As a transformative leader Celina Caesar-Chavannes helps organizations create more inclusive and equitable spaces by challenging the notion of diversity as a goal. Diversity is ubiquitous. Equity and inclusion require intentional, sustained and measurable work. Celina works with organizations, business leaders and individuals directly or through workshops, coaching and lectures to help create more inclusive spaces, build capacity and transform systems.
A Doctor of Philosophy student in Organizational Leadership, Celina is pushing her understanding of equitable spaces further by focusing her studies on ways to improve the numbers of diverse candidates filling senior level positions by conducting research and creating products that can bridge the gaps in literature and in industry.
On a personal level, Celina works with individuals, especially women, to encourage them, through her own life lessons, to maximize their inner potential and fully live their purpose.
From 2015 to October 2019, Celina was an elected Member of Parliament for Whitby, and served as Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development. While in politics her advocacy and vulnerability helped shape policy related to mental health, equity and justice.
Before politics, Celina owned a double award winning research management firm that helped pharmaceutical companies run national clinical trials, as well as co-chairing Canada’s first national epidemiology study on neurological conditions. Celina has many years of experience managing complex projects involving industry, federal agencies, health care professionals, researchers and patient advocacy groups, and has lectured on the international and national stage on the inclusion of marginalized populations in clinical research.
She holds a Bachelor of Science, an MBA in Health Care Management, an Executive MBA from Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and is completing her PhD in Organizational Leadership at Northcentral University.
She is a past member of the Governing Council at the University of Toronto, and past Vice Chair of Campus Council at University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. She was also a member of the Institutional Advisory Board with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Neuroscience Mental Health and Addiction, and a member of the Congress of Black Women.
Celina was given the Champion of Mental Health Parliamentarian Award in May 2017 by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. Her advocacy related to equity and justice resonated in Canada and around the world as she was also named one of the Most Influential People of African Descent, Global 100 Under 40, Politics & Governance and Black Parliamentarian of the Year in 2017, and a feature in the April 2018 edition of O (Oprah Winfrey) Magazine entitled, “What would you stand up for?”. Celina was also named Chatelaine Magazine’s Woman of the Year 2019.
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