Nancy Ackley Ruth was born and raised in Africa as a child of American parents. She grew up speaking Arabic and several tribal languages as well as English, having a foot in at least 3 worlds. This provided the foundation for Nancy’s current passion – building bridges of understanding through developing cultural competence.
Nancy earned an interdisciplinary Master’s degree in counseling and Human Resource Development. She put this degree to good use, serving such organizations as Lear Siegler, Mervyn’s, MJDesigns, and Boeing as well as several smaller companies in varying HR roles, from generalist to SVP. In each successive position, Nancy became increasingly aware of the impact of culture on the work force.
One manager even said “don’t hire any more of XYZ ethnic group – they are liars and untrustworthy.” When asked why he believed that, he responded that they would not look him in the eye (don’t traditional American mothers say to their children “you look me in the eye young lady when I’m speaking to you?”) and they often said “yes” when the accurate answer was “no.” Because of her cultural awareness, she understood the manager was seeing the behavior through an American cultural lens and subsequently developed and facilitated a cultural awareness training for the managers, with observable positive results.
Nancy has worked one-on-one with expats of all levels to build these bridges. She has also worked with companies with significant interest in the USA, Africa and the Middle East to guide them in the development of strategies for increasing their effectiveness in meeting their initiatives when working with non-Westerners. In recent years, she has applied this knowledge and her over 30 years of professional HR experience into turning diversity programs into skill building sessions – building cultural competency to support and enhance diversity!