When you think about diversity, what springs to mind? The first things that people usually think of are factors such as age, gender, race, cultural background, etc., but there is far more to creating a diverse workplace than hiring people who fit into different age brackets or creating the perfect male to female ratio. Though we may share things in common with other individuals, at the end of the day, everyone is their own person and brings different things to the table, which is why diversity is so important among a team. City Year Jacksonville brings together people from all walks making your service year an experience like no other. Working outside your comfort zone and unlocking unique growth opportunities.
On my own team, I could go on and on about how the different personalities and backgrounds of each individual adds to the success of our service: From our individual educational experiences to the extensive work experience we each possess, we each bring different tools to the team making it easier to overcome any obstacle we face. If one of our team members has issues with completing a task, we have another that has the ability to not only help get the job done but also teach that individual how to successfully accomplish this task on their own in the future. For myself, I have had many issues arise during my service year. One example is with talking with businesses to ask for donations to support school events or initiatives. I had trouble expressing the importance to companies of why our organization would be beneficial to donate. However, my amazing teammate Mr. Pace is a wizard when it comes to securing generous donations. I know that if I had any personal issues going on, my TL, Mr. C is quick to sit down for a one-on-one to help me through these hardships. He was very crucial to my sanity throughout the year. When it came to completing a lesson plan, I relied upon Ms. G to help me think through how to provide a fantastic small group for my students and successfully teach them in the right way. There are so many more instances where my teams experience helped grow my own, but then this would look more like a final essay for a class rather than a simple blog post. All I can say in the end is that if my team were filled with all of the same kind of people with the same work ethics and backgrounds then the job we provide wouldn’t be as impactful as it is.
My service year has taught me this, diversity breeds innovation and innovation breeds success. Diversity is critical to an organization’s ability to adapt to a fast changing environment. Successful organizations do not build themselves up and then look at diversity as “something nice to have.” Diversity is a way of life, a mentality, a cultural movement and not just a strategy alone. It stems from respecting all kinds of people and enjoying the differences that it brings. This puts personal inhibitions and apprehensions on the back burner and allows tremendous growth to happen.