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Getting Real about Workforce Diversity

Speech transcript on “Real About Diversity” first delivered to the Tri-State Human Resource Management Association Diversity Program (October 26, 2012). Learn more about this keynote & view presentation slides here.

Until I did it for me

I ponder the numbers a lot these days. —25 years of service in human resource management, overseeing employment of thousands of people.  Yet I never came across a job candidate who was deaf or hard of hearing that was apparent or known to me.  And I never, not even once, directed workplace accommodations or otherwise assisted an employee who I knew to be deaf or severely hard of hearing. Of that great honor, I had zero experience.

Until I did it for me! Since losing hearing in June 2010, I served as Vice President of Human Resources and lived the experience in the workplace.  Oh what humble paradox that this was my stock-in-trade!

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Don’t You Dare Apologize!

Humbling Down Disclaimers

People insist to say that, if they had to do it all over again, they wouldn’t change a thing. But that, of course, isn’t true of anyone.

Humbling down the opposite position ain’t all that remarkable either.  Good leaders reflect self-critically, readily admit mistakes and strive open-mindedness–all good.  But too often we pride ourselves in paradox about our own humility.  What folly it is to proclaim our worse flaws and dredge up our biggest mistakes as if it were an honorable expression of self-honesty.

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Experience Without a Sound

Speaker Match

Back in a day as a newbie presenter I was naturally keen to network, learn and try on my pitch with like-minded public speakers. I joined a select few among the gazillion public speaker Groups on LinkedIn, including one called SpeakerMatch.  There, I navigated to a VERY active discussion string which proffered the following for comment:

There are a million people who share YOUR story. What makes you stand out as a speaker? Why should anyone hire you? What makes you stand out? 

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