A day at SURGE

A day at SURGE

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you | Published: June 1, 2023

According to our 2021 member survey feedback, the business community was eager to continue or begin their journey to becoming more diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive (DEA&I). On March 24 of this year the Halifax Chamber responded to this feedback by hosting our inaugural SURGE Conference. It was a day filled with energy, connection, and insights, with the business community (attendees) hearing from some of Nova Scotia’s and Canada’s leading experts in the field.

A big focus and takeaway for business leaders was to Lead with Inclusion. More than just checking boxes, this means going beyond the business case by truly valuing human life and dignity; not because its profitable, but because it’s the right thing to do. There’s no point in recruiting from diverse populations if those folks will be met with racism and aggressive (and/or micro-aggressive) discrimination in their daily workplace. We are all vulnerable to biases, and by checking in with staff, listening to people, and remaining curious, businesses can better identify areas for improvement and start to make quantum leaps in their DEA&I goals.

“...thanks to you and the team for a phenomenal event. I know I left with both my mind and heart full, and I bet everyone else did too.” – SURGE Attendee

Attendees also had an opportunity to learn more about the 50-30 Challenge, a program the Chamber both supports and itself practices. The goal of the program is to challenge Canadian organizations to increase representation and inclusion of diverse groups within their workplaces, while highlighting the benefits of giving all Canadians a seat at the table. The goal of the challenge is to achieve 50 per cent gender parity, and 30 per cent racialized representation on Canadian boards and/or in senior management positions.

Complex problems require complex solutions, and the Chamber will continue to support these conversations and amplify equity-deserving voices in our community. We’ll make mistakes along the way, but we’ll keep learning and trying while we work together to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Halifax.

Special thanks to our amazing speakers: keynote: Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, opener: Jonah Ssenyange; panelists: Houston Barnaby, Tova Sherman, and Aris Hernandez; panel host: Katherine Risley, our workshop leaders: David Divine and Dr. Wendy Cukier, and all our table hosts.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

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