Category Archives: Article Spotlight

Significant People of a Generation: Muhammad Ali

During the height of his career through the 1960s and 1970s, Muhammad Ali was (and remains) an iconic figure and sports legend.  For the Baby-Boomers coming of age at this time, Muhammad Ali was both a hero and a controversial figure, whose actions and fearless bravado voiced the opinions of many of their generation.

Ali was born to the name Cassius Clay on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, KY.  At the age of 12, he started boxing after thieves stole his bicycle and he wanted to learn the skills to “whoop” them.  At only 18 years old, he won the Light Heavyweight Gold Medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. In his 1975 biography, Ali claims that shortly after receiving the medal, he threw it into the Ohio River after he was refused service at a “whites-only” restaurant.  In 1964, Clay fought Sonny Liston to earn the title of Heavyweight Champion, as the youngest boxer to claim the title. In the same year, Clay converted to Nation of Islam, a religious and political movement aimed to improve the condition of African Americans, and was renamed Muhammad Ali.  For many in the mainstream community, the change made Ali a controversial figure, as Nation of Islam was associated with Malcolm X and the Black Power movements and was often looked at with suspicion and hostility. Ali was very vocal about his beliefs, at times promoting separatist ideas that were considered to be radical.

In 1966, Ali was informed that he was eligible to be drafted for the Vietnam War. Famously, Ali declared that he would refuse to serve, saying he was a conscientious objector because it was against his religion to fight a war that was not in the name of Allah. Muhammad Ali faced criticism from many for being unpatriotic and was charged with draft eviction. However, he also had support from many as a figure for the peace movement that had been growing in the US since 1964. While on trial for draft eviction, Ali famously explained his reason for opposing the war: “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.” It was a reason that resonated with many Baby-Boomers who felt that the war was an abuse of government authority. He was stripped of his heavyweight title and exiled from the boxing community for 5 years. During this time, he spoke at peace rallies at colleges and schools in favor of ending the Vietnam War.

With his return to boxing in 1970, Muhammad Ali came back with increased swagger and boasting to reclaim his title. In 1974, Ali fought George Foreman in the epic  “Rumble in the Jungle Fight” where Ali, projected as the underdog, reclaimed the heavyweight title. He used his “Rope-a-Dope” technique to tire Foreman out before finishing him with a heavy rain of blows. This fight was followed by the famous 1975 “Thrilla in Manila” fight against Joe Frazier, where Ali, after 14 grueling rounds of fighting, was again victorious. This time the fight was a close call and both fighters were in very poor shape by the end of the fight. The fight has been marked as one of the Top 5 Sporting Events of the 20th Century and was viewed by 700 million people worldwide.

During the height of his career, Muhammad Ali was also prevalent in the mainstream media. He appeared in commercials and did many interviews, offering his opinions loudly and without shame, claiming he was “the greatest.” Although he was a controversial figure, many Baby-Boomers of very different backgrounds could agree that he was a hero and a champion.  He was supported and revered by the peace movement; by African-Americans who aligned with his beliefs or those who were proud of his example; by the white population that shared his beliefs or valued him greatly as a sports hero and public personality. Many of his ideas challenged the ideas of the mainstream, which resonated with many Baby-Boomers who were seeking to overturn and progress government institutions and laws.

Muhammad Ali officially retired from boxing in 1981. In 1984, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He would go on to open the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. He has continued to engage in many philanthropic pursuits, such as in 1991 when he met with Saddam Hussein to negotiate the release of American hostages and his 2001 peace talks in Afghanistan. In 1996 Ali famously lit the giant Olympic torch in Atlanta to kick off the start of the Summer Olympic Games.  He currently resides with his family in Arizona.

What’s Currently Trending with Gen Y: Time Magazine Cover Article

Currently Trending with Gen Y: Call and Response to Time Magazine Cover Story 

“The Me Me Me Generation: Millenials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents: Why they’ll save us all” Currently Trending with Gen Y

The cover story for the May 20, 2013 issues of Time Magazine highlighted important

Currently Trending with Gen Y

Time Cover: The Me Me Me Generation

mixed attitudes towards the Millennial (or Gen Y) generation.  The article begins by claiming through scientific data that Gen Y is the most narcissistic generation to have ever lived, and concludes by saying  that their narcissism has led them to be optimistic, accepting of differences, and entrepreneurial individuals with much to offer with the right guidance. Currently Trending with Gen Y

As one would expect, Gen Y has turned to social media and blogging to respond to the article with sites such as: Currently Trending with Gen Y

The responses range from humorous to mildly provocative and tongue in cheek.  The Gen Y generation seems to have a sense of humor about the article and at the same time engages in the type of behavior highlighted in the article, mainly a narcissistic obsession with themselves. The article is certainly currently trending with Gen Y circles, though the content of the article does not add much new content to the ongoing debate on Gen Y’s impact on the world. Currently trending with Gen Y

Sweet Potato Paper Creates Stationary to Reflect Your Tone

This month, O Magazine featured an article of one of the entrepreneurs in the stationary business: Sweet Potato Paper. For years, diverse wedding accessory options for brides and grooms to be were limited when it came to reflecting who was on the card. For the most part, white men and women dominated the market with the occasional African American couples to be found in a select few stores. Unfortunately, those that did carry cards reflecting other races used stereotypical phrases according to the founder Allyson Morehead. So, in May 2011 she created her own venture that would sell personalized stationary reflecting the hair and skin color, as well as hair styles. Since its inception, business has been quick and her products in demand. Buyers can choose from a variety of different products for their wedding, baby shower, graduation, or any other occasion that invitations are used for, all with a personalized style and tone reflecting ‘you’. To check out her diversity inspired products, click on the company logo above.

Recommended Book: Green Card Stories by Saundra Amrhein & Ariana Lindquist

Front Cover of Green Card Stories by Saundra Amrhein & Ariana Lindquist

Earlier this year, amid all of the political partisanship over immigration law in the United States, a book was quietly published with 50 stories of immigrants coming to this country from all across the globe. China, Russia, UK, Colombia, Egypt, and Canada were just some of the countries of origin of the stories. However, many were Latino, and many female: characteristic that reflects the current nature of immigration to the United States.

Saundra Amrhein, author of the narratives, is also the spouse of a Colombian-American asylum seeker and saw the many ups and downs associated with the legal process of the US immigration procedure through her husband’s own ordeal. The book, as she states in her own words, is able to give a voice to the immigrants in this country who are often labeled by some as taking advantage of the system. Because of this, those immigrants featured in this book are all too eager to demonstrate the value that they bring to the American society, and how close they hold this nation and its values to their hearts.

The stories focus on how powerful the whole immigration process is when someone leaves their country and starts over from scratch here. The process of reinventing oneself in a new land and being able to give up your former identity is wonderfully captured in text by Amrhein. Many of the stories also give an inside look into the legal system and the difficulties and frustrations it presents for even legal immigrants who come here to work and have difficulties in securing legal documents to do so, even if they are waiting their turn.

Amrhein & Lindquist’s book can be purchased on Amazon or visit their website:

Article Spotlight: Teaching Kids about Unconscious Bias with Jellybeans

Jellybeans have become a popular tool to teach kids about unconscious bias. (Photo by Steve Koukoulas via Flicker CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Here is an interesting article about how diversity is being taught to the youngest generation these days. Bloomberg Business Magazine published a story on founder Tracy Jackson and how she uses jellybeans to spread awareness about unconscious bias. Much like the kids in the training, I would normally assume that a certain color jellybean will have a particular flavor. If it’s black, I’m going to think licorice, and if it’s yellow, I’m going to anticipate that it will be a bit lemony once I taste it. However, once the kids actually taste the jellybeans they are surprised: it isn’t what they expected. And just as we cannot determine the flavor of the jellybean from the outside, so too can we not judge a person for who they are within from what we see from outside. Tools like this are popular training methods for schools as part of the anti-bullying efforts that have been accelerated in recent years.

Click here to read the article in full

Gender Inequality in the Arts & Culture Field. Where are the men?

I was rummaging around the blogosphere this morning and came across this article published on the UK’s Guardian website. While a lot of attention has been focused on women and minorities in the workplace and the various efforts to promote/recruit them, there are industries where men are outnumbered and gender inequality persists in this sense. For example, as you will read below, the Arts/Culture industry is heavily populated by women in the UK at least. The author, Steve Messam, points this out with his experiences in the board room and at private meetings where he is noticeably the only male in the room, or one of few. So, for those reading the blog: what have you noticed? Do you work in the Arts/Culture business and have similar experiences? Please let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to get back to you.

Article by Steve Messam can be found here via the Guardian’s website:

Thanks to Steve Messam for sharing his insight into the arts world. Check out his blog here.

Diversity and Inclusion Training Continue at the Olympic Games in London for 2012

I’ve been reading a lot about some of the diversity and inclusion training efforts going on at the Olympic games and the press (some good, some bad) that is associated with it. I am glad it is getting done, as the olympics are the prime stage for the world to celebrate its diverse heritage. That being said, the Telegraph published this story about some of the questions being proposed to the volunteers in order for them to better address the guests and athletes that will be coming from around the world to London this summer. While some have found it patronizing, such as in this article, I think in the end that many of the volunteers will remember this time when these questions do pop up, and will be better equipped to handle them. Here is the article from the Telegraph this morning below:

Click here for the original article. If you are interested in seeing some of the questions being proposed to the volunteers, click here.

Houston Metro Area is the Most Diverse Region in the Country According to 2010 Census

Interesting story in the Houston Chronicle today. Apparently, the Houston metro area is now the most diverse region in the country… and this is a big change from just 10-20 years ago. Here is the article below:

The Houston metropolitan area is now the most ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the country, with two suburbs – Pearland and Missouri City – leading the region in diversity. See below for a link to the full story.

Read the original article here

Australian Army Looking to Diversify its Army to Better Reflect General Population

Lieutenant General David Morrison of the Australian Army said this week that he would like to start recruiting more of the populations that are under-represented within its ranks such as women, gays, and ethnic minorities. By doing this, he hopes to recruit some of the much needed talent that have been overlooked in past years. Australia has also been working hard to promote a more open military force, including removing the remaining barriers for women to move into all open combat roles, making it the fourth country to do so. Canada, New Zealand, and Israel are the three other countries that do not have restrictions on the roles that are available to women in their militaries.

Here is the Article from ABC News Australia:

For more information on Australia’s announcement to remove barriers to service in their military, please click here

Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian New Year) – February 22

Today marks the first day of Tsagaan Sar, or Mongolian New Year. While I didn’t have time to write up my own post detailing the traditions, history, and customs of the holiday, I think this article does a nice job explaining the finer details from a native Mongolian perspective. Today is also the start of Losar, or the Tibetan New Year. I could not find a politically neutral article to post here that describes this years celebrations, but I urge you to do your own research if you are interested in the culture and traditions of Tibet.

For the entire article, please see the original Ulaan Baatar Post Website Article 

Article Spotlight: Should You Approach Millennials in a Radically Different Way?

Click here for original article from Diversity Executive.

Transparency and candid conversations have a place in the work environment, but presuming to know millennials’ career expectations is dangerous.By Deanna Hartley. Imagine you are having the following conversation with a new millennial hire:

“We expect you to give us a really strong tour of duty for two to three years. When you leave, we expect you to be part of our corporate alumni group. We want you to be part of our corporate alumni network. We want you to help recruit new employees. We want you to be lifelong ambassadors and evangelists for our products and services. But we know you’re super talented and will come upon many other career opportunities while you work here. We know your tenure at the company may not last more than a few years.”

Not quite what you had in mind, right? Well, I recently came across an article that offers this as a template of sorts for conversations to occur between employers and incoming millennials, or “young people,” as they’re referred to in the piece.

At this point, you may be inclined to think: Wait a minute. Are you saying we should essentially throw all our retention strategies out the window and assume every incoming Gen Y employee sees his or her job as a stepping stone to something bigger and better?

My reaction — and keep in mind I’m a millennial — would be: Whoa! Are they expecting me to leave in a short time span — and if I don’t, will they think I’m an underachiever? Furthermore, if I do decide I only want to contribute a few years of service to this company and then look for greener pastures, why would I be motivated to perform to the best of my ability on a daily basis?

To me, this approach is analogous to an athlete walking onto the field knowing he will be traded imminently. Operating under that presumption, I’m willing to bet that any feelings of loyalty or determination to enhance one’s performance go out the window.

When we talk about engaging employees, a key motivator is purpose — for employees to feel like they are making valuable contributions that will somehow leave a mark on the world.

I certainly didn’t interview for my current job thinking, “How can I optimize my limited time at this company before moving on?” And, to be honest, I wouldn’t think any employer would want me if I held such a conviction.

The days of lifelong service to a single company may be gone, but presuming to know someone’s career expectations is just as unrealistic.

Article Spotlight: The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election

Pew Research Center

In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006.

The latest national polls suggest this pattern may well continue in 2012. Millennial generation voters are inclined to back Barack Obama for reelection by a wide margin in a matchup against Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who has run the strongest against Obama in many polls. By contrast, Silent generation voters are solidly behind Romney.

In between the youngest and the oldest voters are the Baby Boom generation and Generation X. Both groups are less supportive of Obama than they were in 2008 and are now on the fence with respect to a second term for the president.


Click HERE to read more of this article.

Article Spotlight: Diversity Management is the key to Growth according to Forbes Article


By Glenn Llopis

Diversity Management Is the Key to Growth: Make It Authentic

Diversity management is the key to growth in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace.  No longer can America’s corporations hide behind their lack of cultural intelligence.  Organizations that seek global market relevancy must embrace diversity – in how they think, act and innovate.  Diversity can no longer just be about making the numbers, but rather how an organization treats its people authentically down to the roots of its business model.   In today’s new workplace, diversity management is a time-sensitive business imperative.


Click HERE to read more of this article.

Article Spotlight: Why diversity efforts fail and how to make them succeed

The Washington Post By Martin Davidson

The big idea: How can companies stop spinning their wheels and make real progress toward diversity and inclusion?

The scenario: Stakeholders throughout J.P. Morgan Chase were asking a simple question: How do we get managers to really recruit the best talent from the largest talent pool — not just the kind of people they were used to getting? Women and people of color inside and outside the firm, becoming frustrated by their experiences on Wall Street, wanted to know the answer. So did the executive team, known as the Operating Committee. It was fully aware that the talent war required that the firm get this right. And the charge was being led by chief executive Jamie Dimon himself.

Click here to read more of this article:

Article Spotlight: Women’s Role in Emerging Markets

Diversity Executive  By Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid

A dearth of top talent is often cited as the biggest barrier to company growth in emerging markets. To meet the talent demand, multinational corporations have long followed the same path: sending homegrown managers overseas and looking for foreign nationals — mostly males — educated in North American and European universities. That method is problematic given the rapid and sustained growth in these markets. Corporations need to get off the beaten path to find and develop new human capital, but they don’t always know where to look.

Click here to read more of this article: