Last year, Deloitte launched ‘Can you see me?’, a series of powerful educational films focussed on the importance of seeing others for who they really are and the value they can add; the films also focussed on understanding the impact of life experiences which are too often shaped by the actions of others.
While each character is fictional and played by an actor (who themselves has lived experience), their stories are an amalgam of real lived experience of people across different workplaces and various industries – their stories provide an insight into the daily experiences and challenges faced by too many people.
I was particularly moved by the story of Jackie, a transgender woman who shares, in a very raw and personal way, how the behaviour of others has shaped her journey. At the very core of Jackie’s story there is a simple ask - to be accepted. Her story – like each and every one of these films – is one of non-inclusive behaviours, assumptions and biases, told with courage, dignity and grace.
I have a strong affinity with the LGBT+ community, and I have done my best to use my role and influence to be an ally. This community is often one of the most underrepresented groups globally, and most certainly here in Asia. Within this community, the transgender group has an even greater set of challenges.
Awareness is critical to inclusion - in all workplaces and in wider society. I hope and believe that when people hear Jackie’s story it will give them a new understanding and awareness that they may not have been provided before. Some may even recognise themselves or their own personal experiences through the story, and find the courage and confidence to overcome their own struggles.
And of course, hearing stories is essential in building empathy and in understanding the impact our words and actions can have on others. They remind us of the role we all have in making others’ lives better by always showing respect and support to those around us.
At Deloitte, we want everyone to feel they can be themselves, without fear of prejudice – we place respect and inclusion at the heart of our culture, truly living our core value of ‘Fostering Inclusion’ every day. I recognise the incredible distance we have travelled on Deloitte’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion journey. I also acknowledge there is much more to do. I encourage organisations to be part of building a true culture based on trust, respect and inclusion for all.