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Blog: How Supporting Diversity Gets You Invited to a LinkedIn Event

Friday, November 10, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mohit Ganju
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By Chris Nepomuceno

Diversity was evident as soon as I stepped off the elevator at the LinkedIn offices in downtown Toronto.  The social networking site was hosting “An Evening of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging” – and I felt honoured and lucky to receive an invitation. About 50 people from different walks of life, and from a plethora of industries including banking, marketing, information technology, and non-profit connected with one another at this open house. 

An executive panel discussion started with exploring how diversity and inclusion are important in the workplace as studies such as the Thomson Reuters 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Index have found that “a diverse workforce often financially outperform their peers.”

“It’s because diverse teams win” said Beatrix Dart, Professor of Strategic Management and Executive Director of Initiative for Women in Business at Rotman School of Business.  The variety of skills, backgrounds, education, and experiences of a diverse team provide a more well-rounded skill set to generate and execute innovative ideas.  Janet Kennedy, President of Microsoft Canada, remarked that “We must look like our customers.”

However, it takes more than just different perspectives at a table.  The cohesion and momentum of a diverse team are made possible by inclusion.  Quite simply, it’s treating others with respect.  By creating an environment where people are comfortable being themselves (regardless of sexual orientation, colour of skin, gender, etc.) they can share ideas and listen to each other more freely than in a group of people who are homogenous.

But what blocks diversity and inclusion?  A member from the audience stated that sometimes inclusion initiatives make some people feel uncomfortable.

“If you've always received advantages (which is the experience of privilege), when the playing field is actually leveled (equality), you no longer experience those advantages and you may begin to feel oppressed.  We have to do a better job of showing one another how we experience privilege so that when the playing field is levelled, we'll accept it as actually being equal.  Competitive, but also equal,” said Naki Osutei, Director of Partnerships and Engagement at TD Bank Financial Group.

It’s not an easy task to convince others to accept diversity and inclusion.  But as Lekan Olawoye, Lead Executive at MaRS Discovery District, stated, “For all of us in Canada to win, all people need equal access to prosperity.”  And to create equality we need to welcome people who bring skills and talents that differ from our own, and build bridges over stereotypes to foster understanding and respect.

Chris Nepomuceno is a change agent and super-volunteer. As a digital consultant for Ascend Canada, he coordinates its social media content.  By day, Chris is an Account Manager at TD Bank changing lives of small business owners. Chris is a prolific user on LinkedIn – connect with him today!

about Ascend

Ascend Canada was founded in 2012 to enhance the presence, visibility and influence of current and future Pan-Asian business leaders. Today, with the support of our more than 3,000 members and numerous corporate partners, our objectives are to develop the full potential of our members by leveraging our networks and providing programs and events that inspire, as well as educate. 

Vision: To have a diverse and inclusive Canada where pan-Asian talent can achieve its full potential.

Mission: Partner and progress with Canadian Organizations to develop and advance pan-Asian talent.

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