On March 8, Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business hosted the third event of its Equity and Inclusive Communities (EIC) series – Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace – featuring Michael Bach, the founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI).

Organized in partnership with the Sprott Business Students’ Society (SBSS), the series fosters conversations to break down barriers to inclusion and equity.

Michael Bach

Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business recently hosted Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace – the third event of its Equity and Inclusive Communities series – featuring Michael Bach, the founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.

“You ultimately will not have a diverse workforce if you don’t have an inclusive workplace,” Michael told the audience.

He focused his talk on key things that are important when it comes to creating such workplaces.

Firstly, Michael said inclusion in the workplace should be a priority across all levels and should be owned by the leadership. He insisted that hiring a person to handle diversity and inclusion is not enough.

“It’s imperative that leadership takes ownership of it and then pushes that inclusivity down into the organization and makes it a priority.”

Many times, leaders don’t really understand why diversity matters, or why having an inclusive workplace is important. They don’t educate themselves on the issues, and don’t see combatting them as a business priority.

Quoting research by Deloitte on what makes someone an inclusive leader, Michael said:

“One of the key things is that you get it with your heart and your head.”

He also added that many times companies have good intentions and state that creating an inclusive workplace is a priority for them, but don’t have a plan to follow through on that priority.

Michael explained that workplaces should always start with making a business case; by asking themselves why having an inclusive and diverse workplace matters to them. Next, they should assess what specific problems are hindering theirs becoming one. Then comes time to make and execute, their strategy on how to deal with the problems. Finally, they should measure what they were trying to achieve, what they did, and the results produced – then reflect and repeat.

“Understand that diversity and inclusion is a journey. It is a journey without a destination. It is an ever-evolving conversation. You have to continually look down the road and adjust and adapt to the things that come out.”

Michael added that he believes to form a truly inclusive workplace leaders need to ensure that diverse voices are a part of the conversation.

“We need to create space where we invite people to the table. Where we make sure there’s a diversity around the table.”

Aminah Najarali

Aminah Najarali, Sprott Bachelor of International Business student and SBSS Director of Equity and Inclusion.

However, engaging with marginalized people doesn’t mean that employers start expecting them to educate everyone about the issues faced by them and their communities.

“It’s not the responsibility of BIPOC individuals to educate everyone else,” Michael said.

Speaking about the important of hosting this conversation at Sprott Aminah Najarali, Bachelor of International Business student and the director of equity and inclusion for SBSS, said:

“We decided to do this event because as a business school, it is our responsibility to foster an academic and social environment for our students to thrive. And it’s important for us to know as future managers how to address issues regarding lack of diversity and hostile work environments and be able to create meaningful solutions to those problems.”

Rick Colbourne

Rick Colbourne, Sprott Assistant Dean, Equity and Inclusive Communities,

“I think that it is important to create safe spaces for dialogue through which we as a community, can share our stories and lived experiences as students, staff and faculty and explore important questions that relate to equity and inclusive communities at the Sprott School of Business,” said Rick Colbourne, Sprott’s assistant dean of equity and inclusive communities. “Through hosting these conversations, we can create space for new voices, perspectives and insights to explore, ask questions about and challenge the effects of power, identity, bias, system racism, and colonization among others at the Sprott School of Business and begin to advocate for real change.”

The Sprott School of Business and SBSS plan to host more events in the coming terms to continue this dialogue on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Follow Sprott on social media to keep informed of upcoming events.

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Thursday, March 18, 2021 in
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