FirstService Brands: Fostering an Environment of Diversity & Inclusion

by Laurie Dietz, President and CEO, TLS

At FirstService Brands, being regarded as an employer of choice in our respective industries is a shared aspiration. We want all of our people, from our front line teams to our employees in corporate offices, to feel valued, respected and happy to come to work every day. To attract and retain top talent – key to being an employer of choice — we must continuously foster an environment of diversity and inclusion.

When people think of diversity, they often think of gender and race. But it’s much more than that. Diversity is the broad range of human differences – including ethnicity, age, physical ability and attributes, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, national origin and political beliefs. Inclusion is an organizational effort where a sense of belonging and empowerment is cultivated, the dignity and worth of all individuals are recognized, and those having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted, welcomed and treated equally.

Laurie Dietz and FirstService Brands CEO Charlie Chase address attendees at the GROW event during the 2018 Brand Experience Summit

As we discussed how to do this, we discovered a TedTalk focused on Cultural Intelligence, which is the understanding and appreciation of what makes us different from one another, and how we can effectively work with and relate to people across different cultural contexts. Looking inwardly at ourselves to truly understand how open we are as individuals to people who are different than we are will help us understand the challenge that lies ahead organizationally. We want to ensure that as we add new voices and perspectives to our organizations, they are not just heard, but they also shape and evolve the fabric of our corporate cultures.


To introduce the concept and gauge interest, we shared the TedTalk during a special session at our 2018 Brand Experience Summit. Over 180 individuals were in attendance from across our different Brands. The session proved to be an incredible success igniting lots of meaningful conversations and engagement. The Brands committed to taking this knowledge back to their organizations to gain traction and new learnings that could then be shared at the next Brand Experience Summit.

Our journey has only just begun. Stay tuned as we work to define our collective ‘WHY’ this is important for the evolution of our business, and share the learnings we gain across all our companies.