StateStreetA diverse workforce and an inclusive culture are essential parts of any corporate identity. Together, they bring a variety of perspectives to draw from as you innovate, engage, constructively debate and create your own way ahead.

To me, the best part is that an inclusive culture fosters team work. And I’ve seen this firsthand at State Street. As human beings, we often have a tendency to gravitate toward those who are like ourselves. In other words, those who provide safety and comfort.

But we need to breakthrough those barriers. They only hold us back. Proximity is an idea that’s taking hold in the business world. It means working together and creating new perspectives so that we can understand, accept and embrace differences in our thoughts, styles and opinions. Guided by the right perspectives, we’re able to make better decisions based on facts and evidence, not perceptions and misconceptions.

As the managing director of Global Inclusion, I’ve seen this work more often than not. Granted, proximity may initially create discomfort but that quickly gives way to understanding and mutual respect. Some of my best allies at work are those who have smartly decided their success hinges on their ability to work with the best available talent. This means they allow themselves to get close and, yes, sometimes personal with colleagues who may not resemble them. It also means going outside your comfort zone, and exploring different work approaches and leadership styles.

At every level of our organization, diversity emerges from human differences — whether it’s age, culture, gender, nationality, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practices or family status — and it’s representative of our clients and business.

Diversity and inclusion are strategic imperatives woven into the fabric of how we do business and are an integral part of how we operate every day. Growth in our industry will come from a global, diverse and inclusive workforce that fosters the best ideas for products and solutions for our clients. At all levels of our organization, we need to reflect the best talent available in the communities where we live and work.

Our business is made stronger by the variety of ideas and perspectives of our global workforce. What I’ve learned through this journey is that resiliency is key. It’s what leads you to apply different approaches to complex issues and to never stop learning from each other.

To get to a point when an organization is able to demonstrate proficiency towards this work, it has to be done with the input of many. This work is not just for women, people of color, the disabled or the LGBTQA communities. The answer to unlocking the “mysteries” of diversity and inclusion is in fact diversity and inclusion itself. This work impacts us all. That’s why everyone should be included and engaged.

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