MARCO Bizzarri, chief executive officer of Gucci, once said, “Diversity and inclusion, which are the real grounds for creativity, must remain at the centre of what we do.”
These words are more prevalent now than ever as organisations seek creative solutions to position themselves within a post-pandemic world.
When an organisation intentionally builds an inclusive workplace as well as welcomes and fosters diversity, the outcome and quality of work become exciting and fresh.
Functional lead in human resources at UOW Malaysia KDU Kevin Lim said mentioning diversity and inclusion did not simply refer to valuing colleagues with respect to their ethnicity or religious belief.
”Rather diversity is about our individual differences and acknowledging the unique blend of knowledge, skills and perspectives people bring to the workplace.
“Diversity can include characteristics such as cultural background and ethnicity, age, gender, disability, religious beliefs, language and education, ” he said.
He added that diversity also included characteristics such as professional skills, working style, location and life experiences.
UOW Malaysia KDU, which is part of the University of Wollongong Australia global network, values the contribution that special needs individuals bring to campus communities.
A case in point is Selina Ooi, one of the private univeristy college’s finest graphic designers.
She has 14 years of service and is an integral part of the marketing team.
Despite her limitations as a hearing-impaired individual, Ooi has established a track record of churning out great designs and innovative marketing ideas for the organisation.
Deafness, hearing impairment, special needs or possessing a disability were labels that society had tried to place on Ooi but her UOW Malaysia KDU colleagues know she was not bound by such descriptions.
They see a bridge builder, an inspirational person who always saw possibilities and was a very competent employee.
Ooi is never afraid of the challenges that lie ahead, a reminder to the marketing team to never give up.
Apart from being an integral part of the team, Ooi is a trailblazer in her own right, having been a strong advocate for the deaf community within greater Kuala Lumpur.
She is the first deaf blogger in Malaysia (Deaf Boleh! Malaysia), founder of a community that builds awareness of deaf culture through sharing their success stories, a guest speaker at various non-governmental organisations (including YMCA) as well as an active game and tech geek.
Willis the Wallaby is Ooi’s latest creation for UOW Malaysia KDU.
Willis the Wallaby is courageous and seeks to connect with a diverse range of friends, always seeing the possibilities that could be, rather than being overwhelmed by life’s challenges.
These values align with Ooi’s character.
Willis has been adopted as the institution’s official mascot and like her creator, enjoys meeting people, travelling and reading.
Willis is growing up in a diversity-accepting and inclusive environment, learning not to give up when faced with struggles and challenges.
“I’m thrilled that Willis, the first mascot of UOW Malaysia KDU, has been created.
“I believe this is an excellent move, ” said Ooi.
“Besides being a mascot, Willis will also bring sign language awareness to the public as Willis will be using some sign language in the animated social media posts/stickers that I do.
“This can be a fun way for the public to be exposed to sign language.
“For example, Willis will say ‘thank you’ in sign language, ” she added.