Posts Tagged ‘EEO’

The Real Impact of Diversity

March 14, 2011

On every search, clients require that we provide a diverse slate of candidates.  This is a serious responsibility for search professionals and the companies that we represent in the marketplace.  Yet, because identifying and presenting diverse candidates has become a matter of course, it can be easy to fulfill our mandate without thinking about, or truly understanding its importance.

On Tuesday March 8, the New York Times printed an article about the managers of Villanova’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.  Nick Gaynor is the freshman manager of the women’s team; Frank Kineavy is the sophomore manager of the men’s squad.  Both of these young men made the dean’s list last semester.  Both of them do their jobs in wheelchairs, because each of them has cerebral palsy.  Frank Kineavy is unable to speak, write or walk.  He uses a computer system that is built into his wheelchair to communicate.  Nick Gaynor can speak, but he cannot walk.  Jay Wright, the men’s coach, treats Kineavy like all the other student managers.  He is responsible for evaluating practice and game films, looking for energy, chemistry and all of the little things that the coach teaches.   Wright said: “He picked up concepts on what we do quicker than any player or any person in our program.”  Wright foresees an expanded role next season for Kineavy.

The women’s coach, Harry Perretta said of Gaynor: “His greatest contribution is his ability as a motivator.  We draw strength from Nick.  Way more than he draws from us.”  This last comment brought home something that I learned while spending the first seven years of my career working in social services.  Then, while running a group home for multi-handicapped blind people, I saw on a daily basis, incredible abilities, courage and decency.  I was highly aware that I learned more and gained more inspiration from the people I was paid to help than I could ever hope to provide them.

The value of diversity in hiring is far greater than meeting legal requirements. Most of us work to live and if we’re lucky, we form friendships that enrich our lives outside the workplace.  When we work with people whose lives inspire and teach us, we receive a gift that is beyond measure.

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