Why Diversity & Inclusion Is the Best Thing for Your Business

Cicely Belle Blain

Cicely Belle Blain is a diversity & inclusion business consultant, activist and writer; they are one of Vancouver’s fifty most influential people of 2018, as awarded by Vancouver Magazine, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, one of CBC’s 150 Black Womxn Making Change in Canada and BC Business 30 Under 30 2019 and has served as a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the United Nations. Their work is informed by their professional and academic background at the University of British Columbia and their lived experience as a Black, queer artist, a community builder, an intersectional feminist and a Black liberation activist. Cicely Belle’s first book debuts in 2020 with VS Books & Arsenal Pulp Press.


Some questions Tynan asks:

  • When people say, “we want to hire women, but we also need to hire the best people and fit,” how should we think about this?
  • What are leaders that are hiring more inclusively doing?
  • What is anti-oppression?
  • Please help us understand the relationship between equality and equity.
  • What does it look like for conversations amongst those who are biased, instead of always a black person standing up for black rights for example?
  • Thoughts on D&I Councils.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • When we think about diversity and inclusion, we must first think about what an individual adds and brings to your organization. Having all the qualifications isn’t as trustworthy as we think, especially when people may bring the same skills but have shown it over their lives in different ways.
  • Even if someone’s role doesn’t have to directly do with it, we should be screening for an acknowledgment of diversity and inclusion in every hire.
  • The decisions to fight for D&I will often bring a lot of upheaval in an organization, especially before they bring joy.
  • When an organization is just looking for a short-term engagement to increase D&I, such as a couple of workshops, it’s unlikely there will be much change long-term.
  • Anti-oppression is based on the fact that for many people groups, things are simply not fair. There are people alive today who were born on slave plantations for example, and obviously dealing with the repercussions of that, and for their families affects everything including career.
  • Equality speaks to the idea that everybody should get the same thing because everybody’s the same. Equity is that everybody should get what they need to thrive, e.g. specific support or initiatives to help people get to the same end result as others. 
  • For people who experience privilege, it’s so important for people within those communities to hold each other accountable. Of note, it’s not helpful to have a “cancel culture” wherein if someone says the wrong thing they are chastised for it immediately without taking the time to educate them; we need to allow people to learn and grow, calling people in through compassionate conversations. 
  • Making D&I Councils meaningful comes from a commitment from leadership. Often they are nice to have, but not given financial resources or any decision-making authority to actually bring projects or initiatives to life. See Episode 4 with Tayo Rockson for more insights on D&I councils.

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Spirituality at Work

In today’s workplace where diversity and inclusion are paramount to a business’ success, we must consider all the ways to make an inclusive environment possible for our employees. What is often missed is their spirituality, a notoriously taboo subject at work, yet incredibly important to billions of people worldwide. But why? If we all agree that we are body, soul AND spirit, shouldn’t we explore a bit of what it could look like to start to include the 33% of our employees that we faithfully ignore?  

Our guest today is Mike Maeshiro, an expert in spiritual intelligence, an entrepreneur, business leader, and a pastor. Most likely you’ll listen and be taken aback at the way Mike approaches certain leadership situations, how he motivates his team and how he assesses the environment at his workplace and how you can too! 

Some questions I ask: 

  • How can we define spiritual intelligence? 
  • How can leaders ensure that their employees feel safe during difficult 
  • What is the cost of NOT beginning to incorporate elements of spirituality into your day-to-day at work? 
  • What should our posture be towards are employees… are they human “resources” or our greatest “asset”? Is there a better way to look at our team members? 

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • How agreeing with things brings them into our environments. When our employees agree with shame, they leak that into the work environment and it affects our productivity and the company atmosphere.  
  • Ways to discern the spiritual climate at your workplace. > 1) Looking at your team and what each member’s “normal” is, and adjusting your environment so they can truly show up their best at work. 2) Paying attention to your physical body and emotions, checking-in regarding what might be “off.” 
  • The primary way to deal with difficult or “hard-to-have” conversations is to approach it with love at the center… come in very proposing, invitational and asking a lot of questions 
  • How to stay consistently kind and helpful as a leader and build an impressive level of trust. 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Connect with Mike Maeshiro: 

Tackling the Touchy Subject of Masculinity in the Workplace

If you want vulnerable… you’ve come to the right place. If you want to listen to people who do not have it all figured out, are most definitely in process and are seeking to understand & learn… that’s here too.

This week’s episode features two of the co-founders of Kings of Hearts, Nuke Kombian and Andy Nguyen, whose mission is to create safe spaces for men, develop self-awareness & character skills while embracing vulnerability to live a life rooted in love & service. BOOM!

Without question, we are living in a world today where masculinity is almost a dirty word. It’s met with backlash, confusion and often a lot of hurt. And rightly so. And yet we are provoked to believe that we can change the narrative. This is a conversation about men being sometimes misunderstood, ways we can change & improve, and ways to switch the conversation from being all about gender to about humanity.

Some questions I ask: 

  • What caused you to start the journey of The Kings of Hearts? 
  • How do we shift our conversation from men vs. women to humanity united? 
  • What does masculinity in the workplace look like in 2019? 
  • When people have more privilege in the workplace, what can they do to speak up or change the status quo? 
  • Is building community in the workplace vs. showing up for a paycheck really the way to go? 
  • What is great about a goal-focused culture and perhaps how can we make them better (e.g. Lululemon)? 
  • After years of ignoring people’s mental health, what does it look like to create a mental wellness strategy? 
  • If people are not having conversations about mental health & gender roles in the workplace, how can they start? 

In this episode, you will learn:  

  • Insights on men in the workplace making room for women. 
  • The importance of prefacing your conversations about diversity and inclusion with the need to “not always be right,” directing people to listen & seek to understand. 
  • Trends of meta-cognition…. an increase in people challenging their thoughts & beliefs. 
  • How to speak up when you feel misunderstood. 
  • The power of admitting you don’t know everything! Our need in the corporate world to deconstruct the masculinity that perpetually positions men as ones who only gain respect or can rise in the corporate world if they have all the answers and are always confident. Respect is now built much more commonly through vulnerability. 
  • The concept of clearing: Leaving your challenges, issues, stresses on your mind at the door and making space to do great work at work. 
  • Setting goals is fantastic, but the destination is less important than focusing on enjoying the process & the people that you are on the journey with. 
  • Facilitating a workshop on mental health is a great place to start using outside support & facilitators.  
  • How to ask your team what they need to better their mental health, involve them and allow your employees to guide the way to creating a mental health strategy 

Also mentioned on this show: 

Connect with The Kings of Hearts: 

Going Deep on Diversity & Inclusion

Tayo Rockson is a writer, speaker, consultant, and media personality who runs UYD Management – a strategic leadership and consulting firm that helps organizations incorporate sustainable diversity and inclusion practices. As someone who has lived on 4 continents, he is an authority in communicating effectively across cultures. In addition to that, he’s been named a “Top 40 Millennial Influencer” by New Theory magazine. He hosts the popular As Told By Nomads podcast and his book Use Your Difference To Make A Difference which is based on how to connect and communicate in a cross-cultural world is scheduled to come out on September 4, 2019.

Some questions I ask:

  • Where can leaders start when it comes to improving diversity and inclusion in their organizations?
  • How can companies start to take the values on the wall and actually put them into action?
  • What even is a diversity council?
  • What is out there that can help with diversity hiring? What are the best practices?
  • How do we go about truly including & listening to one another… avoiding the “check off the box” approach to diversity?
  • What should leaders be looking out for when hiring and therefore including people from other countries?
  • How do we open up for discussion a problem with D&I? How do we call people out in a nice way?
  • What are the biggest takeaways from [Tayo’s] new book for leaders?

In this episode, you will learn: 

  • How to start by checking your biases as a leader and clarifying values for your company in order to make headway in building a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Building out a grading system for living out your values… what is good, great and bad!
  • How to set up a highly effective diversity council for your business
  • How important it is to run after people’s fear of being fired for speaking up.
  • Ways for people to bring their cultures into the workplace to allow others to further understand where their colleagues come from.
  • What are micro-aggressions and how do they arise in the workplace… and why they need to be challenged! Examples include assumptions about someone who’s from another country speaking with a clear english accent or having a dress-code that may be difficult for people with varying body types.
  • The key to finding allies in the workplace who can support you as you speak up or bring diversity matters to the surface.
  • Best way to connect cross culturally are 1) educate, 2) don’t perpetuate and 3) communicate.
  • A mini-education in cultural intelligence (CQ)!

Also mentioned on this show:

Connect with Tayo: