Tommy E. Smith Jr. Tommy Smith was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Oakland, California. His professional life reflects his varied interests. He is an engineer, diversity manager, and an ordained minister and has served in positions where each of these roles has been predominant. He earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering from San Francisco State University and received a U.S. patent on an electron energy spectrometer while working at a national security research and development laboratory. Tommy resides in Fremont, California, with his wife, Sandra, and three of his four children.
By George F. Simons "at diversophy.com"
This review is from: The Diversity Calling: Building Community One Story at a Time (Paperback)
Not infrequently, I am asked to discuss with young graduates or sometimes with a person who wants to make a career change, their interest in diversity or intercultural work as a career choice. They ask such questions as: What's it like to do this kind of work? What do I need to know? Where do I go? Whom do I need to know? How do I get started? Most of the time these queries arrive as postings on my LinkedIn group or via e-mail, either directly from the person interested, or from a teacher, mentor, colleague or counselor, who expects that, being an elder in the field, I know more than I actually do and can coach the questioner in making a fitting choice!
What I generally do in these cases is try to get into first-hand contact with the young person, in order to have a face-to-face or at least voice communication--this seems essential for such a discussion. I ask them what brought them to this point. Then I share with them bits of my own story and the stories of others that I am familiar with, tell them what opportunities the field seems to be offering at the moment, and usually offer them the advice, which runs, "Go with what `brung' you." This, in fact, means, you will find your direction if you look at the experience you have, what you are passionate about, and those who touch and inspire you.
Now I can also say, "Read this book." In The Diversity Calling you will find a collection of people whose varied values, backgrounds and experiences led them to work successfully in the field of diversity. They provide first-hand accounts about their struggles and their passions, the ups and downs of such a career choice and, most of all, what they hope to bring about both in themselves and in their world. The book offers a rich, diverse selection of role models to identify with.
The title of the first account, "I love what I do," in a sense tells it all. Loving what we do resonates with our deepest desire "to be." Its author tells us both that it took time to get there, then shares the messages and attitudes that sustained his efforts, everything from the early messages he received at home to the feedback that sometimes comes in words, but most satisfyingly arrives when one sees the results of one's efforts and is either satisfied with them, or uses them as a springboard to create even better outcomes. Most of all, the author tells stories that provide clues to steps we need to take if we are to love what we do.
While The Diversity Calling is very much about the experience of the diversity movement in the North America, it is the human trajectory that is critical in these stories, the ability to find one's authenticity, not defined as some hidden mystical treasure within, though unfolding that lotus is an important part of our spiritual development, but as being and creating oneself in the social, organizational, and political ambience in which we find ourselves, being both true to one's