people in an office

Industry Voices: Arin Lopez on Diversity and Inclusion

In September and October, two important holiday observances overlap — National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 – October 15 and Global Diversity Awareness Month October 1 – 31. I thought it was a great time to sit down with Arin Lopez, HID’s director of diversity and inclusion to learn more about who he is, why diversity and inclusion is important and how HID is committed to progress in gender and cultural representation in the workplace. Watch or read our interview below.

Thanks for joining me today, Arin. First, tell me about yourself. Who are you outside of HID?

I am a dad, husband, friend, I'm a brother, I'm a son. I'm all of these things and when I'm not at work, I quite like traveling. I love Broadway shows. I love to socialize, but I also enjoy watching sports with our sons. They are really into American football and soccer right now. We love going to our cabin and we love doing outdoor activities together. So that's just a little bit about me. I'm a very complicated person, but that’s the short answer.

Tell us a little bit about what led you to a career in diversity and inclusion. What did that career path look like?

You know, I've always had a passion for equality. I'm one of six children and I am one of the middle children, so being in the middle taught me a lot about diplomacy, ensuring that everyone got along and that everyone's voices were heard. I wanted to make sure that we got along regardless of where our viewpoints were. And so, I think I've just kind of grown up with that diplomacy and that's how I view diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Ensuring that everybody's viewpoints are heard and considered. That everyone gets along.

Would you share with us why diversity inclusion is important to you?

This might sound a little cheesy, but I do like to use a shoe analogy, so hear me out on this! Equality is everyone getting a pair of shoes. Diversity is everyone having a different type of shoe. Equity is everyone getting a pair of shoes that fits them and then inclusion is wearing the shoes that you want without fear of judgment from other people. These are all super important terms that we need to learn and that we should understand. And not just as individuals, but also for the health of HID.

Job seekers and employees (76%) report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers, according to Glassdoor.

Tell us how you see diversity and inclusion demonstrated in the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion are demonstrated every day. In fact, they are demonstrated by accepting that we're all different, celebrating those differences and allowing people to express their ideas and opinions regardless of whether we agree with them or not. So, all of us considering those opinions and coming to a team decision together is also a way that we can demonstrate this in the workplace. But it's also demonstrated by our systems such as talent acquisition, retention and internal mobility.

What is HID doing to create diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

We have a lot going on, but the first thing that we're doing is really educating everyone about what diversity and inclusion mean and why they're so important to HID. We're looking at the systems that we have in place to ensure that they're equitable. And finally, we're keen to create a culture where everyone is equally visible, everyone's heard and everyone's considered.

From a personal perspective, what can each of us do to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Well, I think the first thing that people can do is just be intentional about learning what diversity and inclusion are. In addition, you could also seek out colleagues that are different from your typical peer group. Ask questions. Be okay with admitting that you're learning. It’s important to have diversity related conversations with your peers and colleagues, and to listen and learn from their experiences. I think that the most important part is to practice what you learn, for example using inclusive language and discontinuing the use of demeaning language. We should really celebrate the fact that we have a variety of people and opinions that work together, and that variety can lead us to innovations.

In The diversity and inclusion revolution: Eight powerful truths, Deloitte notes that cognitive diversity — diversity in thoughts, ideas, and values — can decrease risk and increase innovation by 20 percent.

When people think differently, that brings a creativity to the workplace that's very important. Would you agree?

Right! And one of the most important things that we can do is really listen to all the voices that we have because you never know when the next innovation or that next best idea is coming right around the corner.

If you’d like to join HID and become a part of values-oriented and fast-growing organization, check out our careers page for exciting opportunities!

Kym Elizondo-Cowley is the Senior Manager of Content Strategy with HID Global who brings more than 20 years of experience in writing and content marketing to the security industry. Before joining HID Global in 2018, Kym served as a content strategist, blogger, writer and marketer for organizations in the B2B and B2C SaaS and technology sectors, including roles at Blucora and Microsoft. She is based in Austin, Texas.