That was the message motivational speaker Vickie Haberbosch
delivered to a crowd of about 500 people at The Lakeland Center on Thursday
.The CommUnity Celebration was presented by the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce's
Minority Business Council and Women in Business Council. "It's time for corporate America to embrace diversity," said Haberbosch, president and CEO of AKIM Consulting in Lakeland.
"Diversity does work and it makes great business sense." Haberbosch
said embracing diversity is everybody's responsibility.
While serving in the military in Saudi Arabia, she
had to embrace other people's diversity to get jobs done.Then she
carried it with her
into corporate America.
"We need to find strength in people's diversities and give them room to succeed," she
said."Let's work together instead of working apart.
"We need more diverse heroes in corporate America, where there are enough egos," she
said, as the room burst into applause.
Success requires leadership, discipline and diversity, she
"When it comes to diversity, first you have to know thyself -- know what you like, don't like, prejudices and goals," Haberbosch
said, whose company has done consulting and professional development workshops for groups such as the Air Force
, Papa John's International, Cigna Healthcare, Polk Community College
and Badcock & More.
"We all have (prejudices) and if they are left unchecked, they become stereotypes," she
said. Haberbosch, who has a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in Public Health, also said diversity is not just a trend and the melting pot theory is gone.
"People want to be valued for their strengths and differences," she
said."If you want an edge in your business, make sure you have a variety of strengths and make sure they are edified.If not, you'll have them there physically but not emotionally."