To truly achieve diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, companies must be intentional in their efforts both in the workplace and when attracting and retaining customers. They must think about their employees and customers and demonstrate through their actions / efforts that they do want to be inclusive and support EVERYONE.
For Super Bowl LVII, I was impressed with their intentional efforts this year to be inclusive of EVERYONE. From the start of the pre-game show with the diverse children singing as part of the Rugged Flag story, to the diverse singers – Sherly Lee Ralph singing a National Black Anthem – Lift Every Voice and Sing to Chris Stapleton singing our National Anthem. The diversity of the deaf sign interpreters to ensure our disabled community can join in and feel welcomed. Then the all women-flyer over. And talk about the constant reminders – from the many quotes on the back of the player’s helmets (“It Takes All of Us) to the end zone messages – Eagles end zone was End Racism. Our Veterans were included with the Pat Tillman Awards and the diverse recipients. I thought I saw the LGBTQ+ rainbow colors when the camera panned to the cruise ship, but I may have been wrong. Most all these efforts were not coincidence – they had to be intentional. As a person of color, I appreciated the intentionality efforts.
And let us not forget history was made during Super Bowl LVII, two African American quarterbacks playing against one another during the world’s biggest showdown and game. Congratulations to both – Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) and Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles). By the way, I was rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City is only four hours west from my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
An estimated 100 million +/- watched Super Bowl LVII. I am hopeful, I was not the only person that noticed the Super Bowl’s intentional efforts. I know our CEO noticed as we immediately called one another to compare notes. It took the Super Bowl leadership 57 years to recognize the need to demonstrate their inclusivity efforts and not just during the halftime show. I am hopeful this intentional effort continues to many years to come.
I challenged company leaders to ask themselves:
1. What are you doing to be intention in your efforts to be inclusive of others?
2. What is your company doing to be inclusive of people of color, those with disabilities, Veterans and LGBTQ+ individuals?
3. Are these efforts bold just like the leadership behind this year’s Super Bowl?
I am hoping we will see this same type of effort in subsequent Super Bowls, many other “big shows” and quite frankly in everyone’s life’s journey.