Connect Diversity is an intimate event that focuses on multicultural and LGBTQ business in the meetings and events industry. Everyone arrives ready to accept and support one another for who they are and what their company stands for. The all-around open-mindedness is truly inspiring. This year, Indian Sikh speaker Ritu Bhasin talked about growing up as in the U.S. with immigrant parents placing her in schools aiming to conform her in order to be “successful,” and politician Stacey Abrams opening up the conversation about racism and sexism in government affairs. The event spurred conversations that will travel with each attendee as they continue to discuss these important topics in detail across the globe. As a short synopsis, here are the main takeaways from the energizing event that should help you in both your professional and personal lives.
No one can define who you are except for you.Bhasin talked about her upbringing and how her Indian heritage always played a large role in her life at home. But when she went to school and eventually into work, it took a back seat. She was bullied and ridiculed by classmates for the way she dressed and the color of her skin. Moving into her professional career, where she found much success as a lawyer, she was afraid to show her true self for fear of being seen as weak or not smart enough. She eventually broke away from her norm and created a new one: Bhasin Consulting Inc. Her company is a diversity and inclusion-focused consulting firm. Since startup, she has gained a global reputation for her work in leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and women’s advancement.
Stand up for who you are.When it comes to event planning, being authentic is key. No one wants to go to a duplicated event, just like no one wants to meet a copycat. Variety is the spice of life, and embracing who you are as an individual adds that spice to the world you are living in, whether you’re aware of that positive impact or not. To be who you are and to be proud of it isn’t easy for everyone. Finding a support system, like the company you work for, that embraces your same morals and values adds to your ability to stand firm in your beliefs and identity.
When you are brave, others will be too.There is truth behind the saying, “There is strength in numbers.” No one wants to be left out. As humans, we chase after a sense of belonging and, until we find it, we may take on many characters to play the part that makes us feel the most comfortable. Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost Georgia’s governor’s race, explained that all it took was others believing in her and her mission that allowed her to be the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African-American House Minority Leader. It takes courage to stand up for you are and what you believe in, but it only takes one person to spark change.