PEOPLE: Unique perspectives is a strength in workplaces

Joshua Karras is a leader wearing many hats. As the Executive Manager with the United Nations Association of Australia NSW Division, his work pushes forward the UN’s 17 Global Goals.

We speak to Joshua about what diversity means to him and all the roles he is leading. Here’s the story!

Can you tell our readers what a normal day looks like for Joshua Karras? 

A normal day would usually begin with a morning brief with the President of the UN Association of Australia (NSW), followed by meetings from a variety of industry leaders to discuss new and innovative ways of contributing to Australia’s mandate to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, due in 2030. It’s never the same day twice in this regard which I really enjoy about the job. 

In the afternoon I’ll meet with some of the Executive Committee to plan and develop any upcoming events and initatives, and check in on one of our Keystone programs, our UN Diploma. In the evening, I’ll spend a couple of hours on my PhD, and any outstanding work with the Greater Sydney Commission, the SES, or the Australian Egyptian Youth Forum, all of which I am proud members of. I usually end the day by catching up with my wife, friends and family and tucking into some Netflix.

Apart from that, I’ve made use of a daily to do list of stuff that I know is important to me or requires some discipline. Some of these include writing a gratitude list, taking my Arabic lesson, reading a chapter of anything, writing towards my own book, meditating and, since lockdown, adding a video to my online Insta-series which I’ve affectionately called “Josh’s Lockdown Lowdown”, which includes a COVID Fact and a recommend activity to help viewers get through the pandemic.

How important is diversity and inclusion to you and in the work that you do?

In short, it’s everything. In my experience, both concepts lead to a complete overhaul of ideas and processes, thanks the innovative potential of diverse representation and conscious inclusion. Of course, it’s an absolute mandate in the work we are doing, considering the UN’s charter and goals. I have personally seen the benefits of setting policy guidelines which support gender and racial parity and inclusion. 

Have you ever faced challenges in your professional career from others because of your identity and if so, how were you able to overcome that?

Unfortunately, age discrimination is absolutely real. In my line of work, taking a position of management in my mid-twenties has usually meant being the youngest person in the room. I’ve had to get creative in having my opinion or sometimes just my voice heard, and I’ve learnt that patience is key in allowing older people to overcome their ageist prejudices and understand that you deserve to be where you are just as much as they do.

ADVICE FOR THE YOUTH

I think the most practically useful thing young people from diverse backgrounds can do is to demonstrate to their professional world just how useful their unique perspectives can be. It’s difficult to stand out in an increasingly competitive workforce, which is why individuals from minority groups are categorically placed to show they can bring to potential employers.

Want to follow and support JOSHUA?

  • Joshua Karras is on LinkedIn
  • @joshkarras on Instagram


About the diversity champion:

Joshua currently holds the position of Executive Manager with the United Nations Association of Australia NSW Division where he designs programs and initiatives under the guidance of the UN’s 17 Global Goals. He is studying a Ph.D. at the University of New South Wales within the Faculty of Medicine. He completed three separate Masters degrees in Public Health and abides by and promotes the UN mantra “We the Peoples”, which aims to empower the individual to utilise their unique voice and skill set in order to enact change within their community. He was also recently pointed as a board member of the Greater Sydney Commission.

Image description: Joshua is smiling while wearing a brown sweater and white collared undershirt