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It Takes All Kinds

I am thankful for diverse abundance.

Many are looking forward to Thanksgiving this year — whether that involves an elaborate meal with family and friends, or something quieter and more personal. Autumn brings a rich array of celebrations based on cultural, religious, and family traditions. If there’s a unifying theme in all of these gatherings, it’s a spirit of gratitude.

We have all been blessed — and challenged — in so many ways this year. As I reflect on the year, I can’t help but think of the way we focused on connection, even when we were forced to be physically apart. We all learned a new way of working that sometimes blended together work and home life. We shared sides of us that many times our coworkers had never seen before – things as simple as seeing our kitchen in the background, or kids or pets running by in Zoom meetings. While it may not have felt like it in the moment, this has brought us all closer together. And it has brought me closer to my Freeman team, as I’ve had the privilege to learn more about their families and hear their stories.

I’m grateful for those whose ideas made me stop and think… and then rethink. Those who have introduced me to music, books, and remarkable meals that are special to their cultures and families. I appreciate being steeped in richly diverse surroundings, because that’s how I grow, how I make more informed decisions, and how I can give more as a leader, an ally, and a friend.

There’s an old idiom, “it takes all kinds.” It expresses an appreciation for people who do things radically different from ourselves. And it really does take ALL kinds, because the ideas of the status quo are not big enough to solve the challenges ahead. Diverse perspectives and representation, and the focus on equity and inclusion are the best hope we have of advancing mutual wellbeing and prosperity – both at work and in our personal lives.

The swirl of emotions surrounding the pandemic has likely influenced us in how we come together to address political and social upheaval. And often it created divisive rhetoric instead of the empathy and compassion we all need. What better time than now – the season of giving thanks – to remind ourselves that we all need each other now more than ever? What better season than this one to remind ourselves that it’s our differences – our opinions, our cultures, our clothes – that bring beauty and richness to the world?

This Thanksgiving, I feel grateful for the breadth and variety of the people I know. And now that live events have returned at last, I’m delighted once again to encounter a diverse assortment of thinkers, advocates, and experts — people who challenge me to up my game in ways both subtle and profound. There’s a line of poetry I used to think was corny, and now feel is spot on: “I am a part of all that I have met.” When the people we bump into on a daily basis leave us with a thought, an impression, or a unique insight, it shapes us in some way. Almost always, in a good way.

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