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Leveraging Diversity for Business Success

Organizations are increasingly realizing the importance of being representative of the markets in which they serve, and with emerging growth in the global economy, companies are starting to incorporate diversity into all elements of their business – from hiring practices, to procurement, to training and development.

Many companies are already realizing the significant advantages of leveraging diversity in both internal performance and external market competitiveness. As such, the incorporation of diversity at other levels of business has recently been receiving an increasing amount of warranted attention.

Leslie Meingast, an active leader in the Women and SME market shares further insight into the opportunities a diverse culture brings organizations. A mentor, speaker and advocate in diversity, Leslie works tirelessly to break barriers for women in business.

Diversity is a business imperative. I live it, breathe it, sleep it.
- Leslie Meingast

How does diversity make a business more successful?

Diversity encompasses language, place of birth, age, gender and more.

Diversity in culture breeds diversity in thought. By opening up to differences in opinion and perspective, global viewpoints are seen and heard. Without this diversity, people and organizations can become myopic, impeding growth and hindering opportunity.

At TPD, diversity is foundational to our organization. 2/3 members of the executive team are women.  This diversity brings richness to our organization.

An interesting study was published by Stanford Business that established the positive impacts diversity has in work groups. The research confirmed that “the presence of social diversity makes people with independent points of view more willing to voice those points of view and others more willing to listen.”

Given your experience in the women’s market, what opportunities do you foresee in the diversity market?

Consider these facts:

  • 90% of the Canadian economy is driven by the SME market

    • Majority of SME business owners are not Canadian born

  • 90% of consumer decisions made in Canada are made by women

  • 4 out of 5 businesses being started in today’s economy are led by women

  • When women make up 40% or more of an organization’s advisory board, the organization experiences better ROI, fosters stronger culture and is more socially responsible.

The women’s market is valued to be $15 trillion. Yet shockingly, very few corporations have developed a Supplier Diversity Program to tap into this market.

In Canada, only 35 corporations take part in WEConnect International. Some of these enlightened companies include: Accenture; BMO; RBC; Telus; and Walmart.

Looking forward, the opportunities for both corporations and diverse SME’s are limitless. Now is the time to develop diversity initiatives, invest in training programs, and broaden your perspective. By leveraging diversity in both internal performance and external practices, you can catapult your business into a wide-open market space.

What are the impacts of incorporating women into your executive teams?

Using a spider-web analogy, women tend to envision themselves as the centre of influence, with webs of connection leading to others in their network or organization. While the women may be leaders or managers within their organization, they embrace the expertise of others, leaning on colleagues for support.

Within TPD, our culture promotes collaboration and invests in the education and training of our greatest assets – our people. As a result, the organizational ‘web’ is continually growing outward – gaining capability, capacity and bandwidth.

TPD is WEConnect International and Employment Equity certified. Given these certification and HR qualifications, we work with our clients to develop diversity initiatives that will enable their business to succeed. To learn more about how to implement diversity programs within your organization, contact us.

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FEATURED EXPERT: Leslie Meingast

Leslie Meingast, Founder and CEO of TPD, has grown TPD from a recruitment agency into a global full service talent management and organizational performance firm which also includes all levels of staffing and contracting. A mentor, speaker and advocate in diversity, Leslie works tirelessly to break barriers for women in business. “Diversity is a business imperative”, Meingast explains, “I live it, breathe it, sleep it”.

Leslie is active in public, private and not-for-profit boards and organizations including: Galt Foundation, Chair; Forum for International Trade Training (FITT), Vice Chair; WEBAC, Vice Chair; Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) International Director; GroYourBiz, Advisory Board Member; WBE Canada, Founding Member; United Success, Full Founding Member; and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Member. She also recently completed her term on the SME Advisory Board for the Minister for International Trade.

As a thought leader in HR and advocate for diversity, Leslie has been recognized globally.  Her organization has been a many time recipient of the “Best to Work For” Award. She is listed in BIV – #3 “Biggest” Organization owned by a woman in British Columbia and 14th “Biggest” lead by a woman. In 2014 Leslie received the Astra Women of Excellence Global Growth Award, in 2012 the WEConnect Ambassador Award, in 2009 the International Women of Influence Award, and the WPO Global Growth Award in 2007.

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