15 November 2011

The Pointy end of Diversity

There's a popular saying about "going where no man has gone before" and it's always resonated with me because I've enjoyed going where no one like me has gone before and it hasn't always been easy.

Boldly stepping outside the prescribed places that society, people, and myself have thought I should occupy, I learned so much about the world. I learned that I am a survivor. I get broken and bruised and smashed around a bit on occasion but at the end of the day I dust off, stand up, try again. It's called living.

Disheveled Debbie - that's me. I've learned most of what I've learned about diversity as part of diversity initiatives. I like to refer to it as the "pointy end" of diversity. I was a mechanic in the military without a role model. I worked in many jobs where I was the first woman to take on that role and sometimes I surprised myself as much as I surprised others.

Disability doesn't stop me as I push the limits of what that means for a person. I went to law school and learned very important lessons the hard way. I thought it would do me in. But in true spirit, I picked myself up and one day I said - where's the lesson - what can I tell others about stepping out and going where no woman, no single mom, no rural Newfoundlander from a family without privilege has gone before. I'm able to do that - bring those lessons to others who may want to step out. They don't need to reinvent the wheel although adults love learning from doing. Maybe an ounce of prevention will be a pound of cure.

My new book - with a temporary title about the "pointy end of diversity" is all about sharing those lessons. I'm going to traditionally publish it and self publish at the same time. I've started speaking about the chapters and informing others about diversity and courage. I love the direction my career is taking me and I am also inspired by other people's response to what I do.

Stay tuned for some of those stories as I travel through this next leg and thanks for your support.

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