(As originally published on LinkedIn, 21 June 2017)

Canada 150: an opportunity for shared celebrations

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By: Trent Henry, EY Canada’s Chairman and CEO

This year, Canadians have a big opportunity to celebrate, as our country commemorates 150 years of Confederation. Canada has a rich tapestry of festivities that give us meaning and make us feel that we’re part of something greater. From religious and cultural to secular and community-based events, there’s a certain spirit that weaves all of our stories together — as Canadians, and really, as humans.

As we kick off Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations, it strikes me as no coincidence that the timing coincides with the start of Pride in Toronto.

The LGBTQ community’s rainbow flag incorporates all the colours of the spectrum, showing how much light and brightness we can bring when we all come together in a spirit of unity. The celebrations are fitting and timely. As we look back at Canada’s Confederation in 1867, it was an experiment not only in building a new nation, but in bringing together different cultures and geographies into a vast country that would eventually grow into one of the world’s greatest and most diverse democracies.

And while an inclusive culture must come from the grassroots, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — it’s up to each and every one of us as leaders to show an inclusive tone from the top. After all, it’s thanks to inclusive ideas and innovative leadership from across the country over the last century and a half that people from around the world have chosen to make Canada their home. I’m so proud that inclusive leadership is a truly Canadian value. We’re prosperous and successful because we’ve fostered a culture that respects and celebrates differences — ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, abilities and many more.

The same inclusiveness enriches those businesses that embrace it. It enables them to attract and retain the best talent from a universe of diverse backgrounds. An inclusive corporate culture enhances an organization’s ability to innovate and drive growth, and leave a better working world for generations to come.

So this summer, I encourage you to get out and take part in the festivities that mean the most to you. Whatever you celebrate and however you celebrate it this summer, I wish you all the very best.