Diversity Lessons on Stage

04/09/2009

It is an effective, interactive, and entertaining way to learn about diversity and how to leverage peoples’ differences in the work environment. It took place at the Darden School of Business today.

Diversity at Work consisted of six professional actors performing skits on the Abbott Auditorium stage in front of the entire First Year Class of the full time MBA program. A number of Darden faculty and staff also attended.

The performances served as springboards for lively and thought-provoking discussions and debates about diversity. The students discussed how a great number of factors affect the way people view one another. Those factors included accents, appearance, sexual orientation, socio-economic factors, nationality, gender, race, education level, and many others.

The program, performed by CSW Associates Inc., a global consulting firm that specializes in global workplace diversity, was led by a facilitator, Connie Wong, who, after each skit, would lead a discussion involving the entire audience. The actors remained in character and they interacted with the approximately 400 people in attendance.

At times, Wong asked the students to break into smaller groups for discussion. After the morning-long event, the energized students left the Auditorium for classrooms where they met with their sections for addition conversation.

Wong, said the drama-based interactive approach engages participants and works to help them realize that they will have influence in the future.

“These students are the future global leaders,” Wong said. “This program is about developing the skill set of how they create environments and teams that are successful and how to leverage peoples’ skills and differences.”

Wong said understanding diversity is critical for the leaders of tomorrow.

“We want to inspire future leaders to take very seriously their power and influence because these students, when they come out of Darden, will influence individuals, teams, and even countries.”

CSW Associates also worked with last year’s First Year Students. Darden’s Associate Dean for Diversity Martin Davidson said due to the high level of positive feedback, he decided to invite the group back again this year.

Founded in 1955, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business improves society by developing principled leaders in the world of practical affairs.

For more information, please contact: communication@darden.virginia.edu.

top of page