On 22 September St Matthew-in-the-City and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce held their second annual Business Leaders’ Breakfast with a sell out group of 110 attendees.
Entitled "The value of difference: cultural diversity in the workplace", four speakers explored this issue.
The speakers were Founding Partner of Chen Palmer, Mai Chen; Matthew Ensor, Business Director for Beca and Dr John Evangelista, General Manager Nirvana Health Group. The event was facilitated by St Matthew’s Vicar Rev Dr Helen Jacobi and a response to the presentations was delivered by AUT University’s Professor of Diversity, Edwina Pio.
In her summing up Professor Pio highlighted the following: Mai Chen spoke about the work of the Superdiversity Stocktake which is to be published in November. In 25 years over 50% of the NZ population will be Asian, Pacific Island or Maori. Generation 1.5 (those who have grown up here but been born elsewhere) are the bridge for the new migrants and the resident population.
Matthew Ensor spoke about the Beca experience and creating high performing teams of many cultures. He described his “yum cha” moment of seeing staff communicate more openly in a different context and how concepts such as “initiative” need to be unpacked for each culture.
John Evangelista described the family of the Nirvana Health Group from 45 different ethnic and how they support each other in religious and cultural celebrations. They encourage the hiring of family members to strengthen the commitment to each other.
Professor Edwin Pio then challenged the audience with three questions: How do we engage in real world issues; what are we prepared to commit to? and what are we willing to act on?
Participants went away with the many examples from the presenters to reflect on these questions as businesses in Auckland strive to keep up with the diversity of our city and to gain competitive advantage from working with diverse teams.
The breakfast was sponsored by Hesketh Henry; CBRE and Westpac.
Photos provided by Kylin Image.