On March 17 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Inclusion Incorporated’s Bridges of Belonging, a national webinar hosting conversations focused on inclusion, will feature Kimberley’s Josh Dueck and Bruce Kirkby.
The discussion will be moderated by Andrea Carey, a certified inclusion professional who has been working in the field for around 12 years, getting her certification two years ago.
Carey said that a certified inclusion professional brings tools to organizations to support their inclusion work.
“I’ve been involved with disability sports, Indigenous inclusion, women and girls inclusion and newcomer inclusion and looking across the spectrum of who people are and what they need to be successful,” Carey said. “And then how we support organizations to do a better job of including them.”
Describing how she personally would define inclusion, Carey said she looks at it across a spectrum.
“We look at diversity as who people are, inclusion as what they need to be successful and then we go a little bit further and talk about belonging being the feeling of being included,” she explained.
Carey grew up in Kimberley and though she didn’t know Para-Alpine World Champion and X Games gold medalist Josh Dueck growing up, they met through the Paralympic system, as she was on the Canadian Paralympic Committee board of directors for the past ten years, so they connected through that and became friends.
She said that she only just got connected with Kimberley’s adventurer, writer and photographer extraordinaire Bruce Kirkby this past January. She read his book “Blue Sky Kingdom” over the holidays and thought he would make a great guest for the webinar.
“The reason I selected them is one they’re friends and know each other and two I thought they would bring really interesting perspectives to the conversations,” Carey said.
Inclusion Incorporated started holding these Bridges of Belonging conversations last May and this month’s will be the 24th installment. While this one certainly has an intentional Kimberley theme and will speak to a local audience, it will reach a broader audience as well through the various themes that emerge throughout.
“These conversations are around people’s individual journeys of belonging,” Carey explained. “What they need to feel like they belong, times when they haven’t belonged and how they’re also bringing their learnings forward in whatever roles or leadership they’re playing.”
She mentioned Dueck’s becoming Chef de Mission for Team Canada at Beijing next winter as an example.
“It’s a real opportunity for him to take some of those learnings of belonging and take that to Team Canada,” Carey said.
These webinars are aimed at individuals as well as organizations and leaders. Carey said that she’s often asked which of the 23 previous conversations has been her favourite and she says it’s impossible to pick one, as they all have had great guests and fostered great discussions.
“It’s really for anyone because we all have our individual journeys of belonging,” Carey explained. “So it’s an opportunity to kind of reflect on your own journey and what that’s meant for you, but it’s also an opportunity to think about how you can do more work within your organization to support each person to show up as they are and have a successful experience.”
Each conversation has been different and Carey says she’s found that the participants react positively and have a rich experience from them. Each guest brings something unique to the discussion of inclusion, which Carey feels is a subject that isn’t always delved into in society.
“I think we have a lot of work to do as a society,” She said. “We have a lot of structures and systems that continue to exclude people.
“These conversations are meant to be a bit of a stimulus to get people thinking and talking about how we maybe start with the person and put the person at the centre of the experience rather than sort of the rules and policies if you will and then rebuild systems and structures around what people need to be successful rather than what the structures need.”
Bridges of Belonging is a free event and if you’re interested in joining the conversation, you can register on their website at www.inclusionincorporated.com
“I’m super excited to do a Kimberley episode and I hope that Kimberley folks tune in,” Carey said. “It will be a great opportunity to hear from some pretty incredible people from Kimberley and we’re always keen to grow our audience so it’s a great opportunity to connect back to my hometown.”