Our mind is constantly organizing information and creating categories to understand the world, and to make sense of what happens around us. Nevertheless, there is no need to impose a set of fixed characteristics upon a person or a group of people. Stereotypes are oversimplifications of human beings. Comments such as: “Women aren’t good drivers”, “You can’t trust people who are dressed that way”, or “If he lives in that neighborhood, he must be a criminal”, are all examples of categories we create, labels we establish based on false beliefs.
By generalizing and assigning people fixed characteristics or behaviors, we are stereotyping them, and denying them the opportunity to show who they really are. We should not feel threatened by what’s new, what is different, or by other’s expectations. I am convinced that it is outside our comfort zone where amazing things may happen. That is exactly what we want to happen in our organizations: we want new ideas, great doses of innovation, creativity, and a fresh outlook. Diversity brings this synergy into any corporation.
Leaving behind prejudice will be an advantage in your organization. Innovation is only possible when we give ourselves and our workplace an opportunity to explore and broaden perspectives. Valuing other ways of understanding the world, is recognizing the riches of different worldviews.
My advice is to keep an open mind and create an atmosphere of respect and trust to generate diverse points of view and to stay on top of the latest trends in different fields. Promote a dynamic and innovative work environment, welcome diversity, get rid of stereotypes, question absolutely everything, and don’t take anything for granted.
There is an aggregated value in considering different perspectives. It is your choice to tap on the wealth of diversity.
Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest
Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.
Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.
Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.
Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.
Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.