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
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50 shades of beige
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Nonverbal Communication
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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.

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

Thriving Through Uncertainty
Where Communication, Connection, and Compassion Intersect

With the onset and ongoing turbulence of COVID-19, organizations were forced to pivot, adapt, and plunge into uncharted waters while facing overwhelming uncertainty. Despite title, rank, or position we are all leaders at work and at home and have the capacity to impact, influence, and inspire others through intentional actions. To put people first effective communication, collaboration, empathy, inclusion, and understanding is imperative.

Employees are becoming increasingly demotivated and disengaged coupled with experiencing a lack of work-life balance. Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and addiction are on the rise hence it is integral to lead with compassion, transparency, integrity, and most of all resiliency as we stand together apart. Additionally, with remote work companies need to lead inclusively where they realize diversity reflects who’s on the team, yet inclusion reflects who gets to play. Great organizations recognize operating in silos create cultural barriers. Creating a sense of belonging promotes healthier, happier, inclusive, and innovative workplaces.

Key takeaways

How to actively listen, empathize, and empower others towards a positive paradigm.

Retraining the brain for positivity for optimal work-life blend.

Balanced boundaries: You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.

Psychological safety: The key to diversity, inclusion, and creating a sense of belonging at the workplace.

Cultivate inclusion at virtual and in-person meetings.

The power of surrendering to circumstance: Why letting go strengthens resilience.

Give the (Re)Boot to Work-Life Balance

Only 23% of working Canadians are highly satisfied with life. In fact, one-third of Canadians feel they have more work to do than time permits. Work-life balance is not a gender issue. Men have the same issues balancing career and family as women do and also struggle with obtaining work-life balance. With technological advances coupled with more women entering the workforce due to economic pressures, work-life balance can seem evasive and unobtainable. But with essential tools, tips and strategies, employees can minimize stress, maximize efficiency, improve productivity and boost positivity both at work and at home. Increased work-life balance leads to lower employee absenteeism and turnover rates and higher levels of employee engagement.

Key Takeaways:

- Five key stress busters that are essential for a healthier, happier, and more balanced life
- Tips and tools for difficult conversations at work and at home
- Cultural differences in the perception of work-life balance

Tina Varughese
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