I’m a bit of a “word nerd” and, where some people might have a song or smell that reminds them of defining moments, for me it’s the French word dépaysé which means “situated in unfamiliar surroundings”; “being out of one's element”; “removed from one’s own country”, and it’s a word that so accurately defines my most formative years.
By the time I was 13, I had lived in 5 countries on three continents and had learned to speak several languages. Growing up in countries where I couldn’t communicate, at first, meant that I was a minority in a category of my own and during a stage of life where “fitting in” was so important.
As I sought to “fit in” and connect, I had to assume nothing and to be open to every possibility and, on my journey to understand the differences behind each culture, I was able to truly understand the significance of those nuances to the people who come from there.
When people talk about diversity in companies and teams, they tend to refer to criteria such as gender, race, etc. I believe that diversity of experience is as important. Different experiences yield new perspectives, require a curiosity mindset, and greater openness to new ideas and influences; it fosters intuition and “out of the box” thinking.
When I work with clients, candidates, and in life generally, I'm able to see the value of the different perspectives of everyone involved. Diversity, inclusiveness, global mindedness and “connecting the dots” are core to my DNA. It’s who I am.