Dean's EDI Update - March 2022

With Black History Month behind us, I wish to congratulate the Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Prof. Lisa Cohen, and the dedicated members of the Desautels community behind the Bringing Yourself into the Business World panel on pulling together such a thought-provoking event. It was a true delight to see so many in attendance and to feel the strength of our Desautels community as we looked courageously at challenging issues.

Our communications team has prepared a recap article for this event, and I encourage those who were unable to attend to read it and hear what our accomplished guests were so kind to share.

Celebrating the achievements of women

Another important day has come and gone since you last heard from me, International Women’s Day, which took place on March 8. I was abroad during this time, on an international trip to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and London in my capacity as Dean to meet with members of our global alumni family. During my trip, I was honoured to be travelling alongside fellow women leaders Principal Suzanne Fortier and Dean Elham Emami and to engage with so many accomplished women—many of whom are proud Desautels graduates or mothers of Desautels students. As an advocate for women in leadership throughout my career, I was also pleased to participate in an International Women’s Day Virtual Symposium focused on breaking the glass ceiling in business education. Fellow panelists, attendees and I shared our journeys and the value and importance of diversity in business.

Diversity in business is important because: It is the right thing to do from a fairness perspective. It is the right thing to do from a legal perspective. Discrimination can be costly. It is the right thing to do from a talent management perspective. If you are not hiring from half of the population, you are potentially missing out on half of the talent. It leads to diversity in perspectives, which can be critical to problem-solving and innovation. When women do not move up the leadership ladder, everyone suffers.

New Director for Centre for Business Ethics

In that vein, I am pleased to announce that we have officially appointed a Director for the newly minted Centre for Business Ethics. Elena Obhukova, Assistant Professor, Strategy and Organization will be leading the charge at the Centre, which will support research, teaching and community engagement to address issues related to unethical behaviour, unethical decision-making, and ethical failures within organizations. A focus of the Centre will include equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in business

New Associate Director for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Finally, it is with great pleasure that I welcome Karrie-Noelle Plohman who joins us as Associate Director of EDI. Karrie-Noelle comes to us with over twenty years of experience playing key leadership roles in the child welfare and disability sectors where she has prioritized community and relationship building as a pathway towards radical change, the institutionalizing of equity practices and transformative growth. She will work alongside Prof. Lisa Cohen to spearhead EDI initiatives at the Faculty. I am very keen to see what the future holds under the leadership of these two outstanding women.


Yolande E. Chan, PhD
Dean and James McGill Professor

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