Yorkville University Announces Members of New Diversity Advisory Councils

Thought Leadership

February 26, 2021

Yorkville University has announced the names of its newly appointed, elected and selected members of the Yorkville Diversity Advisory Councils for faculty, staff and students.

“These members will play an important role in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in our organization,” said Thamina Jaferi, Yorkville’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion . 

The new members of the Diversity Advisory Council will also play key roles in furthering Yorkville’s proposed Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan by providing feedback on policies and initiatives that matter to faculty, students and staff.

Read more about the members of Yorkville’s Faculty & Staff Diversity Advisory Council, as well as its Student Diversity Advisory Council, here: 

Yorkville University Faculty and Staff Diversity Advisory Council

Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes, President (Co-Chair)

Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes brings 25 years of progressive, academic leadership to her new role as President of Yorkville University, where she will continue to act as one of Canada’s leading voices on academic integrity and innovation in education.

As Yorkville University’s new President, Dr. Christensen Hughes intends to play a ground-breaking role in Canadian higher education, leveraging the full potential of the school’s flexible, accessible and exceptionally small class setting to maximize innovation and student success.

Dr. Christensen Hughes is passionate about supporting students who have a laser focus on life change, career choice or advancement, and is thrilled to be leading an educational institution tailor-made to facilitate their success. Part of her vision is to deepen Yorkville’s relationships with community partners, with the goal of improving student opportunities for work-integrated learning, including internships and projects, ensuring a greater degree of experiential learning, integration within the community and improved employment prospects post-graduation.

Dr. Noor Jehan Kabani, Director of Program Quality Assurance & Research Administration  

Noor’s lived experiences and work with vulnerable populations has led to her engagement in the practices of equity, diversity and inclusion. As an international student from Pakistan, Noor completed her graduate studies in Neuroscience at McGill University.  She has since held interdisciplinary research appointments in major hospitals across Montreal and Toronto, creating 3-dimensional structural brain maps and using MRI technology to study cognitive decline. In this period, she developed and delivered courses for cross-disciplinary audience in universities and medical schools and served on several granting agencies including Tri-Council Canada. Prior to her tenure at Yorkville University in April 2022, Noor was coordinator of the undergraduate program and conducted comprehensive program reviews at George Brown College, while representing the academic faculty on the board of governors. During this time, she chaired the Research Ethics Board and launched the Course-based Research Ethics Consortium of Ontario. With a passion for authentic education, Noor created and led committees for domestic and international students to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion through a variety of social and academic events, built program-community partnerships for work-integrated learning, designed curriculum from the lens of anti-racism & decolonization and delivered workshops in social ethics of research design. In her current role, Noor is committed to support the quality of academic programs and the culture of research & scholarship at Yorkville. 

Thamina Jaferi, ​Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Co-Chair)

Thamina Jaferi is Yorkville University’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. An experienced diversity and inclusion professional and subject matter expert, Jaferi has a background in law, human rights and equity. In her role at Yorkville University, she develops, implements and administers various diversity programs, education and training to advance and support a diverse and inclusive workplace and inclusive service provision in the higher education sector.

Sara Zaman (MBA, MHRM), HR Coordinator  

My name is Sara Zaman. I was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh and I immigrated to Canada back in 2017 as an international student for my second masters in HR. I have worked at Yorkville University since April 2021 – first as a Program Advisor for BBA & Global students and now as a HR Coordinator. My passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion when I migrated in Canada. I got a better understanding of systemic discrimination and intersectional inequality. Now working in Human Resources, I know how important diversity and inclusion is in organizations and it has always been an area of interest for me. I look forward to being on the Diversity Advisory Council and continuing to contribute to long-term change and fostering a positive environment. 

Sebastian Bustamante, Manager of Student Services (New Brunswick)

My name is Sebastian, but I am mostly known as “Seb”. I was born in Quito, Ecuador and I immigrated to Canada back in 2011. I have worked at Yorkville University since 2015 – first as an Admissions Advisor and now as the Manager of Student Services. I am currently enrolled in the Master of Education in Educational Leadership program, in which I hope that I will be able to implement my Capstone Project’s findings to improve our culture at Yorkville University. Some topics that I am interested are: Coaching in adult education; online learning and teaching; transformational leadership; and motivation and retention in the workplace, to name a few. I am looking forward to being part of this Council and to help our institution move forward for a progressive and inclusive culture.

Andree Robinson-Neal, Master of Education in Adult Education Faculty

Andree Robinson-Neal, EdD, serves the global community as a scholar-practitioner dedicated to the study of diversity in higher education. She currently works for the University of Charleston in the Doctor of Executive Leadership (DEL) program as the second-year coordinator and as an assistant professor. Dr. Robinson-Neal also works with Yorkville University and Grand Canyon University as an online faculty member. She completed her doctoral studies at Fielding Graduate University with a dissertation entitled Using Social Network Analysis to Examine How Perceived Beliefs Affect Service Quality in Public Higher Education Institutions, and also completed Fielding Graduate University’s Teaching in the Virtual Classroom program. Her research interests include: Higher education administration; community college education and administration; social networking; faith; social justice; grounded theory; diversity; redevelopment and revitalization of U.S. urban centers.

Amr Shokry, Bachelor of Business Administration Faculty

Amr Shokry has worked at a senior management level for two global Fortune 100 organizations (Novartis and Eli Lilly), managing a full spectrum of human resources management and organization development in Canadian and international locations. Shokry has worked in Canada, USA and Europe, and has also managed teams in India, China and Africa. He brings more than 20 years of global business experience at a senior director level to his teaching. Shokry holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Human Resources Management from the University of Durham in England and also holds the CPHR designation. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Organizational Development practitioner. Shokry is very passionate about teaching and mentoring students and emerging professionals and setting them up for success in the workplace. Along with his drive for learning, he loves living in Vancouver and enjoys the adventurous aspects of outdoor recreation.

Violet Ferreira Sutherland, Bachelor of Business Administration Faculty

Violet Ferreira Sutherland is a PhD candidate at York University in the Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies program. Her research interest is in the area Policy, Banking and Inclusion in the social-solidarity economy (SSE). She holds PMI designation, an MBA in Finance (Western Michigan University, USA), MPhil in Gender and Development Studies (University of the West Indies, Mona), Post Graduate Certification in Project Management (Centennial College, Canada), and a BA in Economics & History (UWI).

Ferreira Sutherland worked as an Associate Professor in Finance at Northern Caribbean University and Adjunct Lecturer in Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies. She has also worked as a Diversity and Inclusion Consultant for a variety of International Development Agencies such as the European Union, UN Women, UNDP, CARICOM, and the Caribbean Development Bank. More recently, she finalized the National Strategic Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence (2017-2027) in Jamaica, along with its Implementation Plan, which were approved in Parliament for joint implementation by the Bureau of Gender Affairs and UN Women.

Umeka Naidoo, Bachelor of Business Administration Faculty

I have been a Bachelor of Business Administration faculty member with Yorkville University since 2013 and I am really honoured to be a part of the Diversity Advisory Council. Having a diversity, equity and inclusion action plan is the driving force that can aid in not only disrupting, but unseating cultural, structural and systemic barriers. Diversity and inclusion are highly complex concepts but simply stated, the cornerstone of a diversity and inclusion strategy is three-fold. It includes commitment to creatively raise awareness, fostering a safe environment for open rich dialogue and by strengthening discourse, concerted action will see diversity and inclusion being put into practice. Diversity and inclusion is not a box-ticking exercise, it requires everyone that belongs to the institution to be an ally and/or a diversity and inclusion change champion. When everyone in an institution feels respected, welcomed and valued for their individuality, diversity and inclusion triumph!

Yorkville University Student Diversity

Advisory Council Members

Thamina Jaferi, ​Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Co-Chair)

Thamina Jaferi is Yorkville University’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. An experienced diversity and inclusion professional and subject matter expert, Jaferi has a background in law, human rights and equity. In her role at Yorkville University, she develops, implements and administers various diversity programs, education and training to advance and support a diverse and inclusive workplace and inclusive service provision in the higher education sector.

Ali Noor, Student Life Coordinator (Ontario)

Ali Noor is the Student Life Coordinator of Yorkville University’s Ontario Campus and is the force behind the creation, implementation and execution of YUEngageNow ­– the events and activities platform for all Yorkville University students, faculty and staff. Under the YUEngageNow banner, he has successfully established the YU Sports Society, which oversees inter-team clubs for cricket, soccer and basketball and the YU Creative Society, which runs multiple clubs including arts, drama, music, and gaming. The clubs alone have more than 200 active student participants and is always growing. Noor also has 15+ years combined work experience in the banking, insurance and education sector and is also a professional musician in the Greater Toronto Area.

Sura Almansour, Bachelor of Business Administration Student

My name is Sura Almansour. I live in Ottawa, Ontario. I am a student in the Bachelor of Business Administration program and outside of school, I am a Legal Assistant/Law Clerk. I am honored and humbled to be a part of the Diversity committee here at Yorkville University, specifically a member of the Student Diversity Advisory Council. Being a person of color myself, I have a passion for equality, diversity and inclusion. I believe that diversity and inclusion is a core leadership competency that is to be recognized in all professional institutions, especially the educational sector. As an inclusive candidate, I understand the need and value of diversity of thought. I have an extreme interest in diversity, equity and inclusion issues and believe I will be able to contribute my knowledge and lived experience to related matters. 

Demi Babatunde, Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology Student

Hi, my name is Demi Babatunde. Since my graduation from the University of Alberta, where I studied Chemical Engineering, I have worked in the mining industry in process engineering. However, I have always had an interest in the well-being of people’s psyche and wanting to help bring about relief or more positivity to people’s lives, which is why I am pursuing a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology at Yorkville University. I have volunteered my time and effort in Diversity and Inclusion committees both at the University of Alberta and at work in the mining industry, so this space is something I enjoy being a part of. I look forward to being a part of making Yorkville University more diversity, equity, and inclusion conscious, to working with everyone on the team, and to learning more about DEI.