, and their triumphs and struggles. However, those who will lead in business and society, more broadly, must be more than onlookers. We must engage! We must be willing to have conversations across our differences. The harrowing events around the world have catalyzed such conversations, yet many of us remain fearful of saying the wrong thing when examining and engaging difference. The concerns become most heightened when we discuss race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and identity, culture, religion, class, and the ensuing politics. Leading in our global world will necessitate that we step outside our comfort zone and wrestle with uncomfortable topics and issues.

The world has always been textured (i.e., diverse), but previously it was easier to focus on our own familiar domain. Diversity is a topic that has always been important, but it has taken the spotlight in America and across the world like few times in history recently. It is a challenging topic that kindles differing perspectives, passionate opinions, and sometimes — sadly — hate and violence.

I have dedicated much of my life’s work to the complex issues surrounding diversity, including conducting research on unconscious bias. As Darden’s Global Chief Diversity Officer, a spouse/partner, a mother and a Catholic African-American professional woman of southern, Irish and Caribbean heritage, I want to continue to facilitate a productive dialogue around diversity, inclusion and engagement through the new Diversity at Darden blog.

I hope to share my thoughts here, and also the thoughts of others inside and outside of the Darden community. To start the conversation on this platform, I’d like to share a note Darden Dean Scott Beardsley and I sent to our community in July after a rash of violence and terror swept the globe. It expresses our desire as a School to not shrink from a challenging subject, but to lead and overcome fear.

I look forward to your thoughts, and to our continuing dialogue here on Diversity at Darden.

Melissa C. Thomas Hunt

An email to the Darden community from Dean Scott Beardsley and Senior Associate Dean & Global Chief Diversity Officer Melissa Thomas-Hunt

Dear Darden Faculty, Staff and Students,

Yesterday afternoon, we hosted a community dialogue to reflect on the recent string of difficult global events and their impact on each of us. From the conversation, it is clear that for many of us the recent and frequent acts of violence and terror around the globe have been overwhelming – generating anger, fear, sadness and dismay, and leaving us bereft of a sense of what we can do to make a difference.

Over the past weeks and months we have written to you about atrocities around the globe. Today we are reaching out more broadly to provide solace about the recent horrific shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas that have fueled mounting racial tensions in the United States. Our hearts go out to the individuals who in this recent spree of terror in the United States have lost a son, father, brother, significant other, colleague or partner and the broader communities – geographic, demographic, and those in law enforcement and military – that ache. Many in our own Darden community are struggling to make sense of the events, and we find ourselves unsure of how to share our feelings with and provide comfort to one another.

In volatile and difficult times like these, we must remember to continue to lead.  We must overcome our fear; fear of accidentally saying the wrong thing, fear of offending others and fear of inviting conversation not deemed appropriate for a business school, business or any organization. At Darden we nurture global leaders who understand and can navigate local contexts. Each of us has our own local context, informed by our background and experiences. It is through our own local context that we interpret the events around us. This means that any objective event will be experienced differently by individuals. Part of who we are and aspire to be necessitates that we must engage with one another in meaningful ways across the differences in our interpretation.

Darden is a community of leaders, and it’s critical that we gather to provide support for all members of the community, that we ask each other questions and learn from each other, and that we create safe spaces for sharing concerns. We’d like to thank everyone who came yesterday and to assure those who could not — including our students who will return in August — that we will provide additional opportunities to continue the discussion.

Darden’s Senior Associate Dean & Global Chief Diversity Officer Melissa Thomas-Hunt, in collaboration with our students, will put in place a framework for discussion and is open to your suggestions.

As a reminder, Darden and the University of Virginia offer many resources for those seeking individual support, an ear or an opportunity to lead the conversation.

At Darden, students, faculty and staff can continue to reach out to Sarah Wilcox-Elliott and her team in the Office of Student Affairs, and Lisa Cannell and her team in Darden Human Resources. Additional resources are listed on the Diversity at Darden webpage.

Some additional resources available at UVA include:

At Darden we are leaders and we have an obligation to engage with one another in meaningful dialogue and with positive intent, both in the classroom, at school and away from school, in our internships, jobs and communities.

Given the increasing frequency of attacks in the USA and globally, we do not intend to communicate on each and every event via email. Instead, face-to-face community dialogues led by Melissa and her team, as well as a variety of student leadership organizations, will be used to provide support for members of our community. However, know that we always check on the safety and well-being of our students, alumni, faculty and staff wherever they may be, and will communicate any necessary information as appropriate.

We look forward to continuing the conversations, and thank you for your leadership to help Darden live up to its full potential as a globally diverse, inclusive and wonderful community.

Sincerely yours,

Scott and Melissa

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Why Diversity and Inclusion are Important to Me

This post was originally written by Nathan Guo, First Year student and international and diversity student advisory group representative. You can read more about his experience at Darden in his student blog.

“This year, I was honored to be elected as Section D’s international and diversity student advisory group representative. What this means is that I will be meeting with the International Student Advisory Group (ISAG) and the Diversity Student Advisory Group (DSAG) to facilitate conversations about diversity and inclusion at Darden, advocate on behalf of international students, and promote understanding and awareness to build a stronger Darden community. To be elected, I submitted a statement to explain why diversity and inclusion are important to me. I want to share this piece to provide my perspective.

I am passionate about connecting people of different ethnicity, religion, sexual orientations, or any other label people use to put people into buckets. No matter what your background, each one of us is the same. We’re all human beings with hopes and dreams, successes and failures, triumphant wins and heart-crushing defeats. I’d like to tell you a personal story of one of my heart-crushing defeats that I hope will show why I’m so passionate about connecting people of different backgrounds.

On July 4th, 2011, I was celebrated Independence Day by driving 190 miles to Austin to meet up with some high school friends from Dallas. Over the next several hours we reminisced about the past, caught up on each other’s lives, and had a blast watching fireworks. After I’d had enough, I took my leave and started walking back to my hotel.

Suddenly, a car screeched by. A man leaning out the window yelled at me, “GO BACK TO CHINA!”

Go back to China? I’ve lived here all my life. Am I Chinese? I thought this was home. I thought I belonged here. Am I American? Who am I?

Am I Chinese? Over the last four years, I have spent a substantial amount of time working abroad in China. Even though I speak Mandarin fluently, my Taiwanese/American accent was obvious and Chinese people could always tell that I was not Chinese. They could tell even before I even opened my mouth by the way I dressed. I am not Chinese.

Am I Taiwanese? Although, I have relatives in Taiwan, I cannot even communicate with my grandparents because I cannot speak the local dialect, Taiwanese. While I’ve visited Taiwan many times during my childhood, it’s never felt right to me. The very environment seems to reject me. Too hot. Too humid. Too many mosquitoes. It’s as if the entire climate of Taiwan is trying to make me recognize that I don’t belong there. I am not Taiwanese.

Am I American? I worked at a chemical plant with mostly blue-collar workers. Here I am even more different. Not only am I a different ethnicity, I am the ethnicity that is stealing jobs from them. They associate me with the Chinese sweatshops that are taking food off of their tables. I tell them I’m in the same boat. I’m fighting to keep a job in America as many engineering jobs are getting outsourced to China. They can’t see past my skin color. I am not American.

After the incident, I posted a status update about it onto Facebook. I was instantly flooded with sympathetic Facebook messages and texts. In times of crises, none of these labels matter. I am not Chinese or American, Christian or Buddhist, Republican or Democrat. I am a human being with friends and family that love and support me through thick and thin. I am passionate about diversity and inclusion because they are essential to the development of strong bonds that will last beyond the time we are here at Darden and endure across cultural, religious, and political borders.”

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Love Is Love 2013

It is quite unorthodox to quote Barney, that big purple dinosaur that children watch on television, on a business school blog. However, I am reminded of his “I Love You” song at this time of year. It is not because we are in the month that celebrates Valentine’s Day…. or at least not completely. It is more because the Gays, Lesbians, Allies at Darden (GLAD) club does a special series of activities and events to bring the community together around topics related to living, working and loving for LGBTQ members. We just closed out a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King and perhaps his oft quoted “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” is an appropriate theme for these activities. At Darden, I believe, we simply want to celebrate every member of our community no matter where they come from, what faith they practice, how they look or who they love. So, perhaps an even better theme is “Love Is Love”. (Humming the Barney song….)

Darden celebrates Love Is Love 2013 through the following activities:
Entire month of February
Photo exhibit by Jeff Sheng featuring images of military personnel in response to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and its repeal. www.jeffsheng.com

February 10
Screening of “Out at Work” and discussion to follow about workplace scenarios involving the LGBT community

February 13
A Safe Space training to help allies support those members of the community who are LGBT and a panel discussion on Religion and Same Sex Marriage in partnership with religious affiliated affinity clubs at Darden

February 14
Love Is Love First Coffee with remarks made by Professor Martin Davidson and a panel discussion on Life After Don’t Ask Don’t Tell featuring Jeff Sheng and Military LGBTs and their partners.
Glad sponsors the community-wide Cold Call, a social hour.

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Darden joins in UVA’s MLK Celebration

The Darden MLK Celebration Planning Committee is happy to present the Darden 2013 MLK Celebration activities sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Darden in partnership with the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics.

Remembering MLK and “I Have a Dream”
January 22, 9:30am First Coffee
Dean Bruner will make remarks, Committee will make announcements, “I Have a Dream” speech video will play on loop throughout the day.

Panel Discussion
Theme: Free Enterprise: From Montgomery to Main Street
January 25, 4:30 – 6:00pm Darden School Classroom 50
Significance of business ownership in social justice and community empowerment from Civil Rights era to present day.
Greg Fairchild, Darden Professor
Claudrena Harold, UVA History Professor
Uday Gupta, Darden alumnus and entrepreneur
Toan Nguyen, Darden Alumnus and Entrepreneur

Brown Bag Lunch
Business and the Poor
January 31, 1:30 – 2:30pm CR 30
Informal, round table discussion about role of business in addressing poverty using MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign as foundation.

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Opportunities for Round One Admitted Applicants

Darden values its diversity strategic partnerships. We have several non-profit organizations and corporate partners with which we consistently engage to help us with our diversity initiatives and programming. One such partnership is with the Management Leadership for Tomorrow organization. This relationship occurs primarily with our Admissions Office as that office engages with the MBA Preparation program. However, MLT has several programs and they have recently launched another. This program, the MBA Professional Development program has just opened its doors a little wider to include admitted Round 1 applicants who are not already current members of MLT. I think this is a bold move and a right move. If you are an admitted applicant or know an admitted applicant and wish to learn more, please access the MBA Class 2015 blog. If you are not an admitted applicant, please share with your personal and professional network the work MLT is doing. MLT is a mission-focused organization that is meeting the need of a diverse talent pipeline to top levels of organizations.

Kellie Sauls
Director, Diversity Initiatives and Programming
Associate Director Admissions

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Diversity 365

Darden has been recognized for our community’s efforts in diversity recruiting and student body makeup in regard to underrepresented minority students as a percentage of the class. We are very proud of our accomplishments but we are not satisfied with them.  Darden views diversity as only one half of the story. Inclusion provides the other half. We decided several years ago that Diversity alone was not going to help us make the strides toward a more enriched, open and holistically engaged institution until inclusivity became just as important in our efforts.

Many years ago I read this wonderful book titled Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? 1   It helped me better understand this dynamic to the degree that I could explain it to others without feeling awkward or defensive.  So, when a few years ago at Darden I was sitting in a room with a diverse group of students and the question was asked, “Why do all the Black students hang out together?” I understood what was really being asked and could help our students articulate not only their perspective but listen actively to the questioning student’s perspective. We didn’t solve world problems that day but we had one of the most honest and revealing conversations in which I’ve engaged at Darden. The conversations continued over time and we challenged ourselves to challenge others but to also include others, invite others, bring others into the conversation as much as possible.  I believe these early meetings and conversations led to some of Darden’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs under Dean Bruner’s leadership.  I’m not going to list them all here – frankly, there are too many to list – but I will share that the tide is shifting, the community is stronger and the experience is richer.

This may in part help explain why Admissions is changing the way we host diverse prospective students on grounds. We have done things the traditional way for so long:  Host several visit events and one other event geared toward diversity.  Admissions has been thinking about the look and feel of this type of recruiting programming for a long time but I think fear of breaking away from the crowd and appearing to be “insensitive” to diversity prevented movement…..until now.  This new generation of students is the most diverse we’ve ever seen. They think about diversity differently. They’ve experienced diversity differently. I’m not saying that they live in a utopian society where difference doesn’t matter, we know that’s not the case. But these students are smart, savvy and demand better.   Darden Admissions decided to give them better. Every Darden Admissions Open House is a Diversity open house.  Admissions went from offering one diversity open house to offering five.  Everyone who chooses to will learn about and experience our diversity partnerships, classes, community and diverse student body as it exists every day.   This is an inclusive approach. Everyone benefits from everyone else’s experience.  We call this Diversity 365 because it’s us/Darden as we are everyday.

The reason diversity works at Darden is because we leverage diversity in the classroom through the case method and because we practice student self-governance which requires engagement and leadership outside of the classroom. There is no other choice but to put different experiences, ideas, backgrounds to work to create value in regard to learning, extracurricular activity and the community as a whole. What good is diversity if it remains silent and unengaged? No good.

Kellie Sauls
Director, Diversity Initiatives and Programming
Associate Director Admissions

1 Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum is a book that explores the psychology of self-segregation.

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The Future With a Majority Minority

Recently a Census Bureau Report identified for the population under the age of one, the majority is now minority in regard to race. Basically, Hispanic, Black, Native and Asian Americans have assumed the majority in this youngest of generations and the Hispanic American population is leading the way in terms of growth in population. In the Darden Office of Diversity and Inclusion, we are constantly challenging ourselves to look at ways to impact the future leaders being educated here by influencing the community culture and the academic offerings. We truly believe that the best managers, leaders in business and in society, will be able to adeptly navigate a workforce that is increasingly becoming more diverse at a relatively fast pace. This adeptness requires not only practical intelligence but emotional intelligence as well. Over the next 20-30 years, the workforce will look dramatically different from today. The social, economic and political implications are significant. If MBA students (and academicians) are not preparing for this historical shift, then there will be a real deficit in how well companies and organizations compete.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2020 the percentage of whites in the labor force will shrink as the percentage of minorities and women will grow. That growth racially will be at a much faster pace among Asians and Hispanics and women will outpace men. Corporate leaders will be called upon not only to positively impact the bottom line but to advise, coach, lead a group of professionals who come from a generation that is the most diverse this country has ever seen. If one thinks about the skills needed to effectively manage in this future workforce so that companies can be in the best competitive position, those skills should include a prowess for navigating across diversity, identifying strengths, and leveraging them to the organization’s and employee’s benefit. How mainstream is this notion in business programs today? I really don’t know. I do know that Darden is, and I assume other graduate management programs are, constantly looking for ways to infuse diversity in all of the things we do well. We ask ourselves, is there an opportunity, where is the opportunity, can we create an opportunity and how best do we use that opportunity to help our students, our community gain a better understanding of diversity in this particular context?

A future where the majority is made up of the minority will challenge even the most skilled manager and leader if they are not prepared for the impact on the way business will be conducted. I offer these basic suggestions for starters:

1. Ask the Question – Often a question makes all the difference when looking at a business case/scenario; How is diversity impacting or impacted in this situation? Is there a diversity message we are sending by making this decision?

2. Read Up – there are some great articles addressing the topic of diversity in the workforce beyond 2020 and some futurists out there who have been researching and talking about this phenomenon for years. Check out the 2007 Forbes The Futurists article and The Arrival of the Thrivals, an article written in 2004 by Dr. Nat Irvin, II.

3. Check Your Social Circle – The best place to learn about differing viewpoints and experiences is in your circle of friends. If your circle is a bit homogeneous, that’s ok. Push yourself to meet people and establish relationships with those you perceive to be different from you.

4. Access Your Organization’s Resources – Diversity/Inclusion Offices, Employee Resource Groups, Professors and Libraries are great places to gain recommendations for events, workshops, professional networks and research to help expose yourself to various diversity topics/challenges facing professionals.

Our world is changing. Will we be ready?

Kellie Sauls
Director, Diversity Initiatives and Programming
Associate Director of Admissions

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Art + Diversity = Inclusion

I received an e-mail from one of my colleagues at work letting me know that she was part of the theatrical crew producing For Colored Girls at a local Charlottesville theatre. This colleague is very good about letting the Darden staff and faculty know about interesting theatrical productions with which she is engaged and inviting the community out to see the them. I am so glad she does that. “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” is a wonderful, landmark literary work that became a tony nominated Broadway play. In brief, it is the Black woman’s story with multiple facets as experienced through Ntozake Shange’s poetic pen. Seven women represented by various rainbow colors, share their stories of love, heartache, domestic violence, abortion, rape and abandonment. It is intense.

A group of Darden staff decided to see the play together. After some discussion the group decided that it wanted others in the community to participate. Darden has Staff/Faculty sections modeled after student classroom sections, to encourage staff and faculty to collectively impact the community around themes/topics that interest and matter to them. We have a “Create Your Own” cross section for those of us that want to be a bit less structured and more ad-hoc around our themes. As a result of the discussion, the “Create Your Own” cross section and the Darden Office of Diversity and Inclusion partnered to invite the entire Faculty and Staff group to see the play. Yes, we did.

Part of my initial reason for supporting this idea was simply about the artistic movement tradition itself. Think Social Realism, Mexican Muralism, Social Documentary Photography, Black Arts Movement – you get the idea. Often art has taken the mantel for social movement through music, dance, drama, still art, photography, etc., and placed it starkly in the face of the art patron. Art has made shadows light, what was disdained revered and what was shunned mesmerizing. For Colored Girls is a perfect example of how this was done. I thought seeing this cornerstone play would be a wonderful gateway to discussion about culture, social movement and diversity. What better way than with art. There were so many other reasons for supporting this idea, many personal, but this blog entry would then become way too long if I were to share. Suffice to say, at the end of the play there is a symbolic physical gesture that calls to mind self-empowerment combined with a mantra – “I found God in myself/and I loved her/I loved her fiercely.”

Not all faculty and staff participated but for those of us who did, it was a rewarding experience. Immediately at the conclusion of the play, the discussion turned to generational differences, the Feminist Movement and Black culture especially in the 60’s and 70’s. We couldn’t help ourselves. We shared personal stories about our own growth in cross cultural circumstances and if they hadn’t started turning out the lights, we might still be there talking. We’ve decided to have a brown bag lunch to continue our conversation but there are still conversations happening in the hallways today.

This isn’t the traditional Diversity activity you might expect to see at a business school. However, it is one that can have positive impact on the diversity and inclusion culture at a school. It’s happening here in real time.

Kellie Sauls
Director, Diversity Initiatives and Programming
Associate Director of Admissions

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