What’s in a Word?


“Diversity” is a trending cultural keyword on browsers like Google, Bing and Yahoo, and the top-ranked search results relate to meaning. What is the definition of diversity?

Merriam-Webster has this to say about diversity:

1: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : VARIETY
especially : the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization
programs intended to promote diversity in schools
2: an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities : an instance of being diverse
a diversity of opinion

Dictionary.com records its meaning as follows:

1. the state or fact of being diverse; difference; unlikeness:
diversity of opinion.
2. variety; multiformity.
3. the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc.:
diversity in the workplace.
4. a point of difference.

In essence, both are saying that there are many different kinds of people in the world.

Associations around the word can make the meaning more complex, if not confusing. The word “diversity” might mean different things to different people. We also might welcome diversity in some contexts but avoid it in others.

Diversity of expertise is not only accepted but desired. Car manufacturers wouldn’t think of building a new car without engineers, designers and quality-control experts.

In our neighborhoods and workplaces, we talk, engage, consult and laugh across a diversity of social roles, education levels, skills, earning capacity and countless other domains. In addition, advocates have recently argued for recognition of neurodiversity, which refers to the range of differences in brain function.

Yet social diversity gives us anxiety, causing discomfort and awkward interactions, especially when it comes to race, gender and sexual orientation.

This avoidance of certain kinds of diversity can be counterintuitive as research across all kinds of dissimilarity has shown that navigating difference makes us more creative and diligent.

Is it harder? Yes.

When people come together who are different, they anticipate differences of opinion and perspective. They don’t assume agreement like they might in a more homogenous group. They understand they might have to work harder to come to a consensus. This is the problem and the promise of diversity.

In fact, difference leads to informational diversity, which is the same principle at work in any kind of multi-disciplinary endeavor. People from different walks of life bring unique information and experiences to bear on the task at hand, expanding the possibilities. This should be worth the work, right?

Perhaps the Google searchers for meaning are a sign that as a society we might finally be ready for a broader definition of diversity.


Realize the true promise of diversity, equity and inclusion by developing a deeper understanding about how to give everyone a voice in your organization. UW-Green Bay is now enrolling for a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Certificate Program, designed for HR professionals, business and government executives and leaders, managers and team leaders, parents and nonprofit and community leaders. There are two levels with the foundational level starting in February for five weeks. Learn more and register.


 Forbes. “What Processes are Taking Place in our Brains When We Learn New Things?” January 26, 2018.
Greater Good Magazine. “What is Diversity?”
Greater Good Magazine. “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter?” Katherine W. Phillips, September 18, 2017.

Revisiting Gender Equity

A Women’s Leadership Movement?

Recent media stories about how strong female leaders are succeeding through the pandemic crisis have created a movement of reevaluating what a strong leader looks like and of taking a long, hard look at gender equity.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand has been praised for her leadership style during the pandemic. Germany, led by Angela Merkel, has had a far lower death rate than Britain, France, Italy or Spain. Finland, where Prime minister Sanna Marin, 34, governs with a coalition of four female-led parties, has had fewer than 10 percent as many deaths as nearby Sweden. And Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, has presided over one of the most successful efforts in the world at containing the virus, using testing, contact tracing and isolation measures to control infections without a full national lockdown.

These are exceptional leaders leading in exceptional times. Still, their individual strengths have been noticed and applauded, particularly their humanity. They are more interested in increasing group welfare than individual showmanship. This talented group of female leaders has become the first visible wave of role models, encouraging an overthrow of the old, obsolete leadership archetype for a more pragmatic and meritocratic one.

Many organizations are lulled by a false sense of progress, pointing to diversity and inclusion training, focused recruitment efforts, unconscious bias training and individual development programs for women. But the fact of the matter remains.  Most workplaces were created by men and for men, creating numerous challenges for women to overcome.

Change requires leadership. A leader sets the standard for behaviors in an organization. They decide what gets endorsed, supported, overlooked and rewarded. A “policy” or “training program” can’t compensate for a leader who consistently ignores or even endorses behaviors, such as comments or jokes, that discriminate, marginalize and exclude women.

The call for leaders to advance gender equality at work, regardless of whether they lead a startup, multinational, or public-sector organization, is in reality an invitation for them to lead.

Gender equity and leadership was the topic of the Women Business Collaborative CEO Roundtable with four women executives representing diverse industries. They represented nonprofit, corporate, government and entrepreneurs.

The CEOs had much insight to share, including a recurring conviction, best expressed by Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO March of Dimes, that their organizations must reflect those they aim to serve. “If our organization doesn’t look like those who we are serving or deliver on the vision we strive to meet every day, we are letting people down.”

According to the 2019 U.S. Census, women represented the majority of prime working adults at 50.8%. Yet they represent less than 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs. The women’s leadership movement has a long way to go, ensuring businesses, governments and other organizations are truly reflecting the constituents they purport to serve.


Women can signal their readiness for increased responsibility by adding a credential to their resume. Our Supervisory Leadership Certificate Program includes a diverse course curriculum that not only includes a core course “Development Yourself and Others” but also covers other critical topics like “Coaching for Performance,” “Change Management,” “Supervision and Human Resource Functions,” “Interpersonal Communication,” “Helping Your Team Achieve Organizational Management,” along with a Capstone Course that integrates all the learning and knowledge. Now enrolling for the spring session, starting in February.


Forbes. “Women CEOs Discuss Gender Equity and Leadership,” Robert Reiss, December 10, 2020.
Harvard Business Review. “Leaders, Stop Denying the Gender Inequity in Your Organization,” Michelle King, June 19, 2020.
Harvard Business Review. “Will the Pandemic Reshape Notions of Female Leadership?” Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, June 26, 2020,
New York Times. “Why are Women-Led Nations Doing Better with Covid-19?” Amanda Taub, May 15, 2020

What NOT to Wear

(with apologies to TLC)

When choosing to live more sustainably, small steps can make a big difference. Every choice or purchase we make has an impact, including what we choose to put in and on our bodies.

Fashion is a new vanguard of sustainability with savvy, professional women shopping smarter by doing their research and investing in pieces that last longer. “Fast fashion” is a major culprit in the industry – that is, clothes made cheaply to meet demands for hot new styles – and these cheap processes can put the planet at risk.

Investigating what to wear (and what not to wear) shouldn’t stop at the garment itself, but should also consider the full lifecycle of the product – from the design, sourcing and production processes to the product afterlife. Just because a garment carries a hang tag that says “sustainable” doesn’t mean the retailer or manufacturer used clean processes to get it on the hanger.

Ethical or sustainable fashion is sometimes called “slow fashion” and addresses one or more of five main issues of concern in the fashion industry:

  1. Water usage – Due to pollution and an overabundance of salt water, usable water is a limited resource. Look for brands looking to cut down on how much water they’re using.
  2. Hazardous chemicals – Some dyes and finishes are dangerous not only for the workers who are required to work with them but also the communities in which they live. Identify brands coming up with new ways to address these chemicals.
  3. Short lifecycle – Look for brands that are striving to overturn the trendiness of fashion. Buy less. Wear longer.
  4. Waste – Collectively, brands and shoppers, need to find ways to create less trash by learning to mend, repurpose and recycle.
  5. Agriculture – Natural fibers like cotton, hemp and linen are the most sustainable, but we need to pay attention to growing practices, including pesticide and water use.

Don’t Know Where to Start?

Using their fabric expertise, Good Housekeeping Institute’s Textiles Lab has worked with an environmental consultant to rank top brands addressing environmental and social concerns. Here are the top 5:


Levi’s focuses on the finishing processes to remove water wherever possible with its Water<Less collection, which it says uses up to 96% less water to make. And because Levi’s is such a big player in the denim industry, steps like this can actually have an impact.

Alternate Apparel

For casual closet staples like T-shirts, hoodies, leggings, and more, Alternative Apparel focuses on using organic cotton and recycled materials.


All of the cotton garments from this brand are certified organic by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), so you know the entire manufacturing process follows organic guidelines. They’re also Fair Trade Certified, which looks at ethical factors like wages and working conditions.


This brand focuses on ethics and transparency, showing its markup process for each garment and showcasing factories to give an idea of where it sources from.


It’s not a clothing brand itself, but the website buys and sells women’s and kids used clothing that’s in like-new condition with lots of life left in it. The budget-friendly retailer closely inspects second-hand garments before selling them, so you know you’re getting garments that are in great shape. Buying used clothing is more sustainable than anything new, and on top of that you’re getting top fashion brands for a fraction of the cost.


At UW-Green Bay, we have created a noncredit Sustainability Certificate Program that we believe can help drive Wisconsin forward through sustainable business, products and services.

Our Sustainability Certificate Program not only adopts a proven and successful model, but it is affordableaccessible, and flexible.

The program is 100% online with three core courses six weeks in duration, encompassing multi-facets of sustainability — environmental, business practices and public policy. The final capstone course requires participants to put sustainability theory into practice within their organizations, an efficient and practical way to encourage sustainable business.

Full program details are available online.


Forbes, “Why Sustainable Fashion Matters,” Ellevate Contributor, ForbesWomen.
Good Housekeeping, “20 Best Sustainable Fashion Brands You Can Actually Trust,” Lexie Sachs, April 20, 2020.

Holiday Ideas for Assisted Living

Holiday spirit is about what’s in your heart, and this year it seems more important than ever. Administrators and staff can create a holiday to celebrate for residents by planning small events that make memories for residents. Below are some ideas. Do one or two or more!

Celebrate Gingerbread Decorating Day – Saturday, December 9
Set up an area for residents to decorate either gingerbread cookies or gingerbread tree ornaments.

Gift-Wrapping Party
Collect lots of cardboard boxes for your residents to wrap during a fun gift-wrapping party. Pass out gift-wrapping paper for residents to wrap the boxes and tie the ribbon. Gift-wrap presents for family or gifts for under your facility’s tree.

Create a New Christmas Tree-Lighting Tradition
Create invitations to pass out to residents to invite them for your facility’s annual tree-lighting ceremony to mark the beginning of the holiday season. Beforehand, recruit residents to help you decorate your facility’s trees with ornaments and lights. Then invite residents to wear their holiday sweaters to the party, where you’ll serve hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. At the start of the party, have your administrator “flip the switch” to show-off the beautiful decorations, and if you have outdoor decorations, turn them on as well.

Santa Hat Luncheon
Host a luncheon and invite residents to wear a Santa hat if they’d like. Combine with an arts and crafts session beforehand where residents can decorate a simple and inexpensive felt hat with baubles, bling and put a unique style on the hat that is all their own. Hold a contest and provide awards for the most original hat, prettiest hat, ugliest hat, and so on.

Night Before Christmas
Celebrate Christmas Eve with a movie marathon. Watch tried and true favorites such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas. Complete the evening’s activities with a visit from Santa, who will pass out a small gift to each resident or candy canes if you’re on a tight budget.

Hot Chocolate Bar
Host a hot chocolate bar (offer sugar-free options) complete with candy canes, whipped cream, and sprinkles for a holiday experience residents will enjoy.

Door Decoration Competition
Provide decorations to participating residents so they can decorate their doors with a holiday theme. Decorating a door may be easier than an entire room and everyone can enjoy the decorations as they move throughout the facility.

Holiday Bingo
Finally, there’s the tried-and-true favorite bingo, dressed up for the holidays. Choose from a selection of designs. Make the game sweeter by using holiday candy as markers. Red and green-colored Hershey kisses or M&M are especially cheery.


Now Offering Training for Caregiving Staff
We know that the pandemic makes it difficult to bring new staff together for training. That’s why we’ve come up with a solution!

The Wisconsin Caregiver Academy has created online classes for your staff to receive either parts or all of their DHS 83.25 mandated continuing education.


S&S Blog, “6 Holiday Themed Party Ideas for Senior Residents.
Love To Know, “Fun and Festival Nursing Home Holiday Ideas,” Tamsen Butler.