Submitted by Katie Sayers

(Katie is a member of the ILC, a yoga instructor, and our wonderful Communty Relations Networker!)

As we each lead by example in our own lives, I invite us to continue to act with intention as we consider whom we can accompany along a path of service, in building inclusive and vibrant communities.

As Inclusive Leaders, we are the advocates of this world embracing vision.  It is up to us to take action and to share what we know so deeply in our hearts to be such valuable skills, and knowledge.  With an awareness of our own network of family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, and neighbors, we each consider whom we can extend an invitation to participate in building skills for connecting with differences as strengths. Continue reading

ILC Annual Gathering June 2017

This report was collaboratively written by all the participants in the June 2017 Inclusive Leadership Co-operative Annual Gathering!

Thank you to Daniel Collins and Pheonix Moore for your photos!

Click here to read the full ILC Annual Gathering June 2017 feedback report

There was so much positive energy based on being here to support each other with fellowship and no competition. It felt great to be welcomed and accepted here, making connections, finding ease and inclusion. A general sense of happiness in all the children, youth and adults contributed to a safe, warm atmosphere of acceptance and support. This was three days of slowing down to see friendly faces and feel the warmth, friendship and openness of everyone. Within the global frameworks of the international Earth Charter and the International Co-operative Movement, the whole ambiance was love, togetherness and respect.

“In big groups I usually feel shy, but by the end of the weekend I was completely comfortable.” (quote from a participant)

Continue reading

Being an Inclusive HR Manager

This is part 1 of a 2 part blog-post submitted by Jackie

Jackie recently shifted from a career in Human Resources to a career as a writer and Mom. When she’s not writing  and spending quality time with her family, Jackie volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and looks after her menagerie of pets. When Jackie discovered the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative website, she identified with the values and skills involved in Inclusive Leadership and generously contributed this article about being an Inclusive HR Manager.

I learned to become an Inclusive Leader during my years working as a Human Resource Manager for a small home health company. This experience helped me to change my thinking and believe that a complaint is an opportunity to understand what our employees need in order to be successful. I also learned that a company can be proactive and try to create an inclusive environment that heads off problems early. The way to be an Inclusive Leader is by developing four important Inclusive Leadership skills: connecting with differences, communicating with compassion, standing up for inclusion, and building bridges.  This post Focuses on connecting and communicating. 

Connecting With Differences

With our workforce becoming more diverse, human resource professionals need to develop skills to connect with different people. The first step to successful connection is approaching differences in a relaxed manner. Being calm and present leads to relaxation. An easy way to be in the moment and relax is to practice deep breathing. Mindfulness can be reached by a number of practices and outlets, some examples are: exercise, creativity, playing with children, or meditation. Through relaxation, we are more open minded and receptive to different people and opinions.

Business are more successful with different personalities and perspectives. The same people with the same world views will miss problems or creative solutions. The HR department is the hiring arm of business, so making the decision to embrace different people, or daring to be different, will empower you to seek out talent that will help your company. Think about and embrace different ways you can understand and accommodate different cultures, traditions, races, etc. and speak up for those ideas.

To help you embrace differences, it is important to connect with different circles of communities. Through participation and education, you will also be able to manage the stress and keep up with self care as you understandably go through a culture shock when working with unfamiliar communities. So join new groups and adapt to different dynamics within the group; welcome visitors and newcomers to any group and be inclusive when different groups are brought together.

Letting go of the win/lose model of thinking will help you be more inclusive, so approach problem solving cooperatively. When problems arise at work, try to bring all parties involved into the solution for a win win approach. A skill needed during this process is refocusing and reframing the situation by asking open ended questions and making suggestions. This will encourage people to compromise, especially since they have a seat at the table.

Finally, connecting with differences means not forgetting those that lead behind us. Don’t forget the employees who are not part of your immediate sphere. People who lead behind the scenes may see solutions and problems you don’t see as the HR manager. Everyone in your organization is important, but be careful to ask permission to include him or her. An inclusive group means that participation is voluntary.

Communicating with Compassion

Listening is an important part of communicating. It isn’t effective communication if you don’t clearly understand the other person’s position. The person you are talking with will be appreciative if you understand and respond to his or her needs. To become a better listener, don’t just hear the words someone is saying, but pay attention to nonverbal clues. If an employee is telling you everything is fine, but her arms are crossed, she won’t make eye contact, and her voice is wobbly, then she is upset. But also don’t forget your own verbal cues. You want to exude calmness and openness, so don’t lean across the table and stare down the person. Ensure you are focused on the conversation, and be kind and vigilant. Kindness comes easy when you are empathetic to the person’s feelings and needs, so listen without judgement to what the employee is sharing with you. Don’t get distracted by your own story or by electronic devices (put down the cell phone or turn off the computer screen).

When responding to an employee who is sharing a problem or upsetting situation, share facts to ensure you understand without judging. Show concern with the individual by sharing feelings and follow up on how she is feeling. Ask what is important to her. Let people choose how they want to respond, as there is a difference between demanding and requesting. The latter empowers people because choice is part of the equation. Don’t overwhelm the individual with too many questions or requests. Open ended questions are also best.

In your career or in your community you may have to overcome language barriers. If you have an employee who speaks a different language than English as their first-language you will have to be patient and creative.  Possibly look into interpreter services.

If you are intimidated by this information don’t lose heart. Inclusivity does not mean perfection. There is no such thing as perfection. But if you are an Inclusive Leader, even when you make the inevitable mistake, by being open, warm and understanding you will have employees communicating with you. You will learn from your mistakes. And your company will be better for the lesson.

Click the “Follow” button on this website and you will be notified by email when Part 2 of Being and Inclusive HR Manager is is published.

The ILC Looks Back Over the Year

Co-written by INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP CO-OPERATIVE members and guests during our June 3 Annual General Meeting

The ILC is a non-profit, community service, volunteer-run co-operative with a vision of communities transformed by embracing the diversity in all living beings as gifts that enrich our world. Our mission is to bring people from diverse backgrounds together to nurture and mentor Inclusive Leadership development in ourselves, our communities and our world. Click here for more Information about the ILC.

Here are highlights from June 2016 to June 2017. Continue reading


submitted by Lynn Smith

“Monday Morning Music” is my biggest joy each week! For a little over an hour each Monday morning there is a hall in our small town of Duncan, BC, Canada that just rocks with friendship, companionship and music—lots of music!

What does “Monday Morning Music” look like? Visualize a back-up band of professional musicians – could be a country band, or a rock band – it doesn’t matter as these guys can play most any style of music you like! We have a fantastic keyboard player, a rocking lead guitarist, and a bass guitarist who has a million songs tucked in his back pocket. Picture me standing on stage and looking out at a sea of happy faces, all potential star performers. I love this participatory audience of about a hundred people who come every week to sing along, dance, and perform. Members of the audience are invited to come to the microphone, choose a song they would like to sing, and away we go! Can you see my heart soaring with gratitude to see how music unites and brings together such a diverse group of people? Continue reading