Empowering Innovation through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have a profound impact on innovation. After all, diverse experiences and perspectives are crucial to sparking creativity both in the workplace and in the community. At ORION, we continue to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization that can better support our constituents.

DEI and Innovation in Our Community

DEI is essential not only for our organization but also for the research and education community in Ontario. We are cultivating a welcoming workplace where individuals from all backgrounds can thrive to further drive innovation. By making an ongoing commitment to DEI, we pave the way for new ideas and perspectives that might otherwise go unexplored. 

We have championed DEI in our community with a panel at the ORION THINK Conference and a Women in Cybersecurity panel at ON-CHEC Day 2022. 

At THINK, Sheliza Jamal, Syrus Marcus Ware, and Heather Watts shared best practices and challenges as organizations implement DEI programs and policies. Their panel on Strategies to Promote Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility in the Workplace explored how organizations can develop a DEI strategy and the challenges in doing so. 

During ON-CHEC Day 2022, Michelle Moore, Nela Petkovic, Vanessa Kwende, and Sue McGlashan discussed how to close the gender gap in cybersecurity in their panel discussion called Career Paths and Post-Secondary Education for Women in Cybersecurity Part Two. Vanessa Kwende, Security Business Analyst at Humber College, explains that “diverse perspectives lead to better decision-making and problem-solving.”  

When researchers and educators from different backgrounds collaborate, their collective intelligence enables them to tackle complex challenges, and develop novel solutions with local or global implications. By promoting fair practices and providing equal opportunities, organizations can address systemic inequalities, attract diverse talent, and amplify the voices of underrepresented groups.  

Building a Bridge to Innovation: Next Steps for DEI

We have embraced DEI and are implementing DEI best practices across the organization to create an inclusive and equitable workplace where every employee feels valued and respected while having equal opportunities for growth and success. ORION encourages women, LGBTQ+, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalized groups to apply for job openings. We also provide accommodations for candidates during the hiring process.

As part of our ongoing efforts, we will conduct an assessment and develop a strategy to enhance our commitment to DEI further. By having open conversations, we can identify opportunities for improvement and use different experiences to inform the development of our DEI strategy.

Additionally, ORION will engage in conversations with our community about DEI. In doing so, we can better understand how to serve the needs of researchers, educators, and innovators. We look forward to incorporating their feedback as we strengthen our commitment to DEI.

The strategy will align with our core values of creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone is respected and valued. We aim to foster a more vibrant and impactful working environment that enables us to collaborate with other organizations across Ontario.

Honouring ORION’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

ORION’s commitment to DEI is essential to building a stronger, more resilient organization that will be better equipped for future challenges to support our community. After all, cultivating diverse ideas, experiences, and perspectives paves the way for us to tackle complex issues and fuel innovation.

By embarking on a journey to conduct a DEI assessment and create a strategy, we can implement new policies and improve our existing ones. We will prioritize DEI to create an environment where our community can thrive.

We recognize that a DEI strategy goes beyond simple policy implementation. It requires ongoing commitment, constant learning, and continuous accountability to ensure that all employees understand the importance of DEI. We understand that DEI extends beyond the workplace. As an organization, we are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive work environment while promoting equality and fairness in our community. We encourage everyone to share their experiences and perspectives as we continue to create an empowering environment for all.

Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusivity will enable even more innovation in everything we do. Together, we will champion DEI to drive positive change within our organization and our community.