My work place is very culturally diverse which isn’t too much of a surprise considering Focus: HOPE’s mission statement. I’ve noticed that Focus: HOPE’s employee base is very diverse and rages widely in age and race. While the office is quite diverse, the Hope Village Initiative (HVI) community surrounding the campus isn’t very diverse and has its own culture. I expected the culture of the community to possibly influence the way people spoke to and treated me as a person coming from an outside community. While mindfulness is very important when being within a new community culture, I was surprised by how accepting everyone has been. People have treated me as if I’d always been there, whether I’m in the office or the HVI area. What I feared would set me apart, has been an asset.
Coming into the HVI culture as an outsider has created ideas that long-term members hadn’t considered or noticed before. Although I expected my differences to cause me to be silent or shy, it has in fact done the opposite. All of the differences within the office creates a stronger, smarter group and more outward thinking. I attended a community outreach meeting this week where the community development department members participated in a brainstorming activity. All of the different cultural backgrounds created all kinds of different ideas, which led to more ideas that may have never occurred had other members not spurred the thoughts. It was an incredible feeling having everyone’s ideas ad cultures flowing to create a completely new culture of ideas. I am excited to be a part of my team’s culture and to share in other members’ experiences and to learn from them all.