Inviting Diversity into the Workplace Creates Thriving Organizations–Blog by Jean Hanvik

Inviting Diversity into the Workplace Creates Thriving Organizations–Blog by Jean Hanvik

“Diversity really means becoming complete as human beingsall of us. We learn from each other.”

Juan Felipe Herrera

As a long-time entrepreneur with considerable tours of duty in “Big Corporate” and “Big Consulting,” I couldn’t resist the invitation to attend a recent University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative seminar titled, “Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money and Happiness in the Second half of Life.” The seminar was led by MPR’s Chris Farrell who has released a book by the same name.

“Older Americans aren’t doddering life away as antiquated stereotypes and tasteless jokes suggest,” says Farrell. “The swelling number of Americans 50 and older and their experiments in rethinking and reimagining the second half of life will have a profound impact on everyday life in America.”

Farrell’s focus on the infinite entrepreneurial opportunities that lie before America’s aging — and experienced, reliable, stabilizing and eager — population, coupled with helping the Minnesota Health Action Group prepare for the Annual Employer Leadership Summit, reignited my interest in promoting the value of workplace diversity.

Action Group members and friends of The Action Group know from experience that we are able to accomplish more together than any of us can alone. There is strength in our collective voice and progress through our united action. The Summit is one way we bring people together to create stronger, more inclusive workplaces.”

Carolyn Pare, Action Group President and CEO

A path to exciting possibilities at this year’s Summit

The Summit will open new pathways to diversity discovery, inspiring attendees to imagine the exciting possibilities that lie ahead if we adapt to the shifting nature of the workplace with enthusiasm, speed and agility. In addition:

  • We’ll examine how the principles of ethnography have the power to change workplace conversations and cultures.
  • Innovation will take center stage as past winners of the Innovator’s Showcase recount their remarkable success — and a host of new entrepreneurs share their vision for making health care more affordable and accessible.
  • High-profile, successful women who have forged unique paths when faced with pivotal career choices will lay to rest those antiquated older worker stereotypes and tasteless jokes!
  • A diverse and seasoned panel will focus on opportunities to achieve mental health inclusiveness and parity.
  • Summit sponsors will be on hand with solutions for the health and well-being challenges employers are facing today and into the future.

While all of The Action Group’s Summits are designed to inspire fresh thinking, forge new business relationships, and challenge the status quo, this year’s event promises to deliver even bigger returns. During a time of unprecedented political disharmony, we will pause to set aside preconceived notions about intergenerational rivalries, abilities and disabilities, and equal (and unequal) opportunities, opening our hearts and minds to the limitless possibilities ahead for those who are courageous and committed to investing in the workforce of tomorrow.

Did you know?

  • Over a quarter of new businesses are started by the 55-64 age group, and older workers or ‘perennials,’ as this cohort has sometimes been called — make up the fastest-growing population of workers, with twice as many seniors as teenagers currently employed in the U.S.
  • Grandma Moses first picked up a paintbrush at age 76; Peter Roget invented the Thesaurus at age 73; Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book at age 64; Ghandi led his most important quest for Indian independence at age 61; and Ray Kroc set out to build the McDonald’s brand at age 52 (having spent 17 years as a paper cup salesman and another 17 as a milkshake machine salesman).
  • A recent Forbes study revealed that 85 percent of global enterprises polled agree or strongly agree that diversity is crucial to fostering workplace innovation.
  • Between 2000 and 2050, new immigrants and their children will account for 83 percent of growth in the working-age population.
  • People of color own 22.1 percent of U.S. businesses; gay or transgender people own about five percent; women own 28.8 percent, with Latina-owned businesses the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market.

Jean Hanvik is The Minnesota Health Action Group’s Director of Communications