Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): A better tomorrow


Born and raised in apartheid-era South Africa, I experienced firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and inequality. Growing up in a society where the color of your skin determined your opportunities and your worth, where you can live, how much you get paid, I faced countless obstacles and challenges on the path to realizing my dreams.

But through perseverance, resilience, dedication, and the support of others, I defied the odds and charted a course of my own making. As a competitive solo yacht racing sailor, I navigated treacherous waters and crossed vast oceans, overcoming storms both literal and metaphorical. And as a motivational speaker and award-wining author, I have had the privilege of sharing my story with audiences around the world, inspiring others to embrace the power of possibility and the promise of hope as titled in my 2005 autobiography, “Journey of a Hope Merchant” and winner of the National Outdoor Book Award.

My journey is a testament to the transformative power of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is a reminder that when we embrace our differences, when we strive for fairness and justice, and when we create environments where everyone is valued and respected, incredible things can happen. But make no mistake – the fight for DEI is far from over. In fact, it has never been more urgent or more essential.

Today, we live in a world that is increasingly divided – divided by race, divided by gender,divided by religion, divided by nationality. We see it in the headlines, we feel it in our communities, and we witness it in the injustices that continue to plague our society. But we also see the potential for change, the possibility of a future where diversity is celebrated, where equity is the norm, and where inclusion is our guiding principle, and the ability to lift people up.

Why is DEI essential to our society? Because it is not only a moral imperative, but a practical necessity. Research has shown time and time again that diverse teams are more innovative, more creative, and more successful. When we bring together people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, we unlock new ideas, new solutions, and new ways of thinking. We enjoy the environments we are in.

But DEI is not just about business success – it is about human dignity. It is about recognizing the inherent worth and value of every individual, regardless of their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, their disability, or their background. It is about creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, to succeed, and to live a life of purpose and meaning.

So how do we build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society? It starts with each and every one of us. It starts with having the courage to speak out against injustice, to challenge the status quo, and to stand up for what is right. It starts with creating spaces where everyone feels welcome, where everyone feels heard, and where everyone feels valued. We get to define who we are and not let others define us. We chose what we wish to carry in our treasure chest.

But it cannot end there. We must also work to dismantle the systems of oppression as we have done in South Africa and continue to build a better country, end discrimination and inequality that have held so many back for far too long. We must advocate for policies and practices that promote equability and justice for all. And we must invest in education, in healthcare, in economic opportunity, and in social justice – because true DEI cannot exist where there is poverty, where there is inequality, or where there is injustice.

The struggle for diversity, equity, and inclusion is not easy, and it is not without its challenges. But it is a fight worth fighting – for ourselves, for our children, and for generations to come. So let us stand together, let us work together, and let us build a future where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Let us turn our barriers into success and then let it become our legacy.