Message from Chief Diversity and Culture Officer30 April, 2021
With April being Diversity Month, it felt like a fitting time to introduce myself as the TTC’s inaugural Chief Diversity and Culture Officer, share highlights from my first 30 days, and give you some insight into how I think about diversity and inclusion as well as our path forward.
So a bit about me – I love Toronto and feel a real connection to the city! For me, the chance to join the TTC in this new position was a real opportunity to contribute and make a positive impact on the TTC, Toronto and our society.
I know that diversity and inclusion have been key topics over the past year, here at the TTC, in the media and society as a whole. We know COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on women, racialized groups and Indigenous Peoples. News stories about George Floyd’s death and trial, as well as the increase in crimes against people of Asian descent have also become part of our regular discourse.
To better understand diversity and inclusion at the TTC, I have spent my first 30 days focused on listening. I wanted to share just a snippet of what I’ve been up to as your inaugural Chief Diversity and Culture Officer:
1. Holding roughly 50 individual conversations with Chiefs, Directors, Managers, Co-ordinators, Instructors and Operators.
2. Participating in media interviews with CityTV, the Toronto Star and CTV.
3. Reviewing findings from the Racial Equity Impact Assessment and a Board presentation on this, which included our path forward.
4. Attending Diversity and Culture Leadership meetings focused on Research and Analytics, Communications and Board commitments.
5. Strengthening alliances with KPMG, Metrolinx and the City of Toronto.
As I have been formulating my initial thoughts on diversity and culture at the TTC, I have been thinking about things with three audiences in mind: TTC employees, TTC customers and the broader community.
First, the TTC has been around for 100 years – we will celebrate this milestone with pride this fall. There has been so much transformation and growth over the past century. With that proud history, many of our employees have reached out and shared their excitement regarding what is on the horizon for us. Others have also shared their views on feeling excluded or being treated unfairly. I think the steps we have taken to change representation at the TTC have been an important start. However, we need to continue to review existing practices and create a culture where all employees feel included and ultimately proud to work here.
Second, from a customer perspective, I really want to ensure we can regain the trust of all our customers. We have a diverse customer base – people from all races, all socioeconomic backgrounds and all physical abilities take the TTC. We’ve made a commitment to do better by all our customers and I want our riders to hold us accountable as we evolve and modernize.
Third, I see the TTC as a key part of Toronto – we reach everyone and, as such, are integral to every community we serve. I want the TTC to be the transit system that makes all of Toronto proud.
As I wrap up, I hope each of you had a chance to reflect on diversity and inclusion this past month – I know I have. And if you haven’t, I’ll leave you with a quote from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey that embodies how I think about the work I am privileged to do and our path forward; “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” Usually when we talk about differences, we think of race and gender. But our differences show up in our cultures, languages, sexuality, abilities and ages, among other things.
As we end this month, I hope you were able to celebrate all those differences that make us this proud and mighty organization, and leverage those differences as we continue to transform.
Chief Diversity and Culture Officer
April 30, 2021
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From the Archives
- Message from the TTC Chair, 05/03/2021
- A message from COMTO Toronto and Region President Annette Salfarlie, 26/02/2021
- Message from President of CUPE Local 2, 02/12/2020
- Wheel-Trans working non-stop to help keep our customers, staff safe, 31/08/2020
- Message from the Chief Executive of the TTC Pension Fund Society, 12/08/2020
- How Wheel-Trans Operators are helping Covid-positive patients get medical care, 12/05/2020
- Message from the PFS President and Vice President, 28/04/2020
- Message from the Chief Executive of the TTC Pension Fund Society, 09/04/2020
- Tough choices need to be made, 13/12/2019
- TTC Rockets reach cricket finals, 08/07/2019