John W. Quinn is author of the powerful memoir “Someone Like Me – An Unlikely Story of Challenge and Triumph Over Cerebral Palsy.”
Inclusion Is The Opportunity To Be Great!
Inclusion is often looked at as a lowering of a standard to make things easier for people. It is not. Inclusion is the opportunity for me to hit the same high standard as you.
The problem is that we judge people so quickly. We see someone who stands different, uses a prosthetic or have a potential hire who uses a wheelchair. We often think to ourselves, “There’s no way that he/she can do this job, so I’m not even going to interview them.” Or we might say, “Why change things? This is the way it’s always been done around here.” That’s outdated thinking it’s a mistake. Let me tell you a quick story to illustrate the power of inclusion:
In 1994, Congress repealed the law preventing women from being permanently assigned to combatant ships. On Mar. 7, 1994, the Navy issued the first orders for women serve on the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). Ike would deploy on Oct. 20, 1994, with 350 women assigned. I was a crew member on IKE at the time and I can tell you that those women faced a lot of scrutiny. Many of the male crew made comments such as , “They don’t belong here; this will never work.” But it did! Why did having women onboard aircraft carriers succeed? Because the leaders on the IKE kept our standards high – just like we did for all our sailors. It worked so well that women are now the commanding officers of aircraft carriers with the Navy recently appointing its first female Chief of Naval Operations – the top job in the entire Navy. Talk about hitting the high standard!
Bottom line – Everyone has ability.
Everyone has something to offer this world. Inclusion gives people the opportunity to show what they can do. That’s where greatness is!