There’s something to be said for not saying anything.

Twenty years ago I eagerly entered the corporate world. Yes, it is true, despite what I am sure you are thinking I am not actually 25 years old! For the first few years I was classified and labelled as a job hopper – I quit over twenty plus jobs as I felt I didn’t belong or welcomed despite my university and extra-curricular accomplishments. To survive, or just simply exist I had to learn how to navigate this business world rather quickly. I knew I had to use my voice to be seen.

My journey has allowed me to cover and uncover a lot, and as a result, gain a tremendous amount of insight. Through this experience, I have learned to believe in and embrace the word lesson. Lessons teach me how to do better-wholeheartedly.

In 2000 I founded Matrix Search Group. I utilized the vehicle of search and talent management to address the importance of diversity and inclusion in the corporate world. Many lessons were learned in the process of establishing the business to make it what it is today.

I honed my intellect to focus on the study of human behaviour and patterns. I have explored and shared about many topics that are connected to the business world: talent retention, career development strategies, human behaviour, racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, diversity, inclusion, new immigrants, seasoned professionals, youth and our next generation of leaders.

Over the past seventeen years, I have interacted with over 62,000 people. I have conversed, dined with and befriended many people: politicians, corporate business leaders, venture capitalists, athletes, entertainers, social activists, academics, entrepreneurs, blue and white collar workers; you name it. I am fortunate to have gained so much wisdom from these interactions.

I listened intently to people’s stories as they shared their experiences. I allowed my curious mind to guide me. I embraced the knowledge that was shared. As a result, I found that the common thread that connected the conversations was the desire to be seen and heard. Explicitly, each person shared with me the importance of respect, belonging, commitment and the validation of their being; in a leadership or non-leadership capacity. This is what makes us human.

I entered into a realm of privilege through the vehicle of search and talent management. My privilege is unique. It has enabled me to embrace the opportunity to leverage my access to leaders, to knowledge and to wisdom to connect the vehicle of search to the importance of inclusive workplaces; and I embraced this fully. The necessity of diversity is at the core of my existence.

State Of The Corporate World

This I know: change is inevitable. It is ignited by the social, economic and political movements that occur in our neighbourhoods. It is within the corporate and government spheres where the power of change is magnified and pushed towards acceptance in order to create an environment that is inclusive. Ultimately, the responsibility of propelling these changes is in the hands of our corporate and government leaders.

Business leaders are at a crux of the evolution of the workplace. The workplace has shifted to encompass several moving variables that affect engagement and innovation. With the shift in demographics, globalization and technology, along with endless competition, leaders must acknowledge that an evolution has begun. It is imperative that corporate and government leaders recognize that diversity is not just a nice idea, but a fact and the fuel to a promising future. Inclusion is the action and belonging is the result.

The narrative of diversity and inclusion in the workplace must shift from conversations and symbols to leadership commitment of action towards sustainable solutions for all people.

The Matrix Evolution: New Look Same Agenda

This too I know: I love people. People are not invisible; people are not commodities. People matter.

Each lesson learned and each story I have been privileged to hear has guided me towards the clarity of my purpose: to evolve and elevate Matrix in 2018.

As I reflect, I realize that while processing what this evolution would look like, I owe an apology to the people who have heard radio silence from me. My distance was not intentional and I take full responsibility if you felt offended by my behaviour. You do matter to me; I ask for your forgiveness.

You see, for the past twenty-four months, I have focused on two core areas. The first is the internal team within Matrix. As I shifted a lot of my responsibilities within the search platform to my colleagues, I redirected my energy on the structure of our team. In the spring of 2017, I consciously commenced the journey to reposition the Matrix leadership team with like-minded individuals who share a common vision and common values; where ego is non-existent. This was a challenging time for me as it would mean that I had to part ways with people who hold a special place in my heart. Nevertheless, I very much support their success as they continue their journey. Our current team is on the path to becoming greater partners for inclusion and I embrace every one of them.

Second, my conversations with professionals in the workplace, government leaders and through community engagement since the beginning of my career have been fruitful. Reflecting on this over the past twenty-four months has since provided me the insight and confirmation I needed to continue to elevate the dialogue of inclusion towards an action-driven platform.

The journey for Matrix so far has been an enlightening one and what happens next I am certain will be even more thrilling.

I am excited to share the next phase of our journey with you… Stay tuned…

Chandran Fernando-Principal

“We must open the doors and we must see to it they remain open, so that others can pass through.”

Rosemary Brown- Politician and Community Leader