Diversity Month – What does ‘diversity’ mean at ISSofBC?

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are terms often heard these days, but what do they mean?

Diversity is about the individual – the unique qualities, experiences and characteristics that make up who we are.

Equity is about respecting those unique qualities in a way that allows everyone to participate and engage in the same ways in life.

Inclusion is about creating a culture that strives to achieve equity and values those differences that make us all unique.

DEI is the foundation of a healthy workplace culture, that we aim to create at ISSofBC.

It is what keeps employees engaged and motivated to contribute to the success of their teams and organizations. It nurtures the sense of belonging that helps to make the stressful work we do that much more rewarding.

Diverse ideas, experiences, and perspectives are what drives innovation, learning and growth. More importantly, it is what connects us to one another in new and interesting ways.


My experience is that most non-profit organizations think “we’re all about diversity so there’s not really much to talk about”, but there are some key DEI issues that we face as a very diverse organization that serves clients from around the world. These include:

I wanted to take time off for a religious holiday that is important to me, but I was afraid to ask.

I have clients that don’t want to work with me because I am part of the LGBTQ community.

Some people on my team speak to each other in their own language when others are around, and it makes me feel excluded.

My colleagues think I get special treatment because I’m a favorite, but I’m not comfortable telling them I have different needs because of my disability.

True DEI is a constant process

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture is not an event – it has no end date. It can be hard and often involves more work to get things done!

Since I joined ISSofBC, one of the things that I have noticed is that every day, I hear the question – how does what we’re doing relate to our values? Every day I hear – let’s look at this from the perspective of diversity so we know we’re on the right track.

It is this constant process of asking questions and challenging ourselves that let’s me know we are moving in the right direction.

ISSofBC continues to invest time and energy in DEI – through our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, in our work with external consultants to help us improve our DEI efforts, by hiring a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve, and most importantly by encouraging everyone to bring their whole selves into our spaces every day.

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