Your Diverse Customer Training Magazine

Have you noticed that your customer base is changing?

Do you wonder if you are providing equitable service?

Would you like to enhance your customer service training and protocols but don’t know how?

Do you want to create loyalty and an excellent customer service experience every time?

We are pleased to announce the debut of our digital quarterly training magazine,

Your Diverse Customer.


Take a peek inside.  Our magazine has a universal focus.  Whether you work in the private, public or non-profit sector there is something for everyone.  Best of all, we have chosen themes which will resonate with readers from across the globe.

Preview_ Your Diverse Customer (1) Here is a PDF version, please note scrolling is not shown here.


Your Diverse Customer Magazine is available in a printable format or online.

For more information, contact

Your Diverse Customer Digital Magazine

4 Issues a Year







Meetings: A Tool Kit – New Immigrant Workplace Success Series

Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work, London, Canada


I am pleased to announce the release of my first tool in a series of resources to assist employers develop and retain new immigrant employees.  The  step=by-step exercises and processes will enhance your own coaching skills while empowering employees with vital information in a culturally relevant way.  I am sharing some of my coaching secrets and style which has resulted in many new immigrants enhancing their skills and employers retaining talent.

You can preview the toolkit below.  It is 31 pages in length and offers a 20-minute consultation with each purchase.  Buy it today and, begin having more productive meetings by developing your own and your employee’s  skills.  Feedback has been excellent!

Includes several handouts such as business idioms; checklist for inclusive meetings; coaching pre-assessments, low-risk no-stress ways to participate in meetings and more.

Meetings: A Toolkit Ebook

A 31-page toolkit which includes a 20 minute telephone consultation for each book sold.


Serving Customers with Mental Illness

Written by:  Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

Another stressful day at the bank! My aunt would recount the horrors of a teller suspiciously inspecting her up and down, giggling and chatting with her co-workers about what a bad person she was.  My aunt would then explain to me how the bank no longer liked her since she started making withdrawals from her account and she feared that they would no longer want to accept her as a customer.  Maria would retell the experience in the most convincing manner, explaining to me how the staff stared at her causing the customers who were in line to glare with curiosity and caution.  By the end of the conversation, I was so angered by how they treated my aunt; I decided to call the bank manager and report the teller.  I wanted to ensure that they would never treat her like this or anyone again —after all, she was a loyal and valued customer.

As the years went on, I realized the complaint phone calls that I made for my aunt about rude staff, might have resulted in a lot of decent employees getting reprimanded for actions they had never committed.

My aunt was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder when she was in her 50’s, and then the lightbulb in my head went off.  Perhaps the incidents she disclosed were based on her fears of persecution and that they had never occurred?

lewy-body-dementia-2965713_640-e1515973823994.jpgYears later, I would hear her crying and shaking in fear about how her landlord wanted to evict her. I would try to reassure her that it would never happen.  Her apartment was clean, she was quiet, and she paid her rent on time –the ideal tenant.  However, each month, I would have to reassure her of this, but it did not always work.  She would go to the landlord’s office and directly ask them if they were planning to evict her. They must have eventually figured out that my aunt was not well, and thankfully and remarkably they were always polite to her.

When she got older and was no longer able to live on her own, she moved to a nursing home which she liked.  However, there again, she thought the administrators were going to kick her out on the street, and her room-mate was part of the conspiracy.

Her whole life was built on fear.  Fear of every sort.  Fear every day.

Sometimes, you will encounter people like Maria whether you are a public service employee or a customer service representative.  People suffering from hallucinations will likely be the most difficult to serve. You want to make sure you do not aggravate or trigger their fear.

Regardless of how challenging people with severe mental illnesses can be to serve, it is important to recognize they are also customers with buying power and deserve respect and equitable service. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also the law in Ontario.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when serving customers with severe mental illnesses:

  1.  Although you may be in the position of power in your role, try not to emphasize your authority but instead act more as a helper, assisting them to find the product or service they need.
  2. Establish a rapport with them, by saying their name if you know it.  Give them a simple compliment.
  3. If someone is delusional, don’t try to correct his or her hallucinations.  Avoid taking on the role of the therapist.   You can try calling their name a few times to see if they can refocus on why they need your service.
  4. On occasion, a person with a severe mental illness may make threats.  Be aware they rarely carry them out.
  5. Avoid drawing any unnecessary attention to someone who is acting out or behaving differently.  It is disrespectful to do so and staring or making loud comments to them does not help.

For more information on how to provide courteous customer service to people with mental illnesses, subscribe to our upcoming digital magazine, Your Diverse Customer which will be coming out in Spring 2018.  Our first issue will be devoted to serving customers with mental illnesses.  It will feature interviews, tips and strategies, global trends, resources, case studies and more.

To learn more about Your Diverse Customer and purchasing details, please email me at with “Your Diverse Customer” in the subject line.


9-1-1 Call Taker Simple Language Guide

Saving lives and providing equitable service to the public in crisis, just got easier!

Our 9-1-1 Police Call Taker Simple Language Guide was compiled with the help of three police services and research on call-taking protocols in the United States and Canada.  Learn how to probe about:

  • When
  • Where
  • Who
  • What
  • and Weapons

more simply. People who have low-English proficiency have an difficult time communicating when they are in crisis.  By using these phrases and words, call takers can save time and  obtain the information they need to dispatch an officer quickly.

For more information on pricing and bulk orders, contact


Diversity: Can we laugh, please?

Source: Diversity: Can we laugh, please?

Diversity: Can we laugh, please?


Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

If I believe my Twitter feed, I would say that the whole world is against people of my demographic. Diversity has become so serious, scary and divisive that we have forgotten how remarkably funny it can be if we do not think the world is out to offend us.

I want to share with you a few of my experiences because it is time we start seeing some of the humour of diversity misinterpretation and assumptions.

Several years ago, I received a call from a Caribbean man who was asking me if I would be interested in emceeing a black awards night.  I gladly accepted, impressed this was quite an open-minded group to invite me to facilitate the evening.  I wrote down the details, and just before I was about to hang up the phone, I had this strange hunch that came over me. Did I think maybe he did not want me – a white person?  I asked him directly: ” Michael, are you aware that I am not black?”  There was silence for a moment.  Then with an uncomfortable laugh, he responded “No.” I said, “I thought, so.” Does that make a difference now that you know that I am white?  After a momentary pause, he remarked: well, uh, yeah”. He was dumbfounded!  How was he going to tell me that he thought I was black and that is why he called me? Digging his heels, he told me that he thought I had a “black name” and that is why he called me.  I told him that I did not know what he was talking about:  a black name? Did I look black in my picture?  Trying to wheel himself out from the mess, he tried again and said:  “Well, I guess your name is Hispanic sounding!”  I told him: “Listen, I will make this easy for you.  You do not want me to emcee your event because I am white and by the way, I am not Hispanic –but close enough—Portuguese.  I wish you good luck trying to find someone!”

A former co-worker of mine who came out of the closet at work dealt with the homophobic men in the office in a unique way.  When he went into the men’s washroom, he would belt out the lyrics to Dancing Queen!

Acting as a cultural mentor for a Chinese new immigrant, I remarked about Canadian informality, and pleaded with him to not call me Mrs. Silveira. I explained to him all of the instances when it is appropriate to use titles.  Running into him one day, I asked about his weekend. He said it was not so good and that he had to take his daughter to the hospital.  He noted how impressed he was with the care in a Canadian hospital.  With a mesmerized look on his face, he indicated he had put into action what I had taught him about informal salutations while he was in the hospital.  As he was leaving, he took a look at the doctor’s name tag which read:  “Sandy Brown.” In a great gesture of appreciation, exiting he said: “Thank you, Sandy.” To his dismay and surprise, she replied:  “Dr. Brown”!  I apologized to my dear friend for a significant omission – doctors and titles! Ouch!

All of these new genders are confusing me. I am not sure that I like the images that come to my mind like when I hear the word “gender fluid”. When I hear that expression, it makes me think that you have to go to the pharmacy to buy something to take care of it – maybe in the special paper products section in the store.  May I suggest “gender elasticity” or “gender flexibility” instead?

I have many stories about encounters in Asian food markets. Frequently, the employees that I come across don’t speak English, and therefore there is much room for misinterpretation.  Excited about embarking on a Vietnamese culinary adventure, I headed to the store looking for the best sauce to complement the spring rolls I was planning to make.  I saw a Chinese man who was stocking the shelves and asked him if he could recommend a good sauce for my spring rolls. I said I wanted him to show me the sauce he used. Clearly he did not understand what I had said.  Before you knew it, we were standing in front of the Heinz ketchup.  I surmised that he likely thought this was the only kind of sauce white people use!

Whether it was one too many coffees or not enough sleep the night before, I had a twitch in my right eye during a workshop I was facilitating. It was distracting and it seemed like I could not control it. Moreover, for whatever reason, each time I looked in the direction of one of the female participants, my twitch became a wink.  Low and behold, after the training session, I went up to speak to some participants that were in her area. She immediately distanced herself and appeared uncomfortable.  The moral of the story: just because someone has a twitch does not mean he or she are flirting with you!

While running a Latin American seniors’ drop-in many years ago, the participants would cheerfully greet me with: ” Como estas, Evelina?”  (How are you, Evelina)  Reciprocally, I would reply “ Yo estoy buena, gracias.” I did this for months, thinking that I was saying:  “I am good, thank you.” A few of the older women would consistently give me strange grimaces.  One day we had two new participants from Colombia attend who decided to test me again and ask me how I was.  I gave them the same response, only this time they started laughing!   I realized that the “good” wholesome feeling I was trying to express, had, in fact, some other less innocent connotation!

After finishing my presentation about living with ADHD, I had a blind man come up to me and say:  “Wow!  I really feel sorry for you, it must be difficult bouncing off the walls all the time!”  I laughed and corrected him that I don’t bounce off walls too often but appreciated his empathy–even though I felt he was the one with the challenges!

It is time to bring the joy and laughter that diversity can bring! Feel free to share your funny incidents below.


How I Increased My Portuguese Fluency by Watching a Soap Opera

Source: How I Increased My Portuguese Fluency by Watching a Soap Opera

Finding (and Funding) Your Entrepreneurial Future

Guest Blogger:  Erica Francis

 Leaving active duty service is a major life event and one that many veterans follow with another drastic change: business ownership. If you’re planning on jumping headfirst into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship, start here for advice and resources on overcoming potentially detrimental mental health issues, acquiring funding for your newest endeavor, and which jobs allow for time to heal.

Ease of reentry


Reentry into civilian life – or initial adult entry if you’ve been in service since just after high school – isn’t always a smooth transition. 43% of post-9/11 vets say they experienced a traumatic event during combat, 34% of these suffer from PTSD upon discharge.

Veteran’s health issues

According to a 2014 study, 25% of active duty military personnel show evidence of a mental health condition. Aside from PTSD, depression, traumatic brain injury, addiction, and anxiety are all common. Physical injuries, such as missing limbs, also make it difficult to begin again, especially without the support of your unit and commanding officers. The Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit founded after the Sept 11 attacks, offers free mental health and wellness services along with career and benefits counseling for veterans seeking a civilian vocation.

Getting started

Veterans are a valuable asset in today’s economy. As a veteran of the Armed Forces, you have skills, discipline, and a level of dedication that most civilians can’t replicate. For this reason, vets are in demand at HR offices across the globe. Your first step toward business ownership is to determine which career you want. (If you need a few years of non-military experience under your belt before you take the plunge, you can find information on veteran-friendly jobs, such as police officer and teacher, here.)

When you are ready, the Small Business Administration is a great place to find help writing a business plan, understanding licensing and permit requirements, and getting your finances in order.  The SBA provides a comprehensive guide for veterans looking to open a small business. Download it for free here.  The SBA offers information specific to women veteran entrepreneurs, too.


Steps to starting your own business

You’ve made it through combat, now it’s time to put your perseverance to the test once again by planning, preparing, and managing your small business.

Step 1: Write a business plan

Include a full company analysis, operation plan, info on management and the amount of funding you’ll need to get started.

Step 2: Find training and career counseling

Even if you think you know what you are doing, you’ll want to actively seek training programs to refresh your memory and enhance your knowledge of your chosen industry.

Step 3: Choose your location

Do you want to open shop in an urban office or cut overhead by establishing a home-based business? Some cities don’t allow commercial operations at home without special permission so consult your local city planning office if you have questions.

Step 4: Acquire funding

You need cold, hard cash to buy equipment and pay employees.

 Step 5: Structure your business

Will you be an LLC or a corporation? Many small business owners choose to remain a sole proprietorship. You’ll need to understand the difference.

Step 6: Name your DBA

Pick your “Doing Business As” name to reflect your company’s mission, values, and services. You can always use your own name until you come up with marketing materials.


Step 7: Obtain tax ID

Register your business in your state for your tax ID. You will file for workers comp and disability insurance at this time, too.

Step 8: Get Licensed

If you need a permit, make sure it is in place before you take on your first customer.

 Step 9: Know your rights and responsibilities

As an employer, you are in charge of hiring new employees, maintaining employee records, and ensuring a safe workplace. You’ll also need to know when you can refuse service or make changes to your business.

Image credit: Pixabay



Erica writes for ReadyJob and thrives on helping young people prepare for the working world. She enjoys creating rich job-oriented lesson plans and other educational resources.

Thank You!

Thank You! Canadian HR Reporter Readers, for choosing Diversity at Work two years in a row as your consultant of choice.  We really appreciate it.
If you haven’t tried us out, now is the time. Visit to learn more.2017ReadersChoice

O Canada! My Home and Messed Up Land

Written by:  Evelina Silveira, President, Diversity at Work

I am having trouble recognizing my birthplace and the country to which my family decided to immigrate. Canada, a fractured massive mess embroiled in identity politics and devoid of logic and forecast.

We call people bigots for wanting to preserve Canadian values. Why? Canadian values, for the most part, have kept this country lawful and peaceful.  Do people immigrate to Canada for Chinese or Saudi Arabian values?  No!  They come because Canada is a safe homeland for all. Well, even that is debatable.  Especially, if you are an Indigenous youth or woman.

Many immigrants and former refugees I have spoken to feel the same way.  Some are even thinking of moving back to their country of origin because they no longer like what they see. Freeing communist Poland as a refugee, my husband, for instance, feels the growing loss of freedoms is becoming strikingly similar to what he left behind.

Here are ten  Canadian diversity issues which have left me wondering:  What kind of country am I living? (They are not in any particular order)

1.  A terrorist still gets to keep their citizenship because our Prime Minister says that:  ” a Canadian citizen is always a citizen”.

2. The Canadian government is going to spend millions of dollars to celebrate Canada’s 150 years of colonizing Indigenous People.  I honestly would rather them skimp on the celebrations and provide Indigenous People with clean water and mold-free schools and decent housing.  I am surprised no one thought of that.

3. Violent protests are erupting at universities and other locations conservative speakers have been booked. A diversity of opinion is not considered a strength.

4. Christian bashing has become normalized even though this is the faith of over 50% of Canadians. Check out this highly offensive article poking fun at the holiest day of the Christian liturgical calendar.

5. Canadian Black Lives  Matter leader Yusra Khogali declares white people to be “sub-human”  and tweets to Allah to stop her from killing them. Surprisingly,  Khogali, is celebrated and asked to speak at anti-racism conferences? As much as Trudeau, is not my guy, Khogali is way off-base when she calls him a white-supremacist.  The BLM Canada movement will lose its credibility if it takes this hateful approach and tries to hijack the Toronto Pride Parade and cause division between the police and Pride.  Pride is supposed to be a fun time to celebrate the rights and freedoms of the LGBT community no matter your skin colour!

6. The  Ontario NDP government wants to support a Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel policy. Why?  Does anyone know why there is an armed checkpoint to get to the Israeli side?  It is because  Palestinian’s were bringing bombs over and then Israelis became maimed or died.  Since the checkpoints are in place, they have been able to prevent deaths this way.  Even if you are anti-Jewish, answer this question:  Is it a government’s prerogative to ensure the safety and protection of its citizens?  The answer is Yes!  So before you, BDS followers bash Israel, ask yourself if you would want the government to do what it could from stopping your friends and family from getting hurt. This is the same country which takes wounded Syrians into their hospitals regardless of their faith or ethnicity.  Get informed before you make these decisions.  The only reason why the NDP conjures up maniacal ideas like this one is so that they can capitalize on the political correctness of antisemitism thus broadening their voter demographics.  Why doesn’t  the NDP take this stand with Saudi Arabia?

7. The fact that our Ontario Sex Education program had input from a convicted pedophile, Ben Levin, speaks volumes.    Concerns raised about how the curriculum groomed young children for sex is now coming to light. If you have ever talked to kids who have gone through this sex education program, they will tell you that it has only made them more confused about their sexuality.  One ten-year-old girl once disclosed to me that she must be “asexual” because she was not interested in having a relationship with a boy or a girl.  A 10-year old girl!

8. New Age Feminism has taken a dangerous tone.  Our Prime Minister does not condemn barbaric practices against women and girls nor the lack of rights of women in Saudi Arabia and others.  Our new  Minister of the Status of Women, Maryam Monsef has indicated that she is interested in sharia law and she does not see aborting female babies as gender-based violence.  Honestly?  Deciding to end a pregnancy because the sex of the baby is the grossest act of violence against girls. Is Monsef an actual advocate of women and girls?

Our so-called feminist Prime Minister, Trudeau also uses women in parliament to avoid responding during Question Period.  Instead, he defers to the House Leader Bardish Chagger to address Progressive Conservative, Michelle Rempel’s   questions. It is a painful, humiliating scene to watch for those of us who are sincerely concerned about women’s rights.  Not only is it a woman who is made to do Trudeau’s dirty work but a woman of colour –which makes it doubly-abusive: a prime example of Trudeau’s disrespect for women and his arrogance.  Check out this video

9. Our media is covering up stories about violent crimes committed by Syrian refugees which puts us in danger—especially women and girls.  Even if you don’t like Rebel Media or Ezra Levant for that matter, get passed your bias and watch the clip below. It’s not as sensational as you may expect, especially when Faith Goldy obtains hard evidence a result of Freedom to Access of Information. Are we going to still deny there is a problem?  It is frightening, and clearly, the government had no plan for these refugees when they came here.  These are not isolated incidents as you will see that Goldy has reported from across school boards in Canada.    This is another example of how refugees and immigrants are not given adequate information about expected behaviours – especially in the classroom.

10. Motion- 103 regarding Islamaphobia crafted by a Pakistani immigrant, Liberal  MP,  Iqra Khalid leaves me and my friends from former communist countries wondering – what is happening in Canada?  How does someone who immigrated from a country which has blasphemy laws and led the York University Muslim Student Association (which distributed pamphlets on how to beat your wife); has any right to curtail criticism of Islam like this?

Shockingly, there appears to be a double-standard when it comes to protecting Canadians from religious hatred. Recently, there have been two clear cases of imams calling for the genocide of Jews and spewing hate. Most people haven’t even heard about them. Check these videos out for yourself  Montreal , and  Toronto  no one bats an eye.

And contrary to our neighbours in the south who challenge antisemitism, cowardly Canadian diversity and equity consultants remain mute; confirming it is on the rise when those whose role is to confront hate and bias feel justified in keeping silent.  Being a bystander and a diversity/ equity consultant/practitioner is not only a contradiction but lacks integrity.  If you don’t feel like challenging these kinds of issues — you are in the wrong field.  How can you train others about anti-bias when you are not prepared to confront it yourself? Let’s not forget all of those who remained silent before and during World War II and all the other bystanders throughout history who collectively could have saved generations.

O Canada!  I haven’t given up on you yet but you must act quick so we remain “glorious and free”.



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