I was asked to help out with the Sara Lee Corporation Diversity Council this year by serving on the Newsletter committee. I have always felt like I had a good grasp on diversity until that day! I felt a little nervous about getting information together that should somehow be able to make an impact on people within our company. After the first few weeks, I began to realize what a huge responsibility we had jumped into. There were so many directions, so much information, so much that we could do and say wrong, and so many different things and people that deserved to be discussed. I felt overwhelmed, and worried that we would overwhelm our fellow team members with more things to read about, think about and do…so much that they would do nothing.
My youngest son, Kade, is 9 years old, and loves music. He plays the Cello in Austin Elementary School in Sulphur Springs, Texas. This is a sight to see. He came home from school one day and handed me a piece of paper stating that the school was hosting a musical program that would include all the elementary schools in our area…I was very busy with work; very busy with brainstorming ideas for the Diversity council newsletter, school, kids, life…you have the picture.
The big day finally came, and Kade was so excited…our beautiful, smart little boy would sing and play and WOW us. I had the video camera ready, my husband had the digital camera ready, and my friend had a back up camera ready. This was a very special event, and we were prepared. The music began, the director was lead from the corner of the room, and he began feeling his way around, smiling and talking with the children. Then, Jeff Moyer and the children began to sing… “WE’RE PEOPLE FIRST”…a celebration of diversity by Jeff Moyer.” I nearly dropped the video camera!
So, a grand lesson in diversity was dropped in my lap! After the wonderful performance that night, I spoke with Jeff Moyer. WOW…I was, and still am…very WOW’ED. I want to share this experience with you because I received some of the most valuable information that I have ever had the privilege of having. Jeff is able to teach valuable life lessons through songs and activities. The way that he is able to speak to a crowd ranging in age from 2 to 100 and still effectively reach all in the room with this message is amazing.
Jeff keeps it simple, concise and to the point. It is all ELEMENTARY. All of a sudden a light came on in my head. If he can teach thousands of children to think about this, what could this message do for us in a corporate business setting? I hope that it will help us all to stop and think for a moment, think about ourselves, and those around us, and the impact that we all have on each other. Most of all, I hope that we can learn to make Diversity simple, elementary, an everyday, all the time, instinctive way of thinking and acting with people. After all, “We’re People First”. And, we should celebrate that fact.
The message that was sent through our children that night, was one of consequence, concerning many areas: self-esteem, acceptance of others, the naturalness of diversity, and positive thought and action. Thank you is not enough for the lesson that my child learned that night. He is a kind and loving child, and that night brought out a defensiveness in him to protect and love all those around him, no matter the difference. I am proud that he was a part of this program, and hope that he carries this love for others his whole life long.
Jeff, you are truly amazing and inspiring. I wish you the best in your journey.
Shonda Gibson, manager with Sara Lee Corporation, and proud mom of Kade Gibson!