Canadian Consulting Engineer: Conversation: Enhancing inclusion and diversity
"engineering’s demographics are different, but there are a lot of similarities in the obstacles to overcoming IED challenges."
In 2021, GHD hired chartered professional accountant (CPA) Sadaf Parvaiz as its first-ever global inclusion and diversity leader. Based in Oakville, Ont., she manages the firm’s inclusion, equity and diversity (IED) strategy for more than 200 offices—and more than 10,000 employees—around the world.
How did you get into this line of work?
It’s not something I imagined doing as a CPA! I fell into it 17 years ago at Ernst & Young (EY). I had no background in human resources (HR), but was asked to apply because of my passion and my compassion. There were no formal IED programs at the time, so I learned the ropes through experience. Later, I got a certificate in intercultural studies from University of British Columbia (UBC), but I would say a lot of what I have learned has been through continuous self-education and curiosity.
Is your focus very different at GHD?
Changing jobs during the pandemic, I had to do a ‘virtual roadshow’ to gain insights and information about the firm. Compared to accounting, engineering’s demographics are different, but there are a lot of similarities in the obstacles to overcoming IED challenges.