Panel discussion on Diversity and Global Issues in the Workplace

The American workplace is becoming more diverse. It is not only accelerated by the use of technology-enabled virtual teams but also by the presence of a significant immigrant population in the US.


Working with diverse and global workforce requires an understanding of various issues and needs of the stakeholders.

Professor Leigh Mulligan, instructor of course on “Diversity and Global Issues in the Workplace” at School for Professional Development, Stony Brook University hosted a panel discussion on “Opportunities and Challenges in International Human Resource Management.”

Dr. Rahul Choudaha, Principal Coach of and co-founder of DrEducation, joined following expert panel:

-Dr. Cheryl Lees
COO – Soluna Solutions Inc. Business Management Consultancy

-Dr. Hassan M. Abdulhaqq
Talent Acquisition Manager – Fedcap Rehabilitation Services

-Ms. Gina Maniscalco
Vice President, Human Resources Business Partner – QBE North America

-Ms. Tara Paluck
VP – Global Wealth Management, JP Morgan Chase

-Ms. Trang Le-Chan
Director, Professional Development Center – New York City College of Technology

Facebook Album from the panel discussion

Dr. Choudaha highlighted the challenges faced by international students in transitioning from education to employment. The cross-cultural gaps regarding communication and confidence impede the potential of global talent. For example, an international employee may not feel confident enough to negotiate or ask for a raise due to lack of skills and cultural norms.

Dr. Lees explained HR’s role in ensuring that an organization remains open to diversity, both locally and nationally. She highlighted the importance of cultivating trust in the hiring and retention strategies. Often, trust is underappreciated as the foundation in organizational structures and strategies.

Dr. Abdulhaqq offered advice about effective communication strategies that was informed by his extensive experience working overseas. He mentioned about the role of the HR professionals as an advocate for in encouraging diversity in the workplace in infusing it in different aspects of the organization.

Ms. Maniscalco discussed current trends in talent acquisition and performance management and stressed the importance of a developing a comprehensive onboarding strategy. She added that increasing complexity of HR function is demanding the use of more data and analytics to improve organizational performance.

Ms. Paluck explained how organizational culture intersected with business strategy. She emphasized that the business model has to align with talent model and organizational culture. Lack of alignment results in expectation mismatch, employee dissatisfaction, and poorer performance.

Ms. Le-Chan described the different kinds of support and coaching that international students need to succeed. She asserted that students are thinking “how to get that first job?” and in their search process, they face several challenges like communication, visa issues, and acculturation.

In addition to the lively panel discussion, students asked very insightful questions. For example, one student asked, “why diversity decreases as you go up in hierarchy?” A deep question worth pondering and acting upon.

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