My Journey in Diversity: Justin Raymundo, Program Manager

Aug 26, 2014

Since joining Diversity Awareness Partnership, I’ve had some of the most powerful conversations in my career.  Earlier this month, DAP hosted our annual orientation and training for the diversity facilitators of our Give Respect, Get Respect Program. Together we dove into curriculum designed to promote respect and understanding by exploring diversity areas including race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. We challenged each other to foster productive dialogue. Most importantly, we shared the journeys that led us to our work in diversity and inclusion.

For me, diversity and inclusion has always been critical to my growth as a person and a professional.  As a proud millennial, first-generation American, and member of the LGBTQA community, I have benefited from inclusive communities that embrace my whole identity. Instead of feeling out of place or limited in my experiences, I was accepted by my home, school, and work communities as a leader that’s creative and confident by working with partners to improve the lives of our neighbors, classmates, and coworkers.

Professionally, I focused on efforts that addressed the needs of communities around the world.  In my most recent role, I found myself managing partnerships to improve the lives of farmers, particularly those living in developing regions. I came to recognize that building inclusive agriculture markets was at least twice as effective at eliminating poverty as growth in other sectors.  While fostering my deep passion for community development, I have come to appreciate when solutions put the people that need them the most at the center of sustainable change for today and tomorrow.

In the newest chapter of my journey, I have come to DAP at a time when the need for promoting diversity and inclusion is especially apparent.  This is a time when more people need to begin their journeys with diversity and even more people need to share their stories of inclusion and understanding.  I challenge those reading my story to share yours and fill our respective social networks with positive examples of inclusion.  Use #GiveRespect to share your story and help find others.

In a time that is weighing heavy on hearts across St. Louis and our country, I’m inspired by the champions of diversity that I get to work with every day.  I am looking forward to them sharing their talents and passions to improve our workplaces, schools, and homes. I also share the excitement of our facilitators, participating schools, and our partners at Edward Jones, The Boeing Company, and the Saint Louis Zoo and Missouri Botanical Garden as we launch this year’s youth diversity efforts with the Give Respect, Get Respect Program. Most importantly, I am excited to be in a place to hear more and more stories of how my neighbors and colleagues are contributing to diversity and inclusion in St. Louis. #GiveRespect 

Justin Raymundo

Justin Raymundo, Program Manager