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St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland – Sandy Hang, Volunteer Refugee Tutoring & Community Support (VORTCS) Program Coordinator

Why did your organisation decide to join the program?

St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland decided to join the Ambassador program as we share the same vision of a harmonious, inclusive and united Queensland. We strongly believe in the eight principles of the Multicultural Queensland Charter and the benefits that cultural diversity brings, not only within the workforce but in the community. The Charter principles also align closely with our organisation’s aspiration, mission and vision of a just and compassionate society transformed through the creation of opportunities, encouragement of growth, the provision of a ‘hand up’ to those in need, and building a caring, safe and inclusive community. The Ambassador program provides us with a platform to enhance our internal processes, drive change and innovation, and connect and collaborate with the Queensland Government and other Ambassador organisations in being cultural diversity champions.

What have you enjoyed most about the Ambassador program?

We have enjoyed networking and communicating with numerous diverse organisations and learning their challenges and best practices in promoting change and cultural diversity within the workplace. It has been very beneficial to have the opportunity to link with all types of organisations from different sectors and discover innovative ways in which we can collaborate in promoting multiculturalism in our workplace and the community. An example of this is at one Ambassador event, our Ambassador met a representative from the Islamic Council of Queensland and through discussion we discovered that we could collaborate in helping Islamic women and their families struggling with their new lives in Australia, particularly through our organisation’s refugee education and youth programs. We have also valued the support of the Queensland Government throughout this first year of the program with regular events and follow-ups discussing our progress and assisting us with ideas and opportunities to promote multiculturalism and diversity.

How does diversity benefit your business/organisation?

St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland recognises that diversity has a multitude of benefits for our organisation. Since we have focussed on increasing and fostering diversity within our workplace, particularly through our involvement with the Ambassador Program, we have noticed many positives, including the following:

  • Increase in community relations
  • Higher engagement and productivity of staff due to the sharing of different talents, skills, experience and perspectives
  • Increase in cultural awareness, understanding and sensitivity
  • A resilient, innovative and multicultural work environment
  • A better understanding of the diverse people we support
  • A sense of belonging and inclusion amongst our staff, volunteers and the people in the community that we support

What do you think has been one of your main achievements throughout this first year of the Ambassador Program?

The Multicultural Charter and Ambassador Program aligns closely with our Society’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022, Theme 4 (Our Governance): Increase diversity in the Society deliverables. As we have been working towards these deliverables in increasing diversity, and through the support of the Ambassador Program in our first year, we are very proud of the creation of a Diversity Working Group within our organisation, achieving the conditional approval of our Reconciliation Action Plan granted by Reconciliation Australia and the creation of the following positions: a Learning and Development Officer and Project Officer – Indigenous Reconciliation. We look forward to the next two years of the Ambassador Program and working together with other organisations and the Queensland Government in promoting cultural diversity – thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

Last updated: Monday, Nov 30, 2020