Matt Briscoe

Breaking tonnage records, increased capacity and international expansion, it all seems like the Port of Corpus Christi is moving forward in the right direction. Most people who know the
importance of our local port would agree. But there is a single elephant in the room–diversity.

The Port Commission itself is made up of business leaders and professionals for the areas that the port serves. Port commissioners serve three year terms and are appointed each year. The way it plays out is that three commissioners are appointed by the Corpus Christi City Council, three commissioners are appointed by the Nueces County Commissioners Court, and one is appointed by the San Patricio County Commissioners Court.

Because of the resignation of a sitting port commissioner the City of Corpus Christi now gets the opportunity to appoint a new member to the commission, and it might be a good time for the city to consider a little bit of diversity and be the example instead of the stereotype.

The city has the chance to appoint a female nominee from the City of Corpus Christi to the Port Commission. Such a move would be the first such move in the city’s history.

That is not to say that there has never been any females appointed to the port. It just means that in all the years it has been in existence, only five women have served on the port and none of them have ever been appointed by the City of Corpus Christi. What it does say is that the City of Corpus Christi has not ever, in its history appointed a woman to what is arguably the most important board assignment the city makes.

Couldn’t they find a female who was qualified? Who knows the importance of what the Port of Corpus Christi does for our economic development? Or did the city council just want to continue the good ol’ boy mentality of making sure that Port decisions are only made by the same insiders who have controlled local government for years?

Breaking down the diversity issue at hand, it has been proven that organizations cannot achieve diversity without first having an inclusive environment and culture. Simply put, diversity is the mixture of individuals in society, while inclusion is allowing that mixture to exist and work well together.

Leadership is not limited to men. It is not limited by race or ethnicity. It is not limited by who you are or are not related to. It is only limited by qualifications for a position, knowledge and the ability to stand up and make the right decisions.
On the Port of Corpus Christi Commission, diversity is even more important as the region develops partners from other countries, and continues to deal with a diverse group of stakeholders who care about what the Port is and is not doing for the community.

As the Port of Corpus Christi grows it has the chance to set the standard for diversity within a complex industry. It is time for the city to break the mold of the status quo and take a step towards inclusion and diversity by putting forward qualified nominees who represent a broad scope of ideas and bring a different perspective to the Commission that governs the Port.