"Aquel que no esta orgulloso de su origen, no valdra nunca nada porque empieza por despreciarse a si mismo"
~ Don Pedro Albizu Campos.
“A person who is not proud of their origin will not have self worth because they begin to neglect themselves."
Cultural competence and diversity initiatives start with the individual. Consequently, for an organization, it needs to start with the administration, board of directors and management. This is an instance where the cliché "it all starts by getting your house in order" holds true. Cultural competence must start at home. Sustainability of a diversity initiative depends on a systematic plan that starts at the top of the organization and then spills over to employees and consequently, to all stakeholders associated with the organization. Once cultural competence becomes an integral value in the organization, it will be reflected in policies, activities, structures and practice. Cultural competency leads to valuing diversity and this leads to having an inclusive environment. Cultural competency is a set of skills. These skills are then rooted in all aspects of the organization.
The skills learned from cultural competence will have a positive impact on the success of your business. Whether the goal is to expand your business base, develop a business plan or strategic plan, target a broader customer market or develop a marketing strategy, cultural competence skills can provide your business the ability to serve diverse communities and adapt to diverse environments.
While diversity and cultural competence are intertwined, they are not the same. For example, a work environment can be diverse but not culturally competent. In building a healthy organizational structure, employees must integrate cultural competence as a value. This value must permeate the organization at all levels, from decision making to strategic planning to policy development. An organization that reflects and values their ethnic and cultural diversity will maximize productivity and work more effectively with culturally diverse stakeholders, clients and communities.
Cultural competence is presented in the trainings not as a single initiative but as an ongoing campaign. The campaign approach encourages the participants to become stakeholders of the process. The shortcoming of viewing diversity as an initiative is that often the responsibility for an initiative falls on those individuals within the organization deemed as "experts" in the field, rather than understanding the importance of having each person engaging in the process of creating lasting cultural change. The initiative approach also prevents formal and informal leaders from emerging as champions of change.