Shanté & Natalie’s Summer Travel Observations: How Travel Improves the Impact of DEI Initiatives

travel dei initiatives

It’s been an eventful summer for The Norfus Firm. Members of our small but mighty team have visited more than ten countries, covering four world regions and almost every mode of transport you can think of.

The link between Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work and travel feels evident to us as DEI professionals. We see tremendous value in intentional travel. Experiencing the world’s diversity along with the challenges and opportunities of being abroad become tools for learning about ourselves and others. Not only do you literally gain an understanding of places and people unfamiliar to you, but you also test your adaptability, your tolerance, and your biases. It can make you uncomfortable, make you euphoric, and mimic many of the skills we promote daily as DEI professionals.

During our summer of travel, we realized just how strong that link is and how valuable it could be to share our learnings. So today, we want to share some insights we discovered during our journeys.

travel dei initiatives

9 Takeaways From Our Travels

Here are a few takeaways, in hopes that they’ll guide you to apply a DEI lens to your upcoming travels:

  1. There’s no destination when you’re “open-minded,” as the mind is always capable of expanding. New experiences test the limits of our perspective and remind us that there are always ideas we haven’t discovered yet.
  2. Growth and discomfort go hand in hand. Language differences, travel delays, missing stops, getting lost, driving stick shift for the first time in 20 years…the list of discomforts associated with travel would almost make it seem unappealing. Yet even with temporary frustrations, the triumph of trying was exhilarating. And it always worked out – even if not as planned.
  3. On that note, flexibility is an underrated life skill. “Plans” are best thought of as loose outlines since following them strictly is rarely within our control. Being able to roll with last-minute changes saves so much heartache.
  4. Unstructured time and doing nothing are forms of productivity. Time for spontaneous exploration creates space for innovation. And resting when the body calls for it fuels a deeper presence and connection to the things being explored.
  5. Health truly is wealth. It takes a lot of physical effort to travel: lifting bags, covering long distances to get to your airport gate, taking sun-blazed walks on inclined cobblestone streets, climbing staircase after staircase, cycling through crowded cities…Thankfully, we’re big on our workout routines, but it didn’t always serve us (especially when riding bikes over bridges in Rotterdam – holy sh*t! ).
  6. Barriers to access are plentiful. There’s a privilege in having the resources to travel, whether that’s time off, money, ability, and more. The advanced public transport systems in the counties we visited also highlighted the privilege of being able to move around with relative ease and low cost.
  7. Between Google Translate, GPS, Apple Pay, and more, it became extremely apparent that technology opens up so many possibilities on a trip and in life.
  8. Human connection is critical. Our stories, ways of living, and histories all have unique nuances that empower learning and understanding. Although you can feel worlds apart from people, there are basic human issues we all experience.
  9. When you get outside of your bubble, you see a bigger picture. Shanté’s safari certainly highlighted this for her: gawking up at giant African elephants will truly humble you.

Contact The Norfus Firm Today

Evidently, our travels this summer were incredibly enriching. As our learnings make their way into our work, we challenge you to actively consider what your travel experiences can teach you about DEI.

Remember, diversity and inclusion in the workplace are important – valuing diversity shows that you value all types of people.

Contact us today to elevate your DEI strategies.

Bon Voyage!

Author Bio


Natalie E. Norfus is the Founder and Managing Owner of The Norfus Firm. With nearly 20 years of experience as a labor and employment attorney and HR/DEI practitioner, Natalie is known for her creative problem-solving skills. She specializes in partnering with employers to develop effective DEI and HR strategies, conducting thorough internal investigations, and providing coaching and training to senior leaders and Boards of Directors.

Throughout her career, Natalie has held various significant roles in HR and DEI. She has served as the Chief Diversity Officer for multi-billion-dollar brands, where she was responsible for shaping the vision of each brand’s DEI initiatives. She has also worked as outside counsel in large law firms and in-house before establishing her own firm.

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