As part of my new job, I took my first diversity and inclusion course last night and, honestly, it opened my eyes more than I thought.

As a white, cisgendered male, my identity is not something that is usually challenged in society.

I’ve never feared for my life when getting pulled over by the police, I’ve never had to question whether or not I was being fairly compensated for my work, and I can’t think of the last time I felt out of place somewhere.

That is, until now.

In only two short weeks at Slalom, I’ve met some of the smartest, most ambitious people St. Louis has to offer, and they come from all walks of life. Each day, I am surrounded by intelligent people who solve complex, technical problems and it would be very easy for them to make me feel out of place.

After all, I’m not coming from a corporate or technical background which means, I find myself asking a lot of “simple” questions just to keep up.

Since this is technically my first full-time job, I am definitely in the minority.

The thing is, people here aren’t reinforcing this truth.

Instead of making me feel stupid, they’re helping me realize that asking clarifying questions is a big part of being a good consultant.

During the course last night, I got to hear from others who might fall within more “traditional” minority groups and it really helped to put things in perspective.

At the end of the day, we’re all human which means, we all share a need to be loved, recognized, and respected for who we are and the ideas we share.

If you ask me, acknowledging this is the first step in widening the circle and making everyone feel included.