Art Hoffmann, Chief Administrative Officer
I traveled a lot over the years with Gannett Fleming, and I’ve been fortunate to have been in our Doha, Qatar office. You stand in the Doha airport at 2 a.m., and you see thousands of people coming from, and going to, hundreds of different places, places you’ve heard of, but you never really knew existed, like Timbuktu. And the people you see around you are also different, such as the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the way they speak, their languages, the things they carry. And this is just how they appear, but they also act and behave differently. I was once standing in an airport at the gate in Abu Dhabi, and I watched everybody in the entire boarding area stand up and get into two rows to board the airplane. They weren’t rows around boarding groups or first class or coach, they were by gender. There was a boarding line for men and a boarding line for women, and they behave this way because that’s the way they think, it’s the way they see the world. We all have filters, and it never would have crossed my mind to board a plane by gender, but because that was important in their lives, that’s how they acted. I think that cultural diversity is really the way that we see the world and how we move through it.
Rul-Aref Kashif, Project Manager
Cultural diversity is the acceptance, respect, and appreciation of individuals or groups of people different from yourself. It includes acceptance of their religion, culture, and clothing and acknowledging their holidays, celebrations, traditions, and cultural practices. To me, cultural diversity means freedom. It means justice, equality for all, and freedom to live without the pressure to conform. It means justice without bigotry, hatred, or prejudice and equality to have the same opportunity as others without having to work twice as hard for the same outcome.
Eva Ladocha, Roadway Corporate Business Group Administrator
I grew up in a small town in Poland where everybody was pretty much the same. When I was 16, I moved to New York City, where pretty much everyone is from different parts of the world. That was the first time I experienced true diversity, and, of course, culture shock because growing up, everybody was the same, spoke the same language, and had similar religious beliefs for the most part. I had no idea that there was so much diversity that could potentially exist in the world. Personally, I enjoy getting to know different cultures and exploring their foods and different cultural customs and beliefs. It’s just a great idea to have friends from different parts of the world to expand your horizons.
Dennis McLaughlin, Architect
I would describe cultural diversity as the existence of a variety of culture groups or a collection of people with different characteristics within a society. Groups may be different nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, genders, ages, and even physical fitness levels. I view cultural diversity as an opportunity to learn from others who have different perspectives, life experiences, education, or opinions that are different from ours based on their life experiences. The key is to be willing to truly engage one another, to talk and listen and learn from one another. That’s how we get better.
Steve Panton, Unified Communication Manager
Cultural diversity is the coexistence of many different subcultures within one larger culture. To me, it means the ability to interact and learn from the many different traditions and history the people from other countries have brought to the United States. One of the benefits of living here in the United States is having the ability to explore the various subcultures just by sampling the different types of cuisine.
William Roman, Chief Geologist
Cultural diversity refers to the variability of the cultural and ethnic groups within a society. To me, a culturally diverse society reflects a vibrant and healthy society, which is less susceptible to the perils of racial and ethnic discrimination that monoculturalism sometimes fosters, as seen in Nazi Germany and other totalitarian regimes aiming to create monocultural societies.