Five Friday Highlights: Diversity on Screen and Off

Diversity Issues

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. ~ Maya Angelou

I ran across two articles about how diversity is represented in our popular culture recently. Whether you are a parent or simply a trusted adult in a young person’s life, someone is taking their cues from you about how to treat others who are different from them in some way. I am sharing those two articles here, and a few others that I encourage you to think about this week.

First, did you see the hashtag #CBSSoWhite on Twitter last month? If you did, here’s the backstory from CNN MoneyCBS Slammed for Lack of Diversity. Six of the network’s eight new shows star white actors, reports the article, which follows up by writing, “having transgender actress of color and ‘Orange is the New Black’ star Laverne Cox as a costar in the new legal drama ‘Doubt,’ and African American actor Justin Cornwell paired with Bill Paxton in the crime drama ‘Training Day,’ was not enough to overcome complaints that CBS lacks women and minorities on its roster”

On the flip side, Vogue celebrated the diversity in the 2016 Tony Awards nominee class in Hollywood, Take Notice: There is No #TonysSoWhite. “If their signature awards shows are any indication,” contends the article, “Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Broadway.”

There was another high profile “first” recently, when Deshauna Barber, an Army Reservist, won the Miss USA title. In this video from Business Insider, she talks about the skills the military taught her. She includes time management, discipline, and “extreme toughness.”

Whether you’re an actor or a soldier, you have to learn from those around you. Role Models and Mentors from Sharp Heels shares ten tips for learning by example and engaging more effectively with people you look up to at work. They are right when they say, “be coachable.”

Finally, although it is aimed at children, How to Teach Your Kids about Diversity from CW6 San Diego featuring Devin Hughes shares advice we should ALL heed. He encourages parents and children to “create space” to appreciate differences. Good advice for every one of us.

Have you read something this week that made a difference for you? Tweet me at @melissa_lamson1 and let me know!

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Five Friday Highlights: Traditions and Stereotypes

Global Stereotypes

Our world changes rapidly. Despite these accelerated changes, some deep-rooted global stereotypes persist as society evolves around them. Such is the case in this week’s selections. Venezuela and Brazil struggle to find lost power while stereotypes remain entrenched in Africa and Japan. Finally, a look at the world’s cities with the best work-life balance.

Venezuela Burning by Danielle DiMartino Booth explores the history behind Venezuela’s current crisis state. She asks, “How has Venezuela spiraled so far out of control in the wake of the commodities supercycle that built modern-day China, one that filled the coffers of resource-rich exporters worldwide?”

Challenging Africa’s Albino Stereotypes from the BBC explained the obstacles to acceptance people with albinism face in Africa. One woman (Celestine Mutinda) said, “Some of us are scared of walking along the streets of Nairobi. Sometimes while walking some people do say ‘this is money’. They believe that albinos can be sold. Some albinos end up isolating themselves because of discrimination.”

Adult Adoption in Japan from The Economist explains mukoyōshi, a practice almost unknown outside of Japan. This practice is one in which grown men are adopted by the families of the women they marry. This keeps the family line from ending and therefore prolongs their place in the business world. Read this fascinating article to learn about the 90% of adoptees in Japan: adults.

Finally, let’s learn about The 13 Cities With the Best Work-Life Balance in the World from Business Insider. Want to know which cities have the best balance between work and leisure time? Then this is the article for you! You’ll need to read it yourself to find out who is number one, but I’ll give you one hint: if you want great work-life balance, you’d better like Europe!

Have you read something this week that gave you a new perspective on another country? Email me to let me know!

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Five Friday Highlights: Tips for Going Global

Global Travel Recommendations

Have you traveled outside your native country? If so, were you surprised at the realities of a totally different place? No matter how many global travel recommendations you collect as you prepare to visit someplace where the language and customs differ from what you are accustomed to, there’s always a surprise or two.

There will always be a learning curve when you arrive in a new country and begin integrating yourself into society. Business Insider can help with the most important etiquette rules to know when traveling for business to 10 countries around the world. Having spent years in Germany, I can attest that a failure to be punctual can lead to even bigger failures in your business relationships; people from Germany value timeliness!

In 30 Intriguing Superstitions From Around the World from Mashable, beliefs are explained that you can only know by learning from a local (or reading an article like this). I can’t say any group in Spain has ever watched my entrance to the room to see which foot I entered with, but now that I know that entering a room with your left foot is considered bad luck, I’ll be sure to start things off on the right foot in the future!

Once you’ve gotten a handle on the etiquette and even figured out some of the superstitions, your work is still cut out for you! International Business Strategy: How to Succeed says it like it is: “It is a common misconception that conducting business internationally is the same as business as usual but expanded across multiple foreign countries or areas.” Global expansion is much more than geography.

Global expansion is much more than geography. {TWEET THIS}

If you were to make yourself a digital nomad, you may end up visiting each country mentioned in the “etiquette” and “superstitions” articles above. How do you feel about your office being your laptop and working from wherever you land for the day? In How Digital Nomads Make the World Their Oyster from DaPulseBLOG, a close look at the challenges and sacrifices of intentionally choosing not to have a fixed address and engaging in what the article calls “the ultimate downsizing exercise.”

Whether you never get your passport stamped or you’ve racked up so many frequent flyer miles you can’t keep up, remember that conversations are always global as explained by Gini Dietrich for Zignal Labs. “Even if you’re a company operating only in one country … events that are happening on the other side of the world could unexpectedly trickle down to the conversations you’re having with your customers.”

Have you read something this week that could prepare a traveler to hit the ground running in a new country? If so, tell me about it by clicking here!

Image Credit: 123rf Frank Blomberg

Five Friday Highlights: Mindfulness and Happiness

Gender Parity

I just returned from a great trip to Buenos Aires, working with women at SAP on advancement strategies. The group was energetic, positive, and receptive to learning. We enjoyed each other’s company and I feel positive these women will apply what they learned!

This week, I’m stepping back from the cultural observation to focus on selections that are more universal in nature. We are always wise to be continuous learners, about work and life in general.

Who doesn’t want to be happy and successful? In Want to Be Happy and Successful? Brene Brown Says Do This, I loved the seven recommendations shared by Dr. Brown. I was especially struck by “It is so important to feel who we are without needing material goods or hobbies to validate ourselves.” So true!

Sometimes, when I read articles like the one referenced above, I am grateful to have had enough life experience to know why advice like “it is important to feel who we are” is so applicable. Although I don’t think it makes sense to assume millennials “don’t get it” regarding many pieces of life advice, I do agree there are some lessons you can only  learn by living them. Maybe 8 Habits That Make Millennials Stressed, Anxious and Unproductive can at least help a millennial or two bypass the worst of it. One of the best pieces of advice is to avoid “hanging out with anxious people.” It has certainly been true for  me. We absorb the vibes we surround ourselves with.

We absorb the vibes we surround ourselves with. {TWEET THIS}

When I read Workplace Stress:  Do You Know Where it Comes From?, I was intrigued by a few of the suggestions. I especially keep turning this proposed strategy for managing workplace stress over in my mind: “Look for opportunities to learn skills or take on more responsibility.” While it seems counterintuitive to take on MORE when you’re already feeling stressed, perhaps for some people, additional responsibility that is more aligned with their skill set may actually reduce stress.

Speaking of taking on responsibility, none of the entrepreneurs featured in 20 Successful Entrepreneurs Share the Most Important Lesson They Learned in Their 20s avoided taking on massive amounts of it. Each of them learned valuable lessons along the way. This one is still kicking around in my mind: “You can never fire anyone too soon.” While the reference is to being decisive, I suspect part of that lesson is “you have to hire the right people in the first place.”

No matter what your generation or geography, I am a strong believer in the power of mindfulness. In Musts for Being Mindfully Present, Scott Mautz reminds readers that mindfulness “reduces aggression because the ego doesn’t come into play as you’re focusing on what’s in front of you, not what it says.” We could all do with less aggression in the world, right?


On a closing note, I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted by Inc. as a regular contributor! I will be writing on topics related to cultural awareness and global business. It’s all extremely exciting and I’ll be looking forward to sharing my articles with you!

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