Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Part 1)

Working at Automattic has afforded me an opportunity to work in the tech field I am most passionate about. It has also taught me the value of balancing work with AFK time. But these learnings are eclipsed by what I have learned about the importance and power of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Since 2014, Automattic has placed a significant focus on DEI.  So much so that we have employees in 96 countries, speaking 119 different languages, and representing all walks of life! It is wonderful. As a Canadian who grew up in Newfoundland, with a Filipino father (d. 2009) and a Newfoundland mother with French, English, and Indigenous heritage, I am very proud to be a member of this diverse group of colleagues. (Confession: I actually did not know I was a visible minority until I had to fill out a health form to play university soccer and my Japanese teammate pointed out I checked the wrong box on the form…that I was Asian and visible minority. This one moment has forever shaped my experiences and how I view the world.)

Fast forward 32 years and I am now married to an amazing woman from Boston, MA with two amazing boys (8 and 10).  Recently, I learned from my youngest son that 7 grade 2 classmates don’t speak English. It opened my eyes to look around this growing community. In our neighbourhood we have people from various religious faiths, countries, sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and beliefs. I also took notice of people at the grocery stores, restaurants, walking down the streets, sporting events, the soccer pitch, baseball fields, and in our hockey arenas. It was clear that Bedford, Nova Scotia was becoming more diverse with every new subdivision.

In all areas of this community, diversity abounds, except one.  The hockey arenas.  Our association is the biggest hockey association east of Montreal with over 1100 kids playing hockey, and this does not even include the girl’s association. However, it is almost exclusively white from the kids who play to the executives.

Hockey was my first love. Along with other sports, it has taught me countless life skills and given me lifelong friendships. It is the reason my kids play. I had it easy growing up in small-town Newfoundland and excelling at sports. I was accepted by my peers and always felt welcomed to play. But looking at the environment now, I can see that hockey culture has to evolve to become better at DEI, and more welcoming for all.

So, after 6 years of working at A8c and seeing DEI at work, with its positive benefits on growth, culture, productivity, creativity, and inspiration (just to name a few) I have decided to take action and become an agent of change. I am embarking on a journey to make Bedford Minor Hockey a more DEI-conscious association. It will take time, patience, and repeated conversations but I believe the only path forward to grow and strengthen associations like Bedford Minor Hockey and communities like Bedford, NS is through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  

Who knows, maybe the next Sydney Crosby or Conner McDavid may very well be an LBGTQ+ kid from Africa who moved with his bi-racial family to Bedford, NS, and fell in love with the game we all love here in Canada.


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