Latest news

Classic list

Globally incubate standards compliant channels before scalable benefits. Quickly disseminate superior deliverables whereas web-enabled applications.


If I wanted to be serious about my business, it required some clarity.

My past self as an urban planner collided with my present as future self as a organizational development consulting.  I debated on a name change again.  Urban planning and finance professionals still attempt to reach out via social media because of the name, but I attributed this to utter laziness on their part.  So the name is here to stay.

Most importantly was the logo change.  What precipitated it?  I wanted it to be resemble continuity and flow.  The Black and Gold was old, tired and resembled anger in my mind.  It needed a refresh.

The teal colour has meaning.  Ever since the San Jose Sharks were announced as a National Hockey League franchise in the early 90s, I fell in love with the colour.  (I still root for the Toronto Maple Leafs, for better or worse.)

Digging deeper, “Teal combines the calming properties of blue with the renewal qualities of green. It is a revitalizing and rejuvenating color that also represents open communication and clarity of thought. For Tibetan monks, teal is symbolic of the infinity of the sea and sky, while it is the color of truth and faith for Egyptians.”, according to creative design Canva’s website.

Finally, there are teal organizations. Named by Frederic Laloux in his 2014 book Reinventing Organizations, these organizations are characterized by features such as self-managed teams, intuitive reasoning, decentralized decision making, wholeness and a deeper sense of purpose.  It is with this purpose of a human-centred approach I want use to bring equity and belonging to organizations.

Welcome to Urban Equity Consulting Services.



Yes you read that right!

Whatever you would like to call it: EDI, DEI, D&I, DI&B does not belong under human resources. While I am not currently involved in this work, through my own research, I have come to find that too many times that this work reports into human resources departments or other areas of an organization for the life of me can’t figure out why this is still the case, especially in Canadian organizations.

So why is that to this day consultants hired by an organization still advise that equity and inclusion rest within HR fully cognizant that it is an organization wide issue? As well, why do we organizational leaders continue to hire one person, mainly on a one year contract to do all the work with no support? It is already bad enough many executives want to see the “business case” for equity and inclusion, yet when equity practitioners are hired, especially those who report to HR leaders, they become underutilized. These concepts where discussed in episode 2 of the Urban Equity Chats podcast “The Party of One” with Dr. Shana Almeida and Meeta Gandhi.

As we discussed, these one person teams are set up to fail. There is immense pressure to deliver which eventually leads to burnout. If HR includes personnel management, why would an organization want to see this occur?

I will explain why this should stop being the normal practice.

Let’s define what the profession of human resources is all about.

Human resources (HR) is the department responsible for maintaining a company’s personnel, employee relations and workplace culture. The many functions within HR include recruiting, hiring, terminating, training, professional development, policy implementation, benefits, payroll, government regulation, legal compliance and safety and often mediates conflicts and concerns between employees.

HR partners with management to address personnel concerns as well as provide support and resources where needed so that managers can focus on running their department operations.

But when there are discussions surrounding racism, homophobia, misogyny, ableism, neurodiversity, etc, should this not be a function of just more than people but something that is organization wide. These issues are systemic across departments, which include human resources.

There are several problems with equity and inclusion (E&I) practitioners reporting to human resources.

  1. It signals to your non-HR people that E & I is not their job. It is the responsibility of everyone within the organization to promote equity, inclusion and belonging. Leaders must be aware of the differences of the lived experiences of racialized and marginalized populations. If equity and inclusion is placed under HR, it signals that employees cannot foster inclusion or they should not. I continue to see this time and again when internal departments do not address equity.
  2. There are implications that there is nothing that other business functions can do to promote equity and inclusion. Equity and inclusion, and more so the hiring of a Principal Equity Officer (PEO), must be its own business and must be operationalized. So much of this work falls outside of equity and inclusion. The image below is a perfect example.
via Toby Egbuna

PEOs must be

“nimble in supporting varying needs of workers and staff, while also strategizing about how to weave E&I into the organizational structure for long-term impact. They will develop plans to help organizations tend to the conditions of employees identity and values that differ with the changing times. A key element of a PEO’s role is working with the CEO or COO to develop initiatives to support equity, inclusion and belonging. This means that they support leadership in strategy and structural planning.” 

Netta Jenkins Head of DEI Shouldn’t Report to HR

3. E&I practitioners who are reporting into HR signals that organizations do not give precedence to E & I related metrics, key performance indicators, goals and progress. While I will credit those organizations who prioritize metrics, many of these positions highlight only the metrics related to HR functions. E&I should not be a five minute update in a executive leadership of staff meeting.

There are so many key points from this PhD project podcast episode that highlight these issues. I started the video from the 22 minute mark.

Chief Diversity Officers have a seat at the table…but which table? Via PhD Project.

It requires every single member of an organization, regardless of level for true change to occur. Leaders must be adaptive to change in order to deal with the complex socioeconomic issues of the day that affect an organization.

PEOs should be at the same level as other executives and be equally as instrumental towards transformational and adaptive change. They should lead a team of people responsible for procurement, strategic policy development and implementation, data governance, infrastructure and project management. Other areas include the liaison with internal employee resource groups and external partnerships.

E&I is not the sole responsibility of HR . It must be implemented organization-wide and be a greater part of its culture. A fully-funded E&I department with a PEO at the helm signals the organization’s serious in being accountable and its willingness to be sustained. An organization will more than likely be successful if it brings credible strategies, metrics and KPIs to advance equity and inclusion.

Every year, I would write a post reviewing what transpired over the year and plans to move forward. Last year it did not happen because of a major upheaval. This year, I decided to return to the long standing tradition.

This year it is a year of transition, while remaining consistent with others. The biggest accomplishment this year was the recommencement of graduate school in September to complete the Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program in Local Government at Western University. The last time I was in school was March 2016. Tragedy stuck where I lost my mother and took a lot of out of me emotionally. Now I return with greater confidence and purpose.

My research interests have slightly changed. I initially went into the program concentrating on regional transit governance. Those who have followed my blog, or those on social media, noticed my constant defense on the subject. I have been out of the transit profession for a while and the planning profession for three years and have been more focused on strategic and equitable leadership in local government. While governance remains a subject of interest from an organizational perspective, the majority of recent blog posts concentrated on racial and social equity.

This year’s international and national events surrounding addressing and eradicating racism after the deaths of innocent Black people with of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet was one factor. My post Enough is Enough from May highlighted my frustrations with systemic racism and my lived experiences navigating through White spaces in the professional world, and my own personal lived experiences from childhood to today.

Another factor was highlighted by the COVID pandemic that exacerbated the existing anti-Black racism and income gaps surrounding transit, public health and housing. Earlier this year, I contributed to an article to The Local Health Magazine where I spoke about my experience on the Jane 35, a Toronto transit bus route that traverses low-income neighbourhoods and where the hardest hit communities with COVID.

The plethora of Zoom webinars and meetings came with some positive results. One of them was meeting Carlton Eley, who provided me with some input on successfully maneuvering through the professional world focused on racial equity. I am forever grateful in him suggesting a book from Susan T Gooden titled Race and Social Equity: A Nervous Area of Government. I summarized the book in a post from the summer related to disrupting the status quo in the public sector. I will be incorporating some of her thoughts into my major research paper.

During this pandemic, I took up running as a form of physical activity in lieu of gyms being closed. As novice runner, it was more for exercise as well as visiting new neighbourhoods such as Oak Ridge and Birch Cliff in Scarborough and trails like the Finch West Hydro Corridor and the Beltline Trail.

But my social justice conscience went into high gear where I witnessed such disparities between the aforementioned Jane Street corridor and the Swansea neighbourhood as well as my experience seeing a makeshift encampment in Alexandra Park in Downtown Toronto. It was my last post on addressing the housing inequities in the City.

Finally, I started Urban Equity Consulting as a stop gap to find a way to work on contract developing solutions in strategic and technical urban planning and policy. But work has been scarce. It will be a placeholder to add racial and social equity to my practice once I complete graduate school and gain more experience in that area.

I predict the first half of 2021 will be more of the same, even with the discovery and distribution of vaccines among the general public. I will be graduating with a MPA degree in hand with a paper that hopes to carry me forward in my career, running a consistent 6:30 minute per kilometre pace, either continuing my practice with greater fervor or landing a full-time job – which the latter is preferred, and volunteering for causes with a strong racial equity focus.

I am looking forward to completing this transition in 2021 with greater purpose and success. Who’s ready to come for the ride? Drop me a note in the comments or follow me on my various social media channels.

Middle managers are more than norm bearers; they hold the potential to be the champions of equity, inclusion and belonging (EIB) in their organizations. Despite facing countless challenges, they are uniquely positioned to bridge the EIB gap that often exists in corporations. The key to thawing the "frozen middle" lies in empowering these managers with the right tools, support, and knowledge to navigate the complex terrain of EIB. By doing so, middle managers can become the linchpin to EIB success, fostering a culture of inclusivity from within.

Organizational culture has emerged as a critical factor that determines the success of an organization. It plays a more significant role in achieving better organizational outcomes, more than the established policies and strategies. The quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” coined by Peter Drucker, one of the leading management consultants of all times. Drucker realized the importance of culture to an organization compared to the strategy. With the rapidly changing organizational landscape, organizations require leaders with the ability to adapt to the changing demands.  Let’s add what the Niskanen Center states as culture eating policy for breakfast, especially in public sector settings. This can be related to any policy being made, even with the best intentions, are written to take entirely different meanings, and have different effects as they are implemented throughout the hierarchy, as Jennifer Pahlka states. Therefore, leaders need to adjust their leadership styles, with inclusive leadership taking centre stage.

Transformational leadership has long been a popular leadership style in all types of organizations. (I will admit that during graduate school, I was a big fan of this leadership style.)

Leading transformational change involves helping the organization transcend its current positioning, performance, and capabilities. This requires visionary thinking, the ability to tackle complex problems (like overcoming organizational inertia), and the courage to make difficult choices (like when to shut down or sell off assets that were once considered “core”). Leaders must think deeply and manage their emotions in intense situations, all while stakeholders expect to see results. (Via Lancefield and Rangen, HBR 2021)

Transformational leaders focus on inspiring and motivating their employees towards working together towards a shared vision. However, with this type of leadership, conformity is enhanced, with little to no diversity of opinion being welcomed. The leader dominates the decision-making process, leading to missed opportunities for business growth and a deficiency in diversity within leadership positions, leading to stagnation and no innovation.

On the other hand, inclusive leadership prioritizes creating an inclusive environment that allows every employee to feel valued, and providing opportunities in the organization to flourish regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Inclusive leaders recognize the significance of diverse opinions, experiences, and uniqueness of ideas which enable customers, shareholders, and employees to contribute to the organization’s overall success.


Fostering a culture of trust, openness, and appreciation for differences is the foundation for inclusion, leading to diverse teams, better equipped to develop innovative solutions and aligning with the ever-changing demands of customers and other stakeholders.

Six signature traits of an inclusive leader are cognizanance, courage, commitment, collaboration, cultural intelligence and curiosity
Six Signature Traits of an Inclusive Leader

Six traits, or the 6 C’s of an inclusive leader include cognizance, courage, commitment, collaboration, cultural intelligence and curiosity.  These traits represent the diverse new world of markets, customers/citizens/users, ideas and talent. These shifts influence priorities and reshaping the capabilities required of leaders to succeed in the future.  

Inclusive leadership’s impact on organizational culture links directly to employee engagement, retention, and productivity. It creates a culture of psychological safety , where employees feel safe to bring their true selves to work, which fosters creativity and innovation(watch my Global Conversations interview with Lisa Ferrol)

When an employee feels valued and appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged in their work hence leading to increased productivity, loyalty, and reduced employee turnover rates ultimately leading to better business outcomes. Moreover, inclusive leadership aligns with the values of younger generations, such as millennials, and the Generation Z, which prioritizes inclusion and diversity when looking for job opportunities. The right inclusive leadership style has an excellent chance to attract and retain high-quality talent.

The importance of culture in organizations cannot be overemphasized, especially with the changing business environment’s demands. Culture should be a top priority for leaders, intentionally making moves towards building and maintaining a positive one. Transformational leadership is not to be disregarded altogether, but if culture is eating strategy and policy, organizations cannot afford to ignore diversity, and inclusivity in leadership which can lead to poor organizational outcomes.

Organizational culture is crucial to the success of a company and is created and maintained by effective leadership. While transformational leadership has its benefits, it can often lead to a lack of diversity within leadership positions, missed opportunities for innovation, and a focus on conformity rather than diversity of opinion. Inclusive leadership, on the other hand, creates a culture of belonging and trust, which leads to diversity of opinion, increased innovation, better business outcomes, and aligns with the values of younger generations. Therefore, with the rapidly changing environment, especially with the rise of diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership prevails over transformational leadership.

I’ve been curious about the reliability of ChatGPT. So I tested it out to see how accurate or elementary the post can be.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the way businesses operate and solve problems. With the help of AI, organizations can make informed decisions that enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize workflows. However, AI also has the power to impact equity, diversity, and inclusion in a global organization. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the impacts of AI on EDI in a global organization.


Equity refers to ensuring fairness in the allocation of resources, rights, and opportunities. AI can promote equity by eliminating human biases from decision-making processes. This is because AI-based tools follow algorithms that make data-based decisions rather than relying on human judgment. This ensures that everyone in the organization is treated fairly, and decisions are made based on merit.

For instance, when hiring employees, AI-based tools can analyze resumes, perform skills assessments, and conduct background checks. This eliminates human biases from the recruitment process, ensuring that the best candidate is selected irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, or religion. Similarly, AI can be used to promote cross-gender, cross-cultural, and cross-functional collaboration by identifying team members’ strengths and gaps, making up for each other.


Diversity refers to the differences that exist within a workplace, such as race, gender, nationality, and cultural background. AI can promote diversity by identifying and attracting a talent pool from diverse backgrounds. This is because AI can perform a skills gap analysis and identify specific skills that are missing within the organization. It can also analyze external data sources, such as social media, to identify candidates from diverse backgrounds that might not have been identified through traditional recruitment processes. Fine-tuned models can also predict and notify when diversity drops below a pre-specified threshold and recommend action plans, such as launching retention campaigns.


Inclusion refers to creating a workplace culture that is welcoming, accepting and where individuals feel a sense of belonging. AI can promote inclusion by detecting and reducing unintended biases that arise from interactions within the organization. Examples of such biases include gendered language, evaluations of employee performance that are impacted by personal characteristics, and misinterpretation of cultural references.

AI can help reduce these biases by analyzing the language used in communication, providing vocabulary suggestions that eliminate biased language, and giving perspectives from multiple cultures. Fine-tuned language models can also verify if language used in communication adversely affects any subgroup of employees based on their ethnicity, nationality, or gender.


Artificial Intelligence can have a significant impact on equity, diversity, and inclusion in a global organization. AI can help organizations eliminate human biases that result in unequal treatment and unintentional homogenization. It can identify a diverse pool of candidates and promote team collaboration by bridging the skill gaps between individuals. Finally, AI can detect and reduce biases in communication to promote a culture of inclusion. Considering the benefits AI offers concerning Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, any organization that aims to be successful in a rapidly globalizing world must embrace AI as a tool for improvement.

But I needed more clarity on the effects on global, glocal, and localized organizations. Here’s what came up.

Great point! The impacts of artificial intelligence on equity, diversity, and inclusion in global, glocal, and localized organizations can differ depending on the context and scope of the organization.

Global organizations operate across multiple countries, cultures, and languages. These organizations can leverage AI to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion by developing standardized practices and policies that eliminate biases in different regions. Through advanced machine learning capabilities, such as cross-cultural sentiment analysis, global organizations can gain insights into different cultures and tailor their practices to fit each community’s unique needs. Additionally, AI can enable global organizations to leverage their data collected on a global scale to identify meaningful patterns and inform decisions to enhance their EDI strategy across all regions.

Glocal organizations, which operate in multiple local areas, follow more regionally specific approaches to balance local and global objectives. Similar to global organizations, they can leverage AI to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion by developing standardized practices and policies but tailored to a specific local context. AI can play a significant role in glocal organizations by helping them understand individual employees’ data points and the local communities’ nuances. Through this approach, glocal organizations can tailor their EDI initiatives to the local employees’ needs while maintaining a consistent global strategy.

Localized organizations operate in one specific location and cater to the local population, providing customized solutions for the particular region. They can leverage AI to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion by providing localized recommendations for recruitment systems, performance reviews, and employee engagement efforts. Moreover, by adopting locally specific language models and sentiment analysis, these organizations can enable better communication among their employees and with the surrounding communities.

In conclusion, AI approaches can play a significant role in helping global, glocal and localized organizations promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. The primary strategy for utilizing AI will vary depending on the organization’s scope, but they can all enhance the success of EDI-integration through AI-powered systems. An organization’s size or presence should not be a significant barrier to EDI inclusion via AI.

So my thoughts on ChatGPT? If I’m lazy, I’ll rely on it. I would explore adding resources in the request. I wouldn’t have broken it down my specific equity, diversity and inclusion. It did a decent job for the most part.

What do you think? Would you write anything better?

Follow us on social media

Stay on top of the latest news and events by joining our platforms.

Join our Patreon

Your support helps us create timely and relevant equity webcast content!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for the Urban Strategist newsletter for detailed roundups of what we’re working on.