When I was 4, my mother put me into a community nursery school in Downriver Detroit. While others cried and clung to their caregivers, my mother recalls that I took on the informal role of greeter, telling those in distress “don’t cry—come play.” She said I would find them a friend or an activity and then move on to the next.
Not belonging always bugged me—and believe me, I’ve spent most of my life either inadvertently creating situations where I’m excluded, opting out myself or trying to get an individual or a group to opt in.
So it’s with a very personal perspective that I welcome Belonging as the next frontier of diversity and inclusion. Ushered in by companies like AirBnB with the audacious goal of helping travelers belong anywhere in the world, belonging is a destination and a journey.
You can set the table (diversity), you can invite the guests (inclusion) and then the rest is left up to individual decision making. Does the host or hosting group create the environment for belonging? Does the individual feel a sense of belonging to the group? Does that sense of belonging fade away or deepen over time?
The Porsche Owners Club does a great job of creating a sense of belonging for its members. That has a lot to do with John Payne as it does to members’ passion around the product.
John and I bonded over Porsche stories when the club chose to welcome Bolton & Company as a sponsor. We knew a lot of the same people—my husband has owned three Porsches over the course of our 22-year marriage (one I threatened to bury him in after he discovered it needed a $12,000 engine rebuild after purchase) and spent 18 months as Singer Vehicle Design’s head of production. I immediately knew that this guy was the real deal and he had a strong sense of stewardship of the group.
Our CEO Steve Brockmeyer then met executive and former ballerina Rochelle Booth at a track event. Rochelle not only offered to take Steve—who’s 6’10—for a ride in one of four incredible racecars, she also made a pledge to try Bolton out. She said, “I always try to support POC’s vendors—have Jessica give me a call.”
When she moved her business over to Bolton, I wanted to know the rest of the story—which you’ll see in this video.
All I can say is that Rochelle, John and the POC have a radar lock on belonging—and maybe that’s why they have such a great track record in growth and loyalty.
Something for us all to consider.