March 13th, 2023
Janielle Maxwell, CWCF JEDI Business Conversions Project Coordinator
Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, Black Women’s Professional Worker Co-op & Whole Women Network
This presentation highlighted the need for Justice, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (JEDI) initiatives in Canadian employment and workplaces.
Janielle Maxwell from CWCF proposed that employment in Canada still has a long way to go to make members of equity-denied groups (EDGs) feel truly valued, comfortable and adequately represented at work. She highlighted the workplace and employment struggles of women, Black individuals, and people with disabilities specifically, as well as the barriers that Black individuals face within traditional financial sectors and the case for a return to pre-colonial practices of business and investment.
Janielle then discussed how CWCF’s JEDI Business Conversions Project is a means of raising Social Purpose Organization (SPO) awareness among EDGs. SPO business models may be better aligned with the values of these communities, compared to traditional models where EDGs often face inequality and discrimination. She also shared the core objectives, communication outcomes, project timelines, and achievements of the JEDI Business Conversion Project.
Next, Juliet ‘Kego shared her insights on the cultural connections of Indigenous peoples (and other people of colour) to the SPO model. She also touched on how business conversions to SPOs provide economic, socio-cultural, heritage preservation, and investment readiness benefits to members of EDGs.
The session continued with a presentation from Co-op and Mutual Canada’s Sope Ogunride, and was followed by a vibrant question & answer period.