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  • Kelly Marks

Diversity

I am a nervous flier. My mom worked for US Airways, so I flew standby for many years. I guess that kind of experience can make a seasoned traveler who doesn’t bat an eye at anything, or, as in my case, it can give you a PTSD of sorts.


I have run down the concourse; I’ve missed flights; I’ve gotten bumped off of flights, and I’ve flown to quarters of the country just trying to catch a flight to get me back home.


Because of all of these close calls and missed flights, I’m very nervous till I get through the TSA. So I like to arrive really early. I usually end up getting to the gate, and then I watch people.


Here’s what you can see on any given day in any given airport. There are the business flyers. Men and women who are polished and put together. Everything is neatly packed and organized. Just another day at work.


There are the families who, in a moment of optimism, planned a flight to Disney World. By now the kids are tired and cranky, and the parents look like they are half dead and very unlikely to do anything like this again.


And there are people somewhere in the middle. I like to think that’s where I fall. Somewhat organized and may be a little exhausted by it all. Yesterday I flew to White Plains, New York. I gave a two hour speech to a group of 70 HR people. I was so excited about this opportunity. But these were going to be people who work for human resources. These are big companies in corporate America.


Can you imagine what a nightmare HR would be in our company where it’s only Paul and me? He would be called into the office or written up every day!


But they were a great group. They were receptive and engaged. Just fun all around.


After the speech I joined them for dinner and drinks. At dinner I ended up with four other women at a table. They were from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Different ages and stages in life. Working for different companies, doing different jobs within the HR umbrella, different ethnicities, but once they started talking I realized how similar we all were. There were a lot of “Yes! Me too!“


I was struck by how easily and quickly we all bonded. As we said good night and it was great to meet you, I was struck by the amount of sincerity in those words. I thought about it in the elevator all the way up to my room, but I didn’t really think about it too much after that.


And then, it was time for breakfast, and I sat with a completely different group and darn it, if the same thing didn’t happen again. I glanced around and was utterly amazed. There were all these similarities again. It couldn’t just be coincidence.


When we look around, we are the same. We may have different skin colors and hairstyles. We may be different ages and have different jobs, but we have so many similarities. We tend to get so upset with others, judge them harshly or dislike them. But if we see how much we are like them, it should be easier to find harmony.


If we seek to connect instead of disconnect, it can make a world of difference.





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