dear creative: embrace your professional diversity

dear creative: embrace your professional diversity

Dear Creative,

I want to encourage you to embrace your professional diversity.  

We live in a world where we hyphenate ourselves when our cultural background includes many influences.  We are encouraged to embrace our cultural diversity, understanding that the mix of backgrounds makes us richer, fuller human beings. But we don’t do the same when it comes to our professional diversity.

Let me tell you a story.


I have always loved the cultural celebration of weddings. I love the blending of families and cultures that come together to create something new. I love how the couple has to decide which cultures to keep, and which ones to let go of. I love knowing that no matter what they decide, they are embracing all of the cultural influences that have conspired to bring them together.

Why are we not encouraged to embrace our professional diversity in the same way?

Let me tell you a story.

I studied creative writing in college. I also work in technology as a UX Designer. I also own a software development company where I manage teams of designers, coders, and product developers. I’ve also co-founded a startup and hosted a Twitter chat about diversity in technology.

All of these things may seem so different, but they have actually taught me to embrace my professional diversity.  When I take the stage at a tech conference, I am leveraging my years as a poet and how that experience prepared me to engage with an audience. When I build software, I am thinking about it through the lens of the poet, searching for the story first.

Like cultural diversity, your professional diversity is nuanced.

It is hyphenated and it allows you to bring a different (and new) perspective to your work.

We can do the same with our professional diversity. All of the different paths you’ve taken have value. Everything you studied gives you an opportunity to create more meaning in your work. Cultural diversity is often seen as valuable because it brings together of many cultural influences to make an experience and/or person richer. It is meshing together, a gathering of the best of each to make us better, more unique, more whole.

It is 2019.  Most of us will not have the same job as our parents did.  We will be hyphen-creatives, bringing our work from one discipline into the other and leveraging all that we have to offer. There will be people who tell you to pick one.  This might work for you, but remember that almost no one has one job even if they have one specialty.

In 2019, the doctor is also a blogger.  The blogger is also a photographer. The photographer might become a web designer just to get her website up and running. We are not chasing jobs.  We are running towards one impact, and using every and any tool we can to get there.


Our work has to be multidisciplinary creativity. This is the future of creative work.

Embrace your professional diversity in the same way you would embrace your cultural diversity.

Remember the work that allows you to have your one and only impact.

Your Future Self


dear creative: embrace your professional diversity

recording my mother

recording my mother

#NaPoWriMo Day 30

I can’t believe I made it to day 30. It’s an amazing feeling. My mom has been visiting me and this poem was inspired by her and all the wisdom she shares with me on a daily basis.


i pretend to take her picture
but this game will play is pointless
she knows that I’m recording her
but my mother doesn’t mind

something tells me to document it all
something tells me to do more than see her
to do my best to hear her
to encapsulate the wisdom of an African woman
my African woman

my mother has lost two sons and buried dreams
she had to let go of
coming to America was not always easy

she just says things that everyone else is thinking
but pulls you in close rests your head on her shoulder
when she has difficult news for you

we call her the 5 foot mountain
she just is

one day i know i will cry myself to sleep
just missing my mother
but i will play her voice
and for now keep


© Uchechi Kalu 2017

grace II

grace II

#NaPoWriMo Day 28


she brought me a plant
said it was meant to usher in new beginnings
i’m changing
we all are
and there we both stood
women who just by looking at each other
no we really knew
that now we had truly lived
the disappointment muddled with our knowledge
of just how powerful we both could be
welled could be bathed us both in my tears
i couldn’t stop crying

maybe this is what grace is
the understanding of what the moment we are each seen
in our less than perfect states
and told that yes we too
will always be loved
and guess what?
there’s enough of the love to cover all of our

Copyright 2017 Uchechi Kalu

i asked my body

#NaPoWriMo Day 28


i asked my body
together we bowed our heads
this thing that happened is big
this thing that happend closes lungs
this thing that happened stops breath

this thing
this grief
swallows us all

i asked my body
how do we get through this
she whispered to me

i asked my body
how do we get through this
she whispered again
in and with community

go find the ones that love you
there are many


Copyright 2017 Uchechi Kalu



#NaPoWriMo Day 19

I’ve made it to the halfway mark. This is a big deal for me. I am a poet and always will be, but in year’s past I havent been able to fully commit to this challenge.  This process is stirring up something inside me and it’s a good thing. The point of this exercise is to just create and not thing too much about it. Some of the poems might seem wonderful and others might be something i put in a folder and don’t use.  But to get to the useful work, I must create the rough first drafts. I must create the imperfect. ANd And right now, creating the imperfect and trusting that process is nourishing me. I hope it’s doing the same for you. Enjoy!
But, now, here I am doing it.

Today I was inspired by architecture and the lives that construct our own lives.


start with bone
if there is no bone
move on to tissue
piece it bone move on to construct it
with something else
pipe cleaners
we’ve got those
next she will need tissue
the blood and the tissues work together
if there is none find leftover dinner scraps
mix it with the soil
and compost her into existence
she will need blood
just like we discussed
and if there is none
maybe we can conjure up something liquid
something that can glide to move each organ to
pump towards the heart
maybe give her rain
let the water fall down on this woman we are building
let there be something distinguishible in who she is
we’ve got pipe cleaners
and rain and compost and making tissue out of

next we must just step back
and let her breathe
let her open her eyes look around and take it all in
this life was meant for her
that is how we build her


© 2017 Uchechi Kalu