diversity


I worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers for 9 years.  We recruited and hired a lot from BYU - the accounting program there is top in the country.  I worked closely with Hugh, a partner who had gone to BYU and was the BYU liaison for our office.

One evening Hugh and I were at a recruiting dinner with about 30 students, and Hugh gave the firm's "diversity speech" - explaining why it makes good business sense for PwC to hire a diverse group of people in terms of backgrounds, cultures, languages, religions, sexual orientation, etc.  With a diverse team, different experience-based viewpoints are raised, and we get better solutions for clients.  We can also recruit better people.  I'll never forget Hugh saying, "I don't want to hire 30 people who are just like me.  I want to hire 30 people with all sorts of backgrounds and experiences."

Later that night back at the office I told Hugh his talk was very powerful to me, as an employee, and made me feel much more valued in terms of my own personal diversity.  I had been hesitant to share that with him knowing his likely personal views on the subject, but he was very clear that from a business standpoint, encouraging all forms of diversity was a "must."

A few months later, I got a panicked phone call from Hugh.  He had just finished an interview of someone we really wanted to hire.  Hugh thought he had messed up the interview, and wanted me to help fix it.  I couldn't imagine how a partner could mess up an interview, and how I could solve the problem.  Hugh explained that the candidate mentioned on his resume a leadership role in a school group for gay students. During the interview, Hugh mentioned that he went to BYU... so Hugh thought he had created a chasm between the gay candidate and himself, the Mormon partner.  So at his request, I called up the candidate (awkward phone call) and explained our view of diversity and inclusiveness, and that we really wanted him to join. 

The situation was a bit hilarious because just as Mormons can appreciate my diversity and the role it plays in creating a diverse workforce, people of diverse sexual orientations, including this candidate and myself, fully understand and respect the importance of diverse religious backgrounds, and value those greatly in our friendships and coworkers.

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