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Craving an Open Concept in Corporate Canada

An organization providing a work culture that supports open, strong, insightful conversations and vulnerability sets up its people to reach heights that shift paradigms.

Many working environments across North America remain corporate structures steeped in a rigid old fashion where business happens behind closed doors.  Decisions are masked and employees feel distant from the connection to their organization’s heartbeat and lack a palpable passion that drives purpose and existence.

In most areas of our lives, our modern world is an open concept:  our kitchens are the heart of our homes – open and welcoming those we love;  we choose expenditures that are transparent in ethical and fair trade practices.  It’s now time to take the open concept into our professional lives.

What do we gain from corporate openness?

  • Imagine the financial success both corporately and individually when passionate careers are fueled by reflective awareness and free of constricting competitiveness.
  • Imagine leading an organization backed by a solid understanding of the unique value of your employees, allowing their distinctive skills to be recognized, acknowledged, and celebrated.
  • Imagine the engagement between employees and executives when your firm has a true open door that welcomes constructive conversation about failures, resulting in learnings while supporting people’s inherent ambition.

All this potential becomes possible when it’s built on a foundation of collaboration and trust.

Corporately, the safety and protection of human life is an over-arching priority.  Let’s make the next priority not just human life, but the highest quality of that human life each and every day through perceptively powerful conversation.

How do we begin to build a conversation that is effective, collaborative, thoughtful, insightful, and reflective?  What do we have to lose? The inception of such alignment starts with the urge to understand Self.  Ditch the judgment, criticism, jealousy and above all fear – fear of vulnerability, fear of not knowing, fear of being wrong, and fear of appearing incompetent.

Open self-reflection as a consistent positive practice begins with accepting diverse ideologies voiced across ALL people – from millennials to retirees – inclusive of ALL ethnicities and cultures.

Cheryl McNicol, an Inclusion and Diversity Champion, passionate about diversity and inclusion leadership, is excited about international professional firm KPMG, an organization on the brink of a wholesome workplace culture with a mission to “Bring your whole self to work.”  Employees ponder: Can I bring my whole self to work and not leave any part of me at home?  This focus on diversity and inclusion brings a new perspective to the ebb and flow and provides an opportunity for openness, reflection, and strong conversation.  Strong, effective conversations are grounded and non-polarized, objectively working towards growth, development, and strengthening.

What would happen if we could  have honest and challenging conversations that aren’t polarized about right and wrong.  Conversations that focus on asking good, tough, thoughtful questions on what works, what doesn’t, and why.

Cheryl Goodwin, who describes herself as a technology innovator and implementer, created a team versed in talented dynamics by first recognizing individual strengths and discomforts and then placing each member of the team into situations where their strengths were able to shine and their discomforts were put to rest.  It may seem common sense but at the time of initiation, it took a tremendous amount of foresight on a deeper level to understand how to set people up to succeed.  This foresight, coupled with consideration for the goal, can result in huge win-win for all involved.

Talking with Julia Chung, Co-Founder, Senior Financial Planner at Spring Financial Planning and Co-Founder, CEO at Admin Slayer, her observations conclude that people don’t really know what is possible.  The limitations we set come from ourselves first.  Proving limitations wrong, Julia’s success has been guided by taking responsibility and deciding to make strong choices, not necessarily easy ones.  Choices for the future anchored solidly in setting herself up for success, all the while continuing to push the status quo.

Innovative, forward-thinking companies are making strong choices for the future by starting to dissect how to help employees remove limitations, promoting equality, inclusion and diversity, and making quality of human life the first priority.  Awareness and reflection, together with committed collaboration, fundamentally encourage employees to be responsive and take ownership within their organization.

An open concept culture yields incredible results that ripple out and upward!

Julia McElgunn is a professional geologist and an entrepreneur who is passionate about science and human behavior.

A personal journey of failures resulted in her understanding that it’s when we let go of control and perfection, we open up to the opportunity to create a life of beauty, joy, and amazement.  Julia’s first true passion is education and knowledge which has shaped the critical thinker within, leading her to question both sides of every story and seek to understand before providing a creative win-win solution.


  1. Kim Zacaruk on November 26, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    I loved this article Julia. Thank you 🙂

  2. Julia on September 26, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Thank you Kim!
    I’m glad you liked it and only saw your comment now. I appreciate even more a year later 🙂

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