Just prior to leaving the Ontario Public Service, I was asked to participate in an OPS media initiative called In Frame featuring individuals throughout the public service. In a video taped recording, I reflected briefly on my work experience. Here is a transcript of that recording.
In response to the question as to who I am, I would say that I am Mel White. And in the current parlance of the OPS, I am a visible minority employee. I'm racialized, under-represented in the senior leadership. And I belong to a group that’s most likely to experience discrimination and harassment in the OPS.
But that’s not really who I am. I would say I am someone who has had the opportunity to transcend the barriers of race and the ability to transcend the barriers that come with systems of oppression and exclusion.
In a few days I will leave the OPS after some 28 years of work experience. I've had a wide range of employment opportunities at varying levels, from frontline work to corporate management. I have learned how to transcend the barriers of race and I've also learned how to lead without a title. And these are blessings and assets for which I'm very, very grateful.
There are some who say that the cup is half full and there are others who say that it’s half empty. Usually, it’s the people with power and privilege who have the luxury of saying the cup is half full. For those who say the cup is half empty, they’re usually the ones looking in from the outside.
There are also those who say that change takes time and they’re OK with the pace of glacial change. Again, they’re usually the ones with the power and privilege. For those of us who have watched this organization attempt to transform itself, we realize that this transformation is difficult, that there is a resistance to positive change. And that if change is really to occur, then it has to be a common goal from top to bottom by leaders and by line staff alike.
This is my hope as I leave the organization. I hope that the change that was promised when I first entered will finally be realized, long before my granddaughter becomes an adult and contemplates entering public service.
So, thank you. It’s been my honour to serve. And I wish you the best and farewell.
For more info visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mel-white-1b14a4189/
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