Embracing the Value of Variety

Posted by – VeRonica Mitchell, Auburn Hills Planning Commissioner

Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to attend the 10th Annual Oakland County Work Place Diversity Conference held at the Auburn Hills Marriott Pontiac at Centerpoint.

The conference is championed by the Oakland County Employment Diversity Council and this year’s event – like those of the past – offered insightful knowledge regarding studies, research, and experiences from many ‘experts in the field’ and local officials.  Anne Doyle, Auburn Hills City Council member and published author, was one of the key speakers at the event.

Participants were reminded of the need to engage all resources to solve the challenging problems that much of society is facing today.  As I listened to the comments shared, I realized that ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ are two important reasons why I choose to reside in the City of Auburn Hills.

VeRonica Mitchell

As an engineer, my instincts are to default to the most recent census results and highlight the demographic data which quantifies the diversity of our wonderful City.  However, using a more qualitative approach, I would ask people to think of their neighbors and friends.  Be intentional to observe the variety of ages, cultures, backgrounds, professions, and ‘mind sets’ that share our community.

This is something that I have noticed on my own street.  It stands out when I’m visiting the Farmer’s Market, listening to a concert at Riverside Park, or supporting a program at our Library.

We are often reminded of the benefits diversity adds to the workplace and how heterogeneous teams perform more effectively than homogenous ones.  That is great information to emphasize, however let’s not lose sight of the wonderful personal benefits we enjoy from living in diverse communities.

Exposure to other cultures through language, music, food, activities, and friendships helps to enrich our lives.  It’s a strength of our nation, and it’s exhibited beautifully right here in our hometown.   Such variety makes Auburn Hills a very special place.

Note: VeRonica Mitchell is a member of the award-winning Auburn Hills Planning Commission.  The Planning Commission is a 9 member panel of residents appointed by the Mayor (and confirmed by the City Council), which is charged with guiding the City’s land use and development.   The Community Development Department provides expertise to the Board.