Navigating Prejudice and Communicating with Confidence

Culture Chats

Written by Nathan Hall |


Fighting prejudice in a world filled with judgment can be daunting and leave you wondering if there is a way to exist in a white-collared workplace without fully assimilating into a dominant “white” culture you do not identify with. 

It is the conundrum of many racialized professionals who battle imposter syndrome while trying to stay rooted in an identity that rings true to who they are at the core. Systemic racism is being exposed at alarming rates and while presenting yourself and the way you dress isn’t a method to combat it; doing so confidently can resonate strongly with current and future employers.

Appearance is a form of communication but how you use your words, be it email or face-to-face is also a part of representing yourself in a way that matters.

Communication is key to the success of most relationships, and your relationship with an employer or your colleagues is no different. Tough conversations can come with a lot of fear around repercussions. Those fears are warranted, but the value of being assertive and confidently finding your voice could lead to greater things. Everyone loves a paper trail but the potential to misinterpret tone means you may be better off with an in-person conversation or phone call before following it with an email for record-keeping purposes.

Key learning outcomes: 

  • Benefits of dressing professionally with a personal flare
  • Code-switching do’s and don’ts
  • How to use soft skills to tackle hard conversations
  • Correcting the narrative around offensive statements or assumptions

Speaker Bio

Stefan Keyes is an award-winning journalist currently working full-time with CTV News in Ottawa. Tackling assignments with compassion, Stefan is known for being articulate with the ability to adapt to various work environments. Experience includes: news anchoring, television producing, broadcast writing, live reporting, social media journalism and appearing on national television programs as a panelist on a variety of topics from politics to lifestyle.

Stefan is a 2009 graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program where he also minored in history. He has worked and lived in Calgary where he anchored a morning show for Global News

Born and raised in the nation’s capital to a single mother, Stefan was a teenager when he first started writing for a monthly newspaper called The Spectrum which catered to the needs and interests of the black community. While still in high school, he produced a 13-minute segment for the former CBC radio program entitled Outfront as a freelancer. He volunteered as an audio board technician for the CKCU radio program called Third World Players while completing his undergraduate degree. 

Stefan was also able to launch his career with CTV Ottawa during his third year of undergrad and has been climbing the ranks ever since. Aside from stellar reporting with a stylish flair, Keyes works diligently to give back to the community volunteering for several not-for-profit groups with a focus on youth, the arts, and the BIPOC community. Stefan’s passion for the community partially comes from the lived experience of growing up in low-income housing and witnessing the hardships that come along with it.

His talents also led him to become a vocalist and actor who has performed for on-screen productions shown around the world; and live audiences in Canada, the United States, and Jamaica.

Social media handle:  @Stefan_Keyes

#CultureCheck #Culturechats #personaldevelopment #racializedprofessionals

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