Why inclusion & diversity is my calling
I grew up in South Africa during the height of apartheid. It was an evil and shameful period in history, yet I was unaware of the privilege that I had been bestowed upon purely by being born into a family of ‘white’ parents (my dad being an Italian migrant was viewed with suspicion by some but he was deemed to pass the colour credentials).
My perception shift came during the second-last year of high school where I was selected to be part of the Edutrain youth leadership program and travel around the country in a specially-fitted out train as part of a national reconciliation program. Nelson Mandela had been released from prison the year before and the country was starting to focus on change ahead of his presidency.
I journeyed for nine days with 60 students from other schools, attending lectures and having debates and discussions, while learning more about the land and its people.
This was my first interaction, at the age of 16, with peers who were not from my background and it deeply moved and changed me. It changed my perception of fairness. When I returned I was not the same young woman whom my parents had dropped off at the station just over a week before
It was as if a fog of bias and discrimination that influenced my thoughts had been burnt away by the blistering light of understanding the impact of the opposite of inclusion – legalised, regulated and endorsed exclusion. I had been given a chance to sit and talk with, dance and sing with, as well as shake the hands of people who were persecuted for being different, yet they did not hate me.
I also live with a sight impairment of being legally blind without my glasses. Going into adulthood and moving to Australia in 2000 after being a successful international transfer program applicant with PR firm Text 100, where I then became an outsider as an emigrant, further fuelled my quest to learn and understand more about difference and identity. Whether that’s being from a different school. Or from a different culture. Having a disability. Identifying as LGBTIQ or an Indigenous Australian. Having a different gender or being a different age to everyone else. Or having to get assistance in certain situations because you’re not able to see without your glasses, such as when getting through the automated airport security scanners…
I can’t right the wrongs of the past. But I believe that we can choose to make a positive impact, even in the smallest of ways. And Perspective Hive is how I help others change they way they do business, so that difference becomes an asset.
Curious to know me better?
When I’m not enjoying creating diversity outcomes for Perspective Hive, you’ll find me gardening, cooking low carb and sugar-free meals and brewing my own kombucha & sauerkraut, where I put successful creations on my @Stuffyoudiabetes Instagram channel, crocheting, reading, dreaming of and planning my next holiday, writing articles (some of which have been published including ‘Why are some of our best-known brands paying to associate with inequality’ on Women’s Agenda‘, ‘Holes in the Universe’ on Mamamia and guest blogging on topics I’m passionate about like inclusive language). In-between I am working on my slow-burn novel about a dog trainer, catching up with friends, hanging out with my husband Michael and our rescue Staffordshire Terrier called Indi, managing two real bee hives in my backyard, or walking in nature for enjoyment.