ADM(Mat) Sr Procurement Officer (D Maj Proc), Department of National Defence
My name is Laura Raine. I work as a Procurement Officer at the Department of National Defence. I completed a micro-mission with the Diversity and Inclusion Office over seven months.
On my micro-mission, my initial goal was to contribute to a change of thinking when it comes to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Not only was I able to take steps towards my personal goal, but in the process I also learned to be a better ally.
As someone with mental health conditions, I know firsthand how important it is to have accommodations in the workplace. Throughout my career, it has been a challenge to get managers to really understand my conditions. The difficult experiences I’ve faced still affect me to this day. But they have also taught me to have empathy for the people that are discriminated against for any reason – whether it be mental health, race, gender, religion, education, or other.
The Diversity and Inclusion Office provides information, working groups, webinars, Ask Me Anything sessions, testimonials, and personal reflections to teach others to incorporate diversity and inclusion in the workplace. One of the group activities I participated in consisted of statements meant to guide individuals to reflect on their privileges. I could really see the effect of having white privileges – being (or not being) white affects how we are interpreted, respected, and listened to. The more I know about my white privilege, the more I can understand how people of colour are systematically denied the same privilege.
The workplace is (or at least it should be) a representation of our society. A more diverse team not only accurately represents our multicultural country, but it also allows for various opinions or experiences to be heard. Valuing each other’s differences is what ultimately brings us together and creates a collaborative and positive work environment.
From my parents, I learned how we can value each other’s differences. When they married, their union was not always accepted because of their religious differences. Despite everything, they had a wonderful life and marriage. We can all learn a lot by opening up our minds a little bit.
Diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. We must learn from others and hope our peers will do the same. I intend to use the tools, tips, and experiences that I gained while working with the Diversity and Inclusion Office to keep diversity and inclusion practices moving forward. I owe it to myself and to others.
Laura believes that we owe it to ourselves and others to integrate diversity and inclusion in the workplace.