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Unpacking Diversity

Panel picture of Gitte Schjotz,; Dorri McWhorter; Marla Gottschalk; George Williams; Aaron Lawlor; Wendy Lewis, Wearing a red jacket, Marla Gottschalk speaks before the crowd, UL employee asks question of panel, ,

January 2, 2018

UL’s first Leadership Summit on Diversity and Inclusion, powered by the Women in Leadership Business Resource Group (WILBRG), drove home the role diversity and inclusion play in the employee experience, customer success and business results. It also showcased the impact that employee led groups can make when empowered by the enterprise.

Diversity is so much more than just a numbers game, yet many companies mistakenly measure their success solely upon simple metrics. This collective perspective from an esteemed group of global business and community leaders dominated UL’s first Leadership Summit on Diversity and Inclusion, an event held November 1st that was attended by more than 150 participants at the Northbrook, Ill., campus and 1,100 online viewers from around the globe.

Over the years, the concept of diversity has evolved into a multi-faceted concept that spans beyond the spectrum of more overt characteristics, such as gender and race, to now include creativity, ideas and a diversity of perspectives. In addition, while diversity and inclusion are often considered interchangeable, they are unique functions that must coexist in order to foster innovation and growth within an organization.

“People always say it’s all about the numbers, but the numbers really fail to focus on or tell you about a person’s acquired diversity – the experiences you bring, your background, your particular way of thinking and so on,” said UL Board Member and former CEO of The Pampered Chef, Marla Gottschalk, noting how her 30-year career has afforded her an array of observations and experiences on diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“It’s critical that we view a person’s inherent and acquired diversity together, because just adding up the numbers leads you to a place that’s a far, far cry from anywhere that’s inclusive in this world.”

The event also provided enlightened insight from Dorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago; Wendy Lewis, Chief Global Diversity Officer and VP of Community Engagement, McDonald’s Corporation; George Williams, UL Board Member and CEO, PMI Energy Solutions; Aaron Lawlor, Lake County Board Chairman; as well as Marla Gottschalk.

“We are experiencing, both inside and outside of the workplace, a renaissance in humanity like we’ve never experienced, not only here in America – where we’re very loud about it – but throughout the globe,” said Lewis.

“The answers are there because they’ve always been there. They lie within the people themselves.”

UL has a renewed commitment to diversity and inclusion. The event was organized by one of the business resource groups who help drive change and foster internal dialogue on various topics.

“I am proud of all the people who have become personally involved and emotionally connected in furthering UL’s diversity and inclusion journey,” UL CEO Keith Williams said. “We know it is just beginning; however, an event like this is a symbol of our commitment and dedication.”

A new year brings a host of resolutions. For 2018, commit to inclusion by being open to new ideas and interacting with different people. Get out of your comfort zone and embrace diversity.