Women in Power
Electrical Business now an EHRC “Advocate” for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
“In short, we’re not fabricating anything that isn’t there. We’re simply taking that extra step to find those stories... and tell them.”
By Anthony Capkun
September 9, 2021 – It’s official! In a signing ceremony today, Electrical Business Magazine became an Advocate of Electricity Human Resources Canada’s Leadership Accord on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
I was joined in the ceremony by long-time industry colleague and friend, Michelle Branigan, EHRC’s CEO.
For the Electrical Business team, and for me personally, signing the Accord is a natural extension of our own beliefs.
Developed and launched by EHRC in 2017, the Accord proposes action to expand the breadth and depth of the skilled workforce; ensure that under-represented groups are informed of the opportunities available in the sector of their choice; and, once employed, are fully supported and provided with equal opportunities to grow and develop to their full potential.
There are two streams by which an organization can get involved and take action under the Accord: as an Accord Signatory or as an Accord Advocate.
As an Accord Advocate, EBMag pledges to “actively engage in outreach and promotion of the Accord and the principles for which it stands”, and encourage its network to become signatories themselves.
Ken Hartwick, CEO of Ontario Power Generation, is quoted as saying “As a sector that employs so many Canadians from coast to coast, we must take a leadership stance in changing our demographics”.
Unlike OPG, we are a very small team, but we endeavour to share news and stories from electrical disciplines all across Canada, including those traditionally under-represented. We’ve made it a point to seek out and speak with women in the electrical sectors; we’ve increased our coverage of Indigenous power projects and proponents.
In short, we’re not fabricating anything that isn’t there. We’re simply taking that extra step to find those stories… and tell them.
More than just a photo op
The Leadership Accord on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is not just a photo opportunity.
“Cultural change requires really strong leadership,” Michelle says, “And Accord Signatories are making a commitment to putting in place policies, processes and practices that will support the advancement of those under-represented groups in their organizations.”
She went on to explain that this commitment is not just visible to their various boards of directors, but to all of their employees. It becomes public knowledge.
“There’s also an evaluation process built into the Accord so that organizations are able to benchmark where they currently stand with their DEI practices, and assess their progress over time,” Michelle notes.
This gives organizations the data they need to see how well they’re doing, and to identify areas for improvement.
“And it’s really important to celebrate the wins,” Michelle adds. “So these Signatories are working with their employees, with their teams, to really make a tangible difference in their organization.”
“Forward Together” as agents of change
As part of our conversation, Michelle and I naturally shifted to EHRC’s upcoming one-day conference, Agents of Change, on September 29. This year’s theme is “Forward Together”.
“We bring people together to talk about all things diversity, equity and inclusion, lessons learned, best practices, things that are going great, and things that have gone wrong,” Michelle says. “People love talking to each other about these types of things, and learning from each other. I’m still learning all the time!”
Designed to encourage interaction and collaboration, Agents of Change is a national gathering for employees and leaders at all levels “to share their stories and the innovative strategies that are inspiring change, with measurable impact”.
EHRC has assembled a great line-up of speakers/panelists, so I strongly encourage you to set aside some time to hear their stories, and to network and exchange knowledge.
“And, at the end of the day, it’s all about progress and change,” Michelle continues, adding, “You know, I’ll be glad when we don’t actually have to have these conversations any more. But we’re not there yet.”