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Access to Opportunity Fireside Chat Recording – May 28 2019


so hello and good morning and thank you
all for joining us in person and for people who are online for what I hope is
going to be an informative interesting and very thought-provoking conversation
today. So my name is Jeannette Campbell and I’m the CEO of the Ontario
Disability Employment Network also known as ODEN. And ODEN is a member network of
more than a hundred employment service providers and corporations across the
province and our common goal is to improve employment outcomes for job
seekers who have a disability and to enable businesses to successfully access
the talent that they need to meet their human resource demands. So we do this in
lots of different ways but the major way that we do this is by building capacity
in the sector and helping the business community to build their capacity as
well so that they’re able to hire with motivated intent and manage their
inclusion processes well so today we’ve invited you to participate in a fireside
chat with a panel of experts. The only thing that’s missing is the fireplace
that we have a table instead and our panelists are going to be sharing their
thoughts on the topic of Access to Opportunity in this event we have
aligned with National Accessibility week so that you know, National Accessibility
week takes place every year starting in the last Sunday in May and it’s a time
when accessibility and inclusion is promoted across communities, workplaces
and also a time to celebrate the contribution of all Canadians who have a
disability. We also like to recognize the efforts of Canadians who are actively
removing barriers and ensuring that all people have an opportunity to
participate in all aspects of Canadian society. So here’s what we know, the
increased social and economic inclusion of people who have a disability has a
positive effect on the economic and social benefits for all – for the person,
for the business, for the economy and for society in general. When people who have
a disability can access employment Canada’s economy grows.
Businesses have a chance to welcome more customers, their service satisfaction
improves and their workplace reflects the diversity of Canada. So today we
including all of you online are a group of Canadians who have come together to
strengthen the collaborative effort and create a country that is fully
accessible and inclusive. The focus of this panel will be on the
accessibility of processes, of procedures of systems that are going to ensure
access to opportunity and often when we think of disability we think of
something that can be easily identified but disability comes in many forms and
to limit the conversation to just physical access can leave out a lot of
people. And if businesses only think of physical access they could be missing
out on some incredible employees. I’m thinking about a woman that I know who’s
an intake worker in an emergency shelter in Hamilton who is blind. I’m thinking
about a group of men in Milton who are working very hard maybe right at this
minute on the production floor at Rockwool Insulation and they’re deaf. And
I’m thinking about all of the young people who’ve been enjoying their first
jobs ever I’m smiling at the CNE, because they’re at the CNE now, and these
are young people who have a variety of different challenges and disabilities;
things like learning disabilities cognitive disabilities or mental health
challenges and for a lot of people you might not be aware but our major banks
in Canada have been benefiting from hiring talents in the neuro-diverse
community. Their fraud detection departments have never been doing so
well. So that I hope frames this conversation a little bit. Our panelists are going to discuss what access to opportunity means to them, and
why it is of importance to their business and hopefully they’re going to
provide us with some insights and some examples as well. So now I’d like to
introduce our panelists: we have Lenore MacAadam, Inclusion Lead with Deloitte
Canada, next to her we have Anna-Karina Tabunar, right? Tabunar? No, I slaughter words. Director of Strategic Communications for
Sodexo Canada and then we have Vera Roberts, PhD Academic Research Manager
for the Inclusive Design Research Center at the Ontario College of Art and Design
University and then last but not least, we have Jake Hirsch-Allen, who is the
Higher-Ed and Workforce Development Lead for LinkedIn Learning Canada and
Jake has also offered up this space because we are here at LinkedIn Canada’s
office in downtown Toronto in what we call Hoffman’s garage. So thank you for
joining us panelists and sharing your thoughts and representing your
organizations on this important topic. Your presence will be bring much to this
conversation. Okay, are we ready to get this conversation
started? Yes, all right. panelists for this part of the chat
sounds like a challenge, panelists you will have five minutes each to respond.
So we’re gonna start with Lenore. Lenore you are well-known in many circles when
it comes to diversity and inclusion work at a corporate level. Would you introduce
yourself and share with us why access to opportunity is of importance to Deloitte
and what your role is in this? Okay, I am at some point going to want to know why
this is called Hoffman’s garage though. So my name is Lenore MacAdam, I work in
inclusion and diversity at Deloitte. I’ve had a number of roles there. I
started about seven years ago and became very involved in our diversity and
inclusion space side of desk and that’s because I ran our LGBT employee resource
group and got that because it got me involved in the world in general and as
I moved along and I had a day job and a gay job for a few years, is how I used to
put it, and then as I moved into my more HR policy role I was handed AODA
compliance. I knew nothing about it I knew nothing about accessibility beyond
wheelchair ramps like a lot of people, and I have you know we
joke that accessibility can’t be a checklist, it has to be a culture and yet
I started with a checklist. And actually grew to be a bit of an AODA lover not
the topic today I know, but more not that it’s achieved all of its goals but
it was a great place to start in corporate Canada because within Deloitte
we had it discussions about accessibility at every level; website, in
putting it into our performance management processes, how do we integrate
it, and these were just conversations no one ever knew to have much less wanted
to have. So I actually thought that it was a great way to start but that got me
more involved in this world in this phase and diving in a lot deeper and so
that’s why I became focused on that and over the last year because I’ve been now
working in this space I was offered a role where I’m focused now more broadly
on inclusion and diversity as an overall corporate objective. And I think that
it’s been great that I’ve been able to bring the disability and accessibility
awareness into the D&I journey because as many people may know corporate Canada
is still, I don’t want allowed to say this out loud but I still feel we’re
just unduly still focused on gender, and that it’s all about women and at the end
‘oh let’s get women first’, listen women first, we’ll get them done first’, then
there’s like there’s some sort of a checklist there right. But so I think
it’s super important to include disability because intersectionality how
all of our identities intersect is so key and disco the mental health
neurodiversity all of those things intersect and you can’t really do one
without the other. So that’s my journey. I think that within
the context of a Deloitte and why this is important within our context. Um, in
the corporate world especially when you’re working in a professional
services firm the ultimate objective has to be sort of has to be business
effectiveness. Now that doesn’t mean that creating a good and humane environment
is not an objective and the people there are automatons you don’t care about
anything but productivity, but one of the happy things we’ve been recognizing in
the D&I space is that more diverse a workplace you have the more diversity of
thought that you have and more safe and accessible workplace you have, the more
the more you have around you fewer sick days and fewer different measures. Within
office spaces it’s actually quite difficult to measure productivity when
you’re making one widget at a time you can tell how many you make a day and
that’s easy to measure, but I don’t know how many of you are in office jobs if I
were to say tell me what day was the most productive last week you may have a
general sense you probably wouldn’t be able to tell me in any really effective
way, and that’s been one of my challenges this year. But I would say that from the
perspective of my firm the at the end of the day what were what we’re trying to
create the ultimate meritocracy I get this a lot, what about a meritocracy
shouldn’t we hire people because of their skills? Yes, yes, yes absolutely
we’ve literally been having that conversation for 30 years but what we’re
really trying to do is create a meritocracy in the truest sense. Where no
matter how someone accesses their work or their technology no matter what their
background or matter no matter who they are
we’re pulling people to the top that have the best ideas and the most
creative and different and innovative ideas. And as a professional services
firm where that is our work that we do that’s what’s most important at the end
of the day, so we try to focus everything within that. Wow, thank you,
yes, yes did you want your 50-50 lifelines or anything right now you’re
good? You’re gonna save it for the next round? Someone offered karaoke so I mean
that cause it would be the interlude between panelists if there are still
open for that prospect. We promised a really fun and invigorating conversation. Thank you very much Lenore for that So now I’d like to ask Anna-Karina
to share with us who you are, how you came to know Sodexo and why you decided
to leave a very successful consulting practice and dive back into the
corporate world? So my journey is very different from Lenore’s, her day job and
her gay job, my journey into the disability space is quite different. Up
until quite recently disability was not even on my radar. I
had considered myself very progressive and I had a professional career and then
I got very ill. Well that took me out of the game. Though I was declared disabled
and unable for any profession so as I was recovering I discovered I surrounded
myself with people with low vision, low hearing, mobility issues and that really
opened my eyes to the innovation the troubleshooting that happens every
single day just as they leave the house. So I’m gonna really condense the story
for the sake of time so as I was coming as I was recovering
I felt it easier for myself rather than going back into the corporate world and
having to disclose and having to ask for accommodations, it was easier for me to
hang my own shingle and make my own accommodations as a consultant. So in my
consultancy I was also producing a documentary film called Talent Untapped,
and so that put me in touch with people and organizations that were progressive
and in my search for an organization that was actually walking the talk, it
was not easy to find. There are a lot of people who say a lot of great things and
about doing the right thing, but when it came to actually seeing it and show me
showing me the evidence, I came across the Sodexo. So three years of research
and I landed on Sodexo, so I actually brought a camera crew in to one of
Sodexo’s business units where they feed about 3,000 people at a corporate
headquarters and in this particular business unit about one in four
employees works and managers with a disability. And I watched this and we
captured this and I thought this is pretty remarkable, it wasn’t high tech, it
wasn’t complicated, there were employees with hearing impairment so there were
notepads and paper at various parts. That’s how they got their work done. The
general manager didn’t think that it was a big deal to have these standup
briefings so instead of doing it in a big group he would do it in smaller
groups so people with vision impairment or alert
disabilities could understand better. So that is how I got to know Sodexo. And so
two years ago I was approached to apply for a job and I looked at the what they
were looking for, I thought I could do that
bilingual, career communicator, I know crisis communications, reputation
management and it happened to be for an organization that I already knew. I
didn’t really know much about food services and facilities management but
what I did know was the corporate culture. I knew that they had a culture
that was deliberately inclusive and that’s what pulled me in. It took me all
about thirty seconds to consider applying. So that’s how I got to know Sodexo and
at the time the conversation around accessibility was more safety, retention,
employee engagement, that was the conversation about three to five years
ago. Fast forward to today within Sodexo it’s a much different conversation
because our rank-and-file, our management they’re there. They already know all of
these benefits so it’s old news the conversation that we’re having now in
Canada and at a global level is let’s prompt more disclosure and
self-identification because when we know that we have more people who are
comfortable to self-identify, we know that we’ve got the core we know that
we’re progressing with our corporate culture. So I can tell you from firsthand
experience it took me a while to self disclose because at the time I viewed
disability especially a non-visible disability, the declining vision,
neurological issues, I viewed that as a weakness and I had to kind of wrap my
head around how am I going to explain this to peers and supervisors who may
not be as open and as flexible. Here at Sodexo it’s really not a big deal.
It’s okay, I need to work differently. That’s all it is.
I work differently and so part of my work within Sodexo and I sit on this
global steering committee for disability is in different parts of the country in
different countries around the world there would
levels of their conversation. So one thing that I’m trying to proactively do
is show the benefits of owning your disability and realizing that it’s not a
liability it’s not a weakness but it’s a strength because we bring these
different perspectives to our work to our projects and it just enriches the
workforce thank you welcome thank you well I see we promised that this would
be thought-provoking so thank you for that for sharing that story with us now
I’m going to ask Vera if she could share some things with us that Vera would you
be able to talk about the work that you’re doing over at OCADU. I’m not
gonna say it all out and it’s full anymore at the Inclusive Design and
Research Center and how accessibility includes things like systems and culture
that it’s not always just about the physical build. Okay so all I’m just
gonna step you back a little bit the IDRC where I work has just
celebrated 25 years last year and it’s kind of funny for me because I often
feel that my goal is to not have a job anymore I would like to not have to be
out helping people understand how to create a culture of inclusion but that
is what I do a lot of but the interesting thing for me is I’ve been
with the IDRC for 20 years and when I was hired I spoke to Jutta Treviranus and many of you might know Jutta she is well known in the field and
I was talking about some work I was doing putting documents online for
analysts and I said Oh I you know, I don’t really think it’s in and I don’t think
they’re inclusive I don’t think they the web is inclusive and then I said but you
know I don’t really I guess someone who’s blind wouldn’t be reading
documents anyway and sounds horrible doesn’t it and and and I was at a point
when I actually thought that I was accepting knowledgeable person and it
was one two years ago however that was really me speaking very ignorantly but
in part because just really didn’t know I wasn’t
educated I didn’t understand that there were different ways to access the web
and I know better now and I help other people know that now too. Fortunately you
just you know she said to me but that’s the point that’s the point
and I said oh yeah I guess it is and I guess that was sufficient fortunately
she hired me and we’ve been together now for a long time working on a lot of
projects around developing the cultural inclusion and what I think is important
to understand I’ve heard the other panelists talk about this idea about
thinking about how things are done and processes and whatnot and really when I
talk about a culture of inclusion I am talking about learning to do things
differently learning to behave differently learning to adapt to make
systems so that they’re flexible so that people have options and and this is a
lot of the work that we do at the IDRC and we started with standards and
guidelines like the web content accessibility guidelines and then you
used we were a large part of helping those get developed we’ve moved through
as technology has continued to proliferate everything that we do we
still work on inclusive technologies and developing systems that other people can
use open source code so that people can develop inclusive and accessible systems
that are technology-based but we also focus on inclusion in a different way
and inclusion to us means recognizing diversity recognizing that people are
different if you are designing for the average person you are designing for
someone who does not exist and so you want to have systems and
processes that recognize diversity when you are creating your systems and
processes you want to use tools that are inclusive and accessible and flexible
you need to have ways that people can do things differently which really speaks
to what you are saying you just might do something differently and and then you
also need to look at the broader impact of what you do and how that that can
benefit others and so this is what we call the three dimensions of inclusive
design and when you think about the world we are in, we create barriers
when we have meetings when we design buildings when we do our the things that
we do we create barriers it’s up to us to learn to recognize them and figure
out ways to you know make choice allow for adaptability and flexibility and
that’s a lot of the work I do. Wow and it’s fascinating to
realize that the the Research Center has been you said twenty five years? yes
we’re in our twenty sixth now. You’re near twenty six years so it’s incredible I
guess when you think about to your point around you hope that you’re gonna work
your way out of a job and I think for a lot of us that are in the room and a lot
of us that are online this is one of the things that we think of that it’s you
know if we actually get this right we’re gonna we’re gonna work our way out of a
job but it’s also comforting to know that that you can have this
institutional knowledge now that people can build on and grow from when you have
places like your Center and like a lot of other organizations that are in this
arena where they have been around for a number of years and they’re continuously
evolving and building but had no idea twenty twenty six years. Interestingly I
think, hey I’ll let you introduce in a minute but I think it’s not
necessarily a negative thing to be constantly on a journey yeah like it’s a
pretty Western idea that we have to be at this destination at some point and
that will be done and like that will feel better but rather I think for this
kind of work it’s actually better to always be doing it because we’re always
learning about ourselves and diversity and humanity into this world
yeah we’re constantly we’re constantly evolving and the institutions and
organizations and businesses were in need to be constantly evolving as well
and it is it’s continuous journey and we promote that all the time when we talk
about the benefits of this and for people who have children this is what
you’re always sort of instilling in them is this culture of learning so there is
no end game in the sense and you just as long as you’re moving forward and you’re
improving then then you’re making a difference and it’s good. We were chatting with a I’m gonna ask you to use a mic. Okay I think Ishould be
miced, can people not hear me? yeah okay thank you no and I do not project
and I found this when I’ve got a cold so if you can’t hear me let me know. But
some recent conversation with an unnamed senior government official involved a
comment on lifelong learning which become a bit of a mantra in the field
that I work in was just of online learning and education and and the
comment was lifelong learning scares people it’s your whole life like how
could you spend your whole life learning and still instead let’s talk about
skills upgrading and that way it’s sort of like a one-time you can do it, it’s low
effort and you’re done I think that’s sort of sad like some of these battles are
hard and lifelong and will probably involve a combination of pain and
pleasure for either a very long time or ever but hopefully we will grow
through them and become better and now and speaking in really esoteric terms
and maybe I’ll get back to who I actually am and provide a little context
on that. If you don’t mind, Jake, last but not least on our panel you can introduce yourself and and speak to you
what what you see as access to opportunity and and diversity inclusion
within the context of LinkedIn and and maybe around this education and lifelong
learning. Yeah happy to, and I think interestingly this panel is an amazing
representation of what for me is the beginning of a long journey because I’m
definitely the most naive and least aware of the world of accessibility and
differently abled people from a academic standpoint on this panel because I don’t
work in it at all technically my job at LinkedIn is to
sell online learning to colleges universities increasingly because I sort
of expanded my mandate as I explained workforce development organizations and
governments but nothing in that mandate had the term or even a reference to
accessibility and and so I’ve been learning on my own more or less over the
past couple years and with the help of amazing folks like ODEN, like the
Inclusive Design center, the Inclusive Design Research
Centre, etcetera but but as I said you all really are part and so that’s a journey
in the sense that I came to LinkedIn to understand how having worked in
government in academia and the private sector but finding small companies how
corporate life would would work and part of that has been an understanding of how
corporate life interacts with accessibility and I’ve also sort of
begun to come to terms with what disability means for me so whether it’s
addiction or other forms of disability I think that self recognition and then
that ability to speak to it is is a key part of it as you were saying and
there’s no organization to be totally blunt that has opened my eyes up to the
positive possibilities of differently abled individuals greater than the IDRC
and specifically your colleague Jutta who really came to us with ideas about how
you could get beyond the black and white of design principles that are visual on
the internet and get a little deeper to natural language processing and how we
actually start thinking about we’re representing our thoughts and feelings
online and what that could mean for inclusion so as I said you represent my
journey. Really quickly to explain what I do and how I got here about about 15
years ago I was really distraught about some sort of things or not in the
international laws that were happening in Uwanda and other places and I decided
to devote my career to that I went to law school when I was in law school I
started to get distracted by other ways of combating wrongs and eventually it
became to the fighting inequality instead of specifically human like wrongs
so worked at tribunals in The Hague I was defending work in those in
Cambodia I was at the Supreme Court of Israel sort of wrestling with human
rights and the inequality and how to correct for I really dissatisfied with
a lot of that world after a few years with sort of the fact that I mean
Cambodia and the population there was not happy with having a tribunal you know
sort of imposed on them for a variety of reasons or I’m in Israel and the court
isn’t having the impact on its rights economy that I was both
and bizarrely I came back instead of working on intellectual property law that
was the other thing I studied in law school and it actually had more to
do with inequality and accessibility than rights did because access to medicines
was a single way that we most dramatically increased access to better
standards of living around the world by far over the past century and so I began
to think at sort of a slightly more macro scale okay how do we change things
globally for the better and in working on access to medicines via the
pharmaceutical industry via something called the health impact fund a proposed
alternative to the patent system to incentivize drug development and then
starting a software development 3kf that’s now in six cities across Canada I
was asked to work on access to education by Gordon Brown now UN special envoy for
education and that’s when I came across LinkedIn and LinkedIn at that point
wasn’t really thinking a lot about education to be blunt they were thinking
about how to connect people and sales and balance and approving and that kind
of stuff and I got lucky I joined our sales solutions team and
within two days we bought lynda.com which is an online
learning platform and within a year I moved into the first role up here in
Canada related to online learning and I was focused on higher ed and a lot of
the schools I was working with the ones that really needed access to online
learning like think a small remote school in Northern Ontario couldn’t
afford it because we sell at scale more you buy the less it costs and that’s
interestingly fundamental sort of principle of tech and software and scale
and capitalism that is affecting accessibility because you need to have a
lot of people in order to decrease the cost and that does forkball in terms of
access and if I negotiated an agreement with the government of Ontario where and
they’ve purchased access for a million faculty staff and students ball-parked
across the 45 post secondaries here and that increased access in some ways but
it was really just the beginning of that conversation and particularly because in
coming to that agreement we realized the people who most needed access for people
who didn’t have jobs we’re not in school ID people receiving
workforce development or employment services and those individuals didn’t
get access and even if they were at a college to this content and so more
recently I’ve been trying to figure out how do I work with the employment
services system and that really was the introduction to ODEN and to the folks in
this room we’ve been talking to the CNE we’ve been actually we should be talking
evidently to Sodexo though because because understanding how to now
increase access to online learning and other aspects of our platform for for
individuals with a variety of access to accessibility challenges is I think in
some ways the next frontier for us as well and then my learning. Yeah and I
think probably all of us would agree with that and I think that that really
raises a good point around when you think about access it comes in so many
different forms and as we talked about earlier there’s you know these hopes and
aspirations that we have for our loved ones and for the children that are
coming up behind us and you know that we want them to have these at the access to
opportunity and and when somebody has access to education when they have
access to education and services and supports and when they have access to
opportunities within employment settings so where they can compete and and it’s
it’s accessible in all ways that’s when we start to see some real success and
some real progress in society. So thank you Jake for sharing all of that with us
and now there’s just one final question and this is what I have nicknamed the
speed round so our timekeeper is gonna switch cards
at the back of the room and our panelists are going to have three
minutes that’s it to answer these questions and okay are you ready we’re gonna go in the
same order how’s that okay all right there’s no lifelines there’s no phoning
a friend no it’s done there’s no karaoke nothing all right that’s after that’s you’re online you’re
gonna miss it, I’m sorry you should have come down
for this. Okay so Lenore what does access to opportunity mean to
you? Oh for me personally it’s around a high
level it’s around removing barriers so you simply this is just logical you you
cannot get the best people into an organization if you are putting up
barriers whether their technological whether their physical whether their
attitudinal etc etc etc it also means though from just from the sense
of businesses bringing in more people that are diverse and specifically with
disabilities it also means access in terms of a pipeline because I talk to
people on a regular basis a big part of the business case seems to be talked
about as it’s all about talent we’re in a war for talent well I talked to
corporate recruiters all the time and never once has one said to me oh I just
don’t get enough resumes in the day I mean I I have to go home at 3 o’clock we
have so few resumes kind of getting a bit but um there are a few particular
types of roles like you know a cyber scientist who has to speak Mandarin and uh
you know people that have degrees in computer science those are there are so
that’s something to pay attention to but generally speaking corporate recruiting
is an exclusive process it’s not an inclusive one and that’s that’s the way
it is you have a pile of resumes you have to take some out so we need better
ways of accessing diverse talents if we’re going to get that diverse talent
into the workplace I also want to make one quick comment that I’ve been making
on a few of these panels lately and it is around the lumping in of mental
health with disability right now that’s happening in corporate Canada so I think
that in about a year I think it’s kind of on top of what we’re doing here but
in about a year you’re gonna see folks high-fiving each other at the corner of
Bay and King because there are numbers of people with disabilities have gone up
by five or six or seven hundred percent and all that’s going to represent is the
fact that there are existing employees with mental health issues have become
more comfortable bringing and talking that about that which is important and
should be tracked and should be programatized don’t get me wrong but we will not
have moved the the dial at all on those with visible or physical disabilities or
however you want to put it and we’re not going to make any of those economic gains
not gonna get any of those off people off ODSP people not participating in the
workforce where it’s such a where it’s such a loss so that’s just something
else I’d like to say around a little bit around access because if you’re going to
start counting and you’re gonna start bringing people in understand who you
want to bring in and get rid of the barriers but also think about how you’re
doing your counting. Wow thank you and thank you for that insight
I don’t know that’s news for me that’s something that I’ll be looking at and I
think that Odin itself maybe will take a look at that and so hopefully that’s
something that that everybody can look at in the future and we are gonna have a
chance for questions I promise okay all right okay so and so you did that and in
three minutes under three minutes right all right you know you don’t challenge
you on the time cards yes okay so next in a Corina what about you are there any
sort of light bulb moments that have gone off for you when you think about
access to opportunity and what that means funny you should mention a light
bulb because it reminds me of my first two weeks it’s Dudek so so I’ve been
with the organization for two years now so a couple of years ago when I was
being on boarded I was at the Burlington office and normally I wear if I go into
any corporate office I often wear different glasses with with a light
brown tint in my lenses because I need the light to go down for me it’s a
trigger for me and it anyway I was explaining it to a new colleague of mine
an IT and I was explaining to him why I wear these colored glasses and he said
to me well why do I look into changing a lightbulb why don’t I look into a
different temperature of light bulb to help you and other people who don’t want
such bright spaces that was my lightbulb moment
that was my lightbulb moment earlier and so really what is the cost of that that
wasn’t written into any policy or procedure but that stuck with me even
two years after because it really showed me
the corporate culture was like that to me is true inclusion
nobody said to him go out there and change a life helps proactively came to
this I never asked him for anything but he proactively thought how do I take
down this barrier from my colleague so that was a lightbulb moment for me at
this a new workplace at Sodexo you were also talking Jake about where do
corporations fit in when we’re talking exact accessibility we have a huge role
to play because we employ people and so when we cast our net to this diversity
of talent you know and it doesn’t matter what kind of abilities they have it
enriches all of us though this is the role that we have to play especially
during this week which is national accessibility week when we’re much more
aware I hope of the barriers I think as employers we have the responsibility to
proactively cast our net and that’s one huge way that we can take down barriers
thank you welcome so Vera onto you if you could let us
know what access to opportunity means to you well you know when I think about
access to opportunity I really am thinking about design and thinking about
inclusion and how we are going about our day one of my colleagues Jess Mitchell
she likes to say you know and inclusion is like brushing your teeth you really
need to do it every day and and sometimes you change the tool and
sometimes you get some help to make sure you’re doing a good job and maybe you
run your tongue over your teeth to check on how you doing once in a while grit
your teeth look in the mirror and so it’s something you do you check and you
keep at it and you work at it and when you are going about your day and
planning things think about what the requirements are what are the functional
requirements for someone to accomplish whatever task the ones that up for them
how can you make it so that there’s multiple ways to do that task when
you’re hiring you know look at your hiring process what are your
requirements what kinds of information do you need are you requiring that
people be they’re all you know full is that necessary maybe you could break
it into part-time work or work that could be done from home so there’s lots
of ways to think about how you can be more inclusive and when you are more
inclusive it benefits lots of people it doesn’t you know it just benefit that
one person you might have been thinking about you can you know a lot of people
could benefit from working from home I can tell you that you know I’m a parent
it certainly is nice when I can work from home and lucky me I’ve been working
from home for 20 years but this is being employed by someone who is flexible and
adaptable and when you do that in your own processes in your own company you
kind of future-proof yourself you’re ready for what comes out to you and so
you know next time someone says you know what’s the business case for
accessibility you know perhaps you might want to ask them what what’s the
business case for and you know not allowing someone their basic human
rights because that’s what those barriers were it’s usually a form of
discrimination and when we can unintentionally discriminate so I’m
think saying – you think about who’s not at your table and why and how can you
change it absolutely thank you for that and that to that point we know that when
we talk about this business case the business case that we present to
corporations to the private sector world but sometimes you do want to just ask
the question that what’s the cost if you don’t do this what are you missing out
on what aren’t you adding to your workforce what what are you losing when
you’re not diverse and inclusive as a business and when that’s not embedded
right into the very culture of what it is that you do every day because you
know it’s the points earlier about reflecting the community and reflecting
the diversity inclusion and harnessing all of this knowledge and talent and
skill and different ways of thinking and seeing things if you always solved a
problem a certain way you’re just gonna keep solving it that way so when you
want to surround yourself with people who can look at things from different
angles as well so – thank you for that and there lastly
Jake I’m gonna ask you the same question you can describe what access to
opportunity means absolutely gets back to an earlier question about Hoffman and
Hoffman’s garage because when I was quite young Reed Hoffman went from the
PayPal mafia he was one of the founders of PayPal to create LinkedIn and he
created a professional network and at that point that excited me in terms of
my professional development but it’s taken over a decade I guess almost 15
years now for me to understand that just the term professional in professional
network is actually itself exclusionary and I think LinkedIn has gradually begun
to recognize that in a variety of forms the most obvious one is going from on
mission focused on empowering the world’s professionals to a vision
focused on empowering everyone I think it has been pushed by some positive
forces so its acquisition by Microsoft I think it’s actually been very positive
because I think Microsoft is much more of a thought leader in this respect than
most tech companies maybe even most organizations and so we’re learning from
our current organization in a really positive way that I think has even
caught me by surprise and I think it’s also personally been about understanding
how to use the mechanisms that are at my disposal because I have very little
influence over our product organization it’s quite distant from my role within
the company right this and 13,000 people at LinkedIn and somebody who’s actually
designing what a given page on LinkedIn looks like is quite far some of the
selling online learning to colleges universities and workforce development
organizations but via the kinds of public-private partnerships I was
describing earlier and via the kinds of conversations we’ve been having with the
idea C and Odin and others I think we’re actually forming networks of real world
people that in turn influenced how LinkedIn is used to increase
accessibility we’re either educating individuals on
how they can use it or educating companies on how they can hire using
building best practices in terms of talent and retention within
organizations and it’s developing those tools further under
standing there various context non-professional context for instance in
which they operate that I find most inspiring the both about working here
and how can apply it to accessible okay thank you very much so that is the end
of the speed round you all did it you all did it and under just under three
minutes so that was that was perfect so thank you very much for that and so can
everybody here and if you’re online we won’t hear you but please feel free to
clap I just join me for that fast-paced and that insightful discussion so thank
you very much okay and as promised Samantha we have we have a few minutes
available for some questions from the audience and if you’re online I don’t
know a bit the capability of being able to tighten in ask I think they’re
actually where to go yes they can so you will be able to so there’s a number of
people online will try to get to as many questions as you can forgive us if we
don’t and this session is actually being recorded so we’ll be able to share this
out and and we have a roaming mic well yeah I can roll with it
I can roam yes I won’t necessarily round but I will room I and I’ll ask you just
to speak into the microphone when you have a question so who has a question
okay no fish boo yay oh yeah I know you feel
like it’s like a god so what I was gonna comment on I found your I believe it was
you that was talking about how mental health has kind of gotten lumped in with
accessibility and disability and trying to improve that that me at all because
when I was in seventh grade I would I myself have a disability I’m
visually impaired and when I was put into accessibility classes they would
all they would lump all of us together anyone was a learning disability or
hearing impairment and it was kind of just we’re gonna do this one thing and
hopefully helps all of you and I find a lot of the times it’s always been
grouped together because it’s easier to label I think one of you guys also
mentioned like having a black or white label for people with disability so I
just thought it was very interesting because it’s definitely been like a
lifelong issue be a problem oh sorry it doesn’t have to be a problem because
it’s still we actually found that talking about mental health was actually
a nice way to sort of open up the conversation around accessibility at
Deloitte at one point but what I’m but I think that it’s very important to keep
track of those differently and because sometimes you’ll have 10 times or more
people with invisible disabilities than visible disabilities and it’s it’s two
different types of barriers invisible disabilities and current employees are
barriers to performance management and progression through an organization
well visible disabilities often are barriers to getting the job at all and I
just think they need to be thought about and prioritized differently and not sort
of slept under no it was great thank you so much yeah and just just to add to
Lenore’s comment it’s really important that we remember that within
disabilities there’s a huge range of diversity just like you were saying so
it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach and it’s not because you have a low
vision you have a vision impairment someone with I don’t know chronic pain
for example it may not work for the both of you you know so again it’s that
conscious remembering that within disability there’s a huge diversity I
think one of the more profound learnings that I’ve had in the past year was that
there is more diversity within the differently abled population than there
is within the rest of the population which is also how there’s more lessons
to be learned from in some ways that I please know so I’m gonna ask that I read
one from online or if that’s really exciting
clearly I use technology all the time so we have David Allen Smith who has
asking do you know of any research articles that prove hiring a person who
has a disability will increase the gross sales of a company I’d like to suggest
that you go to the return on disability website as a start in fact I think the
lights published recent report around this as well but i think i think return
on disability with rich Donovan’s group but if you start to return on disability
you’ll they’ll have some articles you can cite and if you like you know I
think you can probably look me up at the IDRC and I could point you to some other
articles if you if you need that kind of information so here’s one thing in
people with disabilities know this people with disabilities tend to be the
most loyal so if we happen to find a restaurant or a retailer that’s
accessible for us that’s in tune to what we need we go there and we go there
often and if it doesn’t work for us we tell all of our friends and relatives so
when you consider the purchasing power of 1 billion people with disabilities
around the world and the bending power again this is a return on disability
fact and research that’s a lot of buying power a little bit just the counter to
that I think we need to be a little careful I know that I know that research
really well and know rich well and respect them and know that all of that
but I think to the diversity of people with disabilities I think we overstate
this 18 trillion dollar is a bigger every time I hear it because we’re
talking about very different disabilities and I sometimes think we
yeah and I think that for three great example one is the turn on disability
rich Donovan the other is mark wafer who ran a series of Tim Hortons that showed
some really strong business results and also there is a Walgreens in the United
States Randy Lewis so those are the ones that that’s not so much sales but
productivity but that’s something those gives some relatively good quantity
one other point there is that you mentioned you can sort of look you up I
can’t at LinkedIn not Fay you can look all of us up either add us on LinkedIn
but also just send us an email or tweet at us or whatever else in order to
continue this conversation because I think each of us has different resources
to share and I think Odin does as well as as well as probably many people in
this audience so let’s continue this conversation online and hopefully
increase its scope in that respect had a question from this side of the room thank you everyone for for the panel
this morning I think the piece so I’m Wayne Henshaw I’m a person with a vision
impairment and the thing that I take and I would ask all of us in the room and
especially during this week is that aha moment or the lightbulb moment I think I
don’t pick up lightbulb moment but aha moments if we can each do that that what
we do I was involved in onboarding a new employee and I had a ha moment myself as
I was doing that just within the last day and and so as you look at those aha
moments that moving that needle just making one incremental step can help us
get to the goal and I always use the term it’s an evolution not a revolution
but if we can make incremental steps and so I I guess the challenge I put it to
all of us including myself as I speak is try and find that aha moment or the
light bulb I love the analogy because that it can make a positive change for
everyone not just you in that particular circumstance but for one else that’s
coming after you Thank You Wayne for that commentary um are there any
other questions online are there any no you’re still all there
because we can see the numbers I know two of you left but you had a meeting
I’m sure so you’re excused okay well then on that note I would just
again like to thank the panelists pastilla nor ana Karina Vieira
Jake thank you so much and also thank you to your organisation’s ISO to
Deloitte to Sodexo to Ontario College Ontario the IIIrd see at OCAD you and
linkedin Canada and thank you to them as well for
sharing you today and for we’re letting you come out and have this conversation
with us and I just have a question actually for people in the audience so
this is just a little tiny exercise and if you’re online you can put notes see
somebody came back because they saw it got interactive and I’m gonna ask you to
go ahead and just raise your raise your hands my question to you is what
percentage of people who have it what’s the percentage of people in our
population in Canada who would identify as having a disability is it 10% can’t
see you online but that’s okay is it 40% or are we talking about 22% oh okay oh yes I should actually so absolutely
nobody raised their hand at the 10% and absolutely nobody raised their hand it
was a 30 or 40 percent and for oh did somebody raise their hand online you’re
thinking that’s 40 okay so we have a 15% online and between 16 and 30% isn’t okay
is another is another answer online so thank you for participating in that about one-fifth of the population okay
one in five so the stat is exactly around there according to STATS Canada’s
latest report that I think was 2018 we’re looking at about 22 percent of the
population in Canada being identified as being a person who has a disability now
those numbers could potentially be much different than that because
not everybody self discloses not everybody identifies and the other thing
that we know is that that number is going to be continuously changing and so
for some people when you talk about disability there can be episodic
disabilities so at times they identify and at times they don’t and as we all
get a little bit older the population is changing and there are disabilities that
will come on and as we as we age in life so I just want people to sort of think
about that that that in Ontario when we have this kind of conversation we’re
talking about 3.1 million people and that’s a that’s a really large number
and then we know we were just talking about the return on disability and and
all of rich Donovan’s work when we talk about the impact when you add close
friends and family to that number we’re talking about 50 53 55 % of the
population is impacted they’re affected or affected in some way by disability
and so this is a conversation that we need to keep going at all times and so
on that note I’m going to challenge you today to think about the business or the
organization that you are in and I want you to think about how you’re ensuring
that there is access to opportunity I want you to ask people who identify as
having a disability can access opportunity to become an employee at the
company that you’re in at the organization that you’re in I want you
to think about what you can do to improve access and when you go back to
work today what conversations you can start there to help your business to
increase access so I’m half of the Ontario Disability Employment network
and Linkedin Canada is our host I do thank you very much for joining us today
and to Jake’s point if you would like to continue this conversation with us
please join us online please connect with us through LinkedIn this recording
this has been recorded and it’s going to be available and so we’ll distribute it
widely and we share it please look us up and you can
also contact us at Oden networks oh oh de network.com and if you reach out to
us we’ll share all of the contact information that we can so thank you
once again for coming and joining us today okay

Stephen Childs

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