Beyond the Build


Everyone Deserves a Seat at the Table

Yesterday, we sponsored a Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion roundtable held at The Lakeshore Foundation. The third in a series, this session focused on inclusion for our international community, a particularly poignant topic since The World Games will be in Birmingham next month. Carlos Alemán, CEO of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (¡HICA!), served as emcee.

Attendees were divided into groups and received an immigrant’s story to share as a table. We worked our way through a series of questions, using the lens of these true stories to guide our discussion. Everyone brought a different perspective, and the collective wisdom was powerful.

We learned that, even considering the costs associated with a work visa, hiring a team member from another country can be a long term savings because of their need to fill a commitment and loyalty for the opportunity. When these individuals are hired, the number one key to their success in mentorship, to help them overcome any cultural barriers that might be present initially. We even went into ways census data could be useful to D&I efforts, helping us shape a team that mirrors the demographics of the community we serve.

As we all work to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion are a part of our business plan, opportunities like this roundtable are invaluable for gaining empathy and perspective. After all, everyone deserves a seat at the table.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.