August 02, 2022
By Chad Friesen, CEO
At Friesens, we are trying to build a better business by increasing our collective understanding and action related to equity, diversity and inclusion.
When we learned of the tragic history of residential schools, and the damage caused to Indigenous communities, we realized that there is a lot we didn’t know and much we need to do.
As a result, we began a journey in 2021 to increase our understanding. It began with basic equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training for all leaders and employees. This year we also introduced a Diversity Scholarship which is available to any employees that come from a marginalized group and want to pursue further education. Several employees qualified for scholarships and some of the first recipients are just now graduating from their programs. It’s exciting to see these investments paying off in new career paths being opened for people.
In 2022, our training advanced and we are gaining a more specific understanding of Indigenous culture, history, and perspective. Our guide on this journey was an award-winning Manitoba author (and Friesens customer) named David Robertson. Our entire leadership group spent time with David as he shared perspectives, context, tools and stories. This was invaluable and allows us to take our EDI training and now apply it to a very significant reality to our surrounding community.
There is so much more work to be done, but we are proud to be expanding our understanding and acceptance of others.
We don’t have all the answers, nor have we done all that we can. We embrace the broader definition of success in business to include not only financial KPIs but strong social KPIs as well. Thank you for supporting us in this endeavour!