Bridging Differences

On Wednesday, October 12th, I attended a panel about bridging differences in the workplace. Below is what I learned from each speaker.

Victor Ayara- Victor came to the United States from Nigeria. He talked about how learning cultures need to go farther. There is more to culture than eating the food and learning dances from a culture. The world is becoming more interconnected. Learning more from different cultures will help you work where the demand is for your skill set.

Saed Ibsais- Saed talked about how Wells Fargo has mandatory diversity training every year. This applies for the people who have taken the class already. The class is every year because the content is updated and continues to evolve. He also mentioned working on “global teams”. Those are teams from all over the globe and different cultures. Knowing their culture helps the team accomplish the outcome.

Dr. Francois Loiselle- Dr. Loiselle has started his career in France. He currently interacts with people in Argentina, Chile, Brazil Australia, the Philippines, and India. He believes that diversity is for businesses who want to be competitive. and that backing diversity from management helps performance.

Check Montgomery- Chuck talked about how IBM sends 500 of their employees overseas to work on projects all over the world. I love the idea of companies giving their employees a new awareness. This also helps their global operations together. This, to me, is a win-win mentality that helps all parties involved.

Linda Sabic- Linda speaks four languages at home. English, french, Bosnian, and Arabic can be heard. She spoke how most European children learn multiple languages in school. She said the best way to learn about a culture is to ask questions to show your curiosity.

I very much enjoyed hearing from this panel. Hearing them, I thought back to my month of adventure in England. I learned many differences between American English and British English. I got to experience the holiday season and what the culture is like. I learned about Boxing Day, a day I saw on only on the calendar at home. I got to experience misconceptions that people had about the United States. I got the opportunity to explain how I lived and debunk those misconceptions. I loved my month there and plan to travel more.

I think of the friends I’ve made with people around the world. Friends from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, England, and more. I learn more about their customs and how they view the world. It shows the face of the world. There is so much more than what is shown on the news. There is much more that is behind the headlines. People are good. Going abroad exposes people to that.

I’ve also been working on languages. I currently use Duolingo and am learning Spanish. I enjoy it. I’ve changed my facebook language settings to Spanish. This gives me a chance to practice interacting with the language in a way that is beyond the lessons.

As a business major, I see having intercultural skills being crucial. Working at Disney, I worked with people all over the globe. I had a cast member who was from South Korea. I helped him learn American english slang from different regions. Helping him learn what the guest went helped him give the guest a better experience. Also, I recently came back from England, so I got to talk about my trip to guests from England. This was a bonus for the guests. Talking about their country made them feel more at home.