I was overjoyed with the number of women who turned out today for the first every breakfast meeting at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce with a focus on Women of Colour, and garnering their views on the state of diversity, inclusion and a sense of belonging.
The question was put to the group about what can the Chamber do to be more inclusive. As can be imagined the conversation was powerful, energizing, positive and impactful.
We welcomed the opportunity to share our views and shares ideas about how the Chamber connect with the diverse communities across the city, such as hosting events and meetings in the local communities. Meeting people where they are at. Hosting meetings in places where the psychological safety is important. Often transportation is a issue for certain segments of our community and this could be a barrier to participation.
It was incredible to watch and listen to the Information sharing, ideas and suggestions that were made for the Chamber to take forward in order for it to become more inclusive.
Our conversation included suggestions about building trust with each other as well as trust between the Chamber and the community. Creating opportunities for women of colour to participate and feel welcomed in the various arenas. Focus should not only be on the corporate businesses but on small business owners who make up a significant number of businesses. The suggestion to develop partnership with not-for-profit organizations was also very important for the group. It was also great learn about the new initiatives taking place at the HCC. for example, adding diversity to their strategic plan 2019 - 2023.
I’m thankful to Margaret Chapman, Chair, Halifax Chamber of Commerce for her willingness to listen, engage and act on my suggestion to host the breakfast and hear from the voices of women of colour who are not present. Without hesitation she acted and the event was a resounding success.