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Why today’s leaders must fully embrace diversity or else
Published on April 27, 2022 10 min
Other Talks in the Series: Key Concepts: Leadership Theory and Practice
Hello. My name is Christopher Achua. My students call me Professor Achua or Dr. Achua, and my friends and colleagues call me Chris. I teach in the Department of Business and Economics at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. My teaching has always centered around three disciplines; strategic management, marketing and organizational leadership. Throughout the years, my interests have been in engaging students in real life learning opportunities. This interest led me to create and direct programs, such as the Center for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Service and The Small Business Institute at my university. These programs focused on developing students leadership and entrepreneurial skills by applying theory to real world situations. Though these programs are no longer in existence due to funding constraints, the message and the goals of programs such as these are still relevant even today. My presentation today focuses on the topic, "Why Today's Leaders Must Embrace Diversity or Else".
Simply stated, diversity is the inclusion of all groups at all levels in an organization.
What is the reality of these changes? Let's focus on some of the legislative and cultural trends that have led to the multicultural society that we are all a part of here in the United States. In 1964, the United States government passed the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act outlawed most types of employment discrimination, which brought into the workforce minority groups, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans, that had been left out previously. In 1990, the United States passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act outlawed discrimination against people with disabilities. This meant a lot of employers had to make their facilities handicapped accessible with walkways and driveways that could accept wheelchairs. Again, this brought a lot of people, who were formerly left out of the workforce, into the workforce. Then you have increased immigration into the United States. Unlike recent times, the American philosophy has always been to embrace diversity and engage in constructive immigration of people from different countries. This open immigration system, I shouldn't say open immigration system, just liberal immigration system, led to more racially and ethnically mixed populations coming into the United States. This has led to a demographic mix in the United States that results in more racial or ethnic groups in the population, greater gender diversity in the population and greater age diversity in the population.