The Nashville Institute for Faith and Work is excited to welcome Lawrence-Blank Cook for our March Lunch & Learn on the topic of “Appreciating the Value of Workplace Diversity” on March 7 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Read below to see a few thoughts she has offered as a preview for her talk in January.
Q: What intrigues you most about appreciating diversity in your workplace?
A: That everyday really gives us a new opportunity to be inclusive--every single interaction we share with someone presents a new way of connecting. I work for a global company, and our Hermitage office is often the hub of significant groups of teams gathered to build solutions for Deloitte. Often, you can be walking down the hall and have multiple groups speaking different languages in the hallway. It is the bringing together of people from different cultures, perspectives and from unique individual positions that help us be successful. We truly do believe that strength and success comes from diversity.
Q: Can you name a specific example of a way you struggle to appreciate diversity in your workplace?
A: Remembering to slow down and listen. I'm leading a large program right now that introduces a fair amount of change to our organization. And I have in my head where we are going, but not everyone has that same vision or even understands the business needs for moving in that direction. And they come to the table with different experiences. I have to remember to listen, understand their points of view, and hopefully come to the middle ground that is successful for all of us.
Q: Why do you believe appreciating diversity is important in today's workplace?
A: As we move towards more technology-enabled solutions and as we continue to support a global economy--dealing with climate and political events, it is really important for us to put ourselves in each other's shoes and truly understand others' points of view. And here in Nashville, we have so many new folks coming to town and new businesses opening up. How can we afford not to appreciate diversity in the workplace?
Lawrence Blank-Cook is a Technology Managing Director for Deloitte. She works with business owners in Risk, Regulatory and Office of the General Counsel to develop the technology strategy and leads the digitization efforts for these group. Additionally, Lawrence is an Inclusion Champion and served as the Inclusion leader for the Hermitage office for 5 years. She is the National Deloitte leader for Million Women Mentors, serving also as the Middle Tennessee Co-Captain.She leads the United Way Leadership Giving Campaign for the Hermitage Office. She also serves as a board member for St. Luke’s Community House and Cable Women’s Organization and is a reading volunteer at Warner Elementary. She served as a Sunday School teacher with her husband for 18 years, retiring in 2017.