My DEI Story: Channon Hanna
Monday, June 15, 2020
By Channon Hanna, Principal at Carpi & Clay Government Relations
My DEI story is one that you can't see from looking at me, it’s hidden to many, but uncovered and exposed, it reveals a part of me that I struggle to overcome every day.
My story begins when I was a junior in high school and found I was struggling through my English and Literature classes. After consistently falling well below scores I was making in other classes, failing pop quizzes, and getting low scores on papers, I fought to understand why. Why the slip every year in these subjects? Why did it not come easy to me? These were questions that I asked myself with no answers to be found. After asking my mom to start helping me with homework and test prep, she, too, began to ask questions. It was clear I was struggling, but not for a lack of effort, focus, or intellect.
Meetings with teachers and guidance counselors ensued. I had never needed this much assistance without a clear understanding as to what was happening to me. Why did my brain seem to not keep up, why was so much hard work only rewarded with Cs or Ds? Testing soon revealed the answer—I was, and am, dyslexic.
I fought hard to get into a major university and even harder for grades that barely allowed me to graduate, but I am proud of my accomplishment.
Today, my dyslexia remains a silent battle, particularly in a profession so reliant on reading and writing. I still avoid reading out loud and my battle with pronunciations and definitions of words can make public speaking a challenge. However, my dyslexia has given me a gift—patience with myself and others, and the critical importance of being empathetic—you never know the unseen struggles of those around you.
Everyone has a DEI story that makes us who we are. If you’re interested in learning more, join us at the WGR Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Virtual Summit on July 14, 21, and 28 from 9:30-11:30 am each day. Each day will feature a different objective including education, ownership, and action. This three-day experience will feature keynote speakers, as well as interactive panels, and ample time for reflection to help participants translate their own DEI stories and experiences into actionable resources for their personal and professional lives. Register now to take part in this innovative and comprehensive deep dive of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.