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Had the pleasure of joining my fellow Circadians at the National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) conference in  Boston, where diversity is core to what makes this city great. People of different backgrounds and perspectives, living and working side by side, creating new businesses, solving big problems, and enjoying one another’s cultures and traditions.  

Among major American cities, Boston has long had the reputation of being a predominately White city. But lots has changed in recent years. Now, Boston is the sixth most diverse U.S. city. And for those who are curious, Oakland ranks #1, and Milwaukee, home to Circa, is ranked 10th 

Yet, increased diversity does not automatically lead to building community, or to even better outcomes in our workplaces. Creating diversity doesn’t ensure that people will actually interact with others who are different from them. It takes bold people who choose to become that beacon of change by embracing diversity.  

The NILG conference’s theme is “Being a Beacon of Change” and as part of sponsoring, our CEO Patrick Sheahan, introduced the keynote speaker, Steve Pemberton, Chief Human Resources Officer for Workhuman. Steve is a tireless advocate for the disenfranchised and exemplifies being a beacon of change. He gives practical encouragement on how to be a “human lighthouse” for others in his new book, The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World.”  As a follow-up to his memoir, A Chance in the World, where Steve chronicled the remarkable journey of his search for family, finding his lighthouse as he navigated a new path through the guidance of an ordinary man, John Sykes, who provided him a safe harbor.  

The lighthouse has been with us a very long time. And though gps has replaced their usefulness, they stand as a symbol to guide us to our destinations in life.  

In The Lighthouse Effect, Steve discusses how our polarized, divisive culture seems to be without heroes and role models. He says, “We are adrift in a dark sea of disillusionment and distrust, and we need “human lighthouses” to give us hope and direct us back to the goodness in each other and in our own hearts.”    

As Circa, we couldn’t agree more. Because building diversity and creating change is hard. It’s at times vague and emotional. But just like Steve suggests, you have to look at the purity of the underlying intent. To learn about each other. Discover how ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact in the world, and bring us all closer together, to be the “human lighthouse” that gives us all hope. 

Steve offered some sound advice on what human lighthouses do to express humanity and be a beacon of change.  

  • Turn doubts in destinations 
  • Create possibilities over circumstances 
  • Act on courage to encourage 
  • Have an uncompromising belief 
  • Practice selflessness 
  • Exercise strength and honor 
  • Give from where you are 
  • Always remember the first picture is not the full story 
  • Live out helping and healing 

 Steve ended his inspiring story by recommending to all of us to let our work and our life be a lighthouse. Well said. 


Cathy Hill
Vice President, Marketing

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