Last May, I had the privilege of attending Forward Summit 2023. It was a two-day event where industry experts, leaders, and professionals gathered to discuss and explore what reconciliation means for corporate Canada, which includes the responsibility and consideration when working with Indigenous professionals and communities.
I enjoyed the panelists and topics that were centered around inclusivity and change, such as “What does it mean to create a safer, more respectable work environment where Indigenous employees feel safe and understood?” and “What practices and policies need to be implemented to support this change.”
I walked away inspired and enlightened, wanting to share my experience with our readers here at Business Link.
Forward Summit Highlights
I was grateful to listen, learn, connect, and build awareness around current issues other Indigenous employees and communities face, as well as understand how to create and develop meaningful relationships in business.
In between the panels and breakout room sessions, there was an opportunity to network and engage in rich conversations with special guest speakers, partners, event organizers, and those who sat on the leadership council. It was insightful to continue learning and connecting with other professionals who were all there for the same purpose, which was to discover ways and create space for wanting to build a better tomorrow through economic change and development between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous relations. I believe this is what working towards reconciliation is: respecting and understanding barriers and differences while also trying to discover ways to overcome these challenges together.
Overall, there was a sense of support and community during those two days at Forward Summit that felt safe and inviting for all those to participate.
When reaching new heights and attaining goals for equitable inclusion, productivity and consistency are high priorities, but patience is also a virtue. Good things take time and care, just like raising children and fostering healthy relationships. People are stronger together when we stand in solidarity with one another and try to understand our differences.
Everyone plays an important role and serves a purpose to sustain and establish good relationships. Without guiding principles or teachings of accountability, there’s no room for improvement. No person or role is greater or lesser than the other, and we all have a collective purpose when wanting to move forward in the right direction toward reconciliation. But, most importantly, it’s not the sole responsibility of one person or one specific group to promote inclusivity, especially if that person or group is the one experiencing exclusion.
It’s never too late to start creating space for change and understanding. A healthy professional work culture is built on communication and trust.