Last night in the NFL history was made with an all-black officiating crew as the Los Angeles Rams played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As I watched the coverage of this story, it dawned on me, as a sports fan, that I’m not sure I ever thought about what that meant. I’ve been watching sports my entire life and I’m not sure I ever watched and thought “why do so many of the referees look like me?” But to many Americans, it has.

Lately I’ve been learning a lot about this subject. Through my involvement in local networking groups such as One Southern Indiana, Leadership Louisville, GLI and the Chamber of St. Matthews, I have had the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops focused on improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Just last week I attended “Moving Forward Together: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” a program by Louisville Business First.

One of the speakers at that event dug into the concept of code-switching, a concept I had heard of but hadn’t really dug into. Code-switching is a way of talking in a different nuance from one group of people to another, and we are all subconsciously guilty of doing it. Even Former President Obama was known to code-switch and it’s talked about in the Former First Lady’s book. It’s not something we do on purpose, but it does seem prevalent from culture to culture.

We need to create an environment where code-switching isn’t required. We shouldn’t expect people to “check themselves at the door.” Let’s all be who we are in our workspace, homelife and schools. As business owners let’s embrace this opportunity and model it for our teams. 2021 can be the year we have a better understanding of all the players on our team.

Our team continues to strive to learn more everyday about how we can be more inclusive, how we can take into account our diverse group of customers and team members.

Let’s all, as business owners, continue learning as we enter 2021. Let’s make it a priority that we not do things the way they’ve always been done as diversity is concerned. Let’s pay attention to what we are learning, continue to read and listen to experts and help move our local and global communities forward, together.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to attend these types of events, and to have a team who is on board with learning and adapting and being open-minded to be sure we are making inclusivity a priority.

I hope you have a safe, Happy Thanksgiving this week.