Aliveness & Awareness

By Tom Carmazzi | April 12, 2019

About a week ago I attended a conference at Benedictine University on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). To be honest, I was not that excited to go. I believed the topic to be more political than practical, which dampened my enthusiasm, and yet something still compelled me to attend.  As I reflect on this hesitancy, maybe I was afraid or concerned that I was becoming “numb” on this issue.  Or maybe I thought I already knew enough on the topic. For instance, I had thought and SAID such things as:

  • “I don’t care about diversity; I want the best folks regardless of background!”
  • “I have no interest in achieving a quota, that will result in creating mediocrity”
  • “Diversity is about different perspectives, that’s all I care about”
  • “I want to invite the right people to participate, versus a generic inclusion”

And I did not see a problem with those statements! I had made them countless times, in multiple venues, over many years. But I quickly realized that those statements were not aligned with D&I and lacked a true understanding of what diversity and inclusion is, and looks like. 

What lay ahead of me at this conference was a whole new perspective on what diversity and inclusion actually meant. I believe I am a good listener and I have always had the desire to learn, especially new ways of thinking.  Fortunately, these qualities helped me to stay curious long enough during the conference to hear a speaker say: “Diversity is about counting heads, inclusion is about having the heads count”.  After hearing such insights like this, I went from being casually curious to intently interested! I started to take the foundational components of our journey at Tuthill and link them to D&I.  Specifically, I began to apply this new way of thinking into our company’s Values, Behaviors, & Compass. 

Here are a few key realizations I had:

  • Our values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Courage, Awareness, & Excellence all have varying degrees of impact on D&I.
  • Our behaviors of Curiosity, Clarity, Grit, Grace, Gratitude, and Love really speak to D&I. 
  • Aliveness is deeply embedded within our Compass, and I noticed D&I has a favorable and meaningful impact on Aliveness at Tuthill. I also thought about our Purpose to Wake the World and quickly decided we would not achieve our Purpose without D&I. 

The keynote speaker, Dr. Stefanie K. Johnson, highlighted four areas in the context of inclusion. Naturally, following Dr. Johnson’s talk I went to my head (which is my comfort zone) and asked: “how big is the gap, between our journey and these four areas”?  I graded, on a scale of 1 to 10, how we were doing, knowing at Tuthill we hold the bar high while still being realistic.

  • Develop folks equally = 8.  I believe we do develop our folks equally, from the shop floor to the office.  For example, every employee is offered the chance to attend our training.
  • Empower folks = 7.  At times we, at Tuthill, collapse Grace and Caretaking.  As a recovering “hero" I have a strong pattern of wanting to “save” folks who quite frankly do not need saving. I believe whenever I, or others, caretake I/we hinder our ability to empower.
  • Treat them fairly = 8.  I believe this is another strength.  Our value of respect and our behaviors of Grace, Gratitude and Love, speak strongly of our intentions.
  • Support them = 6.  For me, there is something in the word “support”.  Do I/we ask for support or help?  I know I avoid it because it might make me look weak. Interestingly, in our training sessions we have learned this perspective is not unique. Which had me think about our support: Do we ask for help when we really need it?  Especially when it shows we are not perfect? Or when we may appear vulnerable? I know this is a challenge for me! How about you?

As you can tell, I am quickly becoming a fan of D&I.  As I venture on this new journey I am excited to deepen my appreciation of the fundamental premise of our Compass, human dignity, and integrate that within D&I.  And I realize that as a 62-year-old white male I have much to learn in this area. I know other folks of Tuthill are ahead of me on this climb, AND now, with them belaying me, I am eager to work on the next foothold to join them!


"Find Your Way" By maximilianschiffer (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Share This Article
This site uses cookies to analyze your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, share content on social media, improve your experience, and give you the ability to provide feedback. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms and Conditions.