Diverse people hands holding each other.
Time to raise your voice to claim a deserved space. Photo: Pixabay.

The 5 dualities of diversity and inclusion

Mónica Díaz, award-winning author and thought leader, presented a motivational talk at HACR's Annual Symposium.


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Through an honest and entertaining presentation, the renowned Human Resources senior leader invited attendees of the 30th edition of this important Latino business leadership event to reflect, beyond good intentions, on actions that can cause a real impact when it comes to making diversity a daily practice within companies.

With 25 years of experience in global leadership on diversity and inclusion, focused on offering a framework for Latino professionals to transcend in their workplaces, Mónica Díaz shared the experiences of almost a decade on corporate boards, compiled through the notes that she was taking while helping to develop more diverse organizations, and that point a path, both for companies to back up their words of inclusion with action, and for Hispanic professionals to raise their voices and show that they have what it takes to get on the right track with their companies toward success.

Díaz, who has a B.A. in Psychology (Magna Cum Laude) and a M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, also completed an Executive Leadership Institute program at the Tuck School of Business (Dartmouth College).

From Theory to Practice

“From Intent to Impact: The 5 Dualities of Diversity and Inclusion” is the name of her book, as well as the presentation that sheds light on how to effectively carry out diverse hiring processes at a business level.

Díaz first points out the difference between two types of leaders:

1. Leaders who “get it”

  • Those who notice those inequities that others like them do not necessarily perceive.
  • They ask more questions about people who are different from themselves.
  • They help others connect the key points about those differences.

2. Leaders who “don't get it”

  • They may have good intentions, but may not be aware of the negative impact.
  • They may not have the life or work experiences necessary to understand the importance of the differences that matter most in the lives of others.
  • They can benefit from exposure, hands-on, and sometimes immersion experiences to become more culturally relevant, especially about specific differences between humans.

The 5 Keys

“It is important to reflect, when advancing professionally, on the decisions we have to make, how much I want to sacrifice, how much I am willing to change to reach leadership positions,” Díaz told attendees, referring to the fact that no one is going to give them anything and that they are the ones who have to take the initiative to make the changes happen.

Díaz also invites professionals to proudly bring their set of values to companies, as well as to embrace differences, highlight identity and think about the ways in which they can stand out individually and collectively.

Díaz added:

We are good at connecting with people. We want to be experts in them, not just in 'Latinidad'

These are the 5 points to keep in mind:

  1. Connect and Learn: Points out the importance of finding and establishing connections based on respect and what Díaz highlights as “genuine curiosity.” A balance between similarities and differences.
  2. Think and Know: Points to the importance of evaluating personal observations and consulting real data before drawing conclusions about people.
  3. Pain and Possibility: Highlights the value of understanding and working with the authentic reasons of those involved to deal with the differences that may exist.
  4. Risk and Invest: It is important to change the concept of diversity as a risky strategy for companies, and begin to appreciate it as a real investment and growth opportunity for organizations.
  5. Perform and Innovate: It is key to put into practice inclusive behaviors to manage human differences, which can lead to greater innovation.

Díaz has been recognized as a Team Innovation Leader (CTHRA, 2017), named one of the Most Influential Minorities in Cable Television (CableFax, 2015, 2016, and 2017), awarded the Multicultural Leadership Award (Tri-State Diversity Council, 2015), included as one of the Top 10 Leadersby Hispanic Executive Magazine (2014), and selected by Hispanic Business Magazine as part of its Top 50 Influencers (2013) and 100 Influencers (2011).

She currently serves as the Vice President and Board Member of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and has served as a Board Member and Advisor to organizations supporting working mothers, preventing relationship violence, developing Latinas in business and others.


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