On October 21, 2020, Pride at Work Canada/Fierté au travail Canada presented a panel on Making a Global Impact, emceed by Pride at Work Canada’s Director of Thought Leadership Angela Facundo (she/her) and sponsored by Microsoft. Here are some of the highlights:
“Our topic Making a Global Impact is important and timely. Many of us are realizing that LGBTQ2+ communities within Canada and within traditional territories here are in many ways leading a global conversation about diversity, inclusion, and the capacity to work.”
Jason Brommet (he/him), the Head of Modern Work & Security Business of Microsoft Canada talked about how technology helps to create diverse networks of people and how we can build bridges across boundaries with technological support. As a global connector, technology should be human-centered and help us to remove barriers for all. Brommet mentioned that inclusion is a driver of innovation, and there is a collective responsibility to all play a role as inclusion leaders in our communities and workplaces.
“Companies with inclusive cultures truly drew benefits from greater outputs, greater employee engagement, higher intent to stay, and tend to be much more innovative and agile.”
Unfortunately, two of our speakers faced last minute challenges that prevented them from being able to present. We couldn’t hear remarks from Two-Spirited People of Manitoba’s Board Director Albert McLeod (he/him, she/her) and the Dignity Network Canada’s Executive Director Doug Kerr (he/him) wasn’t able to join as the moderator for the panelists’ discussion. Our Executive Director Colin Druhan (he/him) humbly accepted the task to replace Kerr. Druhan shared information on the Dignity Network’s initiatives and how they have been advancing LGBTQ2+ inclusion globally. The organization launched recently the first major international LGBTQ+ funding initiative in Canada with $30 million to support programs in 2020 and 2021. Next, Druhan introduced the three panelists:
- Meg French (she/her), The Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Executive Director
- John Galligan (he/him), Microsoft’s Senior Director, Global Government Affairs
- Masa Kateb (she/her), Jumpstart Refugee Talent’s Manager of Projects
French shared how Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) has been empowering different community-based HIV/AIDS organizations in fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The SLF works in solidarity with several community organizations because they have a trustful relationship with their own communities and the experience to provide HIV care, mental health, and access to medication to over 40,000 people. She mentioned that employers need to rethink how they engage their employees and how they address their corporate social responsibility, keeping in mind the legacy of colonialism. French also raised her concerns about the impacts of COVID in those communities and mentioned the Partners in Pride campaign. She concluded by saying that funds should be flexible with the beneficiaries, so the community organizations can decide the best holistic approach to serve their communities.
“There’s an opportunity for companies to come together, to share best practices, to adopt those practices, and to create best practices.”
Galligan elaborated on the perspective of using technology to remove barriers and how multinational companies could promote inclusion around the world. He clarified that standing up for human rights won’t jeopardize leaders and their business. Galligan mentioned that multinational companies have some business challenges in their inclusion journey around the world, and they might face a certain level of unevenness because of differentiated approaches where different laws and traditions apply. It doesn’t mean accepting the status quo; however, it’s important to know where you are and that there is no one size fits for all. Partnerships with LGBTQ2+ organizations like ILGA World – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association are important to develop local strategies as they have built resources to support the LBGTQ2+ communities worldwide. The Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality (PGLE) is another great example of how companies can advocate and support LGBTQ2+ inclusion.
Kateb, who works for Jumpstart Refugee Talent, introduced her organization and how it promotes the economic inclusion of refugees through meaningful work in Canada. Considering the intersectional challenges and stigma associated with refugees (including LGBTQ2+ refugees), she talked about the systemic barriers for newcomers to Canada and how many of them continue in a survival mode when they arrive in their new country. To avoid more discrimination against them, refugees tend to hide their status even thought a few may “come out”. Kateb mentioned the importance of standing up and speaking up for those who have been silenced by others. Despite the challenges and how the immigration data overlook refugees under newcomers, she has seen positive changes in Canada. For the first time in history, a refugee is representing a country as one of the Canadian delegates at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This case is just one example of how refugees are talented, resilient and decision-makers, and what we should expect in our future.
“We all live and breathe the same air on this earth, and we are all putting an impact into the fabric of the universe. So how are we as individuals growing that impact into something of a legacy that we want to leave ahead of us?”
The discussion ended with the panelists sharing what gives them hope: the ability to develop strong connections and include people, the capacity of building bridges, and the transformative power of love.
Read more about inclusion and collaboration in these free e-books shared by Microsoft, Innovation through inclusion & Better collaboration through culture and the right technology.
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Jumpstart Refugee Talent is a refugee led non-profit organization and the only national organization in Canada with a specific focus on the economic empowerment of newly settled refugees in Canada by facilitating meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Call to action for employers: Refugee Talent Hub serves as a one-stop shop employment support program for refugees and employers
- Call to action for individuals: Welcome Talent Canada, the only national mentorship program for refugees in Canada
Pepe Julian Onziema, Ugandan LGBTIQ human rights defender and Program Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), in a video shared by Meg French.