An Introduction to Discuss Difference

William & Mary’s Student Leadership Development Discuss Difference is an opportunity for leaders to think intentionally about ways that you engage with people across socio-cultural differences. These differences range and include but not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, neurodiversity, region, political leanings, etc. Research shows that leaders who can have healthy conversations across differences engage and thrive in their leadership efforts. Leadership experts reveal that discussing difference of views and seeing diverse perspectives advance leadership skills. Those discussions can be informal and formal and should include a wide range of issues.

There are various opportunities on campus to get involved with organizations and events where discussing difference lives at the center. Reading through list serves such as Diversity Happenings published by the Center for Student Diversity allows you to learn more about what is happening on campus. Here are a few suggestions for things you can do to inspire conversations across difference:

  • Have lunch with someone who has a different political point of view than you! Check out this initiative, Hi From The Other Side that provides a guideline for conversations.
  • Attend an event sponsored by a faith based organization that you are less familiar with.
  • Consider ways that cultural awareness will allow you to become a better leader. Read this great article!

Please join the Office of Student Leadership Development in celebrating discussions across difference. Throughout April, we will post a weekly blog that offers more tips and we have a series of podcasts. The podcasts feature W&M staff and faculty who care deeply about leaning into conversations around difference. If you are not an avid podcast fan, try listening and you may have a go-to medium for learning & sharing ideas (ultimately, inspiring you to have more conversations across difference!)