… an ally for those who are different and who are worried to open up about their differences at work? I have been working at CAE for many years - more than 18, and I love our company, I love the people who make up the CAE community. However; I cannot help but notice that nobody talks much about their differences at work, about, for example, being gay or having a disability. Have you noticed?

Perhaps there is no need? Perhaps we are comfortable as we are. Or perhaps we don’t give ourselves a chance to be more open. 

I am originally Lebanese, and I came to Canada many years ago, when I was 16, and I lived here alone with my younger brother for a few years before my parents joined us. The country we came from was one of the most closed off at the time - Saudi Arabia, where we had lived for a few years because of the war in Lebanon. My parents sent us to Canada because they wanted us to have a good education and live in a country where we could thrive. It is perhaps those years in Saudi Arabia that have made me so sensitive to discrimination, and to the importance of embracing diversity and inclusion.  

I have never witnessed personally any discrimination at CAE, however; I believe it is important to let everyone feel that it is safe to be open at CAE. I would like to work in a place where we can talk about our differences. Whether we are gay, transgender, Buddhist, Muslim, autistic, whether we have ADHD, or some kind of disability or mental illness, we should be able to mention it and to bring our whole self to work. 

We live in a society where prejudice still exists and where discrimination is still far too common. Recognizing these facts and offering support to our colleagues who are different will help us make our company more open and inclusive.

Being an ally means promoting an inclusive and accepting culture, regardless of our own identity. It means speaking out against comments or jokes that are racist, homophobic, or sexist. It might mean recommending a talented employee for a promotion, because he or she keeps getting passed over because they are different. It might mean stepping forward to ask a fellow employee to stop harassing another employee, based on their age, race, religion, handicap or sexual orientation, or even reporting them.  Or it might just mean lending an ear to someone who wishes to open up.  

Last year, we launched our Diversity and Inclusion initiative to make CAE even more open, progressive and people centric, and create a workplace where all employees can feel accepted, included and valued for who they are. In the coming months, we will launch and develop more initiatives, and we hope all employees worldwide will get involved!

Do you want to be a Diversity and Inclusion ally? An LGBTQ ally, a mental health ally, or do you want to support people with disabilities, as well as those who may need special consideration to care for a loved one with a disability? 

Learn more: Diversity and inclusion at CAE