Celebrating Pride Month at Schulich ExecEd – A Message From Rami Mayer

Posted on June 01, 2023
Celebrating Pride Month at Schulich ExecEd – A Message From Rami Mayer

As June approaches and Pride month begins anew, I am yet again reminded of the great strides the LGBTQ2A+ community has made over the past few decades, but also the many challenges that remain towards acceptance and true equality.

Although the cultural zeitgeist towards Queer peoples has shifted for the better, barriers towards representation, change, and inclusiveness still permeate our society, especially within the workforce.

As Canadians, we affirm the right for people to be themselves and live and work their best lives without exclusion, cruelty, intolerance, or retaliation; however, these rights do not come easily or freely. They require continual work to uphold, maintain and further develop as cultural norms and generational shifts evolve and transform our society.

At Schulich ExecEd, we are committed to supporting these changes and ensuring that members of the LGBTQ2A+ community feel safe, supported, and empowered within our organization, our partnerships, and the professional and career development programs we design and teach.

Schulich ExecEd’s Team Efforts

As the leader of Schulich ExecEd at the Schulich School of Business, York University here in Toronto, ON, I have the privilege and position to gain unique insight into the practices and procedures our partner organizations have towards supporting and strengthening diversity and inclusion. These words do not ring hollow to me.

Together with my great team, we encourage our partners, clients, and community to join the actions we have taken to support Pride and LGBTQ2A+ members, which include:

  • Keep topics around gender-affirming care and transgender rights at top-of-mind and the centre of conversation throughout the month. These topics should be addressed respectfully, tactfully, and with dignity toward those it impacts most.
  • Implement diversity and inclusion into the ethos of company culture to create a safe and equitable environment for all employees, including members of the LGBTQ2A+ community.
  • Use clear and unambiguous language when tackling inclusivity, as are guidelines for addressing all gender affiliations.

Schulich ExecEd’s Core Values

Throughout our programs, partnerships, and offerings, Schulich ExecEd ensures that the rights of equity-deserving groups continue to be empowered and emboldened to advance further in their respective careers. I am incredibly proud of the work we’ve done in promoting and supporting the visibility of equity-deserving groups; our programs are designed and tailored to empower individuals to upskill or reskill themselves to progress their careers and further the Canadian economy and spirit we are each proud to be a part of.

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has one of the most diverse populations in the world, with representatives of many nationalities, sexualities, and gender-diverse communities. This diverse talent is a central tenet of the ethos we at Schulich ExecEd foster and promote and one that we strive to impart within the businesses and organizations we partner with.

Currently, the business environment we have encountered views diversity as a topic–something to tackle or adhere to obtain certain metrics and check specific boxes. However, we believe this view must move towards true inclusion embedded and woven into the fabric of business and organizations.

We define inclusion in the workplace as the culture and ground rules that employers create to make their organization a satisfying place to work; where the culture and life experiences of diverse groups is respected and harnessed to add value, foster satisfaction, and drive the overall success of the business. True inclusion means the discourse around the water cooler is about the business, not the working population’s diversity. In other words, diversity is so entrenched that people do not give it a second thought. We are not there yet despite progress.

Including Inclusivity & Diversity

I believe that organizations and all leaders must make clear in their respective policies what is expected of its employment base to reduce ambiguities, temper tensions, and allow their diverse populations to focus on company success and productivity.

As Pride month approaches, topics around gender affirming care and transgender rights are top of mind and ought to be addressed respectfully, tactfully, and above all, with dignity towards those it impacts most. It is imperative that organizations implement diversity and inclusion into the very ethos of their culture so that they may create a safe and equitable environment for all their employees, including members of the LGBTQ2A+ community.

For example, health benefits that include the special needs of gender transformative care may be for a very small percentage of the company population but sends a monumental message to all employees about human rights and the inclusive values of the organization.

An organizations’ culture must promote an air of normalcy such that everyone is focused on working together to make the organization successful, all the while respecting one another’s differences but also tapping into their own diverse experiences in order to drive success.

A culture of inclusion recognizes and harnesses the talent and potential contribution of individuals who have diversity of thought and experience to become something greater. Organizations must aim to make space for inclusion while dislodging the bedrock behaviours, outdated opinions, and stifling attitudes consistent with intolerance and exclusion.

Moving Forward

I think about all of this, because as an educational institution, Schulich ExecEd focuses on helping employers and employees be successful in the workplace. Not only do we want to put down our marker of support for social justice and embrace the LGBTQ2A+ communities, but we also wish to celebrate Pride Month and Pride at Work with diversity and inclusion as foundations we can build upon.

We are empowered to help organizations create and promote inclusive workplace environments and guide their brightest and most coveted leaders through our executive leadership programs. In doing so, we aim to bring this inclusion into their workplaces while keeping sight of their business goals of productivity and commercial success.

Ultimately, we stand on the shoulders of all those who came and fought before us and it is my hope that during Pride month and Pride at Work, we can all be reminded that we are all in this together, irrespective of our sexuality, sex, gender, religion, creed or otherwise. Canadians pride themselves in maintaining a cultural mosaic; let us continue to carry this acceptance towards others in all aspects of our lives, personal, professional, and otherwise.

Happy Pride Month!

Written By

Rami Mayer

Rami Mayer is the Executive Director of the Schulich Executive Education (Schulich ExecEd), an extension of the Schulich School of Business at York University, responsible for providing educational non-degree programming to professionals throughout their careers.

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