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During one of the Full-Time Women’s Business Association’s quarterly DE&I trainings, the leadership team completed an Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Assessment — a cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and outcomes. From the assessment, they learned that “students tend to bond more over similarities, while not necessarily sharing their full identities or showcasing what makes them unique.” They decided to create Being Your Own Self (BYOS), an event where participants could actively listen to each other’s unique experiences, celebrate each other’s differences, and move towards a more intercultural mindset.

BYOS was recently held on November 4, 2021, and moderated by Professor Shana Carroll. Hear from the leaders of BYOS, Carmen Del Valle (2Y, 2023) and Joanna Zouhour (2Y, 2022).

Tell us about yourself, your career and what you’re pursuing at Kellogg.

CARMEN: My name is Carmen Del Valle and I am first-year director of community in the WBA. I was born and raised in New York City. I launched my career in the social impact and DEI space. My most recent position was in the financial services industry where I managed diversity recruiting for the global banking and markets line of business. I am pivoting to consulting.

JOANNA: My name’s Joanna Zouhour and I’m the Vice President of DE&I at the WBA. I was born and raised in France, but spent most of my career in Argentina working in the CPG industry as a brand manager. I’m currently pivoting into the tech industry as a PMM.

Tell us about BYOS and why you created it.

JOANNA: The idea came from the WBA’s quarterly DEI trainings, during which we realized that students tend to bond more over similarities, while not necessarily sharing their full identities or showcasing what makes them unique. We thought of this as an opportunity for our community to bring out those unique traits, by sharing a special story about themselves and bringing their authentic selves in a safe space. After a quick introduction on active listening by Professor Shana Carroll, participants were put into small groups where they were able to hear from others, and if they wished, share something unique about themselves as well.

How do you hope BYOS will impact women business leaders?

CARMEN: As future global leaders, it is important for us to build nuanced empathy for the people we are in a community with. We are in a uniquely diverse community at Kellogg, which is an incredible asset that is important for us to leverage. I hope that participants walked away with new tools to maximize this asset.

JOANNA: Empathy, active listening, and open mindedness have become highly critical skills for all business leaders. We expect everyone who participated to come out with a broader mindset, and be more humble and aware.

Anything else you’d like to share?

CARMEN: The WBA’s mission is to “build a supportive community of women that drives critical conversations, advocates for themselves and others, and empowers women of all identities and experiences to be change-makers at Kellogg and beyond.” The intention of this event is to bring our mission to life, underscoring support for ALL women. With co-sponsorship from affinity and professional groups, we hope BYOS facilitated meaningful connections in the Kellogg community with a keen awareness of intersectionality.