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Empowering London leaders to drive inclusion

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By Alicia Baertsoen

In our rapidly changing employment landscape, employee retention requires more than flexible work hours and additional vacation. At IABC’s latest event, Diversity and Inclusion: Journey Beyond Demographics – which took place on Tuesday, April 30 – workplace leaders across the city came together to learn how to create a culture of belonging.

The event was held at Goodwill Industries Headquarters in London, Ontario, and featured a panel of experts in diversity and inclusion. Immigration to London continues to rise. As the fifth-fastest growing city in the country, London’s population is not expected to plateau. Panelist Saleha Khan, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist with the City of London, noted the country’s largest immigrant communities are from Syria, India and China. This wave of immigration brings cultural backgrounds that differ from European immigrant culture back in the 1920s. As communication leaders, there is an expectation to understand and best serve all cultural backgrounds.

London strives to be a cultural mosaic, ensuring every individual feels truly included and integrated into the community. One panelist, Michele Manocchi, is the Intercultural Education Specialist with the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre. Manocchi spoke to the importance of going beyond polices and leading by example in the workplace by building relationships based on shared interests.

Be it our manner of greeting, our identified gender, the food we prepare, the disabilities we may have or the ways in which we practice faith, progress is necessary. Diversity and Governance Director with Pillar Nonprofit, Dharshi Lacey, agreed with other panelists – it is our duty to be allies and speak up for what is right.

For those struggling to feel included, the panel encourages finding allies as a good starting point. Find someone who shares your mindset and invite them to help you bring about change. No one of us can do it alone. Continue to educate yourself, educate others and keep an open mind.

Everyone deserves to feel included.

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