From My Perspective: Diverse by Design

David Edwards, CEO of Purpose Built Communities

By David Edwards, CEO of Purpose Built Communities

During our 2017 conference in Omaha, a speaker came up to me and said he had never spoken at a conference with an audience as diverse as ours. I was first slightly taken aback, because at Purpose Built Communities, we tend to take for granted that our work requires a diverse set of people working in tandem to achieve transformational results in distressed communities. We are a diverse organization, we work with diverse teams in communities around the country, and those communities themselves become increasingly diverse over time. In other words, diversity is necessary for Purpose Built Communities to be successful.

What hasn’t been obvious to us, although perhaps it should have been, is that diversity is not only necessary, but perhaps is the critical driver of our success.  Also at the conference, Dr. Katherine Phillips of Columbia University shared her research on how diversity impacts organizational performance. Her work makes it clear that diverse teams are more creative, more effective and generate better results. We shouldn’t be diverse simply because it’s the right thing to do – we should be diverse because diversity is what will deliver the best results.

So as we begin a new year, here’s to diversity and to everything it brings to us in life and to our work together. And to Dr. Phillips for doing the math!