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Diversity is strength

Celebrating our differences
By Tom Wellner
This past year has brought unique challenges for all of us, and it’s also shone light on opportunities to see new perspectives and evaluate how we do things. It has allowed us to think about how we will come out of this time as “changed” individuals. One of the things I have learned is how important it is for me to be vocal about my beliefs and values because when we add our voice to conversations, we help to amplify the voices of others. At Revera, diversity, inclusion and belonging are important, and I am pleased that we are taking further steps to formalize our approach and strategy including establishing a team dedicated to this end.

If there’s one thing the pandemic has proven beyond any doubt, it’s that our combined efforts make us stronger. From the scientists bringing us vaccines, to the healthcare workers offering support and hope, to the parents and teachers going above and beyond to keep kids learning, to the frontline grocery workers and delivery drivers who keep us all safe at home, to the people dutifully masking up to so that their neighbours can stay healthy. We’ve all had a role to play in protecting each other from this virus.
“Moving forward together is the only way to lift each other up and break the barriers of systemic racism, sexism and other prejudices.”
Leading the charge in Revera’s retirement residences and long term care homes across the country are our more than 20,000 employees. Our employees come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. One of the things that unites all of us at Revera is our compassion and dedication to supporting our residents.

I believe it’s imperative for a company to be a welcoming place to work. To achieve this, we are focusing on three dimensions: our employees, our leaders and our organization.

This year, we are reaching out to our employees to hear more about their experiences. We are also forming employee driven resource groups that can help to build and share our awareness and perspectives. We recognize that no matter what statements we put out as an organization, nothing is more impactful to our 20,000 employees than their daily lived experiences. That’s why a major focus this year and beyond will be fostering inclusive leaders at Revera through awareness and training on how our actions, words and behaviours can directly contribute to helping others feel that they can be their authentic selves at work. Finally, as an organization we have started the journey of continuously examining our policies, procedures and practices at all levels to remove any systemic barriers and ensure an environment where all of us can thrive.

We recognize that this a continuous journey with no end destination – we will always have room to learn and improve. Along this journey, we are committed to engaging with our diverse employee population for a broader perspective and discussion on the opportunities we have to raise awareness and to do better.

February is Black History Month, and it’s an opportunity to recognize the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians in shaping our country’s past, present and future. I reflect on the words of the Hon. Jean Augustine when she said, “Black history is Canadian history.” Now more than ever, we recognize that learning from our history and being aware of where we are and where we’re going can’t be limited to one month or one event. For me, recognizing my privilege as a white, male, Black History Month represents a great opportunity to attend events (virtually for the time being), discover literature, documentaries, music, personalities and stories that are being highlighted this month, so that I can continue my personal journey and pursuit of knowledge that will broaden my perspective.

We live in a world that still has much work to do, with systemic barriers, and specifically, anti-Black racism evident on a local, national and international stage. Our differences make us stronger; they should not be used to stoke division but rather to enrich our collective experience and our response to the needs of the society we live in. Moving forward together is the only way to lift each other up and break the barriers of systemic racism, sexism and other prejudices.

Be well. Stay safe. Stay strong. Wear a mask.
Tom Wellner
By Tom Wellner
Tom Wellner is President and CEO of Revera. He has led Revera since 2014 and has guided its strategic direction to grow, innovate and lead in the sector. He has a passion for innovative solutions to complex problems and believes that innovation is key to designing a better aging experience.