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shifting the conversation

Celebrate diversity month: Shifting the conversation with Tess Longfield

Tess Longfield shares her motivating conviction of actioning inclusion efforts today and beyond.

At Sabre, we are committed to embracing and celebrating our diversity. In this inclusion & engagement series, Shifting the Conversation, our people share their stories to engage in open dialog and shed light on their broad, rich and unique perspectives. In celebration of Celebrate Diversity Month, Tess Longfield, inclusion & diversity ambassador in EMEA, shares her motivating conviction of actioning inclusion efforts today and beyond.

“If not you, then who? If not now, when?” As a white woman in a mixed-race family who has spent years living around the world in a variety of countries, witnessing the hardships that so much of the world faces, I embrace the power of this well-known quote. If I could speak to my younger self, I would raise an eyebrow and say, “OK, but why now? Why not then?”

Why not when I was a first-year university student and I didn’t have the language or life experience to confidently engage with my mixed-race boyfriend (now husband) on the complexities he has faced? Why not when I was a pupil at a strict Catholic convent school? Why not when so much social turmoil bubbled under the surface in my formative years as a teenager? 

My aim isn’t to self-flagellate but rather to emphasize that we can always do more, earlier and have a great impact. While I dedicate a lot of time to supporting inclusion and diversity (I&D) and allyship, I know there are many more opportunities for positive intervention and support every day. 

I have lived around the world and worked within and alongside communities who face the huge challenges of discrimination, global poverty and the lack of basic safety many of us take for granted. These experiences have been humbling and eye-opening, so I carry them with me every day. It’s the bedrock of my conviction to do all I can to support positive change at work, in my life and with my children. 

Today, my children effortlessly navigate conversations around differences, such as race and sexuality, with openness and acceptance. For instance, my daughter told me one day that she was caught up in a fight, standing up for a disabled friend. I could see she was a more developed person than I was at her age. At that moment, my daughter inspired me to continue building awareness and embedding common values of inclusion, respect and diversity.

My conviction in the importance of I&D and allyship has never been stronger. The progress I have seen, and how I have grown, has increased my ability to contribute constructively to this critical effort. However, there’s a mountain to climb and I am not complacent.

To my younger self, and anyone else involved in this critical I&D work, I’d say, “Well, you’re here now. And there’s a lot of work to do. Let’s get to it.”  

Sabre is shifting the conversation with stories from passionate and bold inclusion group members. At the heart of our inclusion & engagement efforts, our eight inclusion groups, and counting, aim to amplify the voices of our team members and create a sense of belonging for all. Together, we celebrate diversity, applaud individuality and embrace unique perspectives to empower our global team members to bring their true selves to work every day. Learn more about our inclusion & engagement mission.

about the author

As an ambassador for inclusion and diversity in EMEA, Tess Longfield is shifting the needle forward as we embrace and celebrate our diversity and foster an inclusive culture at Sabre.

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