What I learned in a City of Diversity

In August I attended the 5th World Congress of Positive Psychology in Montreal, Canada. 

Montreal is a city of Diversity, where everyone speaks both French and English. The city has a strong history of supporting diversity:  on International Women’s Day 2011, the city officially recognised Sister Jeanne Mance as a co-founder of Montreal, along with Paul de Chomeny de Maisonneuve (who was recognised as a founder in 1606), and on the 19th of March, 2004, a Quebec Court amended the same sex marriage act, and Quebec became the first Canadian Provence to add a gender-neutral definition of spouse in its marriage laws.

In my last blog, I shared with you my passion: to influence a positive workplace culture, where people feel valued and accepted for their contributions and where individuals are empowered through their knowledge of practical self-care practices to reduce stress, improve and maintain their mental health

There were over 1300 students, researchers, scientists, and practitioners from over 60 countries attending the Congress. The defining message was clear: 

To be the best for ourselves and others, self-care is paramount to our wellbeing, and in building resilience

Along with understanding the strengths of ourselves and others, mindfulness was also highlighted a key wellbeing tool, due to the neurological benefits of both formal and informal practice. 

I also had the honour of meeting Professor Martin Seligman, who has been instrumental in promoting the foundations of wellbeing in Australia (also known as PERMA).

Another highlight was a student mentoring session with Professor Kim Cameron, Co-founder of the Centre for Positive Organisations at the University of Michigan. He spoke about knowing the strengths of the team, and who the energisers are in an organisation.

Key characteristics of energisers include:

  • They help others flourish, without expecting a payback
  • They inspire and provide meaning through communication
  • They are problem solvers and recognise opportunities
  • They express gratitude and humility
  • They instil confidence and self-efficacy in others
  • They have high standards and are genuine and authentic

I couldn’t help but notice the overlap between Cameron’s descriptions of ‘energisers’, and Diversity Inclusion’s descriptions of ‘being an inclusive leader’. Inclusive leaders identify the unique strengths of individuals within their team, and capitalise on the diversity of thought and experience within an organisation. They build internal capability, and support progression of all individuals, including those from diverse backgrounds. To learn more about Diversity Inclusion and our work on developing leaders Inclusive Behaviours, visit this page: http://diversityinclusion.com.au/unconscious-bias/

I learned so much at the presentations from people in this field, and these are just a few of my highlights. The congress inspired me to continue to learn and do more in this field, and I am happy to share that the 6th World Congress of Positive Psychology will be held in Melbourne in July 2019 (http://www.ippanetwork.org/wcpp2017/); I hope to see you there!

Leanne CamilleriComment