Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Desautels

On this page: Meet Your Team | EDI First Responders | Support & Resources | Participate in EDI Consultation | Desautels Diversity Student Clubs | Teaching & Research | News & Events

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Desautels

Developing a respectful, diverse and inclusive culture is key to ensuring everyone who passes through our doors feels safe, welcome, valued and heard. At the Desautels Faculty of Management, we are committed to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion to better serve our community.

Recent events and conversations in the world have highlighted inequities and systemic injustices that still permeate today’s society and organizations. Racism, discrimination and intolerance have no place in our community. Desautels brings together and enables talented students, faculty members and staff with diverse and intersecting identities so that all can flourish. We must cultivate a culture that not only values equity, diversity and inclusion, but practices these values in all that we do.

lisa cohen

Meet Your Team

Lisa Cohen

Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour

Lisa Cohen joined McGill University’s Desautels School of Management in 2010 and is currently an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior. Her academic research explores the allocation of tasks within organizations, occupations and opportunity structures. She is especially interested in the ways demographic composition affects employees and organizations and the broader implications of all of this for equity, diversity and inclusion. In her teaching, Professor Cohen discusses issues related to diversity across her classes on negotiations, human resources and global talent management in the BCom and MBA programs. She received her PhD from Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley. After completing her doctoral work, Professor Cohen provided human resource and management consultancy to improve organizations’ potential through their people.

Desautels Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

The Desautels Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group was established in August 2020 to lead and support initiatives aimed at creating an inclusive, welcoming and respectful culture within the Faculty.

Working Group Members

  • Marie-José Beaudin, Executive Director, Career Services
  • Joy Bennett, Senior Development Officer
  • Anna Birnie-Lefcovitch, Managing Director, Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management (initiative advisor and coordinator)
  • Francesca Carrieri, Associate Professor, Finance
  • Forum Chheda, Vice President Student Groups and International, Desautels Graduate Student Society (co-representative for Masters Programs)
  • Lisa Cohen, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour
  • Dave D’Oyen, McGill alumni and Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Corus Entertainment
  • Darlene Inamahoro, Systems Analyst
  • Angela Guadagno, Academic Associate, Teaching and Learning Services-Desautels
  • Arielle Lok, representative, Management Undergraduate Society Board of Directors
  • Sara Mahabadi, President, Desautels Doctorate Student Society
  • Meghan McCoubrey, Vice President of Internal Affairs, Desautels Graduate Student Society (co-representative for Masters Programs)
  • Yvonne Ng, Human Resources Advisor
  • Nicole Richardson, Communications Associate
  • Patrick Ritchie, Student Advising Consultant, Student Affairs Office, BCom Program
  • Brian Rubineau, Associate Professor and Area Coordinator, Organizational Behaviour
  • Jordana Saada, Associate Director, Masters Programs
  • Desmond Tsang, Associate Professor, Accounting
  • Morty Yalovsky, Dean and Professor, Operations Management


EDI First Responders


The Desautels EDI First Responders program provides a clear place for students, faculty and staff to go if they experience or are aware of harassment, discrimination or other equity issues based on membership within an under-represented group (including race, ethnicity, Indigenous identity, gender, sexual orientation or identity, disability, religion, or other) at Desautels.

Desautels EDI First Responders are:

  • local members of the Desautels community who you can approach regarding equity-based experiences or observations;
  • trained to provide accurate information about University policies and processes;
  • able to refer you to support services and University personnel who lead reporting, mediation and investigation actions.

Please note EDI First Responders are not mediators, investigators, counsellors, or mental health professionals and cannot lodge formal reports. Disclosing incidents to a first responder does not put the University on notice of the issue.

Communications with first responders are confidential. Appropriate and discrete disclosure may occur in individual cases if permission is granted by the claimant, the First Responder is compelled by law, or the First Responder identifies serious risk to health and safety of either the claimant or others.

If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault, gender-based or intimate partner violence, or cyberviolence on or off campus, please visit the Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education for information or visit McGill University’s How to Report page.

Contact a First Responder

As a Desautels student, faculty member or administrator you can reach out to a Desautels EDI First Responder most closely affiliated to your program or unit, or to any responder identified below. You can also contact us anonymously. Typically, initial follow up will occur within 24–48 hours.

Contact one of the following Desautels EDI First Responders:

kelly.cassidy [at] mcgill.ca (subject: EDI%20First%20Responders%20program) (Kelly Cassidy) Student Advisor, Masters Program

Lisa.cohen2 [at] mcgill.ca (subject: EDI%20First%20Responders%20program) (Lisa Cohen) Associate Professor and Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Heather.mccombie [at] mcgill.ca (subject: EDI%20First%20Responders%20program) (Heather McCombie) Associate Director of Student Affairs, BCom Program

Yvonne.ng [at] mcgill.ca (subject: EDI%20First%20Responders%20program) (Yvonne Ng) Human Resources Advisor

patrick.ritchie [at] mcgill.ca (subject: EDI%20First%20Responders%20program) (Patrick Ritchie) Student Advising Consultant, BCom Program

jordana.saada [at] mcgill.ca (subject: EDI%20First%20Responders%20program) (Jordana Saada) Associate Director, Masters Programs

EDI Contact Form

You are invited to complete this form if you have experienced or witnessed equity issues at Desautels — based on, for example, race, Indigeneity, gender, sexual orientation or identity, disability, or religion. You can use this form if you are not comfortable disclosing your name or if you prefer using it to sending an email directly to an individual.

Complete form >

Support & Resources

Access support

If you’ve experienced an issue, here are some steps you can take for help:

Report incidents within Desautels

Speak with a local Equity, Diversity and Inclusion First Responder – see above for more information.

Seek guidance

If you have experienced harassment or discrimination and would like to reach out to someone outside of Desautels, you can sinead.hunt [at] mcgill.ca (contact )McGill's Senior Equity and Inclusion Advisor Sinead Hunt to discuss options including mediation and pursuing a formal investigation. Please know that all conversations are strictly confidential. For information on the process of reporting harassment, discrimination and sexual violence, please visit McGill University’s How to Report page.

Reach out to the Ombudsperson for Students

As the Ombudsperson for Students, Professor Patricia Faison Hewlin provides an independent, impartial and confidential service through which students may seek the just, fair and equitable resolution of any University-related concern. Get in touch.

Visit the Student Wellness Hub

As a student at Desautels, your Local Wellness Advisor Samara Yesovitch is available for consultation through the Student Wellness Hub. If you require additional mental health and wellness support during this time, please book an appointment.

Access Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

We all face problems, and sometimes these problems become too difficult for us to manage on our own. Employees may need assistance, advice, or just someone who will listen. Whatever personal, family, or work-related difficulties may be adversely affecting your life, your Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is there to provide support. Learn more.

Share ideas

Your opinion matters. We would love to hear from you if you have any ideas or feedback on how Desautels can become more equitable, diverse and inclusive. Please contact Professor Lisa Cohen at edi.mgmt [at] mcgill.ca.

Participate in EDI Consultation

Have you experienced racism, sexism or other discrimination at Desautels related to your identity? Are you concerned about campus culture for BIPOCs, women and other historically under-represented groups?

For example, this could look like:

  • Low levels of diversity
  • Experiences of “othering”
  • Lack of cultural or identity-based sensitivity, whether unconscious or not
  • Favouritism or bias in selection and evaluation processes among peers, in classrooms and for special opportunities and programs
  • Course content and resources that fail to address diversity and inclusion issues, or reinforce existing systems of oppression
  • Harassment, discrimination and microaggressions among students, or by instructors or administrators, that make you feel unwelcome, unable to be yourself, or otherwise unsafe.

Tell us your story and help bring about change!

Desautels students are invited to participate in focus groups to share their experiences and observations related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within the Faculty. All focus groups will be professionally facilitated by diversity and inclusion expert and member of the Desautels EDI Working Group, Dave D’Oyen (BA’13).

Learn more about Dave D’Oyen

Dave D’Oyen Dave D'Oyen is a diversity and inclusion consultant providing subject matter expertise on the development and execution of diversity and inclusion strategies and projects. He has held various roles related to diversity and inclusion including Equity and Diversity Consultant at the City of Toronto, Inclusion and Innovation Builder at Shopify, and Community Outreach and Consultation Advisor for the Independent Street Checks Review, which examined Ontario’s regulation on police street checks or "carding" as it is sometimes called.

Dave is a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group for the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University and Toronto Police Service's advisory committee tasked with implementing eighty-one recommendations that address systemic racism, alternative community safety and crisis response models and confidence in public safety. He volunteers with the Lifelong Leadership Institute, an organisation that supports the development of leadership competencies among Canadian youth of Jamaican, Caribbean and Black heritage. He was a member of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

During his studies, Dave was actively involved in the life of the University. He was a member of the Joint Board-Senate Subcommittee on Race and Ethnic Relations, the Joint Board-Senate Subcommittee on Persons with Disabilities and the National Survey of Student Engagement Workgroup. He also served on the academic unit review committees for the Department of East Asian Studies and the Department of Anthropology.

Dave was the Human Resources Director for the Management Undergraduate Society from 2012 to 2013.

The student focus groups are part of larger consultation and data collection processes to help us better understand the experiences of underrepresented groups at Desautels. Your contributions will inform future priority setting and actions aimed at educating our community and eliminating any systemic racism, discrimination and harassment that exists within our Faculty.

Most of the sessions are dedicated spaces for students who belong to equity-seeking groups to share their experiences safely. Please do not register if you are not a member of the group identified for that session. All BCom or Masters students can attend their respective open session focus groups.

Date (Time)


Monday, Nov. 9 (8am)

Women Masters students

Tuesday, Nov. 10 (8am)

OPEN SESSION: BCom students

Tuesday, Nov. 10 (5pm)

OPEN SESSION: Masters students

Tuesday, Nov. 10 (7pm)

Black students (all)

Thursday, Nov. 12 (12pm)

Women and racialized PhD students

Thursday, Nov. 12 (5pm)

Racialized BCom students

Tuesday, Nov. 17 (8am)

2SLGBTQ+ students (all)

Focus groups will be cancelled or merged if registration is too low. Sessions will not be recorded although designated note-takers will ensure experiences and ideas are captured. If you are uncomfortable participating in a focus group with others, you are invited to reach out to the edi.mgmt [at] mcgill.ca (EDI team) directly.

Desautels Diversity Student Clubs

Discover student clubs that foster equity, diversity and inclusion at Desautels. In addition to these clubs, the McGill Undergraduate Society and Desautels Graduate Student Society have diversity committees focused on advancing students initiatives in these areas.

Desautels Women in Business

Desautels Women in Business (DWB) aims to provide a platform for students to explore the opportunities and careers available to them. They are continuously expanding their strong network of women interested in a career in management: from professionals to current students and professors to alumni. Together, they aim to educate and inspire our students to achieve their goals with confidence as they begin to shape their futures.

Desautels African Club

The Desautels African Club (DAC) mission is to showcase the vibrant and unique African culture to McGill while encouraging and uplifting each other to succeed in our different fields. DAC organizes professional events in collaboration with other African associations to learn from our predecessors who have experienced the culture shock and advice for succeeding in the professional space.

Desautels Graduate French Club

The Desautels Graduate French Club (DGFC) is a social and conversation club that seeks to promote French language and Quebec culture at McGill University. DGFC offers a forum in which graduate students can improve and maintain their French language skills through weekly social events. They also provide Desautels graduate students with a subsidy for French courses offered by the McGill Post-Graduate Student Society (PGSS).


Desautels Graduate LGBTQ+ Association

The Desautels Graduate LGBTQ+ Association is open to all students with an interest in creating more inclusive experiences in the Desautels community and in their future professional settings. Their purpose is to raise awareness of the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community and how allies can help create an inclusive and supportive environment for all. They work to build relationships and collaborations with student associations across McGill University, corporate allies, and the wider LGBTQ+ community in Montreal.

Desautels Graduate Women's Association

The Desautels Graduate Women's Association (DGWA) mission is to promote dialogue on issues surrounding gender parity and women's empowerment, both in the McGill community and in the workplace. DGWA aims to maximize the personal and professional development of female Desautels graduate students through networking and mentorship opportunities while creating opportunities for all genders to learn how to best support gender equity initiatives in their careers.

McGill MBA Asia Club

The McGill MBA Asian Club promotes and educates their cohort on Asian culture and values; brings together the MBA, MMF and PMBAs in social gatherings; introduces spousal mixers; and supports and collaborates with other graduate and undergraduate clubs on collective initiatives.


McGill MBA Latin America Club

McGill MBA Latin American Club is a student organization open to all McGill MBA students interested in Latin American culture. The club aims to share the Latin American culture at McGill and enhance the MBA experience of its members by building a supportive network. The club organizes social events (from dinners to salsa classes) and professional events (from language exchange to sharing information about Latin American job opportunities).

McGill MBA North America Club

As part of the Desautels Graduate Culture Committee, the VP North America aims to bring together all members of the Desautels graduate community for social and professional events that highlight some of the unique experiences associated with living in Canada. We plan to accomplish this through events such as celebrating exclusively North American holidays and organizing panels about working in Canada.




Teaching & Research

Several of our faculty members explore research topics related to discrimination and the experiences of historically underrepresented communities. This ranges from looking at underrepresentation in specific industries, to how jobs and tasks are assigned and how entrepreneurs and employees from different backgrounds are supported (or not) by colleagues.

This expertise is shared with students through courses that treat equity, diversity and inclusion challenges, and through curated readings, case studies and examples for discussion. Desautels is exploring ways to further increase and enhance inclusive education and teaching practices. This includes reinforcing pedagogy adoption that serves all students, regardless of background or identity, and supporting overall engagement with subject material focused on equity, diversity and inclusion.

A sample of Desautels faculty members have shared how they are touching on these topics in their teaching and research:


Daphne Demetry
Assistant Professor, Strategy & Organization

Course instructor: Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship (MGPO 362)

In my Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship course, I share with students the diversity of experiences of real-life entrepreneurs, countering the media’s often-limited stereotype of who can become an entrepreneur. To do this, I discuss my research on alternative pathways to venture creation, like part-time entrepreneurs. In the classroom, I discuss the challenges that women and underrepresented minorities, such as black entrepreneurs, face in their startups and brainstorms ways to bring more diversity and inclusion to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Lindsay Holmgren
Associate Professor (Teaching), Strategy & Organization

Course coordinator: Expressive Analysis for Management (BUSA 250)
Course instructor: Global Leadership (MGCR 629) and Social Context for Business (MGCR 360)

Crucial to my instruction is the encouragement of dialogue, including first-person accounts of experience and the capacity to receive those accounts with open minds, suspended judgement, and acknowledgement of one's own biases. With these conditions in mind, I work to cultivate a safe space for students to share their experiences of difference, whether those differences pertain to gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, national identity, or degree of privilege. Moreover, I equip students with the vocabularies necessary for clear communications and encourage them to consider how their audiences will receive their language. In my view, this creates a learning environment in which difference can be understood, respected, and celebrated, thus contributing to socially conscious advancements in our myriad global economies.

Paola Perez-Aleman
Associate Professor, Strategy & Organization

Course instructor: Business-Government Relations (MGPO 365); Strategies for Developing Countries (MGPO 475); Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MGPO 438); Strategic Management: Developing Countries (MGPO 651); International Business and Government (MGPO 707)

Understanding the experience of diverse people, groups, and places around the world is crucial for learning, knowledge building, innovation, and problem-solving. Drawing on my field-based research, my six Strategy and Organization courses recognize the benefits of valuing different experiences and diverse knowledge. Gaining an understanding of excluded and marginalized peoples fosters better citizens, worldly managers, and inclusive communities.


John-Paul Ferguson
Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour

My research interests include large-scale studies of employment-segregation patterns and the effectiveness of various diversity programs. My work on large American workplaces has shown for example that racial segregation between workplaces has grown over the last generation, even as segregation between jobs in those workplaces has fallen. I have also published research on the difficulties of inferring diversity-program performance from the results in voluntarily complying firms.

Patricia Faison Hewlin
Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour; Ombudsperson for Students at McGill

The overriding objective of my research is to shed light on factors that facilitate and hinder inclusion in workplaces and society. With the support of a $2.5 million partnership grant from Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, I am collaborating with Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and a team of scholars, community leaders, and industry partners to examine the barriers that women and diverse groups encounter within Canada’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. The partnership seeks to generate solutions to strengthen this ecosystem.

Michelle Y. Lu
Assistant Professor, Marketing

In a recent working paper, my collaborator and I study inequality issues on a business level. In response to the economic downturn with historically high unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on the U.S. economy. Among all programs in the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is designed for small businesses that meet the size criteria of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). However, contrary to the original intent of the PPP, news media revealed that it is mostly large companies (including around 180 public companies), not small ones, dominating the applications for PPP loans. Accusing banks of prioritizing their most significant customers, small businesses have sued four of the largest U.S. banks. Reports show that small businesses, especially those owned by underrepresented groups or operate in disadvantaged areas, face more severe financial distress. Motivated by the unintended consequence of aggravated inequality in the fund distribution, the goal of this research investigates the causes and solutions.

Elena Obukhova
Assistant Professor, Strategy & Organization

I use a network lens to explore how connections, gender, and class shape people's experiences of looking for a job. My current project shows that while searching for a job, women network more than men do, especially with other women, in part because they try to find employers where they will have the best chance of professional success. I have also published numerous papers showing how job seekers benefit from connections.

Desmond Tsang
Associate Professor, Accounting

My research focuses on firms' financial reporting and corporate governance issues as related to earnings management and financial fraud. In a recently published paper, my coauthors and I look at board of director turnover during periods when frauds are being committed at firms, to look for clues on whether the board of directors are aware of the deceit. We show that women were more likely to resign their directorships than men, reinforcing existing scholarship that has demonstrated that female directors are more risk-averse and have a tendency to focus more rigorously on ethical standards.

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