Enabling Diversity of Thought Is the First Step

The COVID-19 pandemic will be looked back on by future generations as the catalytic agent that transformed how we have lived in the 21st century. The world has changed forever. Never have we needed to leverage creative ideas as much as we do now to re-frame our lives and our workplaces as we start to prepare for the future. Encouraging and nurturing diverse opinions is the only way to ensure we recreate an inclusive, optimal, and fair society for everyone.

Working from home has turned into living at work for many. Women continue to evolve as key contributors in the workplace, whilst juggling their careers with the nurturing and caring roles they fulfill in the home. The traits and values inherent to both these domains are no longer exclusive. We’ve all heard of the “bringing your whole self to work” ideology. This tenet has been thoroughly vetted by the work-from-home practice many of us have had imposed on us over the last year and a half. Seeing a parent contributing in a virtual meeting while responding to a restless child has afforded us a privileged glimpse into a part of people’s lives that was previously private. I believe this firsthand perspective has made us more empathetic, supportive leaders. When joining someone in a virtual meeting, the customary “How are you?” is offered with genuine sincerity when we understand there is so much more at play behind the scenes. We recognize that people are simultaneously juggling many balls to meet all their obligations.

Technology has proven that it is an enabler and is opening international opportunities for organizations looking for people and for individuals in the job market. Organizations now need to look at their people policies to ensure they’re positioned to not only recruit the best talent, but also to retain people in an evolving workplace that is now truly global.

I’ve been very fortunate to have spent 20 years at an organization, that at its core, has always placed its most valuable asset—its people—first. We don’t claim to always get it right, but we actively work to ensure our people feel supported, enabled, and valued—and we’re open to course correct as needed. OPTrust is genuinely committed to supporting and promoting women in leadership, not solely because of their gender, but because it consciously recognizes the talent, expertise, and contributions of the women we have on our team. The OPTrust ethos resonates personally with me, and the excellent leaders I’ve had the privilege to work with during my tenure have helped make me the leader I am today.