I have always thought about empathy as a trait people have in varying degrees, but now I see that it really is a skill you can build by being curious, then connecting with people who are different from yourself.
The answer to the problem of otherness is not sameness; it’s connectedness. Immersive, deliberate and compassionate connectedness. A connectedness between people that’s embodied in a willingness to embrace empathy. A connectedness to our cultural history, and by that I mean a relearning of American history. And a desire to see new faces connected to leadership in the C-suite.
So how do we embrace empathy? We need to understand that empathy is a skill and, like any skill, it takes practice to get better. We need to forget what we think we know about people and be genuinely curious about them. We need to recognize and set aside our own biases and judgment in order to see the world from another perspective.