November 16th marked the International Day of Tolerance which celebrates the rich diversity of cultures around the world. In celebration of this day and in acknowledgment of our own diverse backgrounds at Myrtle Consulting, we featured Senior Transformation Consultant, Khaoula Chebli, who has a unique background herself and has experienced first-hand diving into new cultures through her travels.
What is your role at Myrtle Consulting and what do you like most about it?
I’m a Senior Transformation Consultant and what I love about my role is the “Dynamic” environment. A project is a temporary assignment but has permanent learning. I have had the opportunity to work in different industries, with diverse people, and in different cities and countries. Every single day in the consulting world is different and full of challenges and accomplishments. I used to have a 9 to 5 job and discovered that it is not for me. I don’t like my days to be identical.
The best part of my work is the transformation from a project plan to a real and tangible outcome. I experienced this recently in one of our projects, from designing a warehouse drawing to constructing the redesigned warehouse. Seeing the tangible transformation at the end of the project gives me the determination to achieve more and more.
November 16th marked the International Day of Tolerance, a day in which we celebrate the diversity of different cultures around the world. Why do you think this day is significant and a day to celebrate?
It’s about respecting people’s diversity and accepting traditions, values, beliefs and customs of others. The International Day of Tolerance is an opportunity to help break the notion of stereotyping and see people for who they are, discourage racism and increase cultural awareness. By celebrating this international event, it’s an occasion to share the message of not discriminating and judging other cultural practices. Diversity makes life more interesting and makes the workplace rich in experience, skills and perspectives.
Myrtle Consulting embraces and celebrates diversity. What does that mean to you to work at a company that supports diversity?
Myrtle’s diversity is one of its keys to success. We are all coming from different backgrounds, ethnicities and origins. Yes, we are culturally different, but we create a sense of harmony and integration among all Myrtle employees. We are all proud of that diversity, especially when we see all the Myrtle employee pictures on the big screen during company meetings. We call it the “diversity wall.” At Myrtle, we accept, tolerate, appreciate and enforce our diversity.
What is your cultural background? How do you share it with others?
I was born and raised in Tunisia and I’m Maghrebian (West of North Africa and the Arab world). We speak Tunisian Arabic dialect and we are bilingual in Arabic and French. Tunisia has a rich culture and was influenced throughout history by the Middle East, European and African cultures who played an important role in building Tunisia’s cultural identity. Tunisia is a Muslim country, but it is also a country where we respect other religions and cultures.
I get many questions about my ethnicity, which is not easy to guess since it is unique. I’m always ready to speak about my origins – Tunisia’s geography, what we are known for, our traditions, language and dialect. Every single time, I feel proud to speak about my country and origin, so people get the chance to know my background better.
What do you do to understand or learn about other cultures?
I moved to Canada 11 years ago after growing up in my home country. In the beginning, I experienced “culture shock;” it was an unfamiliar world, culture and people. But being surrounded by people, being curious to know others and exploring my new home removed all cultural barriers. What also helped me get integrated easily into the Western culture was being exposed to different cultures through travel, languages, history, lifestyle, music and cuisine. I traveled to almost 12 different countries on 4 continents, trying to speak languages as much as possible, which helped me to know different backgrounds, rituals and traditions.
What has been one of your most significant learning experiences from another culture?
I love learning different languages; language is not just about learning the words but also learning the culture that goes with it. For example, I had the chance to be exposed to the Turkish language and this was an opportunity to do a deep dive into the Turkish culture. I discovered how similar Tunisian/Arabic and Turkish cultures are. We use similar words and pronunciations, have similar traditions and cook similar food.
How do you think we can continue to promote tolerance? How can it be countered?
It just takes being open minded and not judging. Everyone should be proud of his/her culture and appreciate and respect other cultures. Knowledge and celebration are two keys to emphasizing tolerance, acceptance and the appreciation of different cultures and races.
Khaoula has over 6 years of experience in operations & continuous improvement, supply chain management, quality & management systems. She has applied her professional experience in supply chain network optimization by determining the optimal production & distribution capacities. She has also expertise in process optimization, layout design and data analysis.