"The only person I can try to be better than is the person I was yesterday." - Tina Varughese

Tina Varughese

Inter Generational Workforce, Cross Cultural Communication, Diversity and Inclusion Expert

Tina Varughese (CSP) is a ‘hilarious, dynamic, thought-provoking, humourous, energetic and engaging’ speaker. She offers workshops and keynotes on a number of topics including Diversity, Inclusion, Unconscious Bias, Inter Generational Workforce, Cross Cultural Communication and Sales, Leadership Staff Recruitment and and Work-Life Balance. Tina was recently voted as one of Canada’s Top 10 Notable Speakers by Ignite Magazine.

For fifteen years Tina Varughese, B.A.; B.Comm, worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office as well as running her own successful relocation and settlement firm. She is a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute of Alberta’s Network magazine, Calgary Real Estate News, Home to Home magazine and has been profiled in Alberta Venture Magazine. She is the President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (Calgary) chapter and was named one of Canada’s 10 great speakers in Ignite Magazine. Tina has been the face of diversity, literally, when she was chosen to be in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty representing beauty in diversity.

Tina is an Indo-Canadian daughter of first generation East Indian parents, which allows her to find ‘the best of both worlds’ and shed light, knowledge and most importantly universal humour into the intercultural workplace. Her experience as a mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend impacts her keynote delivery on work-life balance and generational differences. Her key message is to “Strive for progress rather than perfection.” Tina’s advice is insightful and amusing. She has presented to most type of organizations and she has focused mainly on oil and gas companies, licensed services, financial services, real estate, healthcare non-profits, professional and trade associations, and tourism. Additionally, Tina also has expertise in relocation and settlement services specifically for expatriates working in Canada.

Tina Varughese worked with Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry. She primarily worked with and counseled business class and skilled immigrants from all over the world – many of whom she met on international recruitment missions that she spearheaded. Most recently, Tina Varughese worked with Alberta Innovation and Science where she was the Ministry Specialist for Alberta’s Provincial Nominee Program. Above all, Tina Varughese is as a dynamic, engaging, knowledgeable and humourous presenter. Tina Varughese is often a highlight of every event and conference she is apart of. Her interactive approach is insightful and her delivery is highly entertaining. She breaks down barriers to create a comfortable and fun space where people ask the questions they might otherwise be afraid to ask.

Topic Presentations

Successful organizations understand that being able to communicate cross-culturally in the workplace leads to enhanced productivity, performance and employee engagement. Managing diversity drives profitability, leads to innovation and promotes an inspiring workplace culture. Everybody can benefit from communicating more effectively, however, when 20% of Canada’s population is foreign-born (and much higher in urban centres), communicating with the cross-cultural advantage is arguably one of the most important types of communication to understand and benefit from in the 21st century. Any organization with a culturally-diverse client base or increasingly multicultural workforce would benefit greatly from this topic. Learn how to recruit, retain, negotiate market, manage and communicate cross culturally to enhance productivity and profitability and create a healthier and happier workplace.

What you will learn from Tina's presentation:

  • Cultural differences in communication: Indirect vs. direct speaking styles

  • Individualistic and collective cultures: How values change the way we communicate

  • Effective day-to-day communication when English is a second language

  • Non-verbal communication: Why the “unspoken” word is the most important of all

  • How global companies lose millions in revenue due to a lack of understanding of cultural differences

  • How to use the VAK model of Communication (visual/audio/kinesthetic communication styles) using the cross-cultural advantage

Successful organizations understand that being able to attract, recruit and retain a qualified worker with appropriate skills, personality, attitude and motivation can be challenging at the best of times, let alone when chronic labour shortages exist in both skilled and non-skilled occupations. A shortage of skilled labour limits the ability to increase sales or production, which is why many successful organizations recruit foreign workers.

The top source countries for foreign workers are India, China, Pakistan and the Philippines, all collective in nature. Collectivists often recommend suitable candidates because of their commitment to family and community, giving employers access to a rich database of potential recruits. However, managerial hiring practices are not standardized globally. Religious practices coupled with English as a second language can also affect productivity and profitability if not managed effectively.

Key takeaways:

  • Why Canadian hiring practices sometimes inadvertently ‘screen out’ suitable candidates

  • Effective interview techniques with individualistic and collective cultures

  • Face to face, phone and email: Effective day-to-day communication when English is a second language

  • Workplace conflict resolution across all cultures

  • Death by meeting: How mismanaged global teams waste time and money

  • Non-verbal communication: To shake hands or not to shake hands... that is the question

  • Are we speaking the same language? Constructive feedback across cultures

Successful leaders understand today’s increasingly multigenerational, multicultural and multifaceted workforce brings both opportunities and challenges if not managed effectively. To create trust, collaboration and creative work environments, inclusive leaders need to effectively communicate, understand and listen to their fellow employees. Everybody wants to be seen, wants to be heard and wants to be acknowledged. Learning how to communicate and cooperate in the workplace leads to a healthier, happier, motivating and inspiring workplace where everybody benefits.

Key takeaways:

  • Are you generationally ‘savvy’?

  • Does your leadership style reflect “gen zen”?

  • Play nice in the sandbox – team building through collaboration and understanding

  • Empowering introverts in the workplace

  • Individualistic and collectivist cultures: how values change the way we communicate

  • What time is it? The difference between monochromic and polychromic cultures and why it  matters to the workplace

Creating a great organization isn’t just about breaking down cultural barriers. It’s about building a workplace where everyone works towards a common purpose and feels included despite title, rank or position. Successful leaders understand people do not leave jobs. People leave people. Today’s successful leaders believe not only in investing in themselves, but encouraging others to grow, to learn and to develop in order to build inclusivity and trust, breakdown silos, foster employee engagement, encourage open lines of communication, promote creativity and create a healthy, happy and inspiring workplace.

Key Takeaways:

  • Breaking down silos: How to create respectful, communicative, inclusive and collaborative teams

  • Delivering constructive, influential, inclusive and solution-based feedback

  • Death by meeting: Five key steps to inclusive and effective meetings

  • Inclusive personal and organizational purpose: How recognizing others’ contributions gives you a stronger sense of purpose

  • Negative Nellie and Nasty Ned: How to actively listen, include and empathize to change negative behaviors at work

  • The importance of stress management for leaders

First impressions, positive or negative, are made in seven seconds or less. We all make quick assessments of others without even realizing it. We are not born with bias. Biases are formed by past situations, experiences, background and culture. Unconscious biases typically exist towards gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability (both physical and mental), and weight. Most of us will say “I see people for who they are” but do we? Unconscious biases affect and impact decision making both professionally and personally with real impact. Recognizing, managing and mitigating unconscious bias promotes diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion drives innovation, increases productivity, and stimulates creativity while promoting a healthy, happy, engaging workplace culture.

Key takeaways:

  • The Neuroscience behind Unconscious Bias (“No blame, no shame”)

  • Managing and Mitigating Unconscious Bias in Recruitment, Retention and Employee Engagement

  • Breaking Bias- Strategies for Gender, Maternal, Affinity and Ageism

  • Sesame Street 2.0- One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…..or does it? How Diversity Drives Innovation, Creativity and Productivity

  • Why Creating a Culture of Inclusion affects Positivity, Profits and Purpose

The population in general is becoming increasingly multicultural. One-fifth of Canada’s population was born outside of Canada (much higher in urban centres) – making it one of the fastest growing niche markets today. Second and third generation immigrants are highly influenced by parental values, beliefs and cultural nuances. With diversity comes opportunity, and potential for growth in sales, brand loyalty and profitability. By building trust and rapport through understanding, recognizing and respecting cultural differences, successful companies can capitalize and profit from this often untapped market.

Key Takeaways:

  • Work less, sell more: Increase repeat and referral business cross-culturally

  • Are we speaking the same language? Successful cross-cultural negotiations

  • When yes means no: How communication styles differ across cultures

  • Multicultural marketing: Spending dollars strategically in multicultural markets

  • Non-verbal communication aka “The Seinfeld Syndrome”: Are you a loud talker and losing business because of it?

  • What women need to know to succeed cross-culturally

  • I don’t understand: When strong accents inhibit communication and what to do about it

  • Million dollar mistakes: How global companies fail due to a lack of understanding cultural differences

Only 23% of working Canadians are highly satisfied with life. In fact, one-third of Canadians feel they have more work to do than time permits. Work-life balance is not a gender issue. Men have the same issues balancing career and family as women do and also struggle with obtaining work-life balance. With technological advances coupled with more women entering the workforce due to economic pressures, work-life balance can seem evasive and unobtainable. But with essential tools, tips and strategies, employees can minimize stress, maximize efficiency, improve productivity and boost positivity both at work and at home. Increased work-life balance leads to lower employee absenteeism and turnover rates and higher levels of employee engagement.

In this humourous yet practical session you will learn:

  • 168 hours = 168 hours: Why more time does not mean more balance

  • Five key stress busters that are essential for a healthier, happier, and more balanced life

  • Tips and tools for difficult conversations at work and at home

  • Increasing your work-life balance score with the Japanese concept of ‘kaizen’

  • Cultural differences in the perception of work-life balance

  • The high cost of always saying ‘yes’

  • Retrain your brain for positivity

  • Having it all... or having it all right now?

  • Prioritize your life the way you want your obituary to read

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