Acceptance of diversity creates better community for all

Natasha Bidinoff Gardiner, who works at the Prestige Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre in Nelson, spoke about the importance of employment in her life at a recent recognition event for local inclusive employers.

On November 15, 2018, 25 Nelson employers were recognized by their employees for their inclusive hiring practices, and support of workplace diversity. At the recognition dinner funded by CLBC, Natasha Bidinoff Gardiner, a young woman who is employed by the Prestige Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre in Nelson, spoke eloquently about her employer, the impact of employment has made in her life and the importance of community inclusion. 

Here are some excerpts of her speech:

“I have a job as a housekeeper at the Prestige Lakeside Hotel and Resort in Nelson. I originally got this job with the help of a social worker. I was scared and didn’t know what to expect. But when I met my boss, John, he was so friendly and kind. It made me feel at ease because I thought that bosses in general were intimidating people. Even the housekeeping manager was so lovely and kind that I felt comfortable enough to go on my own.  What really struck me was that they knew I had a disability and had been through some trauma, but they still accepted me. That really meant a lot to me…

…Connection is something I have always wanted. To be part of a team, working together and providing our best quality work…I love working together. I am good at showing my work ethic and everyone really appreciates my hard work…Having this job also gave me confidence I never had before. I am more at ease when talking to everyone within the job and I even train some of the newbies…

…Another reason this job is so important to me is I can have more freedom in my life, I can support myself and have independence. Everything today costs money and I love to try out many different things and expand my mind. Having a job has allowed me to try things like snowboarding, zip lining, rock climbing, mountain biking, cooking classes and traveling. Not to mention even being able to buy better food for the body. To eat healthy and get medical care is expensive! Without earning income and living on disability, it’s hard to live. You are a stuck potato and unable to pursue your interests. Having this job is important and helps sustain my well-being. It is what lifts my spirits and gives me meaning and gets me out more and connecting with people. It gives me routine and I have more purpose in my day.

And let me tell you something, having a disability means a whole new level of challenge to get work. And reality is we are often looked down on as too much work and not as capable. If we can advocate for more awareness about accepting people with diversities without discrimination then that will help create a better community for all. And you know what makes us, us, is our unique individuality and for that we should be accepted as the person we are. Humans have the capability to create a better future. No matter the differences, we need to work together and support and uplift one another, to have a place where everyone is accepted in this world. So let’s learn to build community with love for all human life.”

Inclusive Employers recognized at the November 15 dinner

  • City of Nelson
  • Safeway
  • Prestige Lakeside Resort &
  • Convention Centre
  • Kootenay Carshare Cooperative
  • RHC Insurance
  • Kris Witt Accounting
  • Primarily Perennials
  • Jackson’s Hole & Grill
  • Adventure Hotel
  • Kootenay Kombucha
  • Nelson Home Hardware
  • Building Centre
  • Hippersons Hardware
  • Lordco
  • Nelson Star
  • Nasmyth Morrow & Bogusz
  • Medical Associates Clinic
  • West Kootenay Social Enterprise
  • Selkirk Veterinary Hospital
  • Mountain Baby
  • Kootenay Co-op
  • Nelson Leafs Recycling Center
  • Kootenay Bakery
  • Walmart
  • Main Street Diner
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
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