Diversity in the Professional World
On Friday, April 30, 2010, Georgetown welcomed over 50 faculty, students, staff, and alumni to the first annual Symposium on Engaging Difference. The day featured a morning student- alumni discussion with two notable Georgetown alumni, Damien Dwin (MSB ‘97) and Brian Rafferty (CAS ‘79). Dwin and Rafferty spoke about their professional experiences and how they address issues of difference and diversity in their careers. Both drew on their experiences at Georgetown and their many years in international business environments when talking about what has shaped their perspective.
Dwin and Rafferty both spoke about the importance that empathy plays in being able to traverse diverse situations and environments. Dwin reflected that “…No matter how empathetic I think I am, I need to try harder every single day….It’s not that you’re making excuses for people. It’s that you actually try to feel, experience, and see the world through their eyes without expectations, because expectations… often lead to resentments.” Rafferty added “[Empathy] is a real practical mean. This is not only rewarding, the right thing to do, keeps us from wanting to kill each other, but it really means success. If you want to get somewhere—whether it’s make money, do good, increase the pool of knowledge—you have to learn how to collaborate.” In the ensuing, wide-ranging discussion, participants not only pressed for more reflections from Dwin and Rafferty about issues they’ve faced since leaving Georgetown, but also debated how classroom experiences might prepare current students to face similar issues after they leave Georgetown.
In addition to the morning session, the symposium included a lunch gathering to recognize current and new Doyle Faculty Fellows and share summaries of the work done by this year’s faculty fellows and the Doyle Undergraduate Fellows working with faculty at the Berkley Center. The inaugural Doyle Symposium on Engaging Difference set a model for future conversation among students, faculty, and alumni. In 2011, the project will again seek to bring alumni who are national or global leaders from business, government, or the professions to campus to discuss how they have engaged difference in their careers and their organizations.
Return to the Doyle Symposia page.