What visiting New York taught me about diversity and inclusion

Last week, I had the greatest pleasure of taking a short break to visit the concrete jungle that is Manhattan, New York. It was my first visit to the States in 10 years and my first to New York. However, what amazed me was that New York is exactly like in the movies: busy, busy and busy. A daily influx of tourists married with the densely populated city that it is made it a place that was highly diverse in all manners.

With all the madness that we see in the news here in the UK about the USA, it was very refreshing to see that New York is an immigrant rich and thriving diverse city. Nearly every store front to bank, TV stations to police had representation of people from different genders, religions, ethnicity etc.

In this post, I wanted to share two fantastic examples which I believe highlighted the core essence of diversity and inclusion in New York.

Firstly, it is important to note the key themes which resonated in all the examples that I came across over the few days I was there: people and purpose.

NBCUniversal Studios

On my second day, I had the great opportunity of visiting the NBC Universal Studios for a tour of the birthplace of broadcast TV. From the moment you walk in, you are greeted by staff from the studios who are known as Pages.

The NBCUniversal Page Programme is the premier early career development in media experience for college grads eager to begin a carer into the media industry. Within the 12 month programme, Pages gain rotational experience in various areas within the company whilst serving as company ambassador.

(Source: NBCUniversal Twitter; no photos were allowed on the tour)

And it was quite noticeable that the NBCUniversal Store, the tour and all other aspects of the Studio were led by Pages strongly dominated by females from all backgrounds. Every single one of them knew the story about the company, the impact it has had upon the lives of billions over the decades and more importantly, the impact it has had on their lives respectively.

At the beginning of the tour, Al Roker (NBC Weatherman) welcomes all guests through a video which introduces the tour and what to expect, but also highlights the history of NBCUniversal and the role its story in society.

In talent attraction, there’s no better way to create an ecosystem that allows talent attraction to thrive than to have role models and ambassadors championing their purpose and in turn, the company.

Macy’s

Macy’s is a US department store chain largely dominated by brands who hold store space across the many floors. In fact, for many Brits, whenever we think of Macy’s, we think of the US.

I want to draw your attention to this poster below from their February campaign celebrating Black History Month. What struck me about this campaign was that it brought together visitors and employees to and from Macy’s to celebrate and recognise the contribution of African-American people music, film fashion and more which continue to inspire culture today.

When I visited the link on the poster (www.macys.com/celebrate ) I saw stories of current employees within Macy’s from across the talent pipeline sharing a very short message about themselves and how they are recognising Black History Month.

Very similar to NBCUniversal, Macy’s uses the power of storytelling to share the integral role of their people and their purpose to empower those from the Afro Caribbean American community that they have a purpose and a voice in society, and that their voice has had a significant impact on culture of the fashion industry whether it be in past, present and future.

The two examples above reinforce the importance of building a culture within an organisation that empowers people and the need for to have a purpose. Naturally, the two together will enable a conveyor belt of role models who will champion your organisation and the great work you do.

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