My Ignorant Privilege

"There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"

The last few months have stirred me to my core; in both the best and most challenging of ways. First, COVID-19 shook the tree of life and all the superfluous leaves and branches fell, leaving just the ones that were core to survival: health, family and love.

Then, George Floyd’s death rocked the world; including mine.

I am not wise enough yet to tell you why now, but for me, as for many, it is now.

I feel compelled to try and understand what led to this moment. The backdrop. The roots. The nearly 500 years of hardship and tension that has led to this moment.

I am diving into everything I can get my hands on – from documentaries such as 13th and The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, as well as books such as Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy. This is just the beginning of an educational journey I have committed myself to.

I have finally realized I am a winner of the privilege lottery. 

I am a white, middle-aged, heterosexual, cisgender, upper-middle-class, university-educated, able-bodied, English-speaking male living in Canada.

There are probably more, but the unearned advantages I benefit from and can identify to date are race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, class, ability, country of origin, language and age. 

This is my water. Or rather, this was my water. From this point on, while I can choose to ignore it, I can never unsee it.

I must admit, I don’t feel guilty for having these privileges. It feels like wasted energy to harbour guilt over things I was born into and did not control. 

However, I do feel deeply apologetic and embarrassed by my ignorance; that it took me 46 years to see the water. Sorry and shameful that I’m only now doing the work and jacking up the internal honesty dial after nearly five decades, acknowledging I knew elements of the water were there but chose to ignore them.

That said, I am now compelled to put these lottery winnings in service of others…

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

As part of my identity, I pride myself on doing the work to become the best version of myself. Digging deep over the last two decades to try and understand how I am showing up and helping myself and others find the courage to be ourselves in this lifetime.

Sadly, I never really thought about white privilege until now. 

Whether it’s walking down streets and through store doors, into a job interview or any interaction, I hadn’t really thought of the colour of my skin. While I will never fully understand what it’s like to be Black, Indigenous, or a person of colour (BIPOC), and have the colour of my skin be an obvious and conscious backdrop to all of life’s moments, I am now forever aware of its existence and can speak out against racial micro and macro-aggressions whenever and wherever I see them.

In doing research and discovery around the history behind my white privilege, I came across this passage in Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963  Letter from a Birmingham Jail,:

"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

My heart sinks as I admit I have been the white moderate – the person of goodwill with shallow understanding and lukewarm acceptance.

I realize my white fragility has mostly taken the form of white silence or white apathy. 

But now, I know better and as such, can and will, do better.

As a parent of two young girls, I had been teaching colour blindness. I did not want my girls to treat people differently because of the colour of their skin. But in doing so, I was not teaching them the struggles that BIPOC are facing in our communities. I was not providing them with the historical context that has led to where we are today. Educating them as to the cultural pollution in the water that can be omnipresent, yet often invisible. 

I now know better and as such, can, and will do better.

Having not yet had the courage to get myself involved in deep, necessary conversations on race, I realize I have been mentally tone-policing news stories or interviews, asking myself,   can’t we all just calm down and talk about this rationally? Totally dismissing, downplaying and diminishing the historical and rampant strife that has led the protests, fighting back and courage we are seeing today.

I now know better. I can and will do better. 

Within colour blindness lies a subtle yet significant difference between equality and equity. The concept that we are all born equal is a myth colour blindness perpetuates. My privilege perpetuated the myth. Our starting lines in the race of life vary in the most dramatic of ways. Equality, when it comes to humanity, seems purely theoretical. 

What is possible however is equity. Simply put, fairness.

We must take into account the discrepancies in people’s starting points and current realities. To start treating people fairly, we must first recognize, make space for, and celebrate our differences. Let’s not try and lump us all into sameness. Therein lies the danger preventing honest and open discussions around privilege — and the lack thereof. 

Therefore, the levelling of the so-called playing field must first come through equity if we truly hope to make equality a reality.  

So what’s next? For me? For all of us?

I am committing to a lifelong journey of anti-racism.

The road ahead is long and the process will be messy. I have so much to learn and to unpack within myself.  I must unearth subconscious biases and potentially racist thought patterns, shed light on them to build a more solid racial foundation.

I will do better. I will do the work. I will have the difficult conversations. 

I am re-reading Me and White Supremacy together with my family and completing the 28-day challenge. We will discuss and develop a deeper understanding of the concepts of: 

White Privilege, White Fragility, Tone Policing, White Silence, White Superiority, White Exceptionalism, Colour Blindness, Anti-Blackness, Racist Stereotypes, Cultural Appropriation, White Apathy, White Centering, Tokenism, White Saviorism and Optical Allyship.

I am continuing my overall racial education and that of my family and colleagues.

I am providing diversity and inclusion training for my team.

I am becoming a white ally by supporting local organizations fighting for racial equality.

I am calling out any and every racial aggression I witness.

In essence, I will now use my privilege to fight for equity.

Ignorance is no longer my excuse. I’m sorry it ever was.

Peter Georgariou

PDG et fondateur

Fort de plus de 18 ans d’expérience dans les domaines de la vente, du marketing et des opérations, Peter fournit aux entreprises les structures, les stratégies et les plans de marketing requis pour les aider à réaliser leurs objectifs et leurs rêves. Il les aide à puiser dans leur potentiel et exploiter leur capacité à avoir un impact sur les communautés dans lesquelles elles vivent.

Plus de réflexions

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Mode de vie
Les plus grandes bénédictions de la vie se présentent parfois dans les plus horribles emballages…

Project Manager / Account Strategist

What we are looking for

We are looking for a purpose-driven creative mind that thrives in helping clients bring their projects and aspirations to life. You will work with our clients to help them develop their strategic direction and build the marketing plan to bring it to life. You will have the pleasure (for the most part 😁) of working closely with our internal team and partners consisting of traditional and digital marketing, creative and graphic design, web developers, as well as other areas of the agency. 

You will work very closely with our team to manage, schedule, organize, and help create and implement client strategy. You will be working with several accounts and need to be able to manage your time effectively and work well on tight deadlines. 

Company Overview

karmadharma is a creative agency that helps enterprising organizations who want to do better in the world, do better. (We also put this into action and try very hard to do better every day!) Because when do-gooders do good, the results for all will be extraordinary. Our Ottawa-based creative agency is looking for a like minded human to join us in this Marketing Coordinator role.

We are growing and are looking for passionate and qualified people to join our team of extraordinary and eclectic people.

We need you to

  • Be an awesome team member
  • Make a difference in the world (No pressure. 😁)
  • Become a trusted advisor to our clients
  • Understand client needs and find creative solutions to help them achieve their goals. 
  • Understand your client sector and its challenges in order to seize opportunity of growth and make the appropriate recommendations. 
  • Develop, implement and execute strategic marketing plans
  • Coordinate initiatives with internal team and partners, 
  • Ensure projects are within scope of work, budget and in line with their branding.
  • Manage your time judiciously 

We need your

  • Strong emotional intelligence and a growth mindset (If you know everything, we are not the right place for you.)
  • Ability to not take yourself too seriously
  • Ability to think creatively and innovatively, and anticipate client’s needs
  • Great understanding of traditional and emerging marketing channels
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, deadline-sensitive environment, managing multiple tasks with varying priorities. 
  • Familiarity with the latest trends, technologies and methodologies in creative strategy, marketing, etc.
  • Great writing and communication skills in both French and English

Your know-how

  • A strong desire to make a positive impact in the world
  • A good head on your shoulders
  • Kindness, empathy and compassion
  • A minimum of 7 years experience in marketing strategy or any related field 
  • And if you are on a journey to become a better version of yourself, you probably fit the team! 

We offer

  • Permanent, full-time position
  • Flexible schedule;
  • Possibility of remote work;
  • Office located in the Westboro district, close to all services
  • Competitive salary according to experience and qualifications;
  • Benefits.
  • Professional training.
  • Unlimited time-off
  • Office close between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Please submit a resume that showcases the required responsibilities and skill sets above. 

Only those whose skills and qualifications closely match the requirements of this position will be contacted.

We can’t wait to meet you!

Michelle Bell

Chief Marketing Officer

Michelle is an intensely caring, and lovably nerdy, triple-threat: her creative, strategic & engineer brain are the perfect recipe for taking your organization to the next level.

Brian

Brian Mikula

Account Strategist

The entrepreneur, he will ‘tea’ you up for success (that would be more funny if you knew he founded a tea company). But seriously, this guy has a mind for marketing.

Assia Merazi

Creative Director

Mrs. Creative Worldwide hailing straight from Dubai, Assia is eager to unleash her strategic design genius on your brand. Yalla!

Jenna Araujo

Creative Lead

Jenna is the Swiss Army knife of creative…with a smile. She’s got a design solution for almost any problem accompanied by the most infectious giggle in the industry.

Geneviève
Côté-Nault

Account Coordinator

Gen will bring the energy to kick-start your project and the grit to see it through. Her conscience will find you the best strategy and probably save the planet along the way.

Jennifer
Lim-Tamkican

Creative Designer

Having done it all as a marketing freelancer, Jennifer applies a very thoughtful & practical mindset to her designs. She is the perfect combination of creative and cool in art and in life.

Karen Bramhill

Account Strategist

Artist, epidemiologist, operations specialist and true lover of life; Karen is a true polymath that brings a wealth of care and knowledge to every engagement. And for the record, ambiguity and her are not the best of friends.

Bárbara d’Oro

Content Strategist

Barbara is a journalist by trade who loves talking to people, asking great questions and giving a voice to their stories. Being Brazilian, she also loves a mean BBQ marathon at your local churrascaria.

A fresh coat of paint.

We are proud to have helped Nelligan Law refresh their look and feel. A refreshing take for a law firm, Nelligan decided to show off the more human side of their firm and their commitment to the community in their new identity. Watch the new promotional videos and see who the real hero of the story is.

Corporate Assets.

As part of a Brand Makeover for Nelligan, we created essential corporate elements, such as a website re-design, business cards, stationary, practice group guides and other marketing materials. Here is a just a taste of some of our work: 

The Campaign.

We hope you never have to call us…

Sometimes life can get messy. No one plans for this, but when it happens, you want the best on your side. These ads focus on those times. “We hope you never need us, but if you do..”

 Instead of putting our expertise and experience and the heart of the story, we chose to demonstrate our empathy and understanding for the difficulties facing our clients.Our clients are truly the heroes of our story.

Peter Georgariou

CEO & Founder

A Buddha-loving, health nut who races in Ironmans and runs marathons in his free time. He brings a bit of heart to each of his clients. Just wait and see how accurate that statement really is. 

Francesca Désulmé

Account Coordinator

Artist, communications enthusiast and social justice advocate, Francesca brings a plurality of lived experiences to the table. Organized, passionate and creative, she’ll help bring your projects to the next level.

Alan Horic

Senior Digital Ads Strategist

Alan is all-knowing (no joke) when it comes to deploying your digital marketing strategy; from search to display to Account-Based Marketing, he can turn your ads into a revenue generating machine.

Brent Martel

Web Development & Marketing Automation

Brent is our resident experts on making websites that convert and simplifying your marketing technology to make it work for you. Sounds good, right?

Rob Hyams

Chief Creative Officer

Rob has been building brands and campaigns since he came out of the womb…or at least that’s what it feels like. He has a rare gift; an ability to distill the complex into a succinct and compelling story.

We are all Care Givers.

The Montfort Hospital Foundation has been promoting the well-being of Eastern Ontario since 1986. It solicits, receives and administers funds that enable the Montfort Hospital to pursue its mission and achieve its objectives.

Recently the Foundation has launched a Regional Health Hub in Orleans that houses many specialists under one roof; an innovative evolution in healthcare creating a one-stop-shop for all your health needs.

The Need.

The Montfort Foundation was looking to tell, in a more compelling way, their story and the impact they were having in the community. 

Simultaneously, they were also looking to develop and execute a campaign strategy designed to increase awareness levels and donations for their new location and accompanying capital campaign for the Orléans Health Hub.

The Foundation's Identity.

Since the Foundation’s visual identity and narrative was hitherto directly tied to the hospital, we conducted an in-depth discovery phase, and developed a distinct design system that showcased how their work is directly impacting the efforts of the hospital to improve the health of the community.

Visual Identity

With a deep dive (and seemingly too many  post-its) into the vision and purpose of the Foundation,  “BonHomme” came to life; a symbol of care and support representing the role of the donor in the patient experience.

Website

Previously the Foundations only online presence was on the Montfort Hospital’s website. It could be hard to find, navigate and  difficult to truly understand the role of the Foundation. As part of this new identity we created a donor-friendly website which clearly communicates the impact of how donor contributions are being used to improve patient care and staff satisfaction. 

The Campaign

We subsequently developed a donor-acquisition strategy which included campaign creative, paid digital campaigns, social media campaigns as well as video, display and television ads. 

Video Campaign - TV & Digital

After helping build the Case for Support for the Orleans Health Hub Capital Campaign, we developed a creative campaign to highlight the various services and benefits of this new local, innovative health hub. At the heart of the concept was a butterfly which spoke both to transformation of health services delivery as well as a the campaign itself taking flight. 

We are more than just a thrift store.

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has been operating in Canada for over 175 years and is composed of 800 conferences (chapters) across Canada. They help more than 350,000 people each year providing home visits to the isolated and material support in the form of non-perishable food, clothes, household items and furniture to individuals and families. The Society also provides assistance to refugees, immigrants, and northern communities. That’s what I am talking about. We love what they do and could not wait to get started. 

The Need.

The Society was looking to broaden the awareness of the work they do, and their donor base beyond their aging membership in order to continue their much needed work for the next 175 years.

the solution.

Website

We created a new, modernized, donor friendly website that tells the story of the Society in a more compelling way integrating key points from their Case for Support.

Digital Campaign

We then deployed a series of digital campaigns and creative for various events (World Day of the Poor, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, etc.) throughout the year that ran on Facebook targeting Catholics across Canada to increase their donor base and website donations.

Print Campaign

We created a series of print assets to support the Society including an ad for the 2021 Ottawa Business Journal Giving Guide, New Donor Welcome Package and Monthly Donor Program.