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Creating more inclusive and diverse work environments


Jamile Cruz – Founder and CEO of I&D 101

I&D 101, a consulting firm specialized in Inclusion and Diversity diagnostics, strategy development, and implementation. She has spent over twenty years with clients transforming businesses into high-performing organizations, creating and implementing strategies to reduce operational costs and achieve their business goals. She has international experience across multiple industries including mining, engineering, telecommunications, and management consulting, where she worked directly for Hatch, Vale, and Accenture and advised Fortune 500 organizations. She is now driven to share her knowledge and experience to create a greater social impact, working with organizations that are committed to creating more
inclusive and diverse work environments.

A recognized business transformation leader, Jamile has been featured as a keynote speaker in multiple conferences and authored publications, including an Action Plan for the advancement of women in industrial settings, currently being adopted by many organizations. Jamie also serves as a board member of Women in
Mining Canada and as a founding director of Women in Mining Brasil. Both organizations leading change and
promoting an industry that fosters, advances, and empowers women. She leads the Diversity and Inclusion
committee for the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce and is a recipient of the 2020 Canadian Institute of
Mining Distinguished Lecturers Award, in recognition of her work developing inclusive workplaces. She holds a
Master’s Certificate in Project Management, and a Bachelor of Engineering degree.

What was the inspiration behind the launch of I&D 101 Inc? How is your firm helping small and medium-sized enterprises?

My inspiration came from my career, from the projects and experiences I’ve collected over the 20 years that I’ve
been working in large organizations, and my desire to see and create change. I had the opportunity to work for
an organization that created the space for me to develop this work within the company. After seeing the results I
could drive, I grew into the idea of engaging with multiple organizations and helping leaders understand
the value of inclusion and diversity. With I&D 101, we have engaged with organizations of all sizes. Inclusive
cultures can support businesses of any size. We also discuss supplier diversity policies with large
organizations as part of their I&D strategy, which enables SMEs to access their supply chain.

How to build a culture of inclusion?

A culture of inclusion requires the transformation of ecosystems and behaviours – there is a need to
understand that the ways of working for most organizations were not designed to be truly inclusive, they carry the biases of those who designed them.

To start this process of building inclusive cultures, we need to open space for voices that were not heard. We need to be willing and able to review, rethink and redesign it together. The same applies to our behaviours, the way we act and speak – we are all evolving, engaged in an active learning curve.

Unlearning habits that are exclusive, and building new inclusive ones, takes intention and a commitment to education. Start by transforming actions, systems, habits that you know are possible, then move into more complex tasks. We can all make a bigger effort by listening to others that are not in our “in-group”. We can all self-assess, identify and start challenging our beliefs and changing our own biases.

Share your knowledge and experience to create a greater social impact.

It starts by listening. Sometimes just by listening you can make space for someone who may not
otherwise have a voice. You open yourself to learn and embrace everyone’s views and perspectives –
this can bring new ideas to the table and can also help you expand yours.

Another important step is to SPEAK UP – if you see something, say something – don’t watch
someone being mistreated and walk away without doing something about it. Lend your voice when the people can’t find their own.

We all have the power to create a greater social impact. I chose to focus on organizations, the ways they engage with people and society, but each person can find their cause, the way they can change their own network and community.

How to engage leaders in your industry?

Sharing perspectives while willing to learn from theirs, finding common experiences, defining a common ground. Organizations are founded on values that drive the strategies defined. Reviewing those together, challenging perspectives on behaviours and the association with those values are important. Responsible and inclusive leaders want to form great cultures and are usually open to innovate and rethink their own concepts.

We tend to debate a lot on the business case for diversity, but the truly innovative and leading organizations are open to do the right thing – to challenge the status quo. The impact to the bottom line is important, but leaders are also responsible for the development of people and for the social impact they create in the communities they operate.

What are some strategies for creating an Inclusive Workplace?

We believe organizations have to treat inclusion and diversity as any other business priority, with a clear strategy, following a few steps:

1. Define what “inclusive” looks like for your organization

2. Build your fact-base to find out your inclusivity baseline – find out the gaps in your a culture that excludes people

3. Integrate an “inclusion culture” plan into your overall business plan – link it to your business goals

4. Review key inclusion metrics during routine business reviews (for example: measure access to career opportunities and leadership development programs, parity of performance reviews, equality of pay, employee perceptions of inclusion, etc.)

5. Get specific about what behaviours are expected of everyone to make inclusion real (and which ones you want to eliminate)

6. Activate all the roles to make change happen, including line leaders as owners, HR as enablers, and everyone through to the frontlines as key players

7. Celebrate successes and learn from missteps… it’s a learning journey!

What is the advantage to have diversity & inclusion at the workplace?

Creating inclusive cultures has a material impact. When companies establish inclusive business cultures and policies, they are more likely to report an increase in creativity, innovation, and openness. Inclusion drives engagement and engaged employees are better for business.


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