DiverseCity onBoard Launches in Windsor-Essex County
On July 11th, the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County (MCC) and local partner United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County held a launch event to mark the opening of DiverseCity onBoard Windsor-Essex. Attendees from not-for-profit, public, and corporate sectors, as well as representatives from local ethnocultural communities, heard from Lorraine Goddard, CEO of United Way/Centraid Windsor-Essex, and Lisa Kolody, Executive Director of the Windsor Essex Community Foundation on the longstanding gap in inclusive governance in Windsor and the importance of civic engagement at all levels. DiverseCity onBoard National spoke with Camila Alves, Manager of Community Engagement and Training at MCC, on why the MCC is taking on the task of fostering inclusive leadership and what’s next for the program.
Tell us about the Multicultural Council of Windsor-Essex County. Why is the MCC a good fit for the DiverseCity onBoard program?
The MCC is a not-for-profit organization that has been serving newcomers, immigrants, and Canadians in Windsor-Essex County since 1973. Our mission is to create a welcoming community for all through education, community engagement, and the increased awareness of the benefits of diversity and equality. DiverseCity onBoard is a perfect fit as it works towards educating and connecting qualified individuals from diverse backgrounds to not-for-profit and public boards. It helps connect people and agencies with the goal to benefit the community at large – objectives that are at the core of our mission at the MCC.
Camila Alves, Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County. (Aadel Haleem/CBC)
Windsor-Essex County is the fourth most ethnically diverse community in Canada. What do you think are the barriers to diverse boards and inclusive leadership?
I believe there is a knowledge gap from both sides: individuals don’t know where to find board opportunities and how to get involved, and organizations don’t know where to find qualified, diverse candidates and how to engage in board governance in a more inclusive way. I believe the local stakeholders in Windsor-Essex are ready and willing to move the needle on inclusive leadership and DiverseCity onBoard will help with the next step.
What does inclusive leadership mean to you?
It means tapping into the communities’ untapped talents, skills, and perspectives. When a portion of your community is not welcomed or engaged in all aspects of civic life, such as board governance, there is a major deficit of different perspectives and skills around the board table. Inclusive leadership is being intentional about acknowledging this gap and taking tangible steps to address it.
Now that the program has officially launched, what are the next steps to getting individuals and organizations involved?
The next step is very simple, it begins with individuals and organizations signing up to the program. Since our launch, we have received positive feedback from the community and we are already receiving new sign-ups, which is encouraging. The MCC team and I are here to guide people through the process, so get in touch to find out more about how to register. We are also gearing up for a follow-up event in September, so stay tuned for updates!