Announced during the chamber’s Platinum Awards Gala, which was held virtually on April 29, the award recognizes “individuals and organizations that have promoted inclusion and diversity in their organization or in their community.”
“We are exceedingly proud of this recognition. Yorkville University is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Achieving the Chamber’s championship is confirmation that our initiatives are making a difference,” Yorkville University President Dr. Rick Davey said of winning the award.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are critical components of life at Yorkville University and we are committed to making these values an integral part of our culture. Just as we are committed to academic and professional excellence, so are we committed to providing educational services and employment that are focused on promoting the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Committed to promoting diversity
Yorkville University has taken great strides in its efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion into the daily lives of its community members – from the revitalization of policies, procedures and practices from a DEI lens; to the convening of Diversity Advisory Councils that provide safe spaces for faculty, students and staff to make their voices heard on these issues; to welcoming Thamina Jaferi as the school’s first Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“We are working together to ensure that our learning and work experiences are more inclusive of diverse needs. There will always be DEI work to do, and Yorkville University is taking the foundational steps to ensure that this progress is ongoing,” said Jaferi.
In all, Yorkville was amongst three finalists in the running for the Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award, which was determined through a combination of the judges’ scores and an online public vote.
A representative from each of the finalists, which also included Kinder Books and Hawkes Martial Arts, recorded a video message describing why they should be named New West’s 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Champion.
Representing Yorkville was Dr. Daren Hancott, Yorkville’s Campus Provost and Vice President Western Canada.
“We’re excited by (being named a finalist), because we believe this is a part of our culture, of who we are, what we do – we have faculty from over 20 different countries, we have students from 45 different countries around the world,” he explained.
“The reason we think we should win this award is because we’re making diversity and inclusion a part of who we are, what we do, how we do business, and how we attract and maintain the kind of diverse individuals we need to be successful coast-to-coast.”
In the end, both the New West Chamber of Commerce and online voters agreed with Hancott’s assessment and Yorkville was crowned 2021’s Diversity and Inclusion Champion – a feat Jaferi called an ‘elevating’ one.
“Winning the New West Chamber of Commerce Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award highlights Yorkville University’s achievements in implementing its new proposed Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan,” she said.
“It elevates our profile as a university that values DEI and the unique lived experiences of our community members. It also recognizes our contribution to strengthening local business networks, as well.”