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article imageDBN Supplier Diversity Conference took place in Toronto Special

By KJ Mullins     Mar 24, 2012 in Business
Toronto - Stephen Frost, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the London Olympic Games, was in Toronto yesterday to speak at the DBN Supplier Diversity Conference.
Frost made time for the event even with the clock ticking down at 126 days because diversity in business is key for the global workplace.
Frost said that the Olympics are a labour of love. As he sees his city of London cleaned up for the games it's the future that will be the legacy of his work.
"The question is what will be the legacy. Will London have benefited by the games and will diversity advancements continue?," Frost said during his speech Friday.
The DBN Supplier Diversity Conference, headed by Courtney Betty, founder of Diversity Business Network, said that Friday's event was about making an action plan when it comes to bringing a diversity element to the global workforce. " There have been too many flashy presentations in the past that lead no where." For many in Toronto diversity is just the way it is but when it comes to business diversity is still lagging in a city where the population is as varied as the rainbow. "I love Canada. The future of our country depends on how we come together to make a diverse powerhouse."
Canada is slipping among developed nations when it comes to productivity and innovation. Countries that are thriving have high rates of new start up ventures said Wendy Cukier of Ryerson University. Those start-ups are what drives job creation. In Toronto the culture is three-quarters diverse but that doesn't show when it comes to the head of major industry. "All the 'isms' are alive and well in Canada," said Cukier. By leveling the playing field in Canada we will become more of a global economic player.
City Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37) said that on average 100,000 newcomers arrive in Toronto each year. Thirty-one percent of Torontorians speak a language other than English or French. "Diversity is part of our DNA," Thompson said adding that Toronto has the highest rate of self-employment in Canada. Small business is the engine of economy growth in the city yet Thompson stated that the city does not have a formal diversity purchasing policy. Thompson vowed that is changing. The Pan Am Games is a big factor in that change and is one of the areas where the city could shine if the plans are done right.
Tom Turpin, Randstad, said that if business does not reflect diversity then it will fail. The customer base is what drives the economics of business, therefore if your customers are diverse and in the global economy almost all customer bases are diverse, if who supplies your company and who works for you aren't diverse your company is not giving their customers what they need.
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