ADR ADVISOR Soumaya Khalifa is President of Khalifa Consulting (KC), a wide network of consultants. They provide consulting, training and coaching in the areas of intercultural communication, effective global teams, expatriate training, US, Arab and Muslim cultural expertise and destination services. Soumaya is adjunct faculty at Emory University where she offers classes on Human Resources Management. With an MBA in Human Resources, a bi-cultural background, and 20 years in corporate America, Soumaya provides her clients with customized solutions to improve their business performance.
Whether you traveled or stayed home this past holiday season, you paid attention to the news about Southwest Airlines’ struggles to getpeople where they wanted to go.Bad (really bad) weather, canceled flights, long lines, lost luggage, and exhausted and cranky passengers and airline staff all led to an operational disaster that will take Southwest a while to overcome.
It sometimes seems as if the business world has seen decades’ worth of change in the past two years.Mass resignations, supply chain disruption, and safety and health protocols, to say nothing of the quick adoption of the technology needed for remote working (and schooling), we are all working in unfamiliar environments.To be successful in this new world, we need to go back to the basic rules of good behavior: kindness, gratitude and compassionate curiosity.
Without the “water cooler” (whatever the gathering spot in your office might have been), we miss the opportunity to check in with each other. Given the limitations of video conferencing, it is hard to truly connect with the people who are part of our work lives.We get “right to business,” forgoing the chitchat that makes a congenial workplace.It will take an effort to build (and rebuild) connections and collegiality.Along with recognizing those limitations we must redouble our efforts to be kind to each other.
This Women’s History Month I am thankful for the many women who paved the way for me. These amazing women include my mother, sister, daughter, mentors, friends, colleagues, managers and too many others to list.With these women as guides and companions, my path has been smooth yet challenging, steady yet adventurous.For all of those women, I am deeply grateful.
I know a beautiful five year-old named Samira.At birth, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation that doctors thought would keep her from seeing, speaking, walking, running and living her life like any typical child.Of course, her family was devastated: they wanted only the best for their newborn daughter.Samira’s mother, however, immediately jumped into action.She sought doctors who specialized in Samira’s condition and found the physical, occupational, speech and other therapies that she needed to thrive.Samira’s mom fought the doctors, therapists and insurance companies to make sure her daughter received the best treatments and support.
It’s exciting to start a new year and a new century with the hopes that this year will be better and offer many opportunities.The work in Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) must be intentional and not a one-time activity to check-off the box. Successful organizations in the field tend to have D&I as part of their organizational DNA just like safety.Some trends for this year include: intentionality and understanding for the business case for D&I, increase in unconscious bias awareness, and the expanding of the Muslim ban on its impact in the workplace.