Hello all, due to my recent adventure to the beautiful country of South Africa I have been away from the blogging space, however I have since returned and am very eager to share with you one of the most fulfilling and enriching trips that I have been on to date. I had such an amazing experience where I was given the opportunity to unwind, be close to nature, and even witness an up close and uncut version of the wild-life. This trip certainly has helped me to reconnect with myself at a spiritual level; such a marvelous and humbling experience! It allowed me to further realize how fortunate we all are in our lives and how we can often take so many things for granted. I witnessed the daily hardships in the lives of some of the indigenous people of South Africa. In my observation I noticed that despite them not having the luxury of some of the things that we take for granted daily (hot showers, toilets, etc.,) all of them; including the children, were so full of life and appreciative of the little that they did have, that it made me never want to complain about my “hardships” again. If you are able to I highly encourage everyone to visit the rainbow nation at least once. Aside from allowing you to rekindle your humanitarian fire; South Africa is one of the most picturesque countries in the world with 11 official languages and beautiful cities.
Those of you who know me personally know that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is not just my job; it is my passion, and any opportunity to engage in D&I efforts in any part of the world excites me! My adventure to South Africa just so happened to occur while the country was celebrating Women’s History Month. During my visit I had a chance to speak at EMC South Africa on the occasion of Women’s Day. It was exciting to meet so many talented women, and I was truly honored that the audience was inspired by my journey.
My experience here has only reinforced my desire to make EMC the leader in global Diversity & Inclusion. In order to achieve our goal of having the most diverse and cohesive workforce we must continue to introduce and engage our youth with STEM related opportunities at an early age so that as they get older they already have knowledge of the path that STEM can take them. Establishing a solid foundation early on could lead to the development of tomorrow’s martyrs and game changers in this field.
A special shout out to Sonelia Du Preez, Country Marketing Manager-EMC SA who arranged my interview with one of the leading radio stations. The focus of the interview was women in IT both at global and local (i.e. SA) level, and the “Cradle to Career” strategy that EMC has designed to encourage more women to enter the IT profession and thrive in their chosen careers. I truly believe that we need to educate girls early on and nurture their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to minimize the gender gap in the technology field.
I will forever cherish this experience. I must once again recommend making the trip to South Africa to anyone who has the opportunity to go. Often times we subject ourselves to our unconscious biases when considering making Africa a vacation destination because of some of the “less than stellar” stereotypes that surround the area. I am here to tell you that I absolutely LOVED the country and will be making a return visit soon.
In order to position EMC as a mecca of diversity and inclusion we must ourselves become culturally competent. What better way to enhance your cultural competence than by making a trip to an absolutely beautiful country where you can bask in the ambiance of the local culture, cuisines, and picturesque landscapes while also making a significant contribution to the prevalence of economic disparity. By attending to the shortcomings of the indigenous, establishing an early foundation of STEM education in the youth, and creating and establishing a pipeline between promising global talent and the STEM field that needs them we will be able to take the practice of D&I to another level…..thank you EMC SA I truly had a great time!