April 20, 2022

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are not new or development opportunities for me.  You see, fortunately, it’s been a part of my life since the day I was born.  I was blessed to be raised by colorblind, nonjudgmental, all-inclusive, loving, spiritual and nonmaterialistic parents.  So, I learned it the best way one possibly can, by observation, inquiry, application and repetition.  The “D”, the “E” and the “I”, are now firmly embedded in me as if delicately absorbed through genetic osmosis. 

I am intuitively aware of its presence or absence in every situation and facet of my life.  I instinctively support it and question the lack of its existence because I am fully aware of the dark shadow it quickly cast on all things, big and small.   To date, I have not and probably will never lead a DEI initiative.  Instead, I prefer to demonstrate its core principles, not by pontificating the latest “socially accepted” buzz words or acronyms, but by example, by my actions and by my decisions. 

Everyone is different, but for me, right now, this approach feels natural and genuine, not fabricated or anointed based on a job title or description.  For the record, given the current state of DEI today, the flares of distress should be deafening, coming from every direction and from different voices.  I believe the onus for lack of DEI should be borne and lead by the majority, not the minority.  The group “in need” of embracing a concept, by default, should also be the prominent face, voice and champion of its change. 

I am a dedicated DEI practitioner by choice and systemic design.  It remains one of the most powerful arrows in my ethical quiver.  I simply believe when something is an inherent part of who you are, there really is no need to artificially put in on display, “on cue”, for symbolism or as a stereotypical garment.   It is a part of the daily armor I wear because it detects, protects and reflects my core beliefs.  If you accept me, just know that DEI is ever-present.

About the Author Michael K. Francis

Michael is a C-Suite Business and Human Resources Executive with more than 30 years of professional experience in the public sector with four Fortune 500 companies, and as a Management Consultant. In 2020, he founded BEAM Executive Advisors, LLC to provide consultative services to clients based on collaborative relationships, trust, and integrity.

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