I get asked this question a lot and honestly, my answer changes every time. Sometimes I give a personal reason, sometimes I give a professional reason, and sometimes I just give up and hope someone will give me an answer. D&I is so broad that I feel any response is always lacking something.
Growing up, it was really difficult for me to pinpoint where I was from. Born in Singapore to Indian immigrant parents, my family and I moved to the United States when I was 3 years old. From then, we shuffled back and forth from the US to India, the former shaping the majority of my childhood experiences. I remember longing for a sense of belonging in at least one of the countries I identified with. Being an Indian American, I would find, often times, I was too American for India or too Indian for America. When that sense of belonging was lost, I would feel unappreciated and my drive to succeed became inhibited.
Eventually, I understood that I was far from the only person to feel this way. What everyone craves is a feeling of belonging; a feeling that is essential to both individuals and workplaces. I believe that promoting diversity and inclusion has the ability to transform a workplace into one of belonging, respect, and success.In my leadership capacities, I have always made it a point to implement diversity and inclusion policies because I have seen the effects first-hand. When implemented, my team’s communication increased, admiration for co-workers strengthened, and the quality of our services became unparalleled.
So this my answer for "Why D&I?". It took many years for me to be completely comfortable in who I am and where I am from. It took even more years for me to find a balance that resonated with me. I want to play a central role in an organization's growth and success and am of the belief that D&I is one of the main ways to get there.