Latest news

Classic list

Globally incubate standards compliant channels before scalable benefits. Quickly disseminate superior deliverables whereas web-enabled applications.
1_V0ZP5M8ynp-Lnw7dDIudPw.jpeg?fit=875%2C583&quality=89&ssl=1

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 https://www.chezie.co/bluepages/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-should-not-be-under-hr

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 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/head-dei-shouldnt-report-hr-netta-jenkins-mba-as-seen-on-forbes-/

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.



https://www.instagram.com/p/CBYa8W9hOx8/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB-n4w8Bbqq/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBqdF5Nh9pI/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

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.


health-hub.jpg?fit=1200%2C675&quality=89&ssl=1

In my latest Urban Equity Consulting blog post, I delve into how culturally appropriate health hubs are carving a path to health equity and fostering social inclusion. Drawing on real-world examples, I shed light on how these inclusive models create healthier, more equitable futures for all. #HealthEquity #SocialInclusion #InclusiveCities


fileupload-1553831835714-superJumbo.webp?fit=1200%2C943&quality=80&ssl=1

Embarking on a transformative journey to decode 'virtue signalling' in the realm of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Learn how it impacts organizational policies, alters decision-making, and what we as leaders can do to promote genuine virtue over mere signalling to foster a truly inclusive culture. Dive into this engaging conversation and contribute your unique perspectives.


Standalone-vs-Embedded.png?fit=1080%2C1080&quality=80&ssl=1

We delve into the key differences between a standalone EIB strategic plan and embedding EIB into a strategic plan. These two approaches offer unique benefits for organizations looking to prioritize equity, inclusion, and belonging. A standalone EIB strategic plan provides a targeted focus on these values. By dedicating a separate plan to EIB, organizations can clearly define their objectives, align resources accordingly, and demonstrate a visible commitment to EIB. The detailed roadmap and accountability mechanisms of a standalone plan ensure that the organization stays on track towards achieving its EIB goals. On the other hand, embedding EIB principles into a strategic plan leads to comprehensive integration of equity, inclusion, and belonging. This approach promotes a cultural transformation within the organization, making EIB an integral part of decision-making processes and organizational DNA. By aligning EIB with other strategic goals, organizations ensure its consistent prioritization and long-term sustainability. Both approaches offer the benefit of consistent progress. A standalone EIB plan allows for dedicated resources, milestone monitoring, and iterative improvement. Meanwhile, embedding EIB into the strategic plan ensures continuous integration, ongoing evaluation, and accountability across functions.



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.



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.

Error: Contact form not found.