DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: actions speak louder than words. | Had lunch with some friends/colleagues recently – we are working on a particular cooperative platform project http://www.wayfindersbusinesscooperative.ca/ – to chat about the hot topic of diversity & inclusion, why it matters and how we in our evolving organization are working with it. In fact we were pleasantly surprised to discover that our early efforts at diversity & inclusion are producing results, some in terms of our membership-base and some related to our Board of Directors.
Much remains to be done for sure, we are still a nascent entity; what is important though, is that we started these conversations very early in our emerging journey and it is becoming a well understood message and practice – we are and will be a diverse and inclusive organization – it is really a win-win policy and cultural shift, worth pursuing and affirming – it is also good for business as it is said.
- In my own personal journey of becoming a Canadian (I am originally from Chile) I experienced some challenges, perhaps some obstacles as well, around integration and participation in society; but, I was lucky, for at that time, due my Canadian family connections and roots, I was quickly introduced to a range of ways of “being Canadian” – multiculturalism, and of course, Indigenous Peoples as well. That helped in my settlement journey, and my learnings, including tapping in to this resource https://ccdi.ca/ – in my social/professional life, and especially my family relational life as well. The key to understand here is that diversity and inclusion is essentially about expanding the circle and extending the proverbial table so everyone is at the table, no one excluded or left behind.
- Leaders today need to tune in carefully to the changing demographics of our times; for instance, we hosted a morning conversation with Simon O’Byrne (Vice president Community Development at Stantec). His topic was community engagement & leadership and from that gathering we gleaned some simple, yet, empowering truths, such as the need to deepen the power of listening, to check our unconscious bias as to our positions power or authority within a given entity; to ask smart questions, to ask the whys, check our cultural assumptions, and to remember that “actions speak louder than words.”
Diversity and inclusion starts at home, in our own relationships with close friends, relatives and colleagues – and its travels through our doings, institutions, body-politics and what not – eventually reaching a critical mass where it becomes a given, natural and simply how we conduct our activities in all spheres of our lives. Whether at home, work, play, diversity & inclusion is about being in community with others; being valued and appreciated, one’s opinion and views matter, and especially letting people in https://ideal.com/diversity-and-inclusion/ their fullest human dimension.
I have over the years come to appreciate and likely benefit from diversity and inclusion – I have certainly seen the benefits across sectors, in my relations and in government and business policies and practices – and that’s the world we are also moving to; changing demographics, active listening smart questions, solid and informed decisions – aiming at creating and sustaining an inclusive community, city, country and world.
I benefit of course, but so does everyone else; we gain further understandings and insights, society becomes more cohesive, fairer, humane and engaging, we act ethically and with sound judgement. I invite you to look at your world through a different lens – see how diverse and inclusive it is, and what you can do to transform it. The more we do such, the easier it will be to foster diverse and inclusive milieus. Invite your circle of friends and colleagues to talk about it and … be prepared to change and be changed. –
About the Author: Leo Campos A. is a HRP & Community Organizer/Animator, a Diversity & Inclusion Advisor; a Translator & Interpreter + Bilingual Social Marketing & Conscious Advertising Professional, based in Edmonton, AB. He is also a part-time advisor and community outreach person with Wayfinders Business Cooperative.