Many employers have struggled to promote diversity within the workplace, particularly within the upper ranks of an organization. I am currently taking part in a program which I believe is an excellent model for those organizations seeking to maximize the opportunity which diversity presents. It is called the DiverseCity Fellows program, a one-year, action-oriented program aimed at developing leadership skills among a group of approximately 25 chosen professionals of diverse backgrounds across the GTA. The program includes a range of workshops on leadership development, diversity, and civic awareness. The group of Fellows is just as diverse as the GTA itself. One particular aim of the project is to facilitate the exchange of ideas between individuals of varying backgrounds. The ultimate aim of the program is to create a pool of talented potential leaders of diverse backgrounds who are ready to take on various roles.
The program provides a useful template for other organizations that are contemplating how to stimulate creativity and foster a pool of talented leaders. The DiverseCity Fellows program demonstrates that it is possible to pursue diversity and excellence in performance at the same time. The ultimate aim of any such program should be not only to hire individuals from diverse backgrounds, but more importantly to ensure that their skills and unique perspectives are effectively utilized. Through such an approach, employers can better realize the substantial returns that come with an investment in diversity.