OBOT Perspective: Living the Lesson of Diversity
I write this message to you from the eye of the storm, several weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic. I had intended to be writing to you much earlier, however, the advocacy work of countering the impact of a pandemic has been consuming which has put us behind schedule. My apologies for that. In the meanwhile, it has also changed my mind about our subject matter, diversity and inclusion
The Board of Trade is the primary business association in our community, representing the interests of all businesses on any issue or opportunity that impacts our ability to grow and innovate. It is our role to take the macro, long term view, and support the overall well being of our local economy through business success. And diversity has always made good business sense.
Diversity and inclusion are both economic and social imperatives for business, with the opportunity to increase the competitiveness of our community and our country in a global and highly connected economy. However, we have been slow to fully implement policies and strategies that would realize the full potential of real inclusion. Until now.
We have been given a living lesson of what would be required to fully embrace diversity in thought, values, abilities, race, gender and socio-economic status. In our current climate, there has been no time to consider the implications of working together at the deepest levels of collaboration and trust to ensure the well being of our local and global community. And it will shift our ideals forevermore.
In a situation most of us could never have conceived, we have witnessed the rapid acceptance of any idea, the tolerance for making mistakes, and the appreciation for everyday heroes we have taken for granted. We can no longer deny how intricately connected we are; every size and sector of business, every aspect of our community, and the well being of every individual and family.
We have been given the opportunity to look closely at our priorities, our resiliency, and our ability to pivot if necessary. The fault lines of our communities and governments, as well as our businesses and relationships, have been revealed in short order. The light is shining on our characters, our leadership, and our culture. The is question is, what will be doing with this insight? How will we leverage it?
The timing of this message happens as we contemplate a rebound strategy for the coming weeks, for the balance of 2020 and beyond. One thing we know for sure is that we will be doing business and living in a new world. We can decide to make it a better one. And if anyone can make that happen, it is the business and community leaders in Canada’s Capital.
President & CEO | Ottawa Board of Trade