The past year was a powerful reminder that we turn to the strength and support of our communities when times get hard. And yet, too often our neighbours, coworkers, and friends miss out on opportunities to share their talents in the workplace – often through unintentional but deep-rooted biases. Everyone deserves a fair chance at success, and the most forward-thinking organizations around the world are quickly realizing that the best teams come from diverse backgrounds, working in environments where people are welcome to be true to themselves.
In this second post of our ongoing 2021 Trends series, we highlight a few of our many speakers who challenge status quo thinking, encourage acceptance, and embrace equality for all. Diversity and inclusion means respect and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, nationality, physical ability, sexual orientation, religion, and other categories used to define and separate us.
Leadership & Diversity Expert | Social Advocate
Yassmin Abdel-Magied is an engineer, author, broadcaster, and award-winning social advocate. Her powerful TED talk, “What does my headscarf mean to you” has more than 1.8 million views, and she has become an internationally renowned speaker on the topics of unconscious bias and leadership. Through her work and thought-provoking talks, Abel-Magied is on a mission to make diversity the norm across the world through empowerment, empathy, and the power of stories.
At the age of 16, Abdel-Magied founded Youth Without Borders, a youth-led grassroots organization focused on empowering young people to positively change their communities. Driven by her love of Motorsport, she also designed a race car at 19, and graduated valedictorian with first class honours from mechanical engineering. Abdel-Magied then went on to work as one of the few female engineers on oil and gas rigs around Australia, while continuing to advocate for social justice.
A bestselling author, Abdel-Magied published her debut memoir, Yassmin’s Story, at the age of 24 and her writing has appeared in publications worldwide, including The Guardian, The New York Times, and The Australian Financial Review.
Founder and CEO, Black Professionals in Tech Network
A passionate advocate for organizational change and lasting progress, Lekan Olawoye is a leader who is equally comfortable offering high-level business advice as he is passionately speaking about how to be an effective ally. His organization, the Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN), is the largest of its kind in Canada and the third largest in the US, with an organization spanning over 10,000 members. Olawoye’s cross-sector experience gives him the skills to foster transformational change and provide critical guidance on harnessing the power of meaningful diversity.
Olawoye honed his expertise across roles spanning from local non-profit organizations to government advisory boards to executive boardrooms. As lead executive, Talent Development at the MaRS District, Olawoye helped ensure workers had the skills and adaptability needed to thrive in modern work environments.
With his proven insight and tireless dedication to inclusivity, Olawoye’s perspective is sought by people across many fields. He’s been published in The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and TechCrunch, and the annual BPTN summit is the largest virtual Black tech summit globally, with thousands of attendees in person and online.
Dr. Hadiya Roderique
Diversity and Inclusion Advocate | Journalist | Lawyer
As a young, black woman working as a lawyer on Bay Street, Dr. Hadiya Roderique delivered a wake-up call to corporate Canada in the form of her Globe and Mail feature essay, “Black on Bay Street.” Shared more than 13,000 times on Facebook, with the accompanying video watched more than 250,000 times, Roderique’s think piece sparked discussion in boardrooms across Canada. In her thought-provoking talks, she discusses barriers and challenges to diversity and inclusion, and counters those common arguments to show the power behind a diverse and inclusive workplace.
A graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, Roderique is a researcher, consultant, broadcast commentator, and former podcast host. An award-winning writer, she has bylines in The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, the National Post, Chatelaine, and Maclean’s. As a researcher, she broadly examines how race, gender, and parenthood shape perceptions and relationships in the workplace.
Leadership | Mental Health | Inclusivity
With a background in theatre, Anthony McLean delivers lively presentations on mental health, diversity, and inclusion. He has delivered hundreds of inspiring talks across Canada, the US, and Australia, and, as a respected voice in his field, appeared on CBC News, Global Toronto’s Morning Show, and Breakfast Television. Delivering research-backed tools and actionable strategies, McLean always leaves his audiences inspired to bring their best every day.
In his presentations, McLean delivers a lively and compelling message on the power of diversity and inclusion at work. The studies are clear: diverse teams are two times more likely to be meet financial targets, three times more likely to be high performing, and six times more likely to be innovative. Now is not the time to tolerate diversity, now is the time to seek out diversity. McLean also challenges participants to think critically about unconscious biases. The top talent we want to recruit and retain in our organizations will come from every conceivable background in the world. Are we open-minded enough to recognize talent when it looks different from us in age, race, ability, gender identity, or cultural expression?
Interested in learning more about our diversity & inclusion experts and the exciting ideas they can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].