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Weekly Speaker Program

January 7, 2019: Tina Varughese, Motivational Speaker      website

Patricia Morgan (Les Morgan’s wife) rose to introduce our guest speaker, Tina Varughese. Tina is a friend and colleague of Patricia, and both are members of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

Tina is the president of tWorks, her company, which provides cross cultural communication consulting and inclusive leadership, and she is also a contributing writer for the Human Resource Institute’s Network magazine. She is also the current president of the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. She has many other accomplishments to her credit. She has two children, five fish and one husband!

Tina talked to us about the problems cross cultural difficulties can cause. With the increasing numbers of cultures of different immigrants, some sensitivity to the impact cross cultural collisions can have is needed. There are also opportunities available in this new situation.

Tina is an engaging speaker. She is of Indian extraction and told us some amusing anecdotes of cross cultural events, especially the one about her mother who has a pronounced accent. She (the mother) moved to BC to be a “snowbird” but this got interpreted as a snowboarder in her medical records!

Tina gave us several examples of the deep and extensive differences between different cultures. Head shakes and head positions can mean radically different things to different cultures. In Arabic societies, showing the soles of your feet is a serious insult. Talking over someone in other cultures is thought of as adding value to the conversation.

Tina had us do a handshaking exercise. Everybody shook hands with their immediate table partner. What was revealed was that everyone used three hand pumps to complete the handshake. Any pumps more or less than this was experienced as “weird”. Different hand gestures can mean something positive in one culture and the same gesture can be seen as rude and insulting in another.

Tina’s presentation was informative and interesting. More information can be had at her website:

Les Morgan thanked Tina, and presented her with our world-famous Boltman.

  • Tina Varughese and Les Morgan Tina Varughese and Les Morgan

reported by Larry Doyle

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