17 January 2019

The Future Forums received some unique perspectives on the themes of Engaged Leadership and Inclusive Excellence during a workshop hosted by the Royal Military College of Canada with participants from Queen’s University and community groups also in attendance.

Daniel Last is a professor at RMC. He observed that how inclusiveness and diversity are defined tends to focus on a small number of criteria.

“Diversity is not just about visible differences. It is about different ways of thinking.”
Last said including a broader set of opinions on political and economic options leads to more enlightened decision-making.

Mara Shaw is the executive director of the non-profit organization Loving Spoonful in Kingston. She noted that people who live on low incomes don’t always expect their views to be considered by decision-makers, which is a community’s loss.

“They have no sense that what they have to say could be heard. For more fortunate people, the focus is on achievement. For many lower income people, it is about community.”
Lindsday Dercsak was among the participants from the Royal Military College. He echoed others at the Future Forums session.

“Class divisions are often not spoken of, and a piece of the inclusivity puzzle we fail to address.”

A range of insights were shared over the course of the Future Forums workshop by a variety of the participants: 

Pablo Cardona is an RMC naval officer cadet. He says effective inclusion in any organization leads to new ways of thinking, which in turn foster success, and that a failure to seek Inclusive Excellence can bring serious consequences.

“A lot of companies that don’t have a culture of inclusion fail. If they do recover, they often change, which shows you can’t really separate innovation from inclusion.”

Pascale Fournier, President and CEO of the Foundation returned to one of the fundamental themes of the Future Forums consultations: that the way we evaluate excellence is too narrow, leading to the exclusion of views and perspectives that deserve to be considered.

“When we talk about Inclusive Excellence, we don’t always define what ‘excellence’ is.”