What makes a great company, being open to innovative ideas and the acceptance of differences? Diversity and inclusion are the foundational puzzle pieces of a great culture. Developing and nurturing a multicultural, multigenerational and global mindset of extraordinary talent.

When you hear the words Diversity and Inclusion, what do you think about? What runs through your mind immediately? As I sit and ponder, listen to comments around me, I find it fitting to share my thoughts.

The definition of diversity according to Webster is a noun: the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization. The word inclusion is a part of the pure definition of diversity; inclusion of people of different races and ethnic groups.

As I read the newspaper, turn on the television, or over hear a group of people talking in the grocery store, engaged in conversations about diversity they’re standing firm on what they believe diversity is or is not. I find myself restraining to play poker with no emotion or struggling to participate in their conversation. You see, I am a horrible poker player; I wear my emotion clearly on my sleeve. Are you wondering did I insert myself in their conversation? I did! The dialogue has to begin somewhere, why not in the grocery store.

 Diversity and inclusion make up who we all are, a group of people from different races and ethnic groups. I wish everyone; I really mean everyone, was open to getting to know someone different from him or her. Think of the various aspects of their culture you can learn from, or simply realize, there are a lot of similarities. If everyone engaged in getting to know just one other culture, just one, how different would our world be today? 

 I have tried to raise my son to respect and embrace differences in people, even if those beliefs are different from his own. He often asks, “Mom what’s the big deal, why are people so afraid of learning about our culture.” I sometimes don’t have an answer. As a child growing up, my son has always been apart of a diversified group of friends and family. Learning, growing and evolving, seeking answers to questions when being taught or told something new, and in return sharing our family culture with his friends. I am raising him with the same belief I was raised with, welcome. When you think of the word welcome, what immediately comes to mind, the front doormat right? Welcome, that is what diversity and inclusion personifies to me. Welcome to a different religions belief; Welcome to a different food choice, and welcome to a different sound of music. What do we have in common? We have a diverse sense of inclusion of our collective selves. When my son and I welcome unfamiliar cultural experiences we immediately think of “try new things” and we begin asking questions out of curiosity. 

In the workplace a true welcoming environment of diversity and inclusion can be seen and felt throughout a successful organization. It will show the freedom to be you, share your cultural differences and welcome inclusion. It will display a sense of family. As family members meet in the heart of the home, the kitchen, and enjoy tasty food, laughter and a sense of being with good people. That is what inclusion looks like.

Lastly, my mission as a parent is to simply teach my son to leave his thumbprint in life; to weave a fabric of diverse and inclusion. If I accomplish that, I have done my job.

Candace Reynolds

Corporate Director of Human Resources

Sandpiper Hospitality