Like any business, competition is almost always guaranteed. In the case of diversity and inclusion, I stand by the concept that a competitor should always be welcomed and referred to as a colleague. We can never have too many equity champions. The more professionals that are striving to lead the world towards a more inclusive way of existing, the better. And with equality now becoming a very “hot button” buzz word in our media, the diversity and inclusion establishment field is steadily growing.

As a diversity and inclusion professional for over 15 years, the AODA’s core values – when it was introduced in 2005 – fell firmly under my own and my group of companies’ fundamental beliefs.

That in our lives and work we must “use reasonable efforts to ensure that all people are consistently treated with the principles of independence, dignity, integration and equality of opportunity”.

As a result, the AODA quickly became one of the many focuses of Global Learning.

Now of course, as an entrepreneur with her stylish hat in the AODA ring, my main priority is to demonstrate to an organization that Global Learning is a trailblazer when it comes to AODA compliance assistance.

Through facility, policy/procedure and website audits, our powerful training tools, our unique AODA Small Business – In a Box SolutionTM and the AODA: Ask An Expert Smart Phone App which we developed to fit a large void in the market around AODA accurate information (available on both iTunes and BlackBerry AppWorld), Global Learning has been at the forefront, aiding any company, large or small, to navigate through the AODA process.

With our large and consistently growing roster of prestigious clients, it’s a fact that Global Learning’s AODA solutions will be seen rolled out over the next several years, in many of your favourite major brand locations, and there is a very focused reason that our clients have chosen Global Learning as their AODA sherpa, if you will.

I feel there is a deafening similarity between 1999’s “Y2K’s gonna getchya” mentality and what’s happening now in Ontario in regards to the AODA. With words like “Government”, “Compliance”, and “Fines” being boldly touted, there is an array of companies that jumped on that bandwagon, instilling fear into the public to purchase their solutions “OR ELSE!”, while the public is promptly left with a large bill and not much to show for it.

So, what does one do as a high quality business owner or organizational lead to properly represent himself/herself when the wares they offer have no means of being pre-appraised and are being offered by a wide variety of other companies?

It all boils down to one of my favourite phrases “Walk the Talk.”

For instance, on our company website, you may have noticed the addition of an “Accessibility” tab. Knowing that Global Learning must lead by example, we added the Accessibility tab to our website in April of 2010. Another example: many of you may have already been introduced to our widely used Diversity Moments™, an innovative e-learning employee training program created and developed by Global Learning. In its development, the needs of your employees with disabilities were firmly considered and cared for by the inclusion of such features as screen reader interfaces, print screen capabilities, and HTML instead of Flash design which is critical for some disabilities, to name just a few.

If our company is to be invited into your organization to speak about the AODA or any other topics that fall under our expertise, you can be certain that Global Learning has already introduced the practices we preach into our own business procedures. The practices and procedures that we developed for ourselves in turn attract our clients.

So, my business colleagues in the AODA arena and even broader diversity spectrum:

What is it that your own company is doing or has done to represent the knowledge you speak? While my examples have been AODA specific, this question can be applied to just about anything we stand up and claim to be an expert on. In this cut and paste world, are you willing to keep transparent and be asked to demonstrate your own commitment to diversity and inclusion practices, or are you the tired old lever puller that hopes no one will look behind the curtain?

There are many things in this world that we can teach without practicing. Diversity, however, is not one of them. Constantly ask yourself, “Are you walking your talk?”

“When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win”

~ “Easy” Ed Macauley – author, deacon, and former NBA All-Star MVP


about the author - Elaine

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