MSU Today with Russ White

Michigan State University College of Social Science and School of Criminal Justice alumnus Carlos Cubia is senior vice president and global chief diversity officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Show Notes

Upon graduation, the Pontiac, Michigan native applied for a position in the Secret Service. While waiting to hear back. He began a career in insurance, which gradually led him into human resources work. Without even realizing it, Cubia was beginning his work in diversity, equity, and inclusion before that work had a name.

“What I found along my journey through corporate America is that I was running into people who were just having a hard time being heard, moving through the process, and getting opportunities. I started on this journey to help people in corporate America to do better, to realize their dreams, and to be seen and to be heard. It wasn’t officially my job, but I was always advocating, speaking to supervisors, and challenging the status quo. Sometimes I got myself in trouble because at that time, it wasn't kosher to speak up. You were supposed to do what you were told.

“But that was never who I was. I was always respectfully challenging the status quo. Why were certain things the way they were? Why did so-and-so get passed over for an opportunity? And that eventually led to me leaving my sales and account management role and moving into a diversity, equity, and inclusion role.”

When defining diversity, equity and inclusion, Cubia says the key is to embrace our differences. He says there's value in embracing those differences. His twist on the golden rule is that we should treat others as they want to be treated, not necessarily how we want to be treated.

“When I think of diversity, I think of someone different than yourself. I know people sometimes equate it to black versus white. When I think of diversity, I look at all the dimensions of diversity. It's the things you're born with and then the things you acquire later in life, like your education and the knowledge and habits that you pick up along the way.

“We do measure some of the basic things around race, gender, sexual orientation, LGBTQ, veterans, disability. We pay attention to all of that. But again, we also look at education. Were you educated? What's your background? What experiences have you had in life? Because all of those things help to make organizations and the world better when you embrace and accept people for their differences and then understand that there's value in differences. And by realizing that, I think we could just make this world a better place.

“And not to sound hokey with that, but when you accept people for who they are and treat them not the way you want to be treated but treat them the way they want to be treated, then I think you have a more engaged and a more productive society.”

Cubia says DE and I work continues to evolve as more organizations realize that embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, but sound business practice. He says that if organizations are doing DE and I correctly, that it impacts every aspect of the business and is embedded in everything an organization does.

“When I think about the evolution of DE and I and the role of the chief diversity officer over time, I've seen it really change. Back in the day, it was all about diversifying from an ethnicity standpoint. It was a people agenda back then. What's evolved over time is now it's a business imperative.

“Most CEOs and Fortune 500 companies realize the value of having a diversity strategy for the organization that touches every aspect of the business, whether that's how they market, how they communicate, where they recruit, where they open or close locations, or what products are on the shelves. The DE and I team and leaders across most companies are now part of all of those discussions. We're being brought into discussions with investor relations now.

“When investors are out there at a public company they want to invest in, they want to talk to the chief diversity officers and say, ‘tell me about your diversity, equity, and inclusion program. What are you guys doing to address A, B, and C? And then what kind of progress are you making?’ The evolution has been amazing. It's been fast paced. It's hard to keep up because our phone is now ringing from every part of the organization asking for time with us to help consult about an issue that may evolve around DE and I that maybe that leader isn't that well-versed on.

“We're being asked to be part of the training program within organizations and how we shape culture within the organization. If you're doing it the right way, then DE and I is embedded in everything that a corporation or an organization does. DE and I touches everything. I don't think there's anything in corporate America or in any major institutions that DE and I doesn't touch or shouldn't touch.”

When discussing challenges, opportunities, and goals for expanding DE and I work, Cubia says that, for him, DE and I comes down to two words, dignity and respect.

“The challenge is that there are still individuals out there who feel that this is social work and it has no place in business or in decision-making. One of the challenges is getting to those individuals and sharing with them factual data and showing them research where if you have a real strategy that's comprehensive in nature, that it does contribute to the bottom line and the success of your organization, regardless of what your organization is.

“It's really only two main words, and that's dignity and respect. If you just follow that golden rule and treat everybody with dignity and respect, most of the times things are going to work out for you around DE and I.”

For all of us, Cubia says the first step toward embracing diversity, equity and inclusion is to educate oneself and not to turn the other cheek.

“When George Floyd was murdered a year plus ago and we started to see the peaceful protest and then unfortunately some of it broke into civil unrest, a lot of white guys, like yourself, asked me the question, what do I do? I think the first step is educating yourself and getting information on how the experiences of others have affected their lives and the challenges and the situations that we see today. Learning is one. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don't know.’

“But the other thing that I would say is not turning the other cheek. Just because it doesn't affect you directly, doesn't mean it doesn't affect you indirectly. When these things happen, it affects all of us in some way, shape, or form. The sooner that we come together and work together and value the differences and understand each other's perspectives and point of views, the sooner we'll start to see the world differently and understand other people.

“Part of it is just education. We just celebrated Juneteenth a couple of weeks ago. And for some folks, that's the first time they ever heard of it. If we understand the past, hopefully we can prevent the same mistakes. Hiding it and overlooking it and pretending it doesn't exist is not going to get us there.”

Cubia followed his brother and sister to MSU. It's the only school he applied to and had any interest in attending. And Cubia adds that as big as MSU is, it always seemed small to him. The university had so much to offer him and he'd attend MSU again if he had to do it all over again.

“This is going to sound a little hokey, but I believe in full transparency. I went up to Michigan State this past weekend with my son. And as I got out of the car and stood in front of my dorm, I almost teared up. Because when I think about where I am today, had Michigan State not given me the chance and the opportunity to show what I can do, with help of course, I probably would not be where I am today. I have no idea where I would be today. Michigan State helped me because it gave me the services that I needed.

“Michigan State believes that they want to create an environment where everyone is welcome, where everyone can realize their full potential. I see Michigan State constantly striving for that. I believe in celebrating Michigan State because it's a great university that I’m recommending to my son. If I had to choose again tomorrow, I choose Michigan State all over again.”

Carlos Cubia's advice for today's MSU students is to be authentic and true to yourself.

“Being authentic doesn't mean not compromising or being flexible. It just means stay true to your values and your value system. I don't ever compromise my value system, but I compromise other things depending on the situation or the ultimate goal that I'm trying to achieve. Don’t hide and pretend to be something for someone else via social media. The hardest thing in life is trying to be something for someone else, trying to be what somebody else wants us to be. The easiest thing in life is just being yourself because that's truly who you are. Always be yourself, stay true to yourself, and follow your own dreams and I think you'll be fine.”

MSU Today airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on 105.1 FM and AM 870 and streams at WKAR.org. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever you get your shows.

What is MSU Today with Russ White?

MSU Today is a lively look at Michigan State University-related people, places, events and attitudes put into focus by Russ White. The show airs Saturdays at 5 P.M. and Sundays at 5 A.M. on 102.3 FM and AM 870 WKAR, and 8 P.M. on AM 760 WJR.

Russ White 0:00
With this Spartan profile on MSU today, I'm Russ white, Michigan State University College of Social Science and School of Criminal Justice alumnus Carlos kubja is Senior Vice President and global Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens boots Alliance, the Pontiac Michigan native followed his older brother and sister to MSU. Upon graduation, he applied for a position in the Secret Service. While waiting to hear back, he began a career in insurance, which gradually led him into human resources work. without even realizing it Cubia was beginning his work in diversity, equity and inclusion. Before that work had a name

Carlos Cubia 0:46
Upon graduation from Michigan State, I headed to Washington DC as I was applying for the US Secret Service. Because I was a criminal justice, social science major at Michigan State. So always had a longing for helping people whether it was a law enforcement, you know, they had thoughts of being a lawyer, but always advocating and speaking on behalf of others, and being that voice for the voiceless. So when I left, started my application with the Secret Service, obviously, if anyone knows anything about the federal government or law enforcement, it's a long grueling process happening, background checks, you know, polygraph tests, and every other test with them talking to friends and family or places that you've ever lived. So while I was waiting on that process to unfold, I started working as a claims adjuster for an insurance company, doing claims, and then underwriting and then sales, was constantly in contact with the Secret Service. And at the time, that was the Department of Treasury before they moved over to the Department of Homeland Security, and was constantly in contact, it's moving, it's moving, things were looking good. And along the way, while I'm waiting for that, I got engaged, that a promotion with the insurance company and became a supervisor, and was thought at that time making good money and thought, you know, if this secret service thing comes through, I'm probably going to turn it down. And after so long waiting, I just kind of gave up on that and stayed the course with corporate America, in claims, financial services. And really just, you know, working in corporate America looking to start over and, you know, make the decision to leave to move away from law enforcement and into corporate America. But what I found along my journey is that I was running into people in corporate America that were just having a hard time being heard moving through the process, and getting opportunities. So probably three or four years after I left college, I started on this journey of how do I help people in corporate America to do better to realize their dreams and to be seen and to be heard, I didn't officially do it, but was always advocating speaking to supervisors challenging the status quo, sometimes getting myself in trouble. Because, you know, at that time, it wasn't kosher to speak up. You were supposed to do what you were told and just be a member of corporate america and be a member of that society. But that was never who I was. So I was always challenging respectfully the status quo, why were certain things the way they were? Why did so and so get passed over for an opportunity. And that eventually led to me and I'm kind of fast forwarding here, leaving myself and account management role and moving eventually into DNI role. I moved to California for a number of years, when I was working in financial services. From there, I went to Pennsylvania from near to Washington, DC, Atlanta, Georgia, and then up to New Jersey, all working with the same company, getting promoted with higher levels of responsibilities, higher level of authority, but continuing, and I was the vice president of sales at the time, but continuing through that journey. I was always fighting for other people. And folks who said to me, why don't you be moving to HR never had an interest in HR, but I did have an interest in advocating and being an advocate for others. So when I was working in Detroit, I was working in the Detroit municipal department of for a financial services company and we were selling 401k plans. And then selling those plans. I had four of the high achieving very dynamic sales revenue for white gentleman for white individuals that had graduated from University of Michigan to Michigan State and they work for me, golfing buddies, we did everything together great guys. But for whatever reason, they couldn't penetrate the Detroit market because if you know anything about inner city of Detroit, at that time, the police department we probably 80% African American, the fire department, it was it was predominantly African American or Latino workforce, and these individuals had heart Connecting. And it wasn't because they weren't good sales reps it was because they really didn't identify or could connect with the market that we're trying to do business with. So I petitioned to my leadership in Hartford, Connecticut at the time to let me start a diversity training program. And I don't even know if we call it diversity, but a mentorship program, where we brought on some minority reps to pair with the four white sales reps, so that they can go in there and work together and try to connect with this market. So to shorten the story a little bit, what we did is we went from 65% production to 113% productivity. In a year and a half time after we implemented this program. We diversify the team. That was the first thing that we did. The second thing that we did is we took off those Brooks Brothers suits, and put on golf shirts, and khaki so that we were approachable. And we weren't, you know, because if you know anything about the financial services market, we're always buttoned up suit and tie whenever we go on to do a presentation, but we change the dress code to be more casual. And then the third thing that we did was created flexible work schedules, because when the police department opens and never closes, they work 24 hours. So if you if the police and the fire departments work, the night shift or weekends, we miss them with our nine to five schedules. So we created a diverse team, we create a casual work environment, and we created back then, and this was their early 90s. We created a flexible work schedule. And those are three of the main pillars that people still fight for for DNI today. And we were doing it back then because it was sound business practice, not because we were calling it diversity, equity and inclusion. But we wanted to create an environment where people could become more engaged, more productive. And that could have flexible work schedules where they can do their their jobs and be their best selves. And we created that back in the night Washington we created we implemented that myself and my team. And that led me to know that when you challenge the status quo, and when you do things differently, you get better business results, you get a more engaged workforce. And I saw the satisfaction from the workers. I saw the satisfaction from the clients that we were doing business with. And I saw the satisfaction from those minority reps that we introduced to careers that they had no idea it was a possibility for them moving into financial services. A number of those individuals that I brought on board back then are probably multimillionaires today. Still in that same business, they have their own business today. And when I see them and talk to them, they always credit the fact that we gave them a chance to do something different and took a chance on them. And I think that's probably where I really officially said this is the kind of work that I want to do.

Russ White 7:35
Most of us have heard of Walgreens, what is Walgreens boots Alliance, Carlos.

Carlos Cubia 7:41
So most people are familiar with our corner pharmacies. In the United States. You know, Walgreens boots Alliance has almost 9500 stores in the US. We are a pharmacy and a pharmacy retailer that does business in communities across the US. We believe in in helping people will leave lead healthier, happier lives. And we do that through connections with our pharmacists and providing other health services, providing those essential items that people need. You know, in the moment, you know, it's late at night, you need to run to the store to pick up some milk and some basics, you know, household products. They're available at Walgreens. But we're more than that. Walgreens boots Alliance is an organization that is in 20 plus countries, we have over 440,000 employees across the globe. And we are a health, retail, and healthcare healthcare destination for individuals that come in that want to take care of their health to see a pharmacist and to get basic services. I've been with the company just around four years and have had the opportunity to travel extensively the organization meeting people across the globe. And all people want whether they working with us, or whether they're customers coming into our store is to be treated with dignity and respect, to make sure that their voice matters and that we care about the community that we do business. And I can honestly say that in the four years that I've been with the company, they have exemplified those values, and really push hard to make sure that people feel like they belong when they come into our stores. We don't get it right every time. But that is our goal. And that is our mission. And those are the things that we constantly work towards every day

Russ White 9:22
when defining diversity, equity and inclusion. kubja says the key is to embrace our differences. He says there's value in embracing those differences. His twist on the golden rule is that we should treat others as they want to be treated, not necessarily how we want to be treated well

Carlos Cubia 9:42
when I think of diversity, I think of someone different than than yourself. You know, I know people sometimes equated to, you know, black versus white. When I think of diversity I'm looking at all the dimensions of diversity is the things you're born with. And then the things you acquire later in life like your education, the knowledge habits, the To pick up along the way, the way we think about diversity at Walgreens boots Alliance is, you know, again, all of those dimensions, the innate, and the acquired traits that you pick up over over time. We do measure some of the basic things around race, gender, sexual orientation, LGBTQ Veterans Disability, we pay attention to all of that. But again, we also look at education, where were you educated? What's your background? What experiences have you had in life, because all of those things helped to make organizations and really the world better when you embrace and accept people for their differences, and then understand that there's value in differences. And by realizing that I think we can just make this world a better place and not to sound hokey with that. But when you accept people for who they are, and treat them at the way you want to be treated, but treat them the way they want to be treated, then I think you have a more engaged and a more productive society. Carlos,

Russ White 10:56
can you highlight some of your D and di initiatives and talk about the issues the initiatives seek to deal with? So

Carlos Cubia 11:03
some of the highlights some of the things what, you know, when we look at corporate America, and there's still a gender gap in corporate America, whether it's a pay gap, or just women in leadership roles? So one of the things that we're working on at Walgreens boots Alliance is how do we, you know, create more opportunities for women in leadership positions. So we have set goals, and we have initiatives for the organization across our entire enterprise, to really increase women in leadership positions. And we're doing that by a number of different ways. One is mandating interview panels, that they're diverse, mandating diverse candidates late. So even before we start the hiring process, if the slates are not diverse, then we send our recruiters and our sources out to bat to bring in well highly qualified individuals to be a part of those late so that when we are assessing this talent, everyone's on an equal playing field. And we're giving opportunities, we're also doing that same thing with people of color in the United States, to make sure that they're given opportunities and not overlooked, and that the biases don't come into, you know, into the decision making process. So you know, those are two areas gender, and race. Next year, one of the things that we're going to be looking at doing is instead of lumping everyone into the people of color basket, we're going to be disaggregating that data and looking at specific ethnic groups like African American, Latino, Asian Americans, and starting to track each of those categories separately, because when we lump it all together, the numbers can be skewed, there may be one group that's skewing the results. Other areas that we're working on is LGBTQ equality. in the workplace, we're looking to increase disability hiring within our organization, our supplier diversity program, where we're looking to give back and to do more business with diverse vendors and suppliers in the community. And again, giving back to those individuals that come into our stores and do business every day. So those are just a few of the things that we're doing. I mean, we have employee centric initiatives, where we're looking at our benefits, we constantly look at our benefits to make sure that they're competitive and best in class, our holiday schedule, as we look at right now, you know, a lot of companies have made moves around adding new holidays or company paid holidays, we constantly look at that. So there are a number of things that we're doing and constantly looking at other areas to drive equity within the workplace.

Russ White 13:24
Carlos kubja, says D and I work continues to evolve as more organizations realize that embracing diversity, equity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, but his sound business practice. He says that if organizations are doing D, E and di correctly, that it impacts every aspect of the business, and is embedded in everything an organization does.

Carlos Cubia 13:50
Yeah, yeah. And that's a great question. And thank you for asking that. When I think about the evolution of DNI and just the role of the chief diversity officer. Over time, I've seen it really change back in the day, it was all about diversifying from an ethnicity standpoint. You know, we have so many Caucasians in the workplace, we want to get other ethnicities into the workplace. So it was a people agenda back then. What's evolved over time, is now it's a business imperative. Most CEOs, and most fortune 500 companies realize the value of having a diverse strata diversity strategy for the organization that touches every aspect of the business, whether that's how they market, how they communicate, where they recruit, where they open or close locations, what products are on the shelves. The DNI team, or the DNI leaders across most companies are now part of all those discussions. We're bringing brought into discussions with Investor Relations now when when investors are out there looking at what public company they want to invest in. They want to talk to the Chief Diversity Officer say, Tell me about your Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program. What are you guys doing to address a, b and c? And then what kind of progress are you making? So the evolution has been amazing. It's been fast paced. It's hard to keep up because our phone is not ringing from every part of the organization asking for time with us to help consult about an issue that may evolve around DNI that maybe that leader isn't that well versed on, we're being asked to be part of the training program within organizations, how we shape culture within your organization, if you're doing it the right way. The DNI is embedded in everything that a corporation or an organization or an institution like Michigan State does, you know, when I think about some of my practitioner buddies that are in academia, they look at how the students see the university, the faculty, the makeup of the faculty, what programs you have, what curriculum you have. So Dee and I touches everything. I mean, I don't think there's anything in corporate America or in any major institution that dei doesn't touch, or shouldn't touch

Russ White 16:05
when discussing challenges, opportunities and goals for expanding DNI work. kubja talks about reaching people through the head and the heart. And he says for him, D and di comes down to two words, dignity and respect.

Carlos Cubia 16:22
And it absolutely makes sense. I mean, so I'll start with the challenges. First, the challenges is that there's still a contingency of individuals out there that feel that this is social work, and it has no place in business or in decision making. So one of the challenges is getting to those individuals and sharing with them factual data, showing them research, where if you have a real strategy that's comprehensive in nature, that it does contribute to the bottom line, and its success of the organization, regardless of what your organization is, it's winning over the naysayers, because they still exist. But then I guess that's just a part of life, right? You know, everyone's not gonna always be on board with everything. But you want to be able to give people the information and the education that they need, so that they can make an informed decision. We always say in this business, we get to people, either through their head or through their heart, the head is through data, facts and figures the hardest, because they think it's the right thing to do they know it's the right thing to do. So they jump on board, however you get there, I don't really care long as you get there. But those are some of the challenges and opportunities and things that we measure, we, you know, there are a number of outcomes we measure, are we improving in some of those categories that I mentioned earlier? women in leadership, people of color, are we creating more awareness about, you know, differences that exists within the workplace and in the world? And are we giving people tools and knowledge and training so that they can understand how to accept people for who they are, and how to work with that. Part of it is holding up the mirror and understanding who you are and how you make your decisions and what motivates you. And then helping people to learn how to take their styles and their beliefs, and to not impose it on others. But to accept and to compromise. You know, I said it earlier and is to is really only two main words. And that's dignity and respect. If you if you just follow that golden rule, treat everybody with dignity and respect. Most of the times things are going to work out, you know, for you whether around DNI, it's when you start to overlook those things and put yourself ahead of everyone else. That's when we run into issues. Other outcomes we like to see is it may not even be numbers related. It's the culture of an organization or a neighborhood of a university. What's the culture? Do people feel good about it? If you were to ask questions within the organization about would you encourage people to apply to go to school here or to work for this organization? What's their answer? So part of it is how you make people feel and the culture you create. And that's hard to measure other than just talking to people. Others, you can measure through numbers and data that's on paper. The numbers may not always move as quickly as the environment. But if we can get the environment in the right place, the numbers will will eventually fall into place

Russ White 19:06
for all of us. kubja says the first step toward embracing diversity, equity and inclusion is to educate oneself and not to turn the other cheek.

Carlos Cubia 19:16
Well, you know, that's a great question. And when when George Floyd was murdered a year plus ago, and we started to see the peaceful protests, and then unfortunately, some of it broke into civil unrest. A lot of white guys asked me the question, What do I do? And I think that's the first step is saying, you know, is educating yourself and getting information on how the experience of others have affected their lives and the challenges and the situations that we see today. So learning is what asking questions not being afraid to say I don't know. But the other thing that I would say is not turning the other cheek. You know, just because it doesn't affect you directly, doesn't mean it doesn't affect you indirectly when these things happened, it affects all of us in some way, shape, or form. And the sooner that we realize that if we come together and work together, and again, I'm gonna use that word again and value the differences and understand each other's perspectives and point of views. I think what'll end up happening is we'll start to see the world differently and understand other people's plight. Part of it is just education. You know, we just celebrated Juneteenth a couple of weeks ago. And for some folks, that's the first time they ever heard of, right, they didn't even know that what had happened. And that existed, there was a situation where black Wall Street was burned down 100 years ago. And for some, they've never heard of it until very recently. And so part of it is telling the story and understanding the past. Because if we understand the past, and hopefully we can take that information to prevent us from from committing some of the same mistakes, and repeating some of the ills that have plagued this country for so many years, hiding it and overlooking it and pretending it doesn't exist. It's not going to get us there. And so, back to your question, educating admitting what you know, and what you don't know, holding the mirror up to say, What have I done to contribute to this, or what have I not done to help solve this problem. And then understanding privilege, people don't like to talk about privilege, but privilege is real. And it exists. And what people have to understand is that we all have privilege, regardless of who we are. But some of us have more privileges and different privileges and others that can help them to maybe go a little bit further based on privileges that they had nothing to do with

Russ White 21:32
Cuba followed his brother and sister to MSU. It's the only school he applied to and had any interest in attending. When I was in high school,

Carlos Cubia 21:41
I struggled. I had, you know, I have dyslexia. So I struggled in high school. And so when I left high school, my brother and sister were both at Michigan State University. I was never intending to go to college, I was going to go to military, which I did, and then try and just work because I didn't think I could get through school with my challenges. And I went up there to visit my brother and sister and got to me, the Director of Admissions and got introduced to a few folks. And we talked about commendations and things that I would need to get through Michigan State. And I was like, This is the school for you. And I applied got accepted. And that was it. The only school I applied to and the one I got into, and so glad that that was the

Russ White 22:24
path that I chose. and Cuba adds that as big as MSU is it always seemed small to him, the university had so much to offer him, and that he did attend MSU. Again, if he had to do it all over again.

Carlos Cubia 22:38
So this is going to sound a little hokey. But you know, I believe in full transparency. So I went up to Michigan State this past weekend with my son. And as I got out of the car and stood in front of my dorm, I almost teared up. Because when I think about where I am today, had Michigan State not giving me the chance and the opportunity to show what I could do with help, of course, I probably would not be where I am today, I have no idea where I would be today. Michigan State helped me because it gave me the services that I needed. It created an environment. I mean, at the time, if I remember the numbers correctly, we had 42,000 students at Michigan State and 2200, the demographics were were people of color. So 2200. And there was the Office of black affairs that I worked with, and was a part of and eventually became a director programming for that that organization. And it was kind of a an affinity group for African American students to make sure that your experience was one where you had a good experience at Michigan State. And I did, I was a leader on campus for my dorm, which I think we had, I'm not gonna say that number because I'll probably get it wrong. But between Hubbard Hall and the two dorms. I was a student government president. I pledged a fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, I joined the wrestling team my freshman year, didn't last very long. But because I didn't want to go to the practice every day. But there were just so many things that Michigan State had to offer. And as big as it was, it felt small. And I felt connected. And I felt like, you know, despite some of the challenges that you know, Michigan State had at the time and continue to have today. Michigan State believes that they want to create an environment where everyone is welcome, where everyone can realize their full potential. And I see that Michigan State constantly strive for that. And again, I believe in celebrating Michigan State because it's a great university that I recommended, and I'm also looking at recommended for my son, but also held them accountable for the areas where they fall short. But they acknowledge that and they want to move in the right direction to address those issues and those challenges. And I think that's what makes me What makes Michigan State great is the fact that you can celebrate and hold them accountable all at the same time. But all in all, if I had to choose again tomorrow, I choose Michigan State all over again. Carlos Kuby, his advice for today's MSU students is to be authentic and true to yourself. Be true to your So be very authentic, and understand really what that means to be authentic. Because sometimes I think people will use that out of context. Authentic, being authentic doesn't mean not compromising or, or being flexible, it just means stay true to your value and your value system. I don't ever compromise my value system, but I compromised other things depending on the situation, or the ultimate goal that I'm trying to achieve. And that's just being a good individual and a good negotiator or a good collaborator, knowing how to flex and when to push and when to pool. But be true to yourself and follow your dream. And that's somebody else's dream, I had to learn that with my own kids, because I want you to my daughter went into school to be a business major, and I got excited about that. And then later on, she decided she wanted to teach. And I've tried to convince her to stay the business route. But she wasn't happy. And I saw how her trying to stay the business route made her unhappy, but made me happy. And I've had to back off and say, No, follow your dream, what you want to do and what's going to make you happy life. And I think if you follow that simple rule, stay true to yourself. Believe in yourself and just realize that there's not much you can accomplish, if you put your mind to it. And I know that sounds hokey, but it turns out for me, that works, you know, I don't walk around trying to pretend that I'm something that I'm that I am who I am. When we talk about corny, I mean, I'm probably the most corny guy you ever gonna meet, but I don't care. It's who I am. And that's got me to where I am in life. And I'm comfortable with where I am. And so as I think about, you know, staying true to yourself, I just, you know, think about this, this age of social media and how it has done a number of things. And there's been a lot of good coming out of social media. But I think it has also allowed us to put on some facades and not be our true selves. I would just encourage folks, and especially people coming up today, be who you are, be your true self and don't hide and pretend to be something for someone else via social media. Because the hardest thing in life is trying to be something for someone else. Trying to be what somebody else wants us to be the easiest thing in life is just being yourself, because that's truly who you are. So always be yourself. Stay true to yourself, and follow your own dreams and I think you'll be fine.

Russ White 27:17
That's Michigan State University College of Social Science and School of Criminal Justice alumnus Carlos kubja. Carlos is Senior Vice President and global Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens boots Alliance. I'm Russ white with this Spartan profile for MSU today

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