Tina Varughese | Cross-Cultural Communication and Diversity Expert

Tina Varughese

Cross-Cultural Communication and Diversity Expert

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Tina Varughese

An Indo-Canadian daughter of first generation East Indian parents, Varughese says her cultural background allows her to find “the best of both worlds” and shed light, knowledge, and, most importantly, universal humour into the changing workplace. Her highly entertaining, interactive, and practical keynotes leave attendees inspired to think, behave, act, and communicate with intention.

For fifteen years Varughese worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office. She also ran her own successful relocation and settlement firm. Varughese draws from her experiences as an entrepreneur, mother, daughter, wife, sister, and friend when delivering keynotes on diversity and inclusion — topics that resonate with her both professionally and personally.

Varughese has been named one of “Canada’s Top 10 Notable Speakers” by Ignite Magazine for her ability to break down barriers and create a comfortable, inclusive, and fun space for attendees. She was the face of diversity, literally, having been chosen to participate in Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty, representing beauty in diversity.

The past-president of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (Calgary), Varughese is a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute of Alberta’s Network magazine, Calgary Real Estate News, and Home to Home magazine. She was also profiled in Alberta’s Venture Magazine.

Tina Varughese
Featured Videos

Current: Keynote - Work Life Balance

Time 06:37

More Videos From Tina Varughese

Keynote - Work Life Balance
Time 06:37
50 shades of beige
Time 06:53
What is Unconscious Bias? Making a First Impression in Seven Seconds or Less
Time 06:51
Nonverbal Communication
Time 02:44

Tina Varughese
Featured Keynote Programs

50 Shades of Beige
Communicate with the Cross-Cultural Advantage

Are issues like these causing stress, conflict, confusion, time and money in the workplace?

Why does this client/co-worker constantly interrupt the conversation? Is he not interested in what I’m saying?
He never looks me in the eye. Clearly he does not respect me.
Hua said she’d complete the proposal last week yet she still hasn’t. Does she not understand it’s important?
Gustavo never has an opinion during meetings. Was he the best candidate for this job?
Why this topic?

Successful organizations understand that being able to communicate cross-culturally in the workplace leads to enhanced productivity, performance and employee engagement. Managing diversity drives profitability, leads to innovation and promotes an inspiring workplace culture.

Target audience

Everybody and anybody! Everybody can benefit from communicating more effectively, however, when 20% of Canada’s population is foreign-born (and much higher in urban centres), communicating with the cross-cultural advantage is arguably one of the most important types of communication to understand and benefit from in the 21st century. Any organization with a culturally-diverse client base or increasingly multicultural workforce would benefit greatly from this topic.

Key takeaways

Cultural differences in communication: Indirect vs. direct speaking styles
Individualistic and collective cultures: How values change the way we communicate
Effective day-to-day communication when English is a second language
Non-verbal communication: Why the “unspoken” word is the most important of all
How global companies lose millions in revenue due to a lack of understanding of cultural differences
How to use the VAK model of Communication (visual/audio/kinesthetic communication styles) using the cross-cultural advantage

The Human Side of Unconscious Bias

Are issues like these causing stress, conflict, and confusion in the workplace?

Emily is 30 years old. This role involves a lot of travel — should she promoted? What if she decides to have children?
Manuel has such a strong accent that I’m just not sure if he’s a good cultural fit for our organization.
As an ambitious white male, I am the minority these days! I can’t check any of the boxes. Will I be passed over for this promotion yet again? I’m ready to quit.
Should Morton really lead the charge of the IT department? He just seems ancient to me.

Why this topic?
First impressions, positive or negative, are made in seven seconds or less. We all make quick assessments of others without even realizing it. We are not born with bias. Biases are formed by past situations, experiences, background, and culture. Unconscious biases typically exist towards gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability (both physical and mental), and weight. Most of us will say “I see people for who they are” but do we? Unconscious biases affect and impact decision making both professionally and personally with real impact. Recognizing, managing, and mitigating unconscious bias promotes diversity and inclusion; diversity and inclusion drives innovation, increases productivity, and stimulates creativity while promoting a healthy, happy, and engaging workplace culture.

Target audience
Anyone from any organization wanting to increase productivity, stimulate creativity, drive innovation, and create a healthier, happier workplace by promoting a more diverse and inclusive environment, would benefit greatly from this topic.

Key takeaways:

The neuroscience behind Unconscious Bias (“No blame, no shame”).
Managing and mitigating Unconscious Bias in recruitment, retention, and employee engagement.
Breaking bias — strategies for gender, maternal, affinity, and ageism.
Sesame Street 2.0 — one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong... or does it? How diversity drives innovation, creativity, and productivity.
Why creating a culture of inclusion affects positivity, profits, and purpose.

Maximizing Workforce Diversity
Communicate, Collaborate, and Cooperate in the Changing Workplace

Are issues like these causing stress, conflict, and confusion in the workplace?

Trevor is always on his iPhone? How does he get any work done!?
I wish Mei-Wen would contribute more in meetings. When I hired her she seemed so bright.
Jacqueline is so shy. How can she take on the role of VP of Marketing? Who would respect and listen to her?
George is always in my office. We have Outlook for a reason. He’s seriously wasting my time.

Why this topic?
Successful leaders understand today’s increasingly multigenerational, multicultural, and multifaceted workforce brings both opportunities and challenges if not managed effectively. To create trust, collaboration, and creative work environments, inclusive leaders need to effectively communicate, understand, and listen to their fellow employees. Everybody wants to be seen, wants to be heard, and wants to be acknowledged. Learning how to communicate and cooperate in the workplace leads to a healthier, happier, motivating, and inspiring workplace where everybody benefits.

Target audience
Leaders, managers, skilled professionals, or anybody that works in a multigenerational, multicultural, and multifaceted workplace.

Key takeaways:

Are you generationally ‘savvy’?
Does your leadership style reflect “gen zen”?
Play nice in the sandbox — team building through collaboration and understanding.
Empowering introverts in the workplace.
Individualistic and collectivist cultures: how values change the way we communicate.
What time is it? The difference between monochromic and polychromic cultures and why it matters to the workplace.

Successfully Selling and Servicing to All Cultures

Are sales, negotiations, and customer service suffering due to issues like these?

• Vikram continues to negotiate on the house price even though we have a signed contract. How do I explain I cannot reduce the price anymore?

• This client shook my hand like a “wet noodle”. Is he not interested in buying insurance through me?

• My entire team is Caucasian. How can we increase business in multicultural markets?

• Jennifer is my top performer, yet many prospective male clients won’t look at her. Is it because they do not respect women?

Why this topic?
The population in general is becoming increasingly multicultural. One-fifth of Canada’s population was born outside of Canada (much higher in urban centres) — making it one of the fastest growing niche markets today. Second and third generation immigrants are highly influenced by parental values, beliefs, and cultural nuances. With diversity comes opportunity and potential for growth in sales, brand loyalty, and profitability. By building trust and rapport through understanding, recognizing, and respecting cultural differences, successful companies can capitalize and profit from this often untapped market.

Target audience
Sales and service professionals from any organization with a culturally diverse client base would benefit greatly from this topic.

Key takeaways:

• Work less, sell more: Increase repeat and referral business cross-culturally.
• Are we speaking the same language? Successful cross-cultural negotiations.
• When yes means no: How communication styles differ across cultures.
• Multicultural marketing: Spending dollars strategically in multicultural markets.
• Non-verbal communication aka “The Seinfeld Syndrome”: Are you a loud talker and losing business because of it?
• What women need to know to succeed cross-culturally.
• I don’t understand: When strong accents inhibit communication and what to do about it.
• Million-dollar mistakes: How global companies fail due to a lack of understanding cultural differences.

Tina Varughese
Featured Reviews

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