I just love the promise of democracy and democratic self-government, because I see it as such an important tool to freedom.
Jackie Steele is an intersectional diversity educator and advocate, feminist thought leader, political scientist, and the CEO of enjoi Diversity & Inclusion Consulting. Through Jackie’s extensive research and work around bringing new paradigms into existence, Jackie has become a champion for diversity.
Diversity and inclusion have become a more commonly discussed topic in recent years. While we have made a great deal of headway, many systems remained unchanged. That is why Jackie is so passionate about taking a bottom-up approach with regard to trying to change systems.
As someone who has experience as an outsider, Jackie’s deep empathy, combined with her extensive knowledge, allows her to provide a holistic framework for what diverse organizations should look like.
In this episode, Jackie talks about living in Japan and how she learned Japanese and fell in love with the country. We also hear about her passion for Taiko and what it has taught her about community, care, and togetherness.
Jackie offers us a look at what sparked her passion for diversity and innovation and how her work has reflected this. Being in Japan during the Triple Disaster (also known as 3/11) was a turning point, and she has drawn on this experience to shape what she does.
We also touch on democracy and why we should not give up on our governments, the false narratives around diversity and innovation, and the importance of creating safe spaces for marginalized people to flourish.
True diversity and inclusion are not a quick-fix. Because of how deeply entrenched systems of oppression are, there is no silver bullet. Taking a systematic, thorough, and patient approach to change, as Jackie does, will result in meaningful and sustained shifts.
In this episode, Jackie shares:
- Her experience of learning Japanese and how it sparked her interest in the country and culture.
- How she was introduced to Taiko and the fulfillment she gains from the performing art.
- Insights into Taiko groups in Canada and the way they raise awareness and challenge stereotypes about Japanese culture.
- Why we should not underestimate the power of art in providing an inroad into learning about another culture.
- How diversity education and advocacy became her great passion.
- The course she took during her undergraduate degree that sparked many questions in her.
- The grassroots knowledge-sharing work she did when she moved to Japan.
- Why it would be beneficial if Canada shared more about its statecraft, law, and policy.
- How the growing anti-government sentiment with an over-reliance on private companies fosters inequality.
- Why we shouldn’t check out of democracy and self-governance even though it requires work.
- That the work of democratization never ends.
- How being in Japan during the Triple Disaster fostered an even greater appreciation of diversity.
- The impact of the Triple Disaster and how it shifted Jackie’s professional interests.
- What she hopes to achieve through her company, enjoi Diversity and Innovation Consulting.
- Some of the common misconceptions around diversity and inclusion.
- Why changing an ecosystem of a company has to happen to create meaningful diversity.
Dr. Jackie F. Steele is a Canadian political scientist, published author, and long-time resident of Japan. An expert in diversity and gender equality policies, diverse talent mobilization, and inclusive decision-making, Dr. Steele guides leaders in the co-creation of corporate mission, policies, and practices that place diversity and innovation at the heart of high performing, inclusive culture.
Connect with Jackie:
Choosing Empowerment over Fear with Angela Ortiz
National Association of Women and the Law
Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex
Place to Grow