What normally comes to mind when you hear the words diversity and inclusion? I personally think of a colourful organization with many faces, religions, and gender inclusiveness, equivalent to a melting pot culture. Often, I envision what kind of world it could be if pay rates and job opportunities were mutually exclusive. Eventually, these types of changes have to start with us. Let yourself be the first change maker.

Being a woman of colour and a visible Muslim, I look forward to seeing more individuals like myself as the front face of an organization. In 2018, I was presented with an opportunity to join our first diversity and inclusion committee within my organization. We had an end goal to revamp our company image. I was excited about this new project but was shortly overcome with disappointment.

Our proposal to start a D&I committee was rejected. I started to relish the idea of being around other women who visually looked like myself.  I went on a trip back home to the Middle East in early 2019 with the goal to get a job out there. I fantasized about being an HR manager wearing my hijab and being around my peers.  So it’s obvious to say that I didn’t get a job out there! But I learnt a few things about myself. I knew I could be the change I wanted to see. I started to focus on rebuilding my career direction. I registered for some webinars on D&I, reapplied to different graduate programs and rebuilt my resume.

Overall, this type of work is ongoing and I look forward to sharing my advancements in future blog posts. Nevertheless, I thought it would be best if I pass on some strategies that I’ve picked up along the way. So I’ve put together five simple tips on how to cultivate diversity and inclusion conversations in your workplace.

5 starter tips:

  1. Speak Up.
  2. Initiate a conversation with your manager if there is no D&I committee in your organization.
  3. Create a framework.
  4. Identify a goal for the committee.
  5. Build a strategy and set short-term and long-term goals for the committee.

I hope you have gained something beneficial from this post.

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