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  • Writer's pictureChanel Grenaway

Your Move: Taking Action and Building an Equity Centred Practice

I recently returned from Halifax after attending the Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) 2024 Congress. CMC is the national member-driven association representing all sizes and types of Canadian co-operatives and mutuals. Like many organizations, CMC is working to enhance their efforts on justice, equity and inclusion, and during the Congress they provided members with inspiration and space to reflect on their equity and inclusion commitments. 

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I had the opportunity to participate in two specialized sessions focused on equity, one as a panelist in the Co-operatives as Employers of Choice discussion where we explored how co-ops can prepare themselves as employers of choice and how equity and inclusion can positively impact recruitment and employee retention. I was also a co-facilitator for an in-depth workshop on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace, where we explored what it means to apply inclusion first, and reviewed promising practices for challenging traditional norms and promoting accountability. This session was co-hosted by the Women’s Economic Council as part of the 50-30 Challenge initiative. Through these sessions and others, a clear theme of inclusion and representation emerged   

The most valuable parts of these learning sessions are the insights, observations and questions raised from participants.  I’m still ruminating on one of those questions which was – how do you move from listening and learning about equity to action and engagement?

This question has come up before, as many individuals, leaders, and boards I collaborate with are pondering the same issue – transitioning from listening to taking action.

The short answer to this question is a central message of my Equity Centred Leadership course – you must commit to engaging and pinpoint opportunities for involvement. 

It may sound obvious or straightforward, but making the decision to engage in this endeavour and understanding your motivation are crucial. A strong sense of purpose not only keeps you driven but also helps to overcome resistance, and obstacles that will emerge. Think of your Envisioning what progress looks like or creating a clear goal for yourself as tools that can support an active and consistent equity practice. 

Secondly, you have to identify opportunities where you can engage. Often the precursor to doing this is doing the reflection and exploration work regarding your own power, your own privilege, and your own spheres of influence. It's about taking a look at the spaces that you occupy and asking yourself, in this space is there anything more that I can do to create and foster equity and inclusion? I firmly believe that each of us holds some level of power and influence, enabling us to lead from any position. The key is to identify opportunities, whether they seem significant or minor, that propel you into action. 

Reading these two suggestions might not be enough for you to get started. If I were responding to this question in a one-to-one session, I would apply a series of questions to help you uncover your motivations, strengths, and areas where you can make an impact. Interested in exploring this further?  Let’s chat!


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