My DEI Journey

I’m always thinking about what Team Infracore can do better and how we can be better.

Doing better for most companies is typically associated with higher financial goals and being better is typically associated with growth at the individual level (certifications, exercising, reading motivational books, etc.).

The key for me is finding opportunities for Infracore to implement initiatives that can help us do better and be better as an organization for the sake of creating a great place to work and providing best-in-class service to our clients. For the last 10+ years, our company-wide leadership development program has been a perfect example of this type of initiative.

I am still in the discovery stages of my Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey, but I’m passionate about identifying key initiatives around DEI in order to have a much greater impact on ME/WE/WORLD.

ME: how each of us individually feel about this topic
WE: how our team shows up in this domain
WORLD: how everyone sees us and the impact we can have globally

In January 2021, I set out to find the best way for us to take the next step in learning more about DEI. With the help of Kobe Bogaert, our Chief of Staff, we identified a true virtuoso in the field of DEI. Her name is Nolitha Tsengiwe and we’ve been working with her since from her home base in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Where did our DEI journey with Nolitha begin?  With the following request:

Watch the video of Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem “The Hill We Climb” and answer the following questions:

  • How does what she says land with you? What does it mean to you?
  • What does it bring up for you?
  • How do you see this as relevant, if at all, in your life?

For me, it was the perfect place to start, because I had watched Amanda’s speech live and I remember feeling inspired and hopeful, and it gave me a renewed sense of pride to be an American. The seed Amanda planted in my head (and in my heart) had done its job.

I, in turn, would like to make a request of you: No matter where you are in your DEI journey, watch Amanda’s video and answer the questions above to see where it takes you (and if you feel comfortable, share your thoughts in the comments section below).

Cheers,
Paymon

The Hill We Climb
  by Amanda Gorman, Jan 20, 2021

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice

And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished

We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one

And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree

And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we climb

If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated

In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free

We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens

But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with

Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

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