There is so much we don’t know…but let’s seek to understand…


I have had the honour to facilitate a few different focus groups on dealing with anti-racism strategies. Over the last two weeks, I listened for over 12 hours from people of different races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, and disabilities share their experiences. I went through a lot of various emotions, I got angry with them, I cried with them and I also had this overwhelming feeling of the courage they have. This week I want to share my learnings as this experience has increased my self-awareness and made me a better human and leader.


Some quotes that stood out for me (Any identifying information is removed)

  1. “I appreciate the chance to be part of the discussion, but I don’t feel safe or trust that things will change…I have had many experiences of racism from “support services”.

  2. “People assume that because we have a disability, that we have constant support, we don’t and nor do we necessarily want to. I want to be independent and do not want to rely on others”.

  3. “Asking me ‘what is my race is’ is a trigger as in my country our race is used against us”

  4. “As English is my second language, some things may take longer to understand”

  5. “I want a leadership position, but I will never succeed as English is my second language”


What did I learn which will help me to be a better human and leader:

  1. There is so much I don’t know therefore I need to continue seeking to understand.

  2. People need to know that someone is on their side and cares about them. You don’t need to fix it, just acknowledging their feelings and experiences are important.

  3. Put yourself in their shoes and when speaking or initiating projects, consider their needs. I tried to skip a slide as it was a lot of information. I was called out “Denise, as I can’t see, I can’t answer the question, without understanding the information”. Wow, that was so disrespectful of me, but instead of shaming myself, I said, “I am so sorry, that was not inclusive of me, thank you for calling me out, here is the information...”

Next Steps: My Call to Action to Everyone as Individuals and Leaders:

  1. Seek to understand various perspectives, it may be uncomfortable but if you are genuine, people will see it. If you do something that is not inclusive, acknowledge it and learn from the experience. Do not shame yourself, you don’t know and we learn from experiences.

  2. If you have a team, really listen to your team and what some of their struggles may be, never assume based on the way someone looks or behaves

Connect with Denise:

LinkedIN: Denise Young

Facebook; Tigers Eye Advisory Group

Website: tigerseye.ca

Email: deniseyoung@tigerseye.ca


Article written by Denise Young, CEO/Founder/Consultant: Tiger’s Eye Advisory Group. Reach out to Denise (deniseyoung@tigerseye.ca) if you or your organization is interested in Diversity and Inclusion Programs, Leadership Workshops or Communication Strategic Planning

Article Written by Denise Young, WIL National Diversity and Inclusion Advisor and CEO and Consultant of Tiger’s Eye Advisory Group, a people-focused business solutions company that values collaboration and empowerment. She creates collaborative work spaces where “everyone is at the table”. She has a Bachelor of Management and a Masters of Arts in Communication and Technology from University of Alberta.


Reach out to Denise if you or your organization is interested in Diversity and Inclusion Programs, Leadership Workshops or Communication Strategic Planning.


Connect with Denise:

LinkedIN: Denise Young

Website: tigerseye.ca

Email: deniseyoung@tigerseye.ca


* Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

187 views0 comments