(571) 224-3205

Contact Us Today

Diversity Training Personal Development

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

Well, the battle over “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” seems to have reared its ugly head yet once again. Apparently it’s becoming a new holiday tradition.

I listen to people wishing each other “Happy Holidays” and yet complaining about not saying the other. I wonder why the dilemma. Why are we so unable to wish a Merry Christmas to those celebrating this Christian holiday? Yes, there are those who are not celebrating this event but instead, celebrating Hanukkah. So are we so unable to say to those, “Happy Hanukkah”? Why can we not look to those in our communities who may be Muslim and offer them “Eid Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”?

Why are we so aholidaysfraid to embrace members of our community for the diversity that they bring?

I watched the Michael Buble Christmas special earlier; in one segment of the show, he spoke with two little girls and asked how they celebrate Christmas. They let him know that they are Jewish so instead, they have their own traditions. He asked them to explain and they did so happily, sharing their excitement and joy. Out of the mouths of babes…..

Why is this so hard for us to do as adults? Why are we so afraid to ask people, friends and strangers, to help us understand how they celebrate their own holidays in their homes? Why can’t we learn from each other? Why are we so afraid of that which is different?

I lived in the Middle East for nearly a decade. During that time, community members took pleasure in wishing each other congratulations on the various holidays that occurred. If people there can accept each other and that which makes us unique, surely we can learn to do so here.

Can’t we?

Diversity Training

Diversity in the USA is a Thing of Beauty

This July, let us celebrate our collective interdependence and embrace what we all bring to the 4th of July picnic table.

Everyone is American on the 4th – just like everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day. People celebrate the oneness of being citizens of this country – a diverse nation where people are embraced and welcomed.

Progressive Workplace Culture

Now let’s put it into the context of our workplaces. Northern Virginia has one of the most diverse work environments in the nation. People find themselves mixing with folks who they may not choose to if it was outside the workday. For the most part, none of us choose our co-workers or bosses. We join a company and then work toward a common mission, serving clients or customers who also come from all different walks of life.

Over the last several months, there have been a series of videos surfacing online, showing individual Americans speaking to other Americans through the veil of hate. “Go back where you came from!” “Stop stealing our jobs.” “Learn to speak English, that’s what we do here!”

I don’t know about you but for me, it’s beyond horrific to see these incidents. For these individuals who are on the receiving end of this vitriol, decent, hardworking folks who are struggling to learn another language, understand the culture and idiosyncrasies of living within a new country, and establishing new roots all at the same time as missing their family and friends from their previous home, it must be terrifying and humiliating. Just learning a new language alone is a daunting task, never mind navigating life in Northern Virginia!

As these images stream across our social media feeds and through the daily news, we become numb, desensitized, and step back into our safe zones.

At work, we watch our colleagues get thrown under the proverbial bus by a member of our team or a supervisor or we hear them being put through the wringer by the team gossip. Yet do we say anything?

We become the video watching bystanders who sit back and watch and never say a word.

No one is suggesting that anyone put himself or herself in harm’s way by intervening in a threatening situation. That is when you call the police. However, standing up for another’s rights or even the rights of someone to be an “other” is part of the American experience.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “In the end, what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

This article was first published in Prince William Living Magazine

Business Skills Training Career Development Corporate Teams Diversity Training Effective Communication Leadership Development Leadership Skills Personal Development Professional Development Wise Ways Consulting

PTSD in the Washington Region – Hidden in Plain Sight

Living in the National Capitol Region, we share the area with many military installations and service members. Americans pride themselves on supporting the military. People rally around the returning troops, attend fundraisers to help support individuals, brave freezing December temperatures to lay wreaths at military cemeteries, and countless other opportunities to show their gratitude. Some even come together to build homes for those who have sustained more severe injuries that require building accommodations for prosthetics, wheelchairs, and other mobility-enhancing devices.

But what about those soldiers, men, and women, who carry silent burdens? Many look the same but suffer the natural consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to a study by the RAND Corporation, at least 20 percent of service members returning from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from depression, PTSD, or both. Military counselors estimate those numbers to be higher, especially when coupled with a TBI or traumatic brain injury.

As veterans transition into a civilian work environment, both themselves and their employers must understand how PTSD may impact everyone. They must work together to develop solutions so both the company and the veteran have the best chance at creating a successful work environment for all. According to 2012 research from Babbel, PTSD can impact veterans in many ways including memory loss, which can impact those struggling to learn new tasks on new jobs or function in meetings; lack of concentration; stress, including panic attacks, flashbacks, and emotional extremes resulting in the potential inability to work well with colleagues and managers; and hypersensitivity to sounds, lights, large crowds, and unknown areas resulting in headaches, migraines and panic attacks. Many veterans may not be used to the traditional work structure as compared with the military rank structure. This can cause stress and frustration as the employee works to forge a new path. For someone suffering from PTSD-induced memory loss, being unable to remember how to do that basic task explained earlier in the day may cause the individual to become overwhelmed and then lash out and blame a colleague or a supervisor. These types of negative responses can impede the development of relationships and workplace morale, particularly if other employees don’t understand that the incident isn’t about them. As the tension comes to light, it’s important to identify the root cause. Is it coming from one of the identified symptoms of PTSD? Supporting Individuals with PTSD in the workplace

  • Create a safe place to ask questions and work together
  • Bring in a trained facilitator/consultant to work with both management and veterans to better
    understand issues and then develop solutions
  • Develop written procedures, meeting notes, and training manuals so employees can refer back if they
    missed something at a session or need additional refreshers
  • Have published calendars for team tasks so individuals can refer to these privately
  • Provide access to alternate/softer lighting in workspaces
  • Initiate organization-wide strategies for managing stress
  • Set aside money for additional training for new members
  • Provide disability training to all team members

A solid relationship between employees and managers is critical for a productive workplace. This may be difficult for a veteran suffering from PTSD, working for a manager with little to no awareness of their background. Just like any employee, if the manager exhibits a lack of empathy for the individual’s situation, it becomes more difficult for the employee to be successful. This is magnified for someone struggling with PTSD.

Transitioning into a new workplace is difficult for anyone, but for those who bear the biggest burden for our freedoms, the task can seem impossible. If everyone did their part, the difference would be immeasurable.

This article was initially published in Prince William Living Magazine.

Sign up for our Newsletter to find out about the latest Leadership Trends