Antonio Guterres is the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Guterres served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, was president of the European council, and co-chaired the first European Union- Africa summit. In his public service, Guterres was witness to the suffering of people in war zones and refugee camps, some of the most vulnerable people on Earth. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, he is determined to make human dignity a cornerstone of his work.
Dignity in interpersonal relations is of critical importance. Further, there are hundreds of references that affirm the statement that inclusion begins with the core belief that everyone deserves dignity and respect.
Guterres’ confirms his commitment to dignity and inclusion when he states, “The fact that societies are becoming increasingly multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-religious is good. Diversity is a strength, not a weakness.”
Or, as Ola Joseph (renowned Nigerian-born inspirational speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of “Voices of Courage-Everyone Has a Story" and "Soaring On The Wings of Courage -The Art of Self Encouragement" amongst others) puts it, “Diversity is not how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.”
Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is more than just new policies, headcounts, or simply checking a box. A successful D&I Program has the potential to unlock an environment where our employees feel welcomed, valued, and heard. It will teach us to celebrate our unique differences and learn how diversity makes us stronger. Diversity is not solely about race, gender, or age. Diversity includes all the minuscule details that separate you from the individual working beside you. Diversity encompasses what city you grew up in, your hobbies, raising children, religion, politics, and education level. Diversity knows no boundaries. When we leverage our diversity and create an inclusive workplace, we can create a powerhouse of advantages for our customers.
One of Pace’s Annual Company Goals is to focus on getting the right people in the right seats with team member retention. Research demonstrates benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace, such as higher revenue growth and greater readiness to innovate. Research has also proven increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool and more than five times higher employee retention. Inclusion in the workplace is one of the most important keys to retention.
Partnering with Dr. Djoly Souffrant
Pace adviser and consultant, Djoly Souffrant Ph.D., is helping Pace along this path. While at FedEx Ground, Dr. Souffrant was responsible for managing FedEx's contract with Pace and nurturing the Pace relationship. All along, he managed over 300 other vendor relationships for Ground. He contributed mightily to FedEx’s success through his management and leadership, including strategic planning as well as the execution of numerous engineering projects, negotiations, financial planning, systems development, transportation management and support, and contract management for FedEx vendors, such as Pace.
“The engineering side of transportation was just math, which I enjoy, but it didn't light a fire within me," Djoly remarked. "Human development has always been my passion. When I had the opportunity to develop new leaders, watch them grow and change, that's what made my heartbeat faster." Dr. Souffrant's dedication "to the people aspect," inspired him to launch his consulting practice, where he specializes in both business and personal strategy. "Be Inspired to find your greatness," is the challenge he poses. Seeking to help organizations and individuals accelerate growth through the creation of custom-built, results-based solutions, Djoly firmly believes that "people are at the root of every solution." Djoly inspires those he works with to "grow beyond their comfort zone," and aims to help them reach their full potential.
“I created this company because I realized that despite whatever success leaders have, there will always be difficult circumstances that present themselves. I want to help them to not only survive, but to triumphantly overcome those circumstances. True leaders do not seek followers,” Djoly states. “They seek to always influence and inspire others to be the best version of themselves.”
Diversity & Inclusion Training
Pace team members recently had the pleasure of participating in our first Diversity and Inclusion Training with Dr. Souffrant this April. Matt Lawrence, Pace CEO and President, opened the discussion by stating, “Consistent with our culture and core values, strong commitments to diversity and inclusion add value to our investments in our people and our teams.”
Pace Chief Operating Officer Casey Crook expressed his belief that “we want to invest and contribute in positive ways to the communities we live in. We get the opportunity to make a difference bigger than the company we are.”
During our first session, Djoly helped Pace team members understand the basics. “Diversity is who we all are as people,” he said. “Inclusion is how we behave with each other. It is how we leverage the great diversity of experiences, ideas, talent, and abilities we bring to our work. Inclusion is the key to maintaining a diverse talent pool.”
Pace Team Members and Djoly explored the benefits that diversity at all levels of an organization guides us toward - a dynamic that not only strengthens the bottom line, but more importantly, improves long-term sustainability. “An organization composed of people with differing backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints will often see a problem in a different light,” Djoly said to our team. “This results in problem-solving arriving at different alternative solutions, and that increases the probability that one of those solutions will be not only the right solution, but maybe a game-changer. In our world of fast-moving and fast-changing business environments, those organizations will be better positioned to appropriately adapt and innovate, yielding a competitive advantage.”
Benefits of Inclusive Company Cultures
Pace learned that inclusive organizational cultures are 2X as likely to meet or exceed financial goals compared to other cultures; are 3X times as likely to be high performing; are 6X more likely to be agile and innovative; and 8X more likely to produce better business outcomes.
We also saw data concluding that eighty-three percent of employees are more likely to be fully engaged, productive, and loyal to the organization that has an inclusive culture.
Why Diversity Matters
It’s obvious that we can all strive to do better. A company’s financial results, competitive advantage, and market share are important. But we know the vein of Diversity and Inclusion runs deeper than that. Commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace and community is the only way to work collectively and harmoniously toward our mission – Serving and Improving Lives Through Logistics.
As an old Islamic proverb reminds us, “A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.” And a bouquet, of course, adds a little beauty to the world.