For Immediate Release
September 8, 2020


This diverse board of leaders will support businesses in greater Vancouver to better understand and achieve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Today, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) announced the Advisory Committee of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (DLC) which is an evolution of the Women's Leadership Council (WLC).

The DLC will focus on addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to encourage allyship and enhance business innovation while continuing its efforts in supporting the advancement of women in business.

As part of its initial priorities, the council will hold programs and workshops that help to educate GVBOT members on these issues. It will also offer resources to help businesses improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as actively championing BIPOC representation on panels at Board events.

In addition, the GVBOT will be hosting seminars for its members called: Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Series. This will be a series of virtual instructor-led training on diversity and inclusion.

DLC 2020-21 Executive Committee include:

  1. Chair, Melissa Polak, Senior Director, Enterprise Risk and Assurance, Aurora
  2. Vice-Chair, Rob Chiarello, Senior Vice President, People & Culture, Pacific Blue Cross
  3. Vice-Chair, Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, BCIT

DLC 2020-21 Advisory Committee Members include:

  1. Wyle Baoween, CEO & Senior Consultant, HRx Technologies
  2. Barinder S. Bhullar, Principal, Mainland Strategies Inc.
  3. Shalyma Cambridge, Associate, The Humphrey Group
  4. Dr. Ainsley Carry, Vice President, Students, UBC
  5. Prem Gill, CEO, Creative BC
  6. Raghwa Gopal, CEO, Innovate BC
  7. Jennifer Ingham, Vice President, University Relations, Capilano University
  8. Natasha Jung, Founder & Executive Producer, Cold Tea Collective
  9. Synthia Kloot, Senior Vice President, Operations, Colliers International
  10. Ruby Ng, Executive Director, Disability Foundation
  11. Gabrielle Price, Senior Advisor, Government Relations, TransLink
  12. Shaheen Rehmat, Manager, Records and Information Management, Technology, BC Hydro
  13. Sandra Suh, Partner, Financial Advisory, Deloitte
  14. Martin Thibodeau, Regional President, BC, RBC Royal Bank

This committee will champion the GVBOT's diversity and inclusion efforts which are outlined in the following statement:

Stronger Together
The GVBOT is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment that embraces, encourages, supports and celebrates our employees, volunteers and our board of directors' dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, spiritual beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies. Diverse perspectives draw on different concepts, ideas and experience and enriches decision making and our effectiveness.

The health and wellbeing of our organization is our number one priority and we have zero tolerance for discrimination.

Diversity and Inclusion is at the heart of our Purpose: To lead, unite and champion business to ensure Greater Vancouver is thriving and our region is the best place to live and work. By embracing, including and celebrating our differences, we are stronger.

We are committed to championing diversity and ensuring inclusion in all that we do to better represent the Greater Vancouver business community.


"The unique backgrounds of the Advisory Committee will help the GVBOT to achieve its goals of investing in the participation and promotion of underrepresented groups, while supporting the greater business community to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals," said Kari Yuers, Chair of the Board. "A diverse approach to business benefits everyone, driving economic development while supporting the bottom line."

"In 2015 we became the first chamber or board of trade in North America to achieve gender equity on its board, and now we are enhancing our commitment to inclusion through the launch of the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council. We believe the programs, events and initiatives led by this group will make us a more effective advocate as we strive to make Vancouver the best place to live and work." says Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

"My heart has been heavy for months, wondering how to use my privilege to blow wind into the sails of improvement to equity, diversity and inclusion in Canada and BC. I see the DLC as a significant initiative that will require work by all of us: the business community, the program Advisory Committee, and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade itself," said Melissa Polak, Chair of the DLC. "I'm grateful we are embarking on this, and using the DLC to create a platform to advocate for and support those who are often not given the opportunity. I look forward to working with the GVBOT to set up a program that sustains itself as an integral part of the business community for years to come."

About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada's leading business association, engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events programs in the country, providing a platform for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.


Media contact:

Daniel Bettridge
Communications Manager
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade



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