International speaker Justin Jones-Fosu capped off a successful Summit on Belonging on Oct. 26 in the Hunter Conference Center’s Great Hall by sharing his perspective on inclusivity. Southern Utah University’s Staff Association teamed up with the Office of Equity and Inclusion to bring in Jones-Fosu for the final hours of the two-day event.
Jones-Fosu, founder and CEO of Work. Meaningful., explored concepts from his book, “The Inclusive Mindset: How to Cultivate Diversity in Your Everyday Life.” According to Jones-Fosu, diversity is not just about race, religion, age or gender.
“Diversity at its simplest is just a difference,” he said. “All of us are a part of this conversation as we move forward. Real diversity is when we disagree and can still respect each other.”
The speaker challenged those in the audience to experience this diversity by making an effort to get involved with communities outside of their regular circle. He also contested that one of the best ways to increase a feeling of belonging is by having at least “one meaningful connection per week.”
To illustrate the inviting feeling that comes from these powerful conversations, Jones-Fosu encouraged the audience to interact with each other and form a deeper bond with the people around them.
“If you want to create a culture of belonging, be present with people and be mindful as you’re engaging them,” Jones-Fosu said. “That’s the beauty of this work.”
He closed by asking the listeners to start applying methods of increasing belonging in their individual workplaces, homes, and lives. Members of the SUU Staff Association then gifted Jones-Fosu a sweatshirt and framed photo of campus before thanking him for his influential words.