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The magic of mixing things up

Faculty | Nov 02, 2017 |

Working in diverse teams is not always easy—but it’s worth it.

This was the core message delivered by two EY executives, Kenneth Bouyer and Karen Twaronite, MST ’95, during their presentation to Gabelli School faculty and administrators this week.

The two are responsible for the development of EY’s reputation as a leader in corporate diversity and inclusion. They came to share their findings from the field at Fordham, as the university seeks to deliver more fully on its mission to care for all people and to create the conditions for everyone to thrive.

Diversity is not just about race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class, Bouyer and Twaronite said. EY defines the concept broadly. It can include leadership style, country of origin, workplace expertise, educational background, generation, or other factors.

The executives said that in EY’s experience, ensuring that workplace teams include people who represent differences on many of these scales is important. This often results in tension, discomfort, or uncertainty as the groups do their work—in fact, diverse teams are less confident in their choices than homogenous ones. But the positive outcomes make all these obstacles worthwhile. They include a broader range of possible solutions, robust discussions, sharper critical thinking, and more on-target decisions.

Bouyer and Twaronite encouraged their audience to focus on developing a global mindset to make themselves stronger contributors to diverse teams. People with a global mindset tend to revel in adventure, feel self-assured, have an ability to empathize with how other people might think and feel, and can act diplomatically in workplace situations.

EY has discovered that promoting diversity and inclusion in its offices, which span the globe, has led to higher motivation, better physical and mental health, and improved career outcomes for its individual employees, as well as larger-scale benefits for the firm: higher quality, increased innovation, and better overall business performance.

Those values and outcomes are welcome at the Gabelli School, and likely at nearly every other organization around the world.

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