“Both of my parents were born in India and immigrated to Edmonton, Alberta.
Living as a second-generation Canadian has been an interesting experience. At home with my family I never felt Indian enough. I struggle with things like communicating with my grandparents who don’t speak a lot of English l and my Hindi is terrible.
At work or school I never feel Canadian enough, or feel like I fit in completely. I always get asked the “Where are you from?” question by new classmates or colleagues. When I say “Canada” they go on to say, “No, but where are you really from”? After graduating from university at 22, I started working in Calgary in the oil and gas sector. More often than not I catch myself in a meeting room where I am the only visible minority, and sometimes the only female. I once had a colleague jokingly ask me in a meeting if I was getting an arranged marriage.
The lack of diversity and inclusion I found in the workplace is what drove me to start a few entrepreneurial ventures, which are a better representation of who I am and which allow me to be myself.
Canada is a diverse country, but I feel this diversity isn’t represented and valued equally everywhere. Diversity brings innovation and that’s exactly what our country and workplaces need at the moment. If we bid ourselves into conforming to a certain set of norms or ways of thinking there will be no growth or change. The more we encourage embracing people from all different backgrounds and cultures, the better it will be for the future of our country.” — Sheena, Calgary/ Treaty 7