An associate is giving a presentation in the boardroom to a multi-ethnic group of business professionals.By Roamy R. Valera, CAPP

“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a practice, and equality is a goal.” This is perhaps one of the more powerful statements I have come across in awhile. I have read it several times and each time, I am forced to focus on the impact and meaning of such a statement.

Recent conversations and efforts by IPMI allowed me to participate in a panel discussion around the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The moderator, my good friend and colleague Gary Means, CAPP, has taken an active role personally and professionally in this topic. The focus of the panel was for vendors in our industry to discuss and expand on the topic and identify how we as an industry can generate the kind of results that will be visible to others.

Of course, like many of the conversations I have participated in and/or listened to, it gets the raw emotions of most participants. We clearly know and can identify facts and yet ignored them. I don’t remember a time in my adult life when facts mattered more. And I also don’t remember a time when a discussion around inclusivity created so much animosity among us. But for the first time, I have had the opportunity to share my feelings, experiences, and lessons with others.

I hope our industry continues to further the discussions and moves this conversation to action. I will continue to advocate for the fact of diversity and be committed to the practice of inclusion with a goal to overachieve in equality.

Roamy R. Valera, CAPP, is CEO, North America, with PayByPhone and past chair of IPMI’s Board of Directors.