Tag Archives: TD

Visual Inclusion

7 Sep

I’ve just had a baby, and so we have sent and received many cards over the past weeks. We sent “thank you for the shower gift” cards, and have received “congratulations on the birth of your child” cards. Interestingly, none of the cards that include photos or pictures have brown or black babies on them. All of the little feet and the drawn babies are white.


In workshops I often speak about marketing to a diverse population and the difference it makes to see oneself reflected in advertising.  In business, it should be a mirror of what is happening within an organization; the last thing you do instead of the first. The best examples I have seen to date are TDs ads. They have everyone sitting in that green chair – different colours, ages, and couples. And I know they work hard (at least in the LGBTQ community) to give back and make a difference not just in the community but internally for their employees. So their ads are a visual representation of what they believe in. It is part of walking the talk.

But greeting cards aren’t advertising.

If almost 50% of the current Toronto population is visible minority, and if the projected national visible minority/foreign born population by 2031 is 29%-32%, I’m guessing there are a lot of non-white babies being born. And if we are truly interested in being inclusive, someone would create cards with an option of baby feet with various skin tones.

This is not creating an inclusive workplace or ensuring human rights, but it is a symptom of an oversight – of not thinking about what it means to include everyone. And these “small” symptoms are what make advocating for workplace inclusion and human rights a struggle.

I love the cards we have received, and the sentiments inside are what are important to me. But the fact that there is no choice except white babies to send those sentiments irks me. It’s like we don’t exist.  What if we only had cards with brown or black baby feet to choose from?

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Copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, Speaker,  and Facilitator on issues of Diversity and Inclusion.


LGBT-Inclusive Workplaces

18 Nov

This week’s article in the Toronto Star about the changes in Canadian workplaces for LGBT employees is encouraging. It is good to hear from large corporations who are making a difference in the daily lives of their LGBT employees. 

In our quest to further inclusion, invisible diversity is often much harder to address because we don’t see it. For lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans-identified employees there is another layer: fear. What will change when people know? Will I be safe? Comments like “that’s so gay” and homophobic jokes (as well as silence about these rather than clear messages of inappropriateness) poison the work environment for LGBT people and send a message that it’s not safe to be out. For workplaces to be safe for LGBT employees there needs to be solid expectations about zero tolerance for homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism in policy and practice, awareness-raising, and support.

The Toronto Star article mentions several examples of  how to move towards more LGBT inclusive workplaces: Employee Resources Groups with executive champions (RBC), forums to discuss what it feels like to be LGB or T in the workplace (IBM), supporting community initiatives (TELUS), and including relevant benefits (TD). Strategies and commitments such as these help increase visibility, and create awareness and opportunities for dialogue that enable us to make the changes necessary for the inclusion of LGBT colleagues in our workplaces.

Leadership, of course, is key; without commitment from leadership, these programs lack the impact necessary to help create lasting change.

Hats off to the companies listed in this article, and their employees who are helping to make LGBT inclusive workplaces a reality across the country!

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Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion

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