Building bridges through inclusion
This blog begins in the midst of the High Holidays, which is an important time of year for people of the Jewish faith. Shana Tova to Jewish members of our Regimental community and may it be an easy fast.
Ours is a Regiment and a Brigade that is rich in diversity, residing within one of the most multicultural cities on the planet. And yet, the military has work to do, as an example, to attract and retain more women, within all ranks. The CAF is committed to culture change to increase female participation and to promote inclusion.
In support of this objective, 32 Brigade has recently formed a Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Advisory Board. I am representing our Regiment on it, along with members of other Regiments within our Brigade who are sharing their experiences, ideas and best practices. Our mandate is to support diversity and assist the Brigade in enhancing inclusivity.
A growing number of organizations have recognized the business case for diversity and inclusion. Diversity of thought and perspective has been shown to lead to outperformance. CAF leadership recognizes this, but building meaningful change will take time. It will require a consistent, constant commitment and a growth mindset (which thrives on challenge and learning for stretching our existing abilities) within all of us to continually cultivate a culture of respect. My observation, from the diversity work that I have done in other organizations, is that while it is critical to have leadership which models and drives the values, real change happens when there is engagement at all levels.
Greek philosopher Epictetus is quoted as saying: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Active listening is a powerful tool that we can all use, every day, to build bridges with each other. It is easier said than done, requiring focus to really hear and understand other perspectives. In grade 5, I was nicknamed “motormouth”. Active listening has been a learned skill for me – it wasn’t in my nature! It has been worth the effort, widening my lens of understanding and strengthening my relationships with others.
A sense of belonging, which is the feeling that I have always had within our Regiment, enables teamwork. Committing ourselves to a culture of inclusion will enrich our community and keep us on a path of learning. I look forward to sharing with you new ideas from the DE&I Advisory Group which may contribute to keeping our legacy strong for years to come.
Stay strong. Stay connected.
Dileas Gu Brath