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dismantling tokenism with Trish Mandewo

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More and more organizations are prioritizing diversity and inclusion as their strategic priorities. But how are organizations actually doing this work? On today’s episode, Trish Mandewo, Founder & CEO at Synergy on Boards Consulting Group and Coquitlam City Councillor, shares with us how to distinguish D&I tactics that are lip service and perpetuate harm from those that have a lasting and meaningful impact.

Myths that Trish wants us to walk away

  1. If we have diverse representation in our leadership team and on our board, our organization will be inclusive. Tokenism is far from diversity and inclusion. As well, don’t automatically assume BIPOC people have the expertise or responsibility to push for diversity, inclusion and equity at the organization.

  2. We will do a D&I training and we will have done “the work.” If your mindset is that D&I work is something to be done within a short span of time with limited effort and resources, you’re already starting at the wrong place. Diversity takes time, and diversity, inclusion and equity is a commitment, not a temporary goal.

Trish’ tips on building diverse and inclusive culture

  1. When you recruit, look outside of your own circle. If you’re struggling to look for diverse talents, it’s not that there are none. Most likely, it’s because your organization has been looking at the same places or engaging the same exec search firm that doesn’t include diverse talents in their network. Get out of your familiar circle and cast the net wider.

  2. Assess your inclusive framework with all kinds of inclusion in mind. Don’t limit your equity and inclusive framework and policy to inclusion based on race. There are many kinds of discrimination, gender based, age based, disability based etc. Look at everything with an inclusive lens.

  3. Don’t do preferential hiring based on diversity measures and then shove all the EDI responsibilities to those employees or board members. This in itself is perpetuating the narrative and culture of discrimination. No one wants to be seen, valued or hired solely based on their race, gender, age etc. Trust and value diverse talents for their competencies and apply true meritocracy.

Favourite Quotes from Today’s Episode

Post your favourite quote on social to share with us!

“We need to not wait to be invited to come to the circle. We need to invite ourselves into the circle. Because when you experience inequity over the years, you get to a point where you just think you’re just going to stand outside the circle and look in. Keep inviting yourselves into the circle.”

“Inclusion starts now, and diversity takes time. Show me that your company actually has an inclusion framework so that when the person that you're looking for comes in, they're going to come into your place that’s welcoming, where they can feel like they belong. If your organization is just going to hire diverse candidates and do nothing else, then you might be bringing in people into an environment which is not ready or welcoming for them.”

Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership


Trish on Linkedin

Synergy on Boards