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Tina Varughese

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Cross-Cultural Communication Expert

For fifteen years Tina Varughese worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office as well as running her own successful relocation and settlement firm. Tina has been the face of diversity, literally, when she was chosen to be in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty representing beauty in diversity.


50 Shades of Beige: Communicate with the Cross-Cultural Advantage
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. Everybody can benefit from communicating more effectively, however, when 20% of Canada’s population is foreign-born, communicating with the cross-cultural advantage is arguably one of the most important types of communication in the 21st century. 

Key Takeaways
• Cultural differences in communication: Indirect vs. direct speaking styles. 
• Effective non-verbal communication techniques. 
• How to use the VAK model of Communication for a cross-cultural advantage.

Human Resources | Recruiting and Retaining Foreign Workers for Success and Sustainability
Successful organizations understand that being able to attract, recruit and retain a qualified worker with appropriate skills, personality, attitude and motivation can be challenging at the best of times, let alone when chronic labour shortages exist in both skilled and non-skilled occupations. A shortage of skilled labour limits the ability to increase sales or production, which is why many successful organizations recruit foreign workers. 

Key Takeaways
• Why hiring practices sometimes inadvertently ‘screen out’ suitable candidates.
• Effective interview techniques with individualistic and collective cultures.
• Are we speaking the same language? Constructive feedback across cultures.

Leadership | Gen Zen: Communicate, Collaborate and Cooperate in the Changing Workplace
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. Learning how to communicate and cooperate in the workplace leads to a healthier, happier, motivating and inspiring workplace where everybody benefits.

Key Takeaways: 
• How to empower introverts in the workplace.
• Techniques for team building through collaboration and understanding.
• The difference between monochromic and polychromic cultures and why it matters to the workplace.

Unconscious Bias | Making a First Impression in Seven Seconds or Less
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 affect and impact decision making both professionally and personally with real impact. Recognizing, managing and mitigating unconscious bias promotes diversity and inclusion. 

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

Tina also offers customized presentations on inclusive leadership, work-life balance and more. View a full list of her presentations here.

  • Tiny had the attention of the whole group and everyone laughed and left with more knowledge on how to interact with people of many different cultures. This was a presentation packed with practical examples. She is very skilled at involving large audiences in the presentation. She delivers her message with confidence, humor, stories, and excellent visual impact with slides and videos to enhance her message. Her presentation concluded our symposium and left the audience on a very high note and extremely satisfied with our event.

    - Research and Nutritional Services Zinpro Corporation
  • Over the course of three days, Tina delivered four equally, funny and informative sessions, each met with resounding success. It was a delight to see how engaged employees were and their genuine desire to better understand and embrace inclusivity. Tina even received unsolicited emails from staff thanking her for teaching something they hadn’t previously thought about or recognized, which clearly demonstrates the value-add she brought to the Syncrude organization.

    - Public Affairs Advisor, Syncrude Canada Ltd.
  • Tina was a pleasure to work with! Her presentation was insightful and fun—she had a room of senior management giggling up a storm. Her inclusive leadership strategies are accessible and easily to implement, which resonated with our organization. Her seminar reminded me that leadership and positivity are traits that can be fostered in individuals such as employees and team members, not just management! The impact of this for an organization is significant. Tina’s cheerful attitude and refreshing approach shaped the mood for the conference and we couldn’t be happier.

    - Competition Bureau, Government of Canada
  • I LOVED your presentation and could have sat in that conference room all day listening to you. It really shows that you are in your element and love what you do. Thank you for speaking with such passion about a topic that a lot more people need to hear about these days. You were definitely one of the people that automatically felt the drawn to. You have a beautiful soul and possess the energy of a million watt light bulb.

    - Bilingual Coordinator Groups Porter Airlines
  • Your session was the fuel I needed. I’ve been saying for at least a year now that I want to specialize in the “New to Canada” market. I had fear of not knowing enough or saying the right things. Well, that has changed! Thank-you Tina for a wonderful session!

    - Mortgage Planner, Mortgage Architects

Summary Profile

Tina is an Indo-Canadian daughter of first-generation East Indian parents, which allows her to find ‘the best of both worlds’ and shed light, knowledge and most importantly universal humour into the intercultural workplace. She draws from her experiences as an entrepreneur, mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend when delivering keynotes on work-life balance and diversity and inclusion-topics which resonate with her both professionally and personally.

For fifteen years Tina Varughese, B.A.; B.Comm, worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office as well as running her own successful relocation and settlement firm.

She is currently the immediate Past-President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (Calgary).

Tina is a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute of Alberta’s Network magazine, Calgary Real Estate News, Home to Home magazine and was profiled in Alberta’s Venture Magazine. Tina has been the face of diversity, literally, when she was chosen to be in Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty representing beauty in diversity. With two kids, five fish and one husband, she resides in Calgary where she recently began hip hop classes.