CFN's Celebrating Diversity March 28th - What is Diversity & Inclusion?

The words diversity and its close partner inclusion have become 21st Century buzzwords, as most of you reading these words at this very moment have surely heard them more and more as of late. On Saturday March 28h, CFN invites you to our 5th annual fundraiser Celebrating Diversity to celebrate the city of Calgary, it's kaleidoscope of culture and diversity, and the undeniable potential each and every Calgarian holds - but just what does diversity & inclusion mean?

Diversity could best be described as empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, physical ability, sexual orientation, education, and nationality. By extension, inclusion is an organizational effort and best practices implementation in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted, welcomed, and equally treated. Seems simple enough...

That being said, it can be argued there is indeed generational perspective differentiation when its comes to diversity, as twenty something millennials and youth largely view diversity as the self evident representation of fairness and even protection for all, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, physical ability or sexual orientation. Generally speaking, they view diversity and inclusion as the blending of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives and an entirely necessary element for teamwork, innovation and success in all aspects of life.

Diversity & inclusion for Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, on the other hand, is often just a little bit different. More about and directly related to the workplace environment, they see it as the conceptual framework that integrates individuals of all of the above demographics into the workplace. It’s a legal imperative, with the firm backing of moral authority, and by extension simply the right thing to do so as to achieve equality and a concurrent form of social compliance - and this last part is key - regardless of whether it benefits the workplace and organization or not.

In a 2017 Royal Bank of Canada survey, nearly 90 per cent of organizations strongly believed diverse and inclusive teams make better decisions. And, as we deal with the break neck speed of the ongoing digital revolution, we realize, now more than ever, we simply need more diversified perspectives. That said, here's the issue:

"65% strongly agree that leveraging diversity is fundamental to organizational performance, but only 10% say they're taking full advantage of a diverse work force. Only 20% tie diversity and inclusion results to performance objectives and only 10% measure the effects of diversity and inclusion on innovation." 
                                                              Globe & Mail Article, 9/25/17

In the end, it must be more than just talk and obligatory action; it must be about understanding and empowering; about empathy and appreciation. There are many differences amongst us and there are no absolutes, this much is known to be true.  Despite these differences, we are more alike than different, no matter how difficult it may be to recognize our similarities. It’s in our nature to see our differences before we see that which is the same, but when given the chance to truly see, what was always right in front of us becomes an emancipating vision of truth. On a grander scale, the reflection of our internal selves can be seen in almost any human soul. We are all mirrors, all diversified reflections of one another, yet so many simply cannot see.

We all need to shine a light upon that which makes us feel uncomfortable, odd, hurt, or even angry, so that we can see inside ourselves and begin to understand. The result will be the inspiration to learn more, to experience more, to understand that which we do not, and see that which we have never seen. By extension, people all around us, regardless of who they are become more like the person we see in the mirror each day. In the end, exposure and experience bring understanding and hope, and the further we reach into the bottomless depths of empiricism, the smaller our majestic world becomes.

Come join us on Saturday March 28th at the Fabulous Habebe's Banquet Hall to do just that. Reach out to us if you would like to get involved and for information on CFN's Cultural Competency Training give us a call. Tickets are on sale now.