Diversity Keynote Speaker
True diversity is about diversity of thought and diversity of experiencesInquire About Speaking
Chad E. Foster on Diversity
Diversity Keynote Speaker
Are you interested in finding a diversity keynote speaker who can help unlock innovation to power your business? A diversity keynote speaker who has lived over 20 years in a mainstream majority, and another 20-plus years as a disabled minority? A diversity keynote speaker who understands the link between differences and driving business value?
Innovation is key to success in today’s competitive landscape, and diversity is key to innovation. When we come together and share our unique perspectives, we can create amazing things.
A typical diversity keynote speaker may talk about how people look, but being blind, I’m not the best person to talk about how people look. True diversity goes beyond surface level appearances. True diversity is about diversity of thought and diversity of experiences.
As a diversity keynote speaker and person of diversity, I’ve discovered the following tips help to unlock the value of including everyone.
Curiosity Creates Connection
To unlock the value of diversity you can’t assume you’ve got all of the answers. You’ll need to be open and curious about new learnings.
Although it’s tempting to think that you can understand the road that others travel, it’s not possible unless you have those experiences for yourself. Before I went blind, I also thought I could at least imagine what others experience. After going blind however, I quickly learned that I had no idea.
The ignorance and the assumptions I faced as a blind man were breathtaking. Having spent over 20 years in the mainstream majority, and another 20-plus years as a disabled minority, I’ve experienced two very different social groups – along with their associated social behaviors. Before going blind, I could’ve imagined asking some of the very same questions that others asked me. While some of those comments seem offensive now, I could’ve asked some of those very same things as a fully-sighted young man. So, how can I blame the individual for not knowing any better? They’re limited by their experiences – is that their fault?
But if you stay curious, keep a dash of humility in your approach, and seek to learn from others, you’ll acquire tremendous nuggets of wisdom while gaining influence with those around you.
Our Experiences Give Us Gifts
When we can figure out how to harness your different abilities, we get better outcomes. For example, years ago when leading the pricing of technology outsourcing deals, part of my job was managing a bunch of spreadsheets. These were huge deals. Some over $1 billion. so the spreadsheet system we used was unusually complicated. I’m sure some people looked at me with my Seeing Eye dog and wondered if the dog was going to help me with the hundreds of financial models we used!
The hard truth is, people doubted whether or not I could do the work. And I used that as motivation. You see, some people were judging my ability to use this spreadsheet system based on my lack of eyesight. But what they didn’t know, is that my blindness gave me an advantage.
IN order to just use the spreadsheet tool, I had to write computer code to connect my screen reading software to the spreadsheet program. So, my lack of eyesight gave me better vision. I had to see the spreadsheet system more deeply just to use it. And after several weeks I became an expert with our financial models. I even got so good at it, that when I needed a formula for a spreadsheet that Microsoft didn’t include, I could write my own custom formulas using computer code.
Pretty soon, I was building automation tools that the entire global team used to save countless hours each week. I’d started off just trying to do my job, but I ended up saving the company a substantial amount of time and money across our department. That’s right, the blind guy, who can’t even see his computer screen, wrote code for spreadsheets to save everybody time and money. They couldn’t believe it.
I became more focused, more fearless, and more technical because of my situation, but there are a ton of things I’m terrible at. None of us can be excellent at everything. Which is why we need to surround ourselves with people who are good at what we’re not.
Combining Differences Makes Us Stronger
Did you know that a mixture of metals is stronger than a pure metal? A mixture of metals, or alloy, requires metallic bonding that’s not uniform. This unique metallic bonding makes better metals. A great example of this is steel. Steel is stronger, more flexible, and it’s less prone to corrosion than pure iron. And guess what, alloys are even less expensive than pure metals to make. Even metals are better off when they bring their differences together!
As with metals, bringing together people with different ideas improves overall outcomes. And people’s differences are mainly due to the diverse experiences in their lives. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute , genetically, all people are 99.9% alike. With a .1% difference due to genetic makeup, it stands to reason that our experiences account for our diverging beliefs and points of view. We’re all limited by what our narrow life experiences have taught us. With the same life experiences, it’s likely that we’d have the same beliefs and points of views as people who seem so different from us.
Diversity Drives Innovation
Research shows that being a lot alike does not make us better as a team. The best teams avoid groupthink, where great teams are made up of individuals who feel comfortable respectfully expressing different points of view. This healthy tension is what drives innovation. Just like a little friction helps to sharpen a knife blade, it’s also a key ingredient to sharpen team performance and business outcomes.
For example, a McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform their peers. And companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to outperform their peers.
Companies with diverse teams are also 40% more productive and 300% more creative. In fact, that McKenzie study also found that companies with the most diversity even have better financial returns. In the United States, every 10% of increased racial and ethnic diversity on the senior executive team raised profits by .8%. So, if diversity is so valuable, how can we harness it to showcase each individual while driving business outcomes?
Inspiration without Implementation is Worthless
To realize the full value of diversity, you need to make a conscious effort to empower people to be their best selves. Changing these hard-wired habits takes work, but if we make a conscious effort, we can learn better habits to include people from all walks of life. It’s hard, but ideas without actions won’t get the job done.
For example, maybe you’ve got people on your team who are introverts. Introverts learn and engage in totally different ways compared to extraverts. Extraverts are typically comfortable showing up to a meeting, being presented with some information, reacting, debating, and thinking on the fly – all while competing for their chance to speak. Maybe you’ve been in a meeting where the loudest voice or the highest paid person dominated the conversation, and no one else participated.
What if instead, we give everyone the agenda ahead of time, allow introverts to prepare and form their thoughts, and when we debate in the meeting, we actively manage the conversation to ensure everyone is given a chance to speak, so they can express their point of view. That way, we get to hear from everyone. And not just the loudest or highest paid person.
If you want to hear a diversity keynote speaker with a message on differences that you can’t hear anywhere else, explore our programs to see which one can help your organization welcome and include diversity to drive your business innovation.
- Blind Ambition™: How to Go from Victim to Visionary
- No More Comfort Zones: Growth Through Adversity
- Diversity: The Engine for Innovation
- Resilience Workshop: Victim to Visionary™
What is a Great Keynote Speaker?
An uplifting keynote speaker doesn’t just inspire - they open hearts and minds to a new perspective, allowing them to color outside the lines and change their perspective. If you’re ready to shake up the status quo and inspire your audience to take action based on new learnings, look for a keynote speaker with powerful storytelling, entertaining delivery, and differentiated content. This ensures audience members hang on every word while being entertained and moved by an experience they’ll never forget. If this sounds like the kind of keynote speaker you’re interested in for your next event, read below to see how Chad E. Foster can help.
Chad E. Foster’s Keynote Programs
Impactful Storytelling. Powerful storytelling that creates unforgettable experiences while keeping your audience members engaged throughout the entire keynote program.
Entertaining Delivery. It’s as much about entertaining and engaging your audience as it is about educating them. What good is great content if noone is listening? Chad will elicit laughs, inspire with deep knowledge, and motivate attendees beyond the keynote program to take action.
Differentiated Content. Chad will demonstrate concepts, language, and methods that are simple and easy to apply. And, they can absolutely transform individuals to generate a quick positive culture shift within your company.
Accessible and Based on Experience and Science. Chad has spent years understanding the characteristics of human behavior that powered him forward in the face of overwhelming obstacles, which are simple and easy to apply – so anyone can start using them right away. Although the content aligns with the science of human behavior, It won’t feel like a science lesson because everything is explained in everyday terms and without the use of complicated technical jargon.
Chad’s keynote programs are motivating and informative, leaving his audiences wanting more. If you’re looking for an inspiring keynote speaker who can create a high-impact experience for your organization, contact Chad today.
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