Welcome to Indigo Ink, a blog series about marketing, sales, entrepreneurship and exchanging ideas.
I’m a professor and researcher at the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business with an interest in professional selling and topics that emerge from the intersection between marketing and entrepreneurship. I’m passionate about helping my students learn and I have a very hands-on approach to teaching, which includes taking my students to competitions around the country!
I’m also very passionate about other topics that are important to me: I recently gave a speech to our incoming freshmen class at the University of Dallas about the benefits and power of diversity and inclusion. I’d like to share some of these thoughts with you because I think they ring true for all of us in any phases of life:
If you could hear me speak, and not just read these words, one of the things you’d notice about me is that I have an accent. I’m bilingual and can read, write and speak fluently in both English and Spanish. Not only am I bilingual, but I was also born in another country.
To many, including myself, my background gives me an advantage because I have the ability to reach two very different audiences through language.
It also means that I’m different; I don’t have the same background or experiences as someone native to the United States or even native to Texas would have.
Unfortunately, being different can be perceived as strange, scary and even evil. But being different doesn’t make you any of those things. In fact, our differences make us unique – they challenge us, teach us, and open us to new experiences. If we automatically exclude something or someone because they’re different, we would not allow ourselves to learn from such differences.
We tend to put people in boxes because it’s easy: us versus them, those we trust and those whom we avoid (maybe because they look different than us), there are the newcomers and those who have always been here, older versus younger, democrats versus republicans. We tend to see these differences as uncompromising, a line that we can never cross, so we choose not to associate ourselves with the other group. If we look at people in buckets, there will always be a group we associate ourselves with, and ones we do not want to share anything with.
But, instead of looking at what makes us different, what if we look at what brings us together? What if we look at shared experiences? What if we see value in our shared work ethic? Or our shared virtues of forgiveness, courageousness or kindness? What if we looked for diversity in experiences, values and virtues that can enrich your life?
Diversity can benefit not only humans, but businesses as well: When companies want to form teams that will champion innovation and creativity we know from research that the team members must have different strengths, ideas, backgrounds and education. Form a team that is truly diverse and innovation and creativity will flourish!
Want to become an entrepreneur? Innovative entrepreneurs tend to build better companies when they associate with people with whom they have “weak ties.” A weak tie is a person or relationship characterized by infrequent interaction. It is formed through casual acquaintances, especially those that come from a different background.
I encourage you to look for diversity to enrich your life. The strength is in the difference.
Indigo is a color that is formed by mixing other colors. I see business and its issues in the same way; businesses are formed by issues that can be seen from several perspectives and thus, it is important to recognize those components as more than just black and white.
Indigo Ink is a collection of articles on Marketing, Sales, Entrepreneurship and Exchanging Ideas from Dr. Laura Munoz.
Munoz is an Associate Professor of Marketing with the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. She received her Ph.D. in Marketing and International Business from the University of Texas – Pan American (now the University of Texas of the Rio Grande). Her main research interests are in professional selling and on those topics that emerge from the intersection between marketing and entrepreneurship. Her research has been published in leading journals such as the Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, Marketing Management Journal, Marketing Education Review, and the Journal of Business & Entrepreneurship.