Throughout last year, the Making Our Strong Community Stronger (MSCS) initiative discussed the importance of telling stories and creating a climate for success for everyone. We are shifting to demystify the challenges of isolation and loneliness that can occur when programs, training, support and other components of the ecosystem may not provide the holistic access, partnerships, and opportunities that unlock real belonging and potential for people, teams, and companies.
In keeping with our previous discussions, we are continuing our bold, open and honest dialog related to the experiences, challenges, and solutions to navigating DEI. But this time around, we’re bringing in one new, important factor—belonging—making our key initiative diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI-B).
A new article by TechChannel, an MSCS sponsor and contributor, shares the highlights of the February 23 webinar, “From Educators to End Users: Leveraging Holistic Approaches and the Importance of Belonging Across the Tech Ecosystem.”
For Chinedu Ibeh, Corporate Vice President, Enterprise Compute Services at New York Life, life has been a series of transitions, and with them, varying levels of belonging. “I got into corporate America and I felt lonely. I felt imposter syndrome. There wasn’t anyone that looked like me, that I could lean on or that maybe even had the experiences as I did. It was challenging,” he noted. Dr. Bullock had similar experiences of being isolated and misunderstood. After moving to the South from New Jersey, she noticed, “My dialect was different. I was misunderstood and had to learn how to adapt to the culture.”
On the other hand, Nicole Nwakalor, Specialist, Systems Engineering, Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud at Charles Schwab, found that coming from an African culture to the US, She felt a great sense of belonging. She says, “You would expect that you would only feel that sense of belonging from people that are of a similar race or culture as yourself, but for me it has been quite different. I have felt more welcomed and valued by people from a different background, culture and race than myself. They’re interested in knowing about my country and my culture.”
In each case, the panelist’s individual history and culture informed their experiences—and whether they felt a sense of belonging at work, at school or in their community. Nwakalor noted, “Diversity is not only in cultures; it’s in personalities, in academic grades and professionalism.”
Read the rest of the highlights here, or watch the video below.
The Making our Strong Community Stronger collaborative initiative on diversity, equity and inclusion, sponsored by Broadcom Mainframe Software, IBM, Open Mainframe Project, Rocket Software, TechChannel and VirtualZ Computing. Stay connected with the initiative on LinkedIn. Join the group here.