Earlier this year, Thinkingbox and AntiSocial set up a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, to encourage open and honest dialogue internally. The first step in this initiative was to assemble a diversity committee of Thinkingbox and AntiSocial staff to promote awareness and education in the workplace.

The initiative was in response to a wider global push towards prioritizing the experiences of minority groups, and marked the start of our internal efforts to create an ongoing dialogue about our own diversity and inclusion.

We are committed to making sure our company culture reflects the changing times, not just by responding to external pressures as they happen, but by thinking proactively about how we can start to better ourselves and the values of the company from now going forward.

Evoking Conversations

As of August, the initiative has set up a speaker series where members of the Thinkingbox and AntiSocial team, as well as external speakers, have been invited to share their experiences and evoke open conversations. The speaker series hopes to include people with a variety of perspectives and experiences, whether that be due to race, sexual orientation, religion, and so on. The series aims to put faces to different perspectives so that we can learn from each other and make positive change.

Our speaker series was kicked off with a talk by Thinkingbox Executive Producer, Satoru Inoue, who detailed his own experiences growing up in Japan and moving to Canada, and then led a discussion focusing on the ways we need to educate each other, rather than criticize. “Are we truly diverse and inclusive if we reject other people’s opinions?” he asked.

Satoru covered his unique experiences growing up in Japan, moving to Vancouver, Singapore, and finally Toronto, and prompted us all to think about our own changing opinions, and how important the acceptance of change is when it comes to dealing with your own subconscious and internalized biases. “Always question your initial feelings and ask why you feel the way you do” he noted.

“Let's establish a dialogue that leads to a society that truly embraces diversity”

Making Positive Change

Satoru focused his thinking around the idea of healthy debate versus unhealthy polarization, and the concept that in order to make change we have to get better at talking to one another. “Extreme responses only bring about extreme reactions” he explained, noting that the road to understanding requires “less confrontation and hostility”.

As a visible minority in Canada, Satoru explained he has experienced microaggressions due to his race, and his attitude towards microaggressions is that they, more often than not, come from unconscious biases stemming from a lack of education or exposure. “No exposure leads to fear” he noted, commenting that unconscious biases tend to go away when you are exposed to that person or group on a human to human level. This starts with conversation.

His talk and comments show exactly why these conversations are important, because unconscious and systemic biases are best addressed when you can put a face to an experience and realize that ultimately “all the people who are subject to discrimination are just people.”.

"Is this the only way forward to bring about the change we need?"

A Lasting Impact

Satoru’s honest talk and the following discussion were extremely valuable, and marked a successful start to a long road towards meaningful conversation and empathetic exchanges of experiences. Thank you to Satoru for kicking off this extremely important initiative! We are all better off after hearing and learning from your experiences. Stay tuned for our next speaker!

To learn more about our staff you can read about the team, keep up with our work, and if you want to reach out to us, shoot us a line.