Dean's EDI Update - February 2022

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month throughout February, I am pleased to bring you an update on our equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives and progress. As mentioned in my January message, EDI is a major priority of this Faculty and I want to ensure everyone is aware of the steps we are taking to build an even more respectful, diverse and inclusive culture at Desautels. We take this occasion to reiterate our Faculty’s commitment to McGill’s Action Plan to Address Anti-Black Racism.

Desautels EDI Strategic Plan

We continue to make strides with our EDI Strategic Plan, developed in collaboration with Professor Lisa Cohen, Director of EDI at Desautels.

Professor Cohen continues to consult with members of our community to gather feedback and suggestions. The plan has been presented to the Desautels International Advancement and Advisory Board, Faculty Council, Staff Town Hall, PhD students and the Industry Advisory Board. We are also arranging for further consultation with the Desautels Graduate Students Society to take place in the near future. Thank you for making your voice heard during these consultations and, as always, we welcome further feedback.

The hiring of Associate Director of EDI

As mentioned in our previous update, as part of our efforts to bolster the resources needed to help reach our EDI objectives, we have created a new senior administrative role dedicated to EDI to work alongside Professor Cohen. We are nearing the end of the hiring process and should be able to announce the incumbent shortly. This new administrator will help promote awareness and understanding of EDI principles and values, ensuring they form part of the Faculty’s teaching, learning and working environments.

Addressing Anti-Black Racism

As you know, February marks Black History Month, which dates back to 1926 when Harvard-educated African American historian Carter G. Woodson proposed dedicating time to honour the accomplishments of African Americans and to heighten awareness of Black history in the United States. In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada following a motion introduced by the first African Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The House of Commons carried the motion unanimously. Today, we observe Black History Month to honour the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities.

It is appropriate for us to take practical steps this month to support members of the Black Desautels community. Desautels welcomes proposals to promote innovations in fostering an inclusive environment for Black students, staff and faculty, that enables Black members of our Desautels community to thrive. Projects can include but are not limited to, the creation of new resources, mentoring networks, events, competitions, curriculum content, visiting speakers, research projects, and safe spaces, aimed at addressing Anti-Black Racism (ABR).

The Desautels Faculty of Management will award grants up to a maximum of $2,500. We welcome creative ideas that meet the following criteria:

  • Create new ways to counter ABR;
  • Fit with Desautels and McGill’s EDI and ABR plans;
  • Help create and foster relationships (e.g., between Desautels students, student groups, staff, faculty, alumni, and external Black networks);
  • Have a broad reach;
  • Have both immediate and longer-term effects.

Please submit your proposal by March 11, 2022, to be considered.

Reminder: Celebrating Black History Month

Our Black History Month event, Bringing Yourself into the Business World, is taking place on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. Register now

Moderated by Lysie Salomon (BCom'17), Senior Consultant at Deloitte, the panel will feature:

  • Dr. Patricia Faison Hewlin, Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour
  • Audrea Golding (BA'92), Partner at Fragomen
  • Bertrand Cesvet (MBA'90), former Chairman and Senior Partner at Sid Lee
  • Martin Laguerre (BCom'95), Executive Vice-President and Global Head of Private Equity & Capital Solutions at the CDPQ

Together, in hopes of shaping the future workforce, we will explore how our guests are their authentic selves in their respective organizations and how they have collaborated to advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Laurent Picard Distinguished Lecture: What Works: Gender Equality by Design

On Tuesday, March 15, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM, we will be hosting Professor Iris Bohnet, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and co-director of the Women and Public Policy Program Harvard Kennedy School as part of the Laurent Picard Distinguished Lecture series.

Gender equality is a moral and business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back, and de-biasing people’s minds have proven to be difficult and expensive. Diversity training programs have had limited success, and individual effort alone often invites backlash. Behavioral design offers a new solution. By de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have significant impacts. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to create shifts in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions. Register now


Yolande E. Chan, PhD
Dean and James McGill Professor


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