The I.D.E.A for A Better Tomorrow: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility at IABC/Toronto
Across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) there are communicators who hail from all different backgrounds, with different beliefs, experiences and ideas who are helping the communications profession grow and evolve. IABC/Toronto is a reflection of this diverse community. When you join IABC/Toronto, you’re a part of a culture built on respect that recognizes the talent of all members from diverse walks of life.
Who We Are:
In an effort to raise the bar on representation for local communicators, in June 2020, a working group called the IDEA Committee was formed. The committee is focused on driving strategic recommendations and strategies to the IABC/Toronto Board of Directors that will further inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility in the communications profession in the GTA.
How We Came To Be:
In June 2020, IABC/Toronto’s leadership and GTA communications professionals began dialogue on how the association could better champion and meet the needs of its diverse membership. The overwhelming feeling was that a dedicated group of volunteers be established to audit, continue discussing within the community and, ultimately, create recommendations to the IABC/Toronto Board of Directors.
The IDEA Committee was formed in June 2020 by a team of dedicated IABC/Toronto members. While the members may change from year to year, the IDEA Committee’s mandate will continue to evolve year after year.
In April 2021, the IDEA Committee presented to the Board of Directors a comprehensive report, which outlines the result of community engagement, in-depth conversations, brainstorming sessions, and quantitative research.
What does Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Mean To Us?
Inclusion is about the collective. It’s about creating a culture that strives for equity, and embraces, respects, accepts and values differences.
Diversity is about the individual. It’s about the variety of unique dimensions, qualities and characteristics we all possess.
Equity is about fairness. Ensuring everyone has equal access to the same opportunities.
Accessibility is not just about the physical environment. It’s about access to and representation in content for all.
Our Mandate & Goals
We want each and every IABC/Toronto member to feel supported and represented.
To achieve this mandate, the committee has established the following goals:
- Provide more diverse and inclusive resources on our chapter’s website by auditing current resources, initiatives and statements.
- Host forum discussions with members and non-members to gather feedback and recommendations.
- Survey GTA communications professionals on potential initiatives and ideas.
Our Upcoming Projects:
- Initiate a new Board Role in 2021-2022: the VP, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility.
- Implement recommendations in 2021 – 2022.
- Ongoing measurement of the impact of IDEA initiatives and resources.
An Ongoing Commitment
While the IDEA Committee is working hard on recommendations to the Board – informed by feedback from GTA communications professionals – it’s important to note that this is not a one and done. Each year we will evaluate and discuss the recommendations to continue to best support our members.
IABC/Toronto Leadership Supporting This Important Initiative
Some of the other ways IABC/Toronto is supporting inclusion, diversity, equity & accessibility:
- Diversity & Inclusion Data:
- Partnership between IABC/Toronto, CPRS, CCPRF, Leger, and Breakfast Culture to gather baseline demographic data of communicators from across Canada, as well as data on the experiences of communicators in Canada – launched January 4, 2021.
- The findings of this survey will be communicated with members and non-members early- to mid-2021
- IABC/Toronto Website:
- Review and updates of imagery to be more representative of our diverse membership – Completed Fall 2020
- Implement recommendations from imagery audit – Ongoing through 2021
- Complete audit of accessibility
- Implementation of accessibility audit recommendations – Ongoing through 2021
- Seeking out speakers that represent a variety of backgrounds, cultures, genders, industry and experiences
- Increased offerings of IDEA topics
- Increased advocacy within and across IABC of initiatives that support inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility
- Increased collaboration with partners and educational institutions to support inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility
- OVATION Awards
- New award categories to reflect the changing landscape: COVID-19 Response & Recovery, Anti-racism, LGBTQ2, Accessibility
- Communicator of the Year
- Dedicated to recognizing professionals in the GTA who advance and advocate for IDEA principles through excellence in communication – Get to know our Communicators of the Year
- Renewed commitment to bring greater representation to communications professionals in Toronto through:
- Partnerships with groups representing new Canadians
- Student communicators circle
- Commitment to profile IABC/Toronto’s diverse members and volunteers
- Mentorship opportunities
- IABC/Toronto leadership that represents a variety of backgrounds, cultures, genders, industry and experiences. Get to know our Board of Directors.
About Us & Why We Are Passionate IDEA-ers!
Committee Chair: Krista Henry, University of Waterloo
Communications, Culture and Learning Professional. Difference maker.
Passionate about diversity and inclusion.
Board Representative: Alice Namu, Lighthouse Communications Consultants
Communications enthusiast | Board Member | Committed to shaking up the status quo
Survey Manager: Pamela Bishop-Byers, Nuclear Waste Management
Strategic Communicator, Culture-First Ambassador & Social Impact Advocate.
Passionate about creating space for and amplifying diverse voices.
IDEA Auditor: Matthew Collis, Manulife
Senior Communications Professional. Relationship Builder.
Passionate about diversity and inclusion, technology/ digital, and health
IDEA Auditor: Jeannette Holder, CAAT Pension Plan & IDEA Auditor
Experienced communications professional with a passion for unique storytelling.