The sporting community have always been the world’s leading pioneers in inclusivity, from Jesse Owens in Berlin 1936 to the North and South Korean diplomatic thaw at the recent Winter Olympics. At MTC we want to continue this lasting impactful legacy and give our clients the platform to talk about the issues and challenges they’ve faced in their lives or express their views on diversity and inclusivity in the current world.
Diversity through Adversity
By Liz Johnson
A world without difference would be a world of limitations. As we saw the PyeongChang Winter Games come to a close we have been able to reflect on the illustration that it provided of the fact that, with perseverance and adaptability, there is no piste too high to conquer, no challenge too difficult to overcome.
Some of the greatest stories to come out of the Winter Olympics were created through facing adversity from all areas. From North and South Korea walking under a unified flag together through to having the courage and belief to ski down the steepest slopes at over 60mph with only 3% vision, there is no better demonstration of unity and optimism than the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Within these Games we have seen people from all walks of life come together and celebrate both sporting excellence and the diverse world we live in.
Diversity is such a hot topic and an area that has received increasingly heavy focus within different sectors in recent years. I have always believed that diversity is important in all aspects of life because if everything was the same then life would be extremely boring, nothing would change or evolve, and things would stagnate.
Diversity is a necessity everywhere; in our diets, in our lifestyles, the style of houses that are built within developments, modes of transport. So, it stands to reason that we need diversification within our workforces, population, and role models.
One of the biggest trends on social media recently has been #wouldntchangeathing which was used to mark World Down Syndrome Day on Wednesday 21st March. I feel that it is a brilliant hashtag and warms my heart because it simply emphasises the mantra that I’ve always been brought up with:
“We are who we are, and we should maximise everything that we have available to us in order to be the best version of ourselves – always.”
Having congenital Cerebral Palsy – I was born with brain paralysis that affects the entire of the right-hand side of my body with limited movement, a lack of strength, increased spasticity and a lack of coordination – means that in the eyes of society I’m part of the population that is labelled as disabled.
Obviously, this was not something that my parents were expecting or necessarily prepared for until they realised that they had to be, but one thing I know for certain is that it did not change their approach to how they parented me. They loved me unconditionally, challenged me, supported me and prepared me for a life without limitations.
My Mum always told me that I could do anything that I wanted to as long as I believed in myself and was willing to go the extra mile to persevere and develop strategies that were appropriate to me.
As a result, I think that being different has given me strength and, in many respects, a competitive advantage as I have had to problem solve from an early age and not just fit in with following the trends of the masses.
A Diverse world
Diversity is necessary in all areas of life however part of me feels that it shouldn’t be required to describe a population as essentially, we are all (just) human beings, and all human beings are different.
Being in a group that is deemed to be a minority forces you to challenge yourself, search deeply within your soul and stand up for what really matters to you. This brings out the best in you and I think is why those that represent minority groups whilst excelling in their chosen fields often grab the attentions of the wider world.
Diversity is everywhere, and with increased education and understanding there is no reason why any individual regardless of their situation should be prevented from achieving their ambitions; from climbing their own Everest to stepping on to the podium. Diversity is a strength, it empowers, challenges perceptions and has the ability to change the world that we live in.