Every new year signals fresh starts, new projects and self-imposed challenges. This year, my goal is to use my voice more in the area of inclusive communication — whether it is in internal & change communication, belonging-infused employee experiences, leadership communication, storytelling & branding.
I am starting off with “52 weeks of BDEI” – a year-long exploration on a mission to learn and help those who would like to learn more about how to communicate BDEI efforts and social inclusion.
Someone once asked me what the B is in BDEI so I’d like to clarify why I’m choosing BDEI instead of just DEI. B stands for Belonging. Being an advocate for ‘belonging at work’, I can’t just miss out on this word. Also, it is my belief that diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be realised if we don’t exercise what I call the belonging mindset.
In “52 Weeks of DEIB,” I embark on a mission to weave DEIB into the fabric of the communication practice. Each week, we’ll unravel a thread of this complex tapestry, exploring topics ranging from cultural competency to allyship in the workplace. This initiative is more than just sharing knowledge. It is my hope that what I’m going to share will help other communication professionals create meaningful change while weaving in inclusive communication practices in their work.
As communicators, we wield the power of words and narratives, and the world revolves around narratives. Understanding DEIB is pivotal in ensuring our communication is respectful, empathetic, and inclusive. “52 Weeks of DEIB” is not just a commitment to personal growth; it’s a step towards shaping a world where everyone feels understood, heard and valued.
I’m a communication consultant who is passionate about equity even before DEIB was coined. The earliest diversity story I can remember is inviting a neighbouring kid play when other kids thought of him as handicapped (he had 6 fingers). I used he/she in my elementary school essays before the use of pronouns. I stood up to the class bully who was twice as big as I am when he ridiculed women. I was bullied at work myself which made me study belonging and its impact in the workplace.
Currently, I am working with the United Nations Development Programme as DEI and anti-racism communication consultant. So the content that I will share is thus based on lived experience, research and work experience.
What I’m going to write about
- BDEI basics: To weave in inclusive communication in our work, we need to understand the basics. This is no different from communication sustainability or STEM. We need to understand what’s on the table and why this work is important. We also need to develop new skills.
- Diverse themes: Every week, we’ll dive into a different aspect of BDEI, bringing to light both challenges and triumphs. If there is a specific diversity day on that week, I’ll try to write about it.
- Insights from the field: I’ll feature voices from experts and everyday champions of BDEI, enriching our journey with their wisdom and experiences. These insights might come from what I hear, read, watch and listen to.
- Tools and techniques: I will share with you some tools and techniques I’ve picked up along the way while working on inclusive communication, whether it is in communication planning or designing a behavioural science-informed strategy — because BDEI is about change and to create change, we have to understand how people react to it.
- Actionable steps: True to the ethos of inclusive communication, each post will offer practical micro-actions to help integrate BDEI principles into your life and work.
In other words
“52 Weeks of BDEI” is an invitation to join hands in a journey of learning, understanding, and advocating for a world where diversity is celebrated, equity is pursued, and inclusion is the norm. As an inclusive communicator, I am committed to guiding us through this journey with empathy, respect, and openness.
Your first micro-action
As we set off on this journey, I encourage you to take the first step: reflect on your personal understanding of BDEI. What does it mean to you? How does it manifest in your communication? Jot down your thoughts and prepare to expand, challenge, and enrich them as we journey through “52 Weeks of BDEI.”