Contributed by Monica Alves, Special Projects Worker, and Monique Nelson, Director of Community Engagement
It’s a word that can be defined in many different ways. At posAbilities, diversity is a value that we strive to recognize and appreciate. It is acknowledging and valuing the variety of characteristics that make up individuals, characteristics which make each and every one of us unique. Or in the words of American entrepreneur and publisher of Forbes magazine Malcolm Forbes, it is “the art of thinking independently together.”
We here at posAbilities understand the importance of practicing diversity within our communities. This is why we are now working towards establishing a renewed Diversity Committee! We are very excited to revisit this initiative, and are currently recruiting Diversity Champions from our team to learn and share their passion and knowledge with the rest of our organization. Cultural diversity is very valuable in the workplace and provides strength by drawing from a variety of perspectives to encourage increased innovation and creativity. When we create a work environment that fosters a strong sense of acceptance and respect for each other’s diverse backgrounds, different perspectives are brought to the table and unique insights are gained. But what exactly are these diversities that are important to celebrate and appreciate? It is more than one’s inherent gender identity, age, race and sexuality.
Diverse characteristics include but are not limited to:
Age, ethnicity, religion, culture, skills, language, job level, economic class, thinking style, family commitments, physical and developmental disabilities.
Our Diversity Champs will explore and educate themselves and their peers about different cultures and self –expression represented by fellow colleagues, as well as welcome each other’s diversities with an open-minded attitude. We value inclusion, as it is at the heart of the work we do. By actively engaging in the diversity goals and mission of posAbilities, we can better understand how each of our roles in the workplace impacts the progress of the diversity initiative, and through this, develop an impact on community.
Are you a posAbilities‘ team member who’s passionate about diversity and inclusion? You can get involved by serving a term as a committee representative, alternative representative, or by joining a working group. Send an email to your Supervisor and either Pam or Monique by August 18th, 2017, letting us know how you’d like to get involved or any questions you have.
Three core values which will guide our committee are:
Inclusion – We embrace diversity and believe every person is an equal and valued member of community.
Learning – We encourage innovation, learning and growth.
Excellence and innovation – We act ethically and with integrity in all that we do. We celebrate the best in ourselves and others.
“Treat others as THEY want to be treated.” – Judy Endow
Rather than treating people the way you wish to be treated, it’s important to respect how they wish to be treated, and that social practices you’re comfortable with may not always be comfortable with everyone. Creating and maintaining a workplace that values cultural diversity is an ongoing journey, and one which takes patience and dedication. With this diversity initiative, we hope to educate and enlighten team members on how our differences add value to our organization, as each of us contributes a lifetime of experience and knowledge into our work.
Diversity isn’t only for the workplace. It should be carried into your day to day lives too! If you’re inspired to learn more about how to be your own Diversity Champion and a role model for others, take the time to learn about different cultures around you. Ask friends and coworkers to share some customs and practices of their own, and welcome ideas that are different from your own. We invite you to join us on our diversity journey, to commit to continuous improvement and growth in respecting and valuing all the characteristics that make us and our communities unique.
“Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work.” – Andres Tapia