Immigration: Been there; Done that

Immigration: Been there; Done that

Rather than diminishing our differences, let’s embrace them. What makes us American? Is it our common love for freedom, our innovative spirit or is it fast food, or our “throw away culture?” The truth is, America is a mosaic of numerous cultures, ethnicities, colors and religions—to the point where it has become impossible to use these attributes as a definition of what makes us American. Do we need immigrants?  When immigrants enter the labor force, they increase the productive capacity of the economy and raise the GDP. Their incomes rise, but so do those of natives. It’s a phenomenon dubbed the “immigration surplus,” as stated by Pia Orrenius (George W.Bush Institute). 44% percent of medical scientists are foreign born, for example, as are 42% of computer software developers. Immigrant workers are also overrepresented among college professors, engineers, mathematicians, nurses, doctors and dentists, to name a few. If immigration makes the economy larger, more efficient and productive, what’s the problem? Why do we, as a nation, limit immigration? In the late 1800s, people in many parts of the world decided to leave their homes and migrate to the United States. Fleeing crop failure, land and job shortages and rising taxes and famine, many people came to the U. S. because it was perceived as the land of economic opportunity. Others came seeking personal freedom or relief from political and religious persecution. With hope for a brighter future, nearly 12 million immigrants arrived in the United States between 1870 and 1900. During the 1870s and 1880s, the vast majority of these people were from Germany, Ireland and England – the principal...
A Very Diverse July 4th

A Very Diverse July 4th

On Tuesday , the USA celebrated Independence Day, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Lost between the department store and auto specific sales commercials is the true meaning of “Why America is Great”. Quietly, my family and I celebrated the fourth at our apartment in Midtown Manhattan. At about 6 PM, before the roar of the Macy’s firework display, my wife prepared a simple cookout in a common area of our building. At the table next to us was a Chinese family of ten, including four generations, two of which were born in China. At another table, there was a three generation South-Asian family. We were just a two generation family. My son’s 4 great grandparents were all born in Italy, but at the age of 23, he still refers to himself as Italian-American. As the sun disappeared and darkness overcame the canyonsof buildings, fireworks exploded in the New York City skyline. We were all on the roof.  A Middle-Eastern resident, whom I have never met, handed me a “whiskey” to celebrate. Different beverages, the aroma of barbeque food from multiple countries and a symphony of languages all living, celebrating and thankful for our wonderful divine country.  This is “Why America is...
Survival of the Fittest – Corporate Firm

Survival of the Fittest – Corporate Firm

Surviving in a large, rigid and sometimes controlling corporate environment can be as hard as swimming alone in an ocean with no coasts in sight. You may feel helpless and on your own, and no matter how much effort you put in, you may feel like you are not going anywhere.  It’s difficult to thrive in this type of environment, when there are no pre-defined goals or aims. Corporate environments with less strict rules, less rigidity and a more defined set of work conditions and responsibilities are somewhat easier to survive and thrive in, although they come with their own set of challenges and obstacles. Working with people from different backgrounds and work cultures, colleague relationships and office politics with its own hierarchies are some challenges that have the potential to create workplace conflicts. Overcoming them can be challenging, but if embraced, can actually help you succeed. A few specific innate characteristics can reduce workplace conflict and assist in a non-hostile work environment such as mutual respect, seamless work integration and beneficial joint progress. “Victory is much more meaningful when it comes not just from one person, but from the joint achievements of many“ said Howard Schultz. Respecting diversity and differences among colleagues is of utmost importance in the global business arena today. Having a blended workforce with not just cultural differences, but work ethic and functional differences is what brings in a fresh wave of energy, unique inputs and a one-of-a-kind workplace vibe. Individuals bring a new and different input and point of view, which when accepted brings in a whole new essence to a collaborative and sustainable...
Mark Szollar joins Global Diversity Marketing (GDM)

Mark Szollar joins Global Diversity Marketing (GDM)

Leadership Announcement   Global Diversity Marketing (GDM) has announced that Mark Szollar has joined the firm as Senior Vice President, Market Development. Mark will be a part of the GDM leadership team, concentrating on new business development. Mark comes to GDM after a successful career as an Advertising Executive in the media world for over 30 years. Mark spent 28 years of his career at The New York Times, where he worked in a variety of departments and positions, culminating in his position as the Director of Diversity and Recruitment Advertising for the company.  Mark also spent two years as Executive Director of the National Association of Asian MBA’s (NAAMBA). Additionally, Mark is a very active member of Ascend, the largest, non-profit Pan-Asian organization for business professionals in North America with over 60,000 members.  Throughout his professional career Mark has also been an active member in great diverse organizations such as Prospanica, the National Association of Black Sports Professionals and Veterans Across America. In addition to his professional career, Mark loves youth baseball and volunteers his time umpiring Little League and Babe Ruth baseball. In 2003, he was inducted into the Youth Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, not as a player but as an umpire. “I am excited to join Global Diversity Marketing (GDM) as Senior Vice President, Market Development. Combining my passion for diversity and marketing, this opportunity with GDM enables me to use my skills to help companies better understand these markets,” said Mark Szollar. “Mark’s extensive experience, his reputation and his passion for diversity makes him a valuable asset for our company. We are...
BUILD YOUR DREAM TEAM: 3 ESSENTIALS

BUILD YOUR DREAM TEAM: 3 ESSENTIALS

Mention “Dream Team” and immediately most think of championship sports teams. Businesses can dominate their competition if their team mirrors the characteristics of the most admired competitive athletic or business champions. Many winning organizations follow these 3 essential steps in creating their version of a “Dream Team.” 1. The Greater Good Short term profit is great, but creating a team that understands how your business affects or changes lives is the path to establishing a legacy. My partner, Tariq Khan and I realized after attending many financial services business meetings that without the infusion of diversity into the fabric of these organizations, one third of the U.S. would not be receiving adequate financial services advice. We truly believe this and infuse this passion with our team daily. What’s your passion and how does your business affect lives? 2. Unique Ability Our team members have individual unique abilities. As Dan Sullivan of the Strategic Coach teaches, focus only on what is your unique ability. Our team did not have a “player” who had business experience or contacts outside of the Financial Services industry. Mark Szollar has joined GDM, with an advertising and sales background, including almost 25 years at The New York Times Co. Mark has focused on print and digital sales and is known as a thought leader on diversity in the workplace. Additionally, often times, our clients hire us for product insights, specifically for the diverse market segments. Tariq and I approached Mark Hug, who was not only a Senior Executive Marketing Officer, but a brilliant actuary as well. Mark, formerly an Executive Vice President at Prudential, spent most of his career bringing focus to...
Would you have had the courage to sign Jackie Robinson?

Would you have had the courage to sign Jackie Robinson?

Are you willing to seek out diverse talent to grow your business? Ground has been broken for a long overdue Jackie Robinson Museum, in lower Manhattan. Jack Roosevelt Robinson, born in 1919, 25 days after the death of Teddy Roosevelt, whose name he carries, was the first African American player hired by Major League baseball on April 15, 1947. It is almost impossible to believe his entrance to baseball was only 70 years ago. Try telling your kids that…. I think they would be amazed! Branch Rickey was the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and made the controversial and courageous move of signing Robinson, breaking the MLB “color barrier.” This was not an easy task, as Rickey was confronted with societal issues and his colleagues were vehemently opposed to the signing. Rickey sought him out for his outstanding personal character, his UCLA education and rank of Captain in the U.S. Army. He knew that boos, taunts and criticism were going to be directed at Robinson, and that Robinson had to be tough enough to withstand abuse without attempting to retaliate. Robinson was a Superstar:  Rookie of the Year, 6 time All Star, National League MVP, Batting and World Series Champion. He served as a role model for generations who followed. Robinson was not the best player in the Negro Leagues. There were many others such as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson.   So why then were there no other black players in the league?   The issue was not that there weren’t many great black players available…. there just were not enough Branch Rickey’s!  Are you willing to seek out great talent with the passion and foresight...