The New Guy

23 01 2015

My team at work recently got a new addition. Each of us has a different background, and The New Guy is no exception. But the new insights and talents he has brought to the team are a great reminder of just how much we all benefit from diversity.

In my group there is no shortage of problems to solve, things to learn, or systems to improve. And as individuals, our strengths typically guide the way we choose to approach each issue, and I suppose I had gotten used to the thought processes of the teammates I have worked with for several years. But now that we have someone bringing a fresh, different perspective and a new skillset to the table, we have new ideas to incorporate into our solutions, and new talents to leverage. It’s an exciting time at work, and I am looking forward to all the things I can learn from The New Guy, and the ideas that we might come up with when we put our heads together.

This is the benefit of diversity. Diversity isn’t just something that’s important because it’s The Right Thing to Do, or because it’s a fancy buzzword, or because it’s politically correct. Diversity makes a team stronger, and it challenges us as individuals to expand our thinking. Diversity ultimately makes us all better.

When I think about the well-established lack of diversity in STEM fields, I feel like we’re all missing out on the benefits of that diversity can deliver. What kind of gadgets would we have today if all groups had been well-represented in the STEM fields for the past one hundred years? Maybe we would all have self-driving flying cars.

There’s not much we can do about the homogeneity of the STEM fields in the past (at least not with our current technology), but there are things we can do to promote diversity in the future. So I encourage everyone to attend the 2015 NWrWIC conference to support women in technology, to learn new perspectives, and meet great new people.

– Vanessa Cullinane

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