We just finished celebrating “International Month” here in the Upstate. While our region has an international flavor all year round, the special designation every March helps remind us that one of our greatest strengths is that we are a place where people with different backgrounds, cultures and philosophies can come together to build a special place to live, learn, do business and raise a family.
Supporting diverse ideas, viewpoints and cultures is something that is crucial to the mission of Ten at the Top, to foster an Upstate region where collaboration and partnerships help us work collectively to address issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life.
With a regional population of 1.4 million people, all with their own unique history and background, we are not always going to agree or address issues from the same viewpoint. The key is to understand that sometimes our differences are a strength and having differing opinions can actually become an advantage.
Like different ingredients in a recipe or players at different positions on an athletic team, everyone has a role in building collective success. What we must guard against is the tendency to only work with or listen to people who have a similar idea or opinion to our own.
Most especially in today’s climate where divisiveness and hate are available in mass, respectively listening to all opinions and ideas and then collectively working for the best solution is generally the right approach. Even when others want to pull us towards the fray, we must stay strong and refuse to take the path of least resistance if it ultimately does nothing more than increase polarization, hate and distrust.
As a region, we must continue to thrive to set the example as a place where different ideas, backgrounds and opinions are welcome and essential to growing our collective success. Because, ultimately, we are stronger together.
Dean serves as the Executive Director of Ten at the Top