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Alison Cummings, a Learning & Development Specialist at Queen’s University, immersed Rotarians in the topic of “Mentorship for Inclusion and Belonging”. 
 
Cummings described herself as an “interculturalist”, and sought to explain how mentorship can lead to a greater sense of belonging in our lives. The first thing we need to do she said is “Acknowledge that we all have biases and that we need to control it within us”. “We need”, she said “to trust each other to understand better how we grow”. “Difference is everywhere, and it matters,” she added.
 
Alison defined culture by using Martin and Nakayama’s definition: “We define culture as the learned perception, values and behaviours shared by a group of people, that are dynamic and heterogenous. Culture also involves our emotions and feelings.” She added, however, that a recent discussion with an indigenous scholar added the concept of “ancestral memory” to reflect upon.
 
Mentorship, Cummings explained involved the ideas of sharing, a place to go, a two-way relationship, growth for both parties, and a way to open doors to new ideas.
 
Cummings delved further into the idea of culture with four slides asking us to thinking about the concepts of perceptions, groups, change and emotions. 
 

Cummings four slides on culture!

What does perception reveal about ourselves?
Do we prefer to work with others or alone?
Culture is dynamic; it is always changing.
Are we an open book or restrained?
 
To conclude her presentation Cummings shared a TedTalk video "What does my headscarf mean to you?" by Yassmin Aldel-Magied which reinforced the above ideas in a novel way.
 
 
Alison Cummings' presentation was arranged by the club's DEI committee chaired by Alicia Gordon, and includes Maria Cordeiro, Matt Hawksley, Krista LeClair, Peter Merkley and Shawn Quigley.
 
 

Listen and View Alison Cummings Presentation

(includes 'What does my scarf mean to you' TedTalk)