Guest Post: Diversability meets with the US Department of State delegation from Europe on "Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation"
By Xian Horn
The U.S. Department of State sponsored an International Visitor Leadership Program for seven professionals from various countries throughout Europe to learn more about social entrepreneurship and innovation. Xian Horn had the opportunity to meet with this delegation to talk about our work.
Two weeks ago, I had the honor of representing Diversability to meet with a European delegation of State Department's International Visitor's Leadership Program. Social Entrepreneurs from Denmark (Ozlem Sara), Moldova (Dimi), Germany (Sandra), Portugal (Clara), Poland (Monika) and their liaison Peter joined me in sharing stories and reflecting on our universal needs and common humanity. I had no idea that I would be the last meeting of their entire visit. No pressure! Dimi's Cherry Blossom, Ltd's Eco-Catering business has 17 staff members of which 7 have developmental disabilities. He says they are all very talkative and expressive which can distract the chef, but that they seem to work very well together ;) I shared my history including how I met the one and only Tiffany waiting in line for Carrie Hammer's groundbreaking fashion show Q&A and how I had no idea how transformative Diversability would become.
I explained that the workshops I run were based on my spiritual journey to discovering my own beauty, which prompted Peter to ask about my faith. So we shared our beliefs and I confessed that when I'm not working I love to pray with strangers (because the more I talk to people the more I realize we all need something). That's why I'd rather be a little less professional hug people and connect with them than "fake it to you make it." Poland and Moldova had to catch a bus and a train, but to my grand surprise Clara asked if I could pray for everyone present. So, with just the ladies and Peter, we joined hands in a moment of unity that left me breathless. So breathless - I forgot to take pictures. Luckily, Peter caught this moment of oneness below! Many thanks to the State Department, Diversability's Tiffany Yu, and the open-hearted delegation for showing us the beauty in both humanity and unity. Clara talked about Portugal and how everyone seemed connected regardless of race, disability, gender. Sandra talked about a similar feeling in Germany.
I asked about their other meetings.
Ozlem Sara, who served as a member of Danish parliament for 8 years and the first Muslim woman to serve, mentioned I was the only one in all of their meetings to give everyone hugs. Honored. Hugger for life! I also told them this was my first business to end with a prayer. To be honest, it didn't feel so much like a business meeting but a meeting of minds, hearts, worlds, and ideals. Hashtag blessed 😇😜💗🙏🏼