Today's opening session at ASAE's annual meeting centered on diversity, with a panel of experts moderated by Cokie and Steve Roberts. Since the lights were down, what I thought were thorough notes are more like a cross between ancient runes and the work of a demented chicken, but here are a few of the money quotes:
Thomas Dolan, Ph.D., FACHE, CAE, President and Chief Executive Officer, American College of Healthcare Executives: People have one thing in common--they're all different.
Steve Roberts: I always thought the real mixed marriage was between a man and a woman.
Patti Digh: I have yet to go into an association where the leadership isn't white males sitting around asking, "what should we do about diversity?" We need to ask who else needs to be at the table. (Patti highly suggested people read "White Privilege, Unpacking the Invisible Backpack," by Peggy McIntosh.)
[Blogger's aside: Patti's new book, Life Is a Verb, is now on sale. Buy it and you will not regret it, I promise. I'm eagerly awaiting my copy.]
Doug Klein with the Association of Conflict Resolution: As good is the enemy of great, tokenism is the enemy of inclusion.
Cokie Roberts: Men mean to; women do.
Steve Hanamura, Hanamura Consulting: When I get into an elevator with my friend who is black and six feet tall, the white women don't know whether to clutch their purses or hold the door (ok, for this to be funny you have to know that Hanamura is blind--differently sighted? I don't know what the correct term is these days.)
Doug Klein again, when asked what final words of advice he had: Just try. If what you're doing isn't working, do something else. But try.
Patti Digh again, same question: Remember that diversity is not a problem to be fixed.
Posts from others who wrote a lot more interesting things than I did on the opening session:
Honest words about diversity, for a change Diversity
Diversity(I love it when ACerS says this, "I had images of someone back at ASAE & The Center frantically trying to wrestle up a gay Asian American who uses a wheelchair." I had those thoughts, too).
Change the structure of the land (if you read one thing today, read this)