At a recent academic panel discussion in Toronto on “The Power of the Diaspora Networks in Canada” at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, Ratna Omidvar, executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) chose to focus her remarks on diaspora leadership.
Focus on diaspora leadership
Ratna Omidvar: I want to focus my remarks on diaspora leadership, because I think a discussion on the rise and influence of immigrants in the areas of trade and investment must be about the rise and influence of political and business leaders who are immigrants.
In other words, it’s not the size of the diaspora communities in Canada that makes them influential, it’s the success of individuals within those communities. For example, how does a Canadian bank expand in Latin America? A successful business model aside, they will be better able to attract those markets by employing people who understand Latin America, and just as important, who have business connections in Peru, Columbia, Mexico, and Chile.
The good news is that diverse talent is a Canadian strength. We boast some of the world’s most diverse cities, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Toronto is Canada’s most diverse city, with more than half its residents not born in Canada. Close to half (47%) are visible minorities. Together, we comprise more than 200 distinct ethnicities and there are over 140 languages and dialects spoken. Continue reading