Global Diversity and Inclusion Foundation

Since it seems I never posted anything about this: In January I became a Board Member of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Foundation (GDIF), a 501(c)3 non-profit.  It is an organization that is doing some great work in the diversity and inclusion arena.  I am privileged to be associated with such an organization and the leaders who comprise its board.  Here is some information of the organization and I suggest reading more on their website:

The Global Diversity & Inclusion Foundation (GDIF) is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit.  We are much more than simply a list of best practices, Global Diversity & Inclusion Foundation leads the pack with standing out above the rest.  The way we do this is to understand and address diversity & inclusion by focusing on Business Cultural Intelligence in everything we do.  That means we help develop a mind-set that can be applied to any number of countries, cultures, and business situations. It is a systematic way to approach the tremendous variety of interactions and challenges that business people must face around the world – much easier and more realistic than documenting every trait of every culture and preparing to cater to each. We apply all our divisions’ activities in a three-stage process for becoming culturally intelligent. These steps involve learning the fundamental principles of cross-cultural interactions, such as what cultures are, how they might vary, and how they affect behavior; practicing mindfulness and paying attention in a reflective and creative way to cues; and developing a collection of behavioral skills that can be adapted to different situations.  This value helps us to understand diversity while working towards inclusion, especially how it affects the bottom-line of all organizations.

Mission Statement: The Global Diversity and Inclusion Foundation enables businesses to achieve optimum revenue and market share growth while providing employees with equal opportunity to attain the highest returns on their personal talent.

As GDIF grows in the years to come, you can expect great things to come.  In addition to the standard board responsibilities involving organizational development and oversight, I am managing GDIF’s presence and growth on social media, online networking, and blogging.

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Student Employee of the Year Nomination

My awesome supervisors at the Center for Multicultural Excellence nominated me for the Student Employee of the Year Award at the University of Denver.  The Office of Student Employment has highlighted the nominated students on their blog.  Here is what they wrote about me:

Joel Portman far exceeds expectations. Not only is he reliable and exacting in his work, the 2011 Student Employee of the Year Nominee has implemented processes that improve the overall quality of work at the University of Denver Center for Multicultural Excellence, according to his nominators, Johanna Leyba, Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence, and Thomas Walker, Program Director of Intergroup Relations.

Leyba and Walker attest Portman has built a strong network of student leaders, administrators, faculty and staff, which he draws upon to encourage engagement in CME projects. During a staff change, Portman stepped up, handling the organization of key CME programs, including the 2011 Diversity SummitVoices of Discovery, and the Diversity and Unity Retreat. Portman plans to graduate in June through the 4/1 program. He will have earned a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and master’s in Business Administration.

Spring Quarter – My Last at DU

It is Spring Quarter and there seems to be excitement in the air.  I can’t really put my finger on it, but there is certainly something different, something exciting about this quarter.  People are generally in a good mood and seem to smile more.  I like that.

My classes this quarter will be a lot of work and each of them involves at least one group project.  I am taking the following classes: Creating Sustainable Enterprises, Strategic Human Resource Management, Competitive Marketing Strategies, and Enterprise Solutions.  I like my professors so far and the content seems like it will be interesting and relevant to me post-graduation.  Enterprise Solutions is a capstone class that is meant to bring together concepts from the entire MBA program and function more as a consulting engagement.  My group will be working with Denver Health.

Working at the Center for Multicultural Excellence this quarter will focus mostly on the 10th Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence.  We should have a great program and I am extremely excited about the potential the Summit has.  I will also be doing some wrap-up and evaluation of the Diversity & Unity Retreat and Voices of Discovery, while beginning planning for next year’s Diversity & Unity Retreat.  Of course, there will be our quarterly Dinner and a Movie and work with Joint Council.  Importantly, we will need to be developing some sort of transition/succession plan for after I leave CME.

I am participating in the Daniels College of Business’s Inclusive Excellence Case Competition this quarter with a great team.  We will be working with MolsonCoors to solve a real diversity/inclusion program that their enterprise needs to address.

A big part of the next 10ish weeks will be my job search.  I am constantly looking up companies and jobs and applying for opportunities.  I hope to have something lined up soon.  My goal is to have a job well before the end of the quarter, while making sure that it is a great fit for me and the company.  I am hoping for something that provides continued growth and long-term opportunity.

Then there are the other groups of which I am a part and to which I will continue to contribute.

In the midst of all of this, I hope to make the most of the end of my college experience.  It has been an amazing five years, better than anything I could have ever imagined.  I want to cherish each moment, each experience, every person, all of my friends and make the most of the short time I have remaining.

Here’s to the end of college and setting ourselves up for a successful future!

LinkedIn Surpasses 100 Million Members!

Those of you who know me well know that I am a big fan of LinkedIn.  It has huge potential and is already revolutionizing professional networking, marketing, engagement, and recruiting/hiring.  Today, the company announced that they had surpassed 100 million users.  That is pretty amazing, especially with a more focused market than sites such as Facebook. Yet, this demonstrates LinkedIn’s capacity and relevance, especially in today’s market.

Check out the Infographic from Mashable below.  And for those of you who don’t really think about BRIC countries, notice that Brazil has 428% year-over-year growth.  Wow!

Quote #25 – Wisdom

My dad sent this to me this morning as I start my last quarter at the University of Denver:

“The difference between a smart person and a wise person is that a smart person knows what to say and a wise person knows whether or not to say it.”

– Unknown

Quote #24 – Building Castles

From one of my favorite philosophers and writers:

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

– Henry David Thoreau

I hope that this applies to some recent happenings and decisions in my life…  Here’s hoping for castles in the air!

Don’t Quit

My Grandma shared this poem with me.  Someone gave it to her when my Grandpa was sick.  I like it a lot:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will; when the road you’re trudging seems all up hill;
When the funds are low and the debts are high; and you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must – but don’t quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns, as everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up; though the pace seems slow – you might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up, when he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down, how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint of the clouds of doubt –
And you never can tell how close you are, it may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – it’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Reflections on “Repugnant” UCLA Student Video – Developing an Inclusive Society

It has happened again.  A college student has made insensitive and racist statements.  Not surprising.  Too often, people seem not to think of the consequences of their actions. Yet, college students are supposed to be “educated.”  One might assume that such education would involve cultural understanding and sensitivity.  Too often, that is not the case.  On Friday, a UCLA student posted a video rant against Asian students.  I cannot find the original video, but one of many copies is viewable below:

Today, UCLA’s newspaper posted an article about the video in which a university administrator calls the video “repugnant.”  That’s a good thing.  Yet, more needs to be done.  This is an issue that is larger than UCLA (although I certainly hope that UCLA addresses this appropriately).  There is a general lack of acceptance and inclusion by too many people in our society.  Even those (yes, including myself) who claim to be “pro-diversity” or who say they are not racist do, in fact, discriminate and say or do hurtful things.

We need to educate our young people about acceptance and inclusion, beginning in pre-school and elementary school before learned notions of hate and racism and discrimination are developed.  Yes, we learn to hate and we learn what is “right” or “wrong” about the ways in which we interact with others.  A cultural change is needed beginning with young children and continuing through colleges and universities and into the workplace.

This change will likely need political support and is surely going to take longer than necessary.  Let us all commit ourselves to doing our part to make sure that our future is educated on how we should interact with others.  Treating people “the way we’ve always done it” is not okay anymore.

Ironically, UCLA’s The Civil Rights Project put out a policy paper supporting some of what I am proposing in this post.  Perhaps the university needs to start with it’s students…

 

Looking to the Future as I Finish Winter Quarter

I am currently in the middle of my final exams for Winter Quarter.  As finals end and I head home to St. Louis this weekend, I am going to be spending time with my family – the most important people in my life – and positioning myself to make some big decisions for the future.  I thought this would be an appropriate time to share one of my favorite pictures that has been taken of me.

This picture is of me hiking the mountains above Eilat in Southern Israel.  It really embodies who I am in terms of the future opportunities the picture represents and even what I am wearing – a shirt from Boy Scout camp, a water bottle from the University of Denver, etc.

Purim Videos Galore

The Jewish holiday of Purim is coming up in about a week.  In the run up, it seems that 2789572 related videos have been posted to Youtube.  Some of them are very similar so it begs the question of which came first and if any of the groups are copying each other.

The Maccabeats, an accapella choir from Yeshiva University, made famous by their “Candlelight” video for Channukah this past winter, have come out with a new one for Purim:

The Fountainheads, a group from The Israeli Academy for Leadership have created a video based on the same song parody:

I wonder whose video will become more popular…