Get to know the accomplished individuals who will present at the TEDxGreenville conference on April 8th! In this series of blog posts, writer Jennifer Oladipo asks some compelling questions.
Working to build a more inclusive South Carolina, Ame Sanders is a Michelin executive, graduate of Furman Diversity Leader Initiative, and founder of newly formed SC Benefits Corporation, State of Inclusion.
What was the last idea, big or small, that you thought was an idea worth sharing?
I recently had the pleasure to attend the One South Carolina conference and hear many inspiring speakers and talks about how groups and communities are working to make our state a better place. Listening to all the great work going on across the state really inspired me. It made me think that it could be great fun to look across the country and compile 100 of the most inspiring community transformation and improvement stories, everything from small neighborhoods, to cities, to regions. I’d probably title it “The Hope of America,” because I believe that it is in those community success stories that we will find a deep well of hope for all of our communities, and our country.
Greenville is home for me. My talk, and idea worth spreading, is about community. So, the opportunity to put my idea out there, first, in my own community just felt right. TEDx is a wonderful place, and wonderful platform to share an idea which can start locally, start small and possibly grow bigger. What’s more, the discipline, process and help from the TEDxGreenville team to develop my idea has been a fabulous and unexpected bonus.
How does your work affect the way you see yourself?
While participating in the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative at Furman, it occurred to me that it would be great if we could factually, objectively and comparatively understand how communities are doing in terms of diversity and inclusion. That led me to retire from Michelin and start a new business venture, State of Inclusion. Digging into the data about communities across the country has been eye opening, shocking even. Honestly, the state of our communities, in terms of inclusion and equity, is not as strong as I had expected to find, wanted to believe.
This work has challenged me to use data and research to work to honestly see our communities as they really are, no spin, no fluff. It has also pushed me to also look deep inside myself and be equally honest about my own assumptions, biases, and behaviors. At the same time, it is providing me a way to start my own next chapter in life.
What is your favorite TED talk and why?
I have many, but one is “How to Protect Fast-Growing Cities from Failing” by Robert Muggah. He takes a truly global view of this problem, but proposes actions that are very local.
His approach is very data and research driven, and through this unique view, he is able to surface specific issues that can be addressed to create a less violent world. His facts are obvious once he shares them, but they’re missing from media and daily discussions because of limited perspectives. In doing this, he truly stretches and broadens our view of the world.
Probably most importantly for me, he’s not afraid to take on the big, complex, scary problems of the world. He sees potential solutions to those and challenges us to see them, and act on them, too.
Do you see diversity as stew, a melting pot, or something else entirely different?
Okay, this may seem a really short answer, but here’s my take on it.
Diversity is a fact – it is all around us, everywhere.
Inclusion is a choice – it is about our own behavior towards others and our mindset.
Equity is what we should strive for.
For more information about Kaleidoscope speakers and performers, visit our 2016 presenter page, where extended bios are available. To attend the April 8th event at the Kroc Center in Greenville, SC, visit tedxgreenville.com/tickets. A sellout is expected, but if you’re unable to join us in person, watch our Facebook page for details about the free live feed.
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