The pandemic has transformed the way organizations operate. In today’s dynamic environment, organizations need diverse perspectives and innovative thinking at the decision making table to successfully adapt. The key to embracing change and building a globally competitive future of work across Canada requires a diverse workforce, inclusive leadership, companies that create cultures of belonging and take every measure to create equal opportunity.
Over the last many years study after study has demonstrated that building diverse teams contributes unique insights, improves problem-solving, and enhances employee engagement. As Canada invests in rebuilding the labor market with job readiness, skill-development, and re-training, and as industries rebuild and shift, the importance of making sure that there is equal opportunity to participate in the “future world of work” is a responsibility we all share.
There is already mounting information proving that we have work to do to reduce employment and training barriers faced by marginalized groups, youth, front-line workers, among others that have been further exacerbated by COVID-19. Taking a holistic approach to understanding and supporting potential employees’ and employees’ needs on all organization levels, is critical to building a “future of work for all”.
The second event in the Building Future Ready Communities: Virtual Tour series brought together Nova Scotia leaders as they shared their organizational and personal learnings and initiatives in Creating a ‘Future of work’ for all.
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the sessions to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
Here is our summary of key takeaways from the session packed full of insight, stories and advice:
Here are themes that came to mind for our panelists in terms of building future ready communities considering this month’s theme of “Creating a Future of Work for All”:
There was a resounding echo from panelists regarding the need to continuously celebrate, acknowledge and take pride in the work that has happened in creating future ready communities. While we recognize that we still have more to do, we can move forward in a way that recognizes the successes to date.
Below are specific examples shared by our panellists. It is our hope that these examples help inspire you as you think about programs, opportunities and initiatives that you may want to further research and/or implement. If you would like to follow up with the panel regarding their specific initiatives, we encourage you to do so!
NSCC’s 20 for 20 in 2020 Program:
Programs that recognize and aim to close the gaps in participation of marginalized communities in Nova Scotia include:
From an employer’s perspective:
The cultural audit:
Shifting the power dynamic: When we think about building future ready communities, it requires a fundamental shift in how we think, design, create, implement, and continue to work in community economic development.
This research has led to the creation of evidence-informed toolboxes, recommendations and frameworks for employers and organizations to help work with, as well as dismantle the systems that we work within.
Creating a future of work for all is a multi-stakeholder, multi-year, multi-pronged approach; it is complex and ongoing. There is value in learning from each other by sharing resources, information and stories about our wins and the set-backs, and in humbly recognizing that we all have a role to play in ensuring that the future of work has space for all members of Canadian communities. Take the advice and counsel of our panellists, never stop asking questions, and continue the conversation and initiatives to build future-ready communities.
Guiding discussion questions:
About the panelists:
Matthew Martel, Chief Operating Officer, Black Business Initiative
Matthew Martel is Chief Operating Officer at Black Business Initiative. Matthew obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Management from Dalhousie University, followed by a Master’s degree in Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation from Saint Mary’s University Sobey School of Business, and is a Certified Project Management Professional. With an aptitude for strategic thinking and solving complex problems, Matthew enjoys working with groups to troubleshoot challenging issues; he leverages these skills to support his team and organization. Matthew is passionate about Canadian entrepreneurship, especially in working to foster and grow minority-led enterprises.
Black Business Initiative
The Black Business Initiative (BBI) is committed to growing a stronger Black presence in Nova Scotia’s business community. BBI acts as a catalyst for job creation, equitable participation, and advancing the economic prosperity of Nova Scotia. In 1996, the Government of Canada and the Province of Nova Scotia founded the organization to address the unique needs confronting the Black business community in Nova Scotia. BBI is the longest serving Black business development initiative in Canada and is dedicated to supporting companies to start, grow, and compete in the mainstream business community.
Jill Provoe, Executive Director, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, Nova Scotia Community College
Jill Provoe is a bi-racial woman from Cape Breton Island and holds a degree in Public Relations, along with two Master’s Degrees in Human Ecology and in Education from Mount Saint Vincent University. Currently in the role of Executive Director, Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion at Nova Scotia Community College, she brings a substantive understanding of the importance of using equity as a lever in ensuring that all tenants of the academic experience are designed to support genuine inclusion. In 2006, Jill led the launch of the first Africentric adult learning program in Canada and in her previous role as Dean for the School of Access, she was responsible for managing access programs across Nova Scotia with a focus on providing pathways to post-secondary for, specifically, racialized and marginalized students and remains unwavering in her commitment to academic excellence and equitable student success.
Nova Scotia Community College
Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is transforming the province of Nova Scotia. Through a network of 14 campuses, NSCC provides Nova Scotians with inclusive and flexible access to education and the specialized, industry-driven training for today and tomorrow’s workforce. NSCC believes that the future of the province lies in the power of learning, which is why they care about the success of every student – in education, in career and in life.
Dr. Devan Kronisch, Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Proposify
Devan Kronisch is an immigrant and member of the 2SLGBTQ+ community who leverages their mixed background and their Doctorate in Psychology to enable individuals and organizations to thrive. Currently heading the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at Proposify Devan’s focus is on working top-down via manager coaching and bottom-up via company-wide education. Having lived in several countries and experienced how each cultural environment highlights and suppresses different intersections of identity firsthand, Devan is committed to improving true inclusion, rather than letting it be a mere buzzword.
Proposify is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company that provides online proposal software to help modern sales teams take control of the closing process and track every opportunity from proposal to closed/won. It streamlines creating, sending, tracking, and e-signing proposals, contracts, agreements, and other sales documents. While based in Halifax with approximately 100 employees, Proposify has recruited team members from 17 countries around the world, facilitating the immigration process for some, and others working remotely. Committed to building an equitable culture that is inclusive and embraces every person and their unique contributions, Proposify believes diversity enriches culture, expertise, empathy, and perspective, and has a dedicated team to keep focused on educating and growing involvement in this area.
Jess Popp, Manager of Engagement and Partnership, Centre for Employment Innovation, St. Francis Xavier University
Jess Popp is a recent newcomer to Canada, who has a passion for youth leadership development, STEM, and asset-based community development. As the Manager of Engagement and Partnerships and lead for youth-initiatives at the Centre for Employment Innovation (Coady Institute and St. Francis Xavier University), Jess is committed to Moses Coady’s vision of “a full and abundant life for all” and strongly believes that collaboration, critical reflection and learning, and collective action are necessary to create vibrant, thriving, and resilient communities. Over the last 4 years, Jess has had the pleasure of learning more about Mi’kma’ki and Nova Scotia, hosting social innovation labs and community-led conversations exploring the Future of Work, and working to create more equitable, meaningful approaches to community engagement, youth-led research, and community-institution-government partnerships.
Centre for Employment Innovation, St. Francis Xavier University
As a part of the Nova Scotia Works Employment Ecosystem, the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) at Coady Institute and St. Francis Xavier University brings people and knowledge together by: facilitating community-based, practitioner-led research; fostering an environment for collaboration and shared learning; and strengthening governance and distributed leadership for the employment services ecosystem.
Through its diverse advisory board, its pilot and demonstration projects, and its rapidly growing applied research agenda, the CEI engages with many communities, employment-focused career and community development organizations, government agencies, and post-secondary institutions. Through these innovative partnerships that push the boundaries to be more equitable, transparent, and accountable, the system works collectively to ensure that all people in Nova Scotia have access to high quality, evidence-based, and people-centered employment services and supports. Working alongside employers, the CEI and its partners also strive to enhance inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) within workplaces. Together, Nova Scotia Works Employment Ecosystem Partners’ efforts support innovations for a skilled, resilient and inclusive workforce across the province.