Cultural Diversity Week

Cultural Diversity Week (March 17-25) is Victoria’s largest multicultural celebration, featuring a week-long program of festivals and events in metropolitan and regional areas.

Proudly presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, with support from the Victorian Government, the initiative invites Victorians to embrace each other’s cultural heritage and join in the celebrations.

Here at Cenitex, we have more reason than most to celebrate.

Our workforce is made up of people from all over the world speaking dozens of different languages, following many different religions, and experiencing completely different upbringings.

It is because of these such diverse backgrounds we are embracing and celebrating all people and cultures that make our workplace special.

As part of the #ProudToBelong campaign, we find out more about the people we work with, and what celebrating different cultures mean to them.

 

Toshi Tenguria, Customer Solutions Specialist

Where did you grow up?

I am very lucky to have grown up in various beautiful cities, thanks to my father’s transferable job. The City of Lakes, Bhopal, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh became our base from year 9 onwards so that our schooling would not suffer.

When did you move to Australia, and what brought (or your parents) you here?

I came to Australia as an international student to complete my Masters in IT at RMIT University in February 2005. The reason I opted for Australia for my studies was to opt for a city where I can learn things on my own, grow strong and independent.

How does life here differ to that in your home country, and what do you enjoy most about the Australian way of life?

It is very difficult to compare the life of my birth country and Australia (the country I call home now). Coming from a country where people from diverse cultural backgrounds unite despite their diversity, similar concept here in Australia makes me feel at home and part of the community. Another thing I enjoy about Australia is the freedom to be myself, significantly less social pressure.

What do you enjoy most about working at Cenitex?

I saw someone wearing a lanyard on a tram with ‘Centre for IT Excellence” written around early 2009 and thought to myself, that name sounds interesting, maybe one day I will work for this company and two years later I was part of Cenitex. I enjoy everything about working here at Cenitex. I have had the chance to work in different teams where I learned new things to expand and strengthen my skillset while working with like-minded people. People here are approachable and helpful with vast amount of knowledge, and working with them adds towards my work satisfaction, which is the most important factor for me in any job.

How important to you is Cultural Diversity Week and celebrating other cultures?

Given that we live in such a diverse and vibrant city Cultural Diversity Week is important. For me personally, diversity matters a lot (I am India born, Aussie national, with Japanese name). Since the time I was growing up as a kid, my parents have encouraged us to respect cultures equally. I am very lucky to have witnessed this in my home, where my parents gave us chance to celebrate festivals from different culture/religions. As I grew up my, curiosity to learn different cultures lead me to have diverse friends from whom I learn about their cultures and celebrate.

 

Julia Mathew, Service Centre Team Lead

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and then lived a few years in India.

When did you move to Australia, and what brought (or your parents) you here?

I came here on my own to do my Masters in Networking at Latrobe Uni and I liked Australia so much that I decided to try and live here.

How does life here differ to that in your home country, and what do you enjoy most about the Australian way of life?

I do miss the shopping and all the delicious Arab food in Saudi Arabia. However, as a woman, I don’t take for granted the freedoms I enjoy here in Australia – including working in any profession I want, driving, swimming and playing sport. These were options that were not available to me during my childhood. Although, these aspects of life in Saudi Arabia are changing slowly and for that I’m glad.

What do you enjoy most about working at Cenitex?

I love the people I work with at the Service Centre - a bunch of mostly young people who are motivated to find new ways of working better, have lots of new ideas and are bursting with energy. I have had opportunities to work in roles in various other areas in Cenitex (I currently work Wednesdays and Thursdays with the Automation team) and again, working with the few people that want to challenge the status quo is refreshing and inspiring.

How important to you is Cultural Diversity Week and celebrating other cultures?

Cultural Diversity is important to maintain in any workplace. It helps increase my own cultural awareness, promotes a different worldview and is important to build tolerances across the different cultures. Celebration of it is what helps us understand a lot more about each other.

 

Ralph Glatz, General Manager Project Delivery

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a town with some 10,000 residents 80km southwest of Frankfurt/Main in Germany. I used to live in Mannheim, which is very close to Heidelberg which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful areas in Germany.

When did you move to Australia, and what brought (or your parents) you here?

I migrated to Australia in Dec 1998. I’ve travelled/backpacked the world and had the strong desire to not only visit countries but to live in a foreign country. When I got my skilled migration visa after a two years application process, I quit my job in Germany, packed up and came to Australia (after eight weeks backpacking through India on the way!) and never looked back.

How does life here differ to that in your home country, and what do you enjoy most about the Australian way of life?

Australia has much more a ‘can do’ approach than what I experienced in Germany. Also in Germany, you only get to senior positions if you have the required university degree. In Australia I have experienced (and practise when I hire!) people are appointed based on their experiences and abilities rather than degrees.

What do you enjoy most about working at Cenitex?

I enjoy working with people. People do make things happen. And working with people with different backgrounds, cultures, experiences (some with lots of experience in public service, other with great experience in private sector) gives me a great pleasure.

How important to you is Cultural Diversity Week and celebrating other cultures?

I love to get to know and experience different cultures. Because I travelled very extensively, I can very much relate to people from different countries and there is a chance that I actually visited their home countries.

Diversity, not only cultural but any diversity, is a point of difference. If we are able to leverage this point of difference to challenge and potentially change how we approach or do things, chances are we’ll get a better outcome.

But it doesn’t need to be all work related. We have a culturally diverse home with my partner, Lisa, being from Manchester in the UK. She is also vegetarian and we both enjoy (celebrate) our weekly meal at our local Indian because we love the flavours and variety Indian cuisine offers vegetarians.