"I have a confession."
That's how Alan Page, director, commercial optimization, opened "Diversity of Thought: Business Results," a recent event co-presented by Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and the ONEOK Women's Resource Group (WRG).
"I was not an early supporter of ONEOK's diversity and inclusion initiative," said Page. "It wasn't that I was necessarily against it, I just thought we had better things to do with our time than pursue diversity and inclusion."
This candid admission set the stage for a conversation about the importance of diversity of thought in the workplace.
"We can pursue D&I for social justice reasons, because it's the right thing to do, for human equity – these are all valid reasons," he said. "But I'd like to share why D&I is important from a financial perspective."
Page went on to explain that as a publicly traded company, ONEOK's performance is judged by its ability to pay dividends to investors, and it's this performance that may be positively impacted by advantaging new perspectives.
"The secret energy behind D&I is not about how many diverse people we can get in a room," said Page. "It's about all of us generating new ideas, bringing them to the table and implementing them so we can find the opportunities for ONEOK moving forward."