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  • Heather Payeur

Farewell 2021

Diversity was voted the Association of National Marketers word of the year for 2021.


Here are some other words and phrases we talked about and heard this year:

  • Performative

  • Do the work

  • Inclusion

  • Nuance

  • Choice

  • Intention

  • When you know better, you do better

  • Representation matters

  • Critical Race theory

  • Censorship

  • Covid Variants

  • Anti-Vaxx

  • Science

  • Privilege

  • Triggered

  • Freedom


This year has been one hell of a ride. This week last year I was faced with the imminent loss of someone very important to me. Swiftly followed by many other losses. I lost friends, memories, lung capacity, my best friend Osar the dog and so many other small battles. The reflection got me thinking; I ran my first half marathon in San Diego years ago and just before the start gun rang out the announcer reminded us all that this was not a flat, easy race, it was a character building race. That rang so true for that run and also I’ve realized how much it means to me as I close out this year. That statement applies to every single hard time but also all the good times. Because the truth is as many tough moments as this year has brought there are just as many amazing things that happened. In my quest to learn about other people and embrace and appreciate them I also found myself in ways I didn’t realize possible. I have found an inner peace and acceptance that has eluded me my entire life and I’ve watched and listened as others have begun to do the same. The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that EVERY day of EVERY year is character building and as individuals we have the power to decide how we show up.


‘Decisions are made by those who show up’ this is a quote I’ve thought a lot about this year. I’m not certain who said it first because it’s attributed to many people. But I do know I really like it. This quote speaks to ownership and choice in a way that is both bold and subtle at the same time. As I’ve shared many times, Diversity on Fire was started with the goal of keeping the conversation going; with the belief that if we can inspire new thought and hard conversations each week then it would become really hard to perpetuate hate and dehumanize others. It started out as 4 individuals brought together by one common friend speaking frankly about the racial, social, and societal injustice we were all so sick of seeing. Today Diversity on Fire is kept alive by me because it matters deeply to me and because I said I would. Many times throughout this year I have questioned myself, considered giving up because I ‘haven’t had time’ but made it, ‘have failed to prepare’ but still showed up, ‘have felt the overwhelming plague of imposter syndrome’ and kept going. Now I’m not sharing this for praise. I don't want any. I’m sharing this because as the collective world has become awakened over the last 2 years to things we only ever saw in movies it’s important to remember that the excuses still exist and it’s still our choice to use them or push through. I sit here in front of a microphone week after week with an insane amount of privilege and I want to share that with as many people as I can; but you have to be willing to show up, take it and get dirty with me.


To those listening today I hope you’ll join in 2022 as Diversity on Fire adapts and grows and to all those who have continued to show up with our sound quality issues, our silly questions, our ever-changing format, THANK YOU! You are amazing and I’m so happy and honored to know you are on this journey with me.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt


Signing off for 2021 - Love you, mean it!



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