Over the last few years, we've seen a tremendous increase in corporate training programs in diversity and inclusion. Leaders are finally recognizing the critical importance of fostering a genuinely inclusive workplace culture.
The problem is, management often lacks the skillset and knowledge needed to recruit, nurture, and retain a diverse workforce.
Pamela Perez has built a career around helping companies navigate this challenging process. She has a proven track record in human resources, with a specialization in diversity and inclusion training, coaching, and consulting.
And now, Pamela has signed on to teach the new Diversity and Inclusion certificate at Kompass Professional Development.
We interviewed her this week to learn more about her background and what skills she'll be teaching in class. Read on for the highlights.
Q: Pamela, can you give us some background on your professional experience in diversity and inclusion?
Pamela: I started over a decade ago while working in the educational field in South America, trying to support students with accommodations and inclusion in the classroom.
Once I moved to Canada, I shifted to focusing on the workplace. In particular, I helped immigrants be advocates for themselves and understand what diversity and inclusion really means. If you come from a country where everyone is very much the same, it is really hard and shocking to be in a place where there are so many different cultures.
Throughout my career, I’ve prioritized initiatives that promote a healthy and positive work culture by following the principles of DEIB: diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
I’ve been certified by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Canadian Association for Supported Employment.
Q: Do you have some experience as an educator, or will this be your first foray into teaching?
Pamela: As an HR professional, I also specialize in learning and development. When I was working for the International Baccalaureate school system in South America, I was in charge of preparing learning and training content for over 300 educators.
Education is one of my passions, and I see it as very connected to HR because HR goes way beyond the administrative and logistics part. It’s human resources. So I’m all about that connection, that engagement, that accountability. I’m committed to student success.
Q: What skills will you focus on in the Diversity and Inclusion certificate? What will students learn?
Pamela: Students will learn the confidence to come into a workplace and have strategies that would allow organizations to align their values with their actions. They will have the foundation to understand what they need to look into and how they can organize their thoughts.
The first two modules of the certificate focus on self-awareness and emotional intelligence. These are key to regulating yourself and developing strong interpersonal skills. Students also work on developing effective communication and problem-solving skills.
Then we build on that by learning how to identify and tackle biases, resolve conflicts, and have those uncomfortable conversations without making anyone feel judged.
Change is overwhelming for everyone. But this certificate will help you learn how to manage those discussions and conversations and slowly work toward that change.
When you finish this program, you’ll have a better understanding of your role and the limitations you might encounter and how to deal with that frustration.
Q: Who is the Diversity and Inclusion certificate designed for? Who would be a good fit for this course?
Pamela: It’s designed for team leaders, human resources professionals, and anyone else who wants to integrate D&I into their organization but isn’t sure how to start.
However, I believe it would benefit everyone. If you’re coming into a company and you really want to make sure that you’re a good fit, understanding what D&I philosophy stands for allows you to understand the work culture a lot easier.
I think it’s a great opportunity to grow professionally and personally.
Q: In your experience, what’s the biggest misconception about diversity and inclusion?
Pamela: The biggest misconception is that it is only a set of actions or a handbook or a manual. In reality, it’s a lifestyle and a culture.
D&I is a way to bring you back into realizing that we’re human and that we deserve to be treating each other as humans. It goes way beyond a booklet; it starts from within.
D&I is all about making sure that everyone is included. That no matter your background or your professional experience, there’s going to be an effort to help you feel welcome and develop that sense of belonging.
Q: Why should companies invest in diversity training for managers and HR staff? What are the biggest benefits?
Pamela: Conflict resolution is one of the biggest issues that companies have, and diversity and inclusion training can definitely help with that.
Focusing on D&I also helps organizations develop an effective communication strategy that works for everyone. If everyone starts using the same language around being welcome and feeling safe, it’s going to become part of the company’s identity.
How do you align your values with what you’re doing? How do you make sure that you’re making the best decision? By thinking about the mission that the company has, you can ensure that your decisions and your actions reflect that.
Q: How do you see the field of diversity and inclusion evolving over the coming years?
Pamela: I believe that since COVID, there has been a huge identity crisis in the workplace. We’ve had the Great Resignation and quiet quitting and so many different movements.
More and more people are understanding that they deserve to be part of a workplace where they feel like they belong.
It’s becoming more of a two-way street in the job interview process, where candidates are starting to understand that they can ask questions like what are your D&I initiatives? Where are you at? What are your challenges?
I’m not too sure if we’ll all be D&I and it’ll all be sunshine and roses, but I think that we’re getting to a point where people understand that they have these rights.
Learn more about Diversity and Inclusion training from Kompass
Kompass offers a Diversity and Inclusion certificate that is delivered completely online. Training can be completed in three to six months, depending on the pace you choose.
The courses focus on practical skills and tools to foster an inclusive work environment and help diverse teams reach their full potential.
Click below to learn more about the certificate or chat live with admissions.