GREENSBORO, N.C. — A poem by Mary Torrans Lathrap, written in 1895 titled “Judge Softly,” gives us the phrase, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.”

A suffragette from Jackson, Michigan, Lathrap’s famous quote was at some point changed to “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his moccasins.” The alteration seeks to attribute the origin of the sentiment to Native Americans, and perhaps that is from where Lathrap drew her inspiration. 

One Triad employer recently recognized by the National Association of Corporate Directors for its leadership in establishing diversity inclusion is employing the spirit of the poem, in a modern, corporate context that is resulting in measurable change. 

Carl Armato, CEO of Novant Health, embarked three years ago on a mission to change the culture inside one of the nation’s largest health systems. 

At the time, the executive board at Novant Health included one woman. Today the board is 45 percent female –– just one statistical improvement Armato pointed to when discussing his vision with the Triad Business Journal Tuesday. 

“If you don’t understand the original biases that sometimes exists, if you don’t understand the perspective of what a black male might experience on their drive to work in the morning,” Armato said.  

To read more on Novant Health's efforts, click here to read the full story on the Triad Business Journal's website. 

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