Radha Curpen comments on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) in CBA National's look at how life at work might be after a year of social upheaval. Radha will be part of a panel of leading lawyers speaking April 22 at the annual CCCA National Conference as part of the closing panel, Back to Work Does Not Mean Back to Normal.
In the CBA National story, Radha says:
"I believe we owe it to ourselves, the people we lead, and to the communities in which we work—for everyone, this is a learning experience," says Curpen, who is also the co-head of her firm's environmental and aboriginal law group. "The expectations for business leaders are growing. The pandemic has shown us that businesses and organizations have been called upon to take care of their people—their employees and communities—and that's not going away."
Curpen says that leaders should draw people's experiences from the last year to foster an inclusive discussion in their organization about what has transpired. They must ensure that all voices are heard.
"When leaders look around the table at their organizations, they need to see who is absent and who is present," she says. "There's diversity that is inherent and visible, but also acquired diversity that is based on your experience and culture and social skills. I include all of that as being important when I look around the table when we're putting together a proposal, for example. I look at who is missing who has experience. When I speak of diversity, I look at it from the broadest sense possible."
Reflecting on an unconscious bias seminar Bennett Jones held in December, Curpen recalls a discussion with EDI workplace expert and human rights lawyer Dr. Tanya De Mello, who is assistant dean of students at the Ryerson University Faculty of Law.
Her presentation included a quote, often attributed to writer Anais Nin: "We don't see things as they are – we see things as we are."
"I thought that was very powerful, and I have adopted those words and found them useful in my dealings with people. I stop myself and wonder if things are really as they are or as I am, in order to try and find the blind spots," she says.
In the end, talking through the issues will help elevate the organization—and the country. "[I]n doing so we are becoming more aware of each other and our blind spots and how we can perform better," Curpen says. "It creates a higher expectation on performance which I think is good for any organization."