Shawnee Love • October 16, 2020
As a kid growing up in a small town in northern BC pre-internet, your friends were other kids in your neighbourhood. By virtue of being a small town, you didn’t have endless choices. Interestingly, being in northern BC (with heavily resource based industries forming the bulk of employment), there were representatives of almost every nationality you can imagine albeit relatively few people from each country in the town.
We treated people as we wanted to be treated because if you didn’t, there weren’t a lot of other friends available to choose from.
When I went to Vancouver for university, I noticed the variety and sheer volume of people from other cultures and nationalities. The vibrancy that comes from different languages, food, ideas and cultures is exciting and wonderful to behold. But I remember feeling sad that because there were so many people from each nationality, there wasn’t really any reason for them to include me in their group.
My small town, what it lacked in diversity, it made up in inclusivity. Whereas the larger center was far more diverse but felt less inclusive and welcoming.
In my work now, I think diversity is important as a way to promote innovation, better decision making, and simply to ensure you have enough skilled talent to do the work. But inclusivity is what makes people feel welcomed and as if they belong and keeps them working with you despite the challenges they may face.
Over the coming blogs, we are going to discuss diversity and inclusivity in greater depth as well as learn what organizations can do to enhance both.