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Last night I had the privilege of meeting with some HR professionals different than me and sharing our experiences.

Our Diversity and Inclusion team met with members of the boards of IndySHRM and Diversity Round Table of Central Indiana for some good old-fashioned ice cream…or so I thought.

If you haven’t checked out TeeJay’s Sweet Tooth, you are missing out! I’d never tried Honey Lavender ice cream, let alone heard of a donut sandwich, but these are menu features at TeeJay’s and they are delicious! We talked about job transitions, company expansions, celebrated a new baby, and even learned about black hair care tips.

That’s the thing about diversity; learning about something different than what you’ve experienced can be as simple (and delicious) as ice cream.

This summer marked one year in our new home. We love the neighbors on our small street, but realized we still didn’t know a lot of them beyond names and faces. So, we threw a block party, fired up the grills and invited everyone who lived within earshot, because we happened to have a neighborhood band playing! I met the adult kids of my across-the-street neighbors and their multicultural family. I learned another neighbor is a killer guitar player, and yet another was a professional musician in a previous gig, as we threw him up on stage to play drums. This experience was fun and a little frightening for this organized planner (read control freak). I didn’t know who was going to come, how much food to make or how many chairs to set up. But it didn’t matter! It was the connections made and relationships formed that were the most fun.

I heard a woman on the radio who took this a step further. Kristin Schell placed a turquoise picnic table and a sign in her front yard and invited people over for a cup of coffee, lunch or just to talk. She said she was terrified that it would be a failure, but in just a few minutes, a neighbor stopped by to see what she was doing. Today, the Turquoise Table has become a meeting place for neighbors and strangers to hang out together. And now it’s a “thing.” The table has “spurred a front yard revival in our neighborhood and had become a welcome place for Front Yard People.” Check out Kristin’s website.

So, what will you do? Invite a co-worker from a different department out for a cup of coffee to learn about what is going on in “their world?” Ask someone to join your basketball league or join their fantasy football team this fall to get to know them better?

Next month, my family is attending the 38th annual FIESTA Indianapolis, the largest Latino cultural celebration downtown on September 14, to share Hispanic culture, celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latino community, and that of our son.

Will you visit a community center on a different side of town than you live in or eat at a restaurant with ethnically different food than you’ve ever tried? Yelp says Ethiopian, Peruvian and Indian are the best in Indy.

Maybe you could volunteer at a school, or library, or shelter, or anywhere…and get outside your comfort zone!

If you’re looking to improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace, reach out to Purple Ink! We offer “Diversity, Inclusion, and Hidden Bias” training and can even work with you to create a Diversity and Inclusion Plan for your organization.

Erin Brothers
Erin Brothers
Erin is a former member of the Purple Ink team. Erin’s top strength is Achiever and she truly enjoys working hard and gains energy by accomplishing more work. Every day starts at zero, and tackling projects big and small helps give that sense of accomplishment to benefit her clients, peers, family and friends.

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