Take note: Diverse teams drive stronger growth for businesses

The esteemed English primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall once said, “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference.” That’s a sentiment I share and a truth I live by.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, I value and embrace many of the unique traditions and customs of my culture. My university days started before we had the Internet. The world was a lot smaller then, especially when you grew up in an insular environment. It wasn’t until I attended college at Pennsylvania State University that I experienced the exhilarating power of a true melting pot of cultures, countries and religions. That experience enriched my life deeply, exposing me to fresh ideas, alternative perspectives, and other ways of doing things.

Most of all, my time at Penn State opened my mind to the simple fact that in any group dynamic—be it the classroom or the boardroom—real strength lies in differences rather than in sameness.

Throughout my career, I have always kept that concept in mind and have placed a high priority on diversity when it comes to teambuilding. Every team requires people with different talents and skills. That is a given. But when we also focus on including people with diverse heritages and backgrounds—as well as various ages and genders—we open the door to greater collective potential. Simply put, diversity offers the opportunity to tap into numerous viewpoints, assorted problem-solving approaches, and greater innovation.

As chief marketing communications professional for a world-leading contract development and manufacturing organization, I am proud of the depth and quality of the marketing team. While recruiting and training the best and the brightest for an array of roles was a top priority, diversity was equally important. For me, it was essential to hire people of various ethnicities and multiple generations.

Today, our talented group of twelve consists of individuals of multiple races, different genders, and ages spanning from Gen Zers to Baby Boomers. Several team members are women, and I work with them to cultivate their skill sets and elevate them through the ranks. It’s good for them and for business. A recent report from McKinsey found that companies with more than 30% women executives were more likely to outperform companies where this percentage ranged from 10-30%.

Companies that thrive understand that rather than building barriers, diversity builds bridges. In the case of our team, we learn from each other’s unique backgrounds and experiences. That’s what fuels the group dynamic and our success. Our small team is a mini melting pot—bubbling over with more differences than similarities. And therein lies our beauty and our strength.