Community Futures wins diversity award by implementing change

No lip service

The inclusion committee now has a permanent spot on the agenda for weekly meetings at Community Futures North Okanagan.

Kazia Mullin is the Business Services Manager for Futures and says the changes started happening when employees were going to be returning to work after Covid.

The company had taken advantage of no workers being in the building and underwent a major renovation.

They changed the flow and work spaces people would be in.

“Then we started thinking about what else we could change. How can we move forward, how can we progress?”

Those questions led to conversations and eventually to change and the creation of the inclusion committee.

This week, the committee brought YouTube video for fellow employees to watch. The video was about Schuyler Bailar.

19 year old Bailer was recruited by Harvard University to swim on its women's team. After his transition, he swam for Harvard on their men’s NCAA team.

The ongoing work of the inclusion committee is just one of the reasons Community Futures North Okanagan was this year’s recipient of the “Diversity Excellence” award with the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.

In order to win in this category, the company had to undergo significant change in the past two years in the following areas.

  • Reviewing or implementing Diversity, Inclusive and/or Equity policies, processes and practices
  • Progressive hiring and on-boarding practices to recruit, retain and develop diversity groups
  • Showcase diversity in customer attraction and marketing diversity
  • Providing training and education in diversity to staff
  • Offering mentorship and/or supporting connections in the community

When it comes to mentorship and supporting connections in the community, Salinger Snark can speak first hand. Snark is the owner of Furhouse, a textile and fabric design company which opened just over a year ago. Although he found the space and opened the business on his own, the offer that followed to be part of a Community Futures' self employment program, was one he will never regret.

“It’s given me the time and the space to do things and try things because without them I would have fallen flat on my face.”

Mullin says Community Futures is all about “meeting people where they are at” regardless of their backgrounds. “We try to say yes to where they want to go.”

As for the recognition Community Futures received when they were named this year’s winner of the Diversity Excellence award, Mullin says it’s a welcomed surprise that showcases the effort the whole team has put in and they’ll continue to strive to do better together.”

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