Meet Nadeem Basaria with CBC’s Inclusion and Diversity team

On May 21st, people around the world will be celebrating World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. According to the United Nations, this day “gives us an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better.” While it’s nice to have a special day to celebrate this, it’s crucial that we strive to better understand others on a regular basis. Thankfully, at CBC/Radio-Canada this is part of our corporate culture.

As one of our champions for diversity and inclusion, Nadeem Basaria works as a project manager with the CBC Inclusion and Diversity team based out of Toronto.The first time I met Nadeem, he was working on the CBC Development Workshop for Diverse Creators. Recently completing its second edition and in the planning stages for the third coming up this fall, the workshop brings together and trains diverse mid-level creators from the independent production community to develop their own pitches for original programming.

Nadeem 2“Actually, the workshop is just one of the many initiatives that the CBC Inclusion and Diversity team undertakes each year,” says Nadeem. The team partners with colleagues across all content and business areas of CBC, as well as with external organizations. Together, they come up with new ways to reflect audiences in our content, to create an inclusive work environment and to reach out to communities. “The industry is changing – so is our country and how people engage with us. Working on inclusion and diversity at CBC is all about intensifying our connection with Canadians,” explains Nadeem.

What is it about our workplace that makes it unique? What is it that makes you proud? To be part of an organization that has been a huge piece of the Canadian culture landscape for almost 80 years. Everyone seems to have a story about how CBC or Radio-Canada has impacted their life. It can range from growing up with Kids’ CBC to connecting with Canada for the first time as a new immigrant through a local morning radio show. It’s an honour to be in an organization that has such a significant impact on the country’s people and culture.

What piece of advice has stuck with you throughout your career? Early in my career, one of my mentors told me that most great achievements begin with meaningful relationships. I strive to take the time to build and maintain strong professional relationships with colleagues and collaborators both inside and outside the CBC.

Who inspires you in your job? The people I work with: the Inclusion and Diversity team (Heather Boyce and Helen Kugler), Steering Committee and Advisory Groups within CBC. We would not be able to accomplish what we do without their passion, creativity and committment. Every encounter I have with them leaves me feeling inspired and energized to do more.

– Jacinthe Lacombe-Cliche, Senior Writer, Corporate Communications

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Meet Alex Johnston, vice-president of Strategy and Public Affairs

Sarah and I were waiting in Alex’s office in Ottawa, ready to start this interview. Based in Toronto, where she and her husband raise their three young children, Alex is committed to coming to our head office every week. We can say that she’s a Montrealer too. A McGill graduate, Alex was born in Montreal and spent most of her childhood and teens there.

Our new V.-P. came in to meetalex j us, full of energy and with sparkling eyes (and gorgeous shoes!). We had 20 minutes in her busy day to ask her our questions, but first she wanted to know everything about our backgrounds and roles. Alex told us that, throughout her career, her focus has always been to develop as a communicator, and for sure, she understands that communication happens between people first.

What advice/tips would you give a student who wanted to follow in your footsteps and pursue a similar career? I’d say: try to find work that is meaningful to you, that you care about. Most importantly: always be yourself. Trying to be someone else just takes too much energy! When we care about what we do and we’re true to ourselves, that’s where we’re at our best.

Who is your favourite Canadian star of all time? There are so many, but Margaret Atwood’s, Alice Munro’s and Michael Ondaatje’s books have brought so much to our country (I’m fascinated by good storytelling). In terms of on-air stars, you have the Rick Mercer, Gill Deacon, Peter Mansbridge and Paul Gross. My husband and I really do enjoy listening to Stuart Maclean on The Vinyl Cafe. It’s amazing how he transforms simple life events into fascinating tales. (There again, my fascination with storytelling!)

What technological tool (app, software, mobile device) could you not live without? My BlackBerry. I do all my work on my BB!

What is the latest CBC or Radio-Canada program that you have watched or listened to? My husband and I have really enjoyed The Romeo Section. Every day, I listen to Metro Morning and Here and Now. I love The Current and there was an episode of Someone Knows Something during which I had to stop driving so that I could listen to it very carefully. It was the interview with David Ridgen who is the host, writer and producer of the podcast.

What competition are you most looking forward to during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio? All of them. We’ll watch everything. My kids are fascinated with every competition. My heart goes to running, but quite frankly, I’ll get interested in any sport where there’s an athlete that I’m following. We do a terrific job at getting audiences to know our Olympic hopefuls. I’ve already selected 10 athletes whom I want to follow.

In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception that people have about us? Actually, I don’t think that Canadians are aware of how much far ahead their public broadcaster is in terms of its digital shift. Our leadership in that matter is a story that we need to tell. We’re transforming ourselves into a modern public broadcaster – with the same focus on high-quality content and services. The diversity of our workforce from coast to coast to coast is also a strong asset, one that we don’t talk enough about and that we need to build on.

From your point of view, what are we doing particularly well? From news, to arts, to entertainment programming, there’s quality across the board. What I’m most proud of is that, more and more, we speak to people how they want to be spoken to.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best content if you don’t deliver it on the platform and in the fashion that people want it. To me, the storytelling, the platforms and our talents are all part of the equation.

– Jacinthe Lacombe-Cliche, Senior Writer, Corporate Communications
– Sarah Lue, Social Media Advisor, Enterprise Communications

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Building the CBeeC Buzz

How are our bees doing? How did they survive the winter?

These are frequent questions asked of Athena Trastelis (Health, Safety & Environment) and Daniel Langevin (Real Estate Services), who lead the biodiversity program for the Corporation and who are responsible for launching our involvement in the urban beekeeping movement, as announced last year.  

Athena explains, “Bees do not hibernate in the winter. Rather, they cluster together and remain active inside the hive to generate heat and keep the colony from freezing. In general, we winterize them by insulating the hive, adding ventilation and maximizing their sun exposure”.

With Spring finally here, we are excited to announce that the hives in Toronto and Montreal are now open, as shown in these photos:  

And even more exciting, the program is growing.

  • In Toronto and Montreal, two additional hives will be added for a total of 6 hives each.
  • Talks are underway to possibly add beehives in our locations in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Regina and Ottawa. We hope to announce the launch of the bee program at each of these sites soon.
  • A bee camera has been installed on the rooftop of the Toronto Broadcasting Centre to give employees there a view of what our bees are up to on a daily basis. 

This is all joining in with other organizations who are getting involved to help #bringbackthebees.

And in recognition of Earth Day on April 22, we’re asking all employees to acquaint themselves and participate in their local biodiversity projects. Some of you are amateur beekeepers; others grow their own gardens. Whatever you choose to do, do your part and help keep our planet healthy.

CBC/Radio-Canada’s ongoing participation in Earth Day and other environmental activities are featured in our annual environmental report.

– David Oille, Senior Advisor, Strategic Communications, Enterprise Communications

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RBC Training Ground – At the heart of partnerships

Throughout the months of February and March, RBC, in partnership with CBC Sports, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Canadian Olympic Foundation (COF) have been travelling throughout Canada meeting young athletes as part of RBC Training Ground. Athletes between the ages of 14 and 25 were invited to participate to see if they have what it takes to compete on the world stage. This series consisted of regional workout events designed to help sport officials uncover athletes with Olympic podium potential, in sports the athletes may not have considered.

This collaborative partnership appr1oach is key to bringing the Olympic Games to Canadians and is one of the principles at the heart of our sports strategy. These kinds of collaborations are important to CBC/Radio-Canada and help generate revenue that can then be reinvested in original content creation. CBC Sports’ role during these events was to capture and tell the inspiring stories of these young athletes who were discovered and share these stories across our platforms, including our weekly program Road to the Olympic Games. We asked Jim Kozak, senior director, marketing, media solutions at CBC/Radio-Canada, about this program and what it takes to develop these kind of partnerships.

What happens at these regional events? Local athletes execute a series of workouts measuring speed, power, strength and endurance. They perform in front of coaches and officials from a variety of national and provincial sport organizations and their results are measured against performance benchmarks to determine an athlete’s capacity for sport at its highest level.

W5hy is this program important to young athletes? Simply, it will provide all young athletes with another vehicle to help them achieve their Olympic dreams. CBC Sports, along with RBC and the Canadian Olympic Foundation are truly teaming up to make future athletes talent identification easier and then providing the athlete with the experience and support they might need along the way to achieve their Olympic aspirations.

Why are these types of partnerships important? As programs like this one become woven into our new sports strategy, it’s extremely important to partner with like minded organizations to support Olympic sport within Canada at the grassroots level. This provides both CBC Sports and RBC with a voice in this space and legitimises our collective efforts to support young aspiring athletes to reach their best potential.

How do these types of partnerships benefit the public? In general, these types of programs offer us great opportunities to reach into Canadian communities and touch individuals in an emotional and meaningful way.

Can you tell us a little about what the process is like when it comes to developing a program like this? Developing these types of programs and partnerships takes time as with this program in particular, as it was woven into the overall strategy, so it is not a one-off type program. It truly is in line with what CBC Sports represents moving forward at its core. Once the program is built, it’s a matter of taking it to the market to see who in the corporate landscape has similar objectives. Once we met with RBC, we then had to align the overall vision of this program to fit with their marketing objectives realizing that it will evolve over time as it is a five-year partnership. This partnership took about 6-9 months to come to life, but the idea was born about a year ago.

A special thank you to Jim Kozak for taking the time to share with us. We also want to thank everyone who came out to participate, support and encourage these young athletes! We’re looking forward to Rio!

– Hélène Breau-Cluney, Communications officer, Enterprise Communications

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