April 12, 2023 / 2 minute read

Pushing For Change Isn’t Always Easy. Here’s How I Keep Going.

Written by Margaret Finley, Director of DEI and Head of Corporate Affairs

In many of my circles, both personal and professional, I hear people who work on issues like diversity, equity and inclusion say things like, “I am tired” and “Is this worth it?” And while those conversations always end with wide agreement that the work is, in fact, worth it, I still have been thinking about how we all can remain optimistic, pragmatic and inspired enough to do the kind of work that drives us all forward, not only as businesses, but as humans.

In part, I’m optimistic because I work for a company and for leaders who are genuine in their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Not all who push for organizational change are so lucky, and I consider myself fortunate to have found a place where I can do the work that feels most aligned to my purpose alongside people who are open to growth. 

Still, it can be hard to separate the way I view myself as a human from my successes or failures — perceived or actual — at work. And in talking with colleagues and friends across our organization and others, I do not think I am alone in this. We are hard-wired to want change to be immediate. But those of us who have been in the DE&I space for a long time know that change is never immediate.

For example, we are doing tremendous work at ADS to elevate and prepare women and people of color for leadership roles. But we still have a way to go before we are truly equitable. That is not the fault of any person or team of people. It means that organizational change can be difficult, and that progress takes time.

Change requires thoughtful, judgment-free conversations that invite leaders and others across the organization to learn and grow, to buy in to the changes we hope to make, and to understand the value, not only for society, but for a company’s operations and success.

It takes strategic decisions that position the right people to be ready to step into leadership roles in the future. It takes humility and awareness that none of us knows what another’s experience truly is, and an acceptance that we must work through the differences between us in order to build something better in the future — in our companies, yes, but also in our society writ large.

These are big, audacious goals. And they are necessary.

So how do we keep going, even when it feels like we are taking a step back sometimes, or like we are not progressing toward our goals as quickly as we would like?

When I feel this way, I reach out to my friends who do this work, and I’ll share with you what they say to me, in the hopes that it resonates with you, too: You are anything but a failure. By caring, by fighting for the things that matter to you, you have already proven your success. You are doing good work — and the work matters. You have all the tools you need to achieve your goals and vision. And you will achieve them. It will just take time.  



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