School of Media and Communication hosts “Diversity Talks” lecture

On Thursday April 19, 2023, USM’s School of Media and Communication sponsored by the Office of Diversity hosted its first Diversity Talks. The goal of the event was to spread awareness for diversity within the workplace for underrepresented groups. Four speakers were present, Bill Imada the group chairman, Tony Waller, vice president constituent relations and racial equity at Walmart, Claudia Lin, HUB int’l SVP and Kevin Bradley, HUB int’l diversity VP.

“The mission of what we do is to ex-pand the campus environment and to become dedicated to providing diverse inclusive and equitable experience for all. The aim is to widen the table for all access and that is what our work is all about,” said Eddie A. Holloway. Waller addressed the audience with a detailed story between his late mother and himself. He said that he would talk daily with his mother and after talking about everything under the sun, his mother would ask him if “was he going with the river?” He told her yes, but admitted to the audience he had no idea what she was talking about. Over time, he learned what her mother was attempting to tell him. “You have to flow with the river because the river knows exactly where it’s going. You have to understand who you are. Nobody else can do your thing. Understand who it is that you are. First and foremost, ask the ques-tion “Who are you?” Understand your assignment. You must seek out your assignment. Power is not in what you do or do not do. Power is what you decide to do with whatever happens,” said Waller.

“If you trust the plan and you play your role, your reward will come, and I am a witness of this.” Lin discussed in depth about women in the workplace. She showed vari-ous graphs depicting women’s wages which was relatively lower than males and black women even less. “There are opportunities when you connect yourself. Just speak up. How will other people know if you don’t speak up? Clearly communicate, seek out sponsors and mentors [and] invest in connecting with all levels of rela-tionships. Show up and contribute, level the play field [and] model the change you want to see,” said Linevery experience as a learning expe-rience.

He spoke about how there will sometimes be difficulties within the road, but you are able to overcome them. Imada concluded the presentation with his ideas on “Gen-Z” being the ones who have to make the world right. He said that more white peo-ple have been and should be getting involved. “We should not hide the world’s problems from you because you have a stake in fixing it. We want to have an impact in the world. Gen-zers keep on talking about how you want to change the world, how you want to reshape companies.

Corporations are going to find talent wherever they can. Show people that you value Gen-zers. Please step up and create that future. I just believe that gen Z is going to change us,” said Imada. Ultimately, Diversity Talks was a conversation amongst diverse groups giving encouragement as well as providing personal testimonies on how they have become successful in the workplace as an underrepresented group of individuals. “When do I get to live my life like you live yours?” Waller said.