Chelsea Takalo appointed new Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Brock has appointed Chelsea Takalo as its first Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

In the role, Chelsea – who has served as interim Director of Human Rights and Equity since June 2022 – will be responsible for providing senior leadership in support of Brock’s strategic priorities related to equity, diversity, inclusion and human rights.

“As a student leader at Brock and a student with intersectional identities from minority groups, I take my responsibility to represent my peers very seriously, especially when choosing a role this important to the University’s future,” says Aishah Sonekan, Vice-President, Student Services with the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) and search committee member. “I’m delighted to see Chelsea announced as our next AVP, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and I know her commitment to empowering people to tell their own stories and determine their own paths will make a big difference moving forward.”

Chelsea has over 20 years’ experience in organizational change programs, training, and initiatives to enhance human rights and equity in a variety of community-based and educational institutions, including managing complex, large-scale human rights issues and facilitating restorative and transformative healing-centred responses.

As interim Director of Human Rights and Equity, Chelsea led a team which delivered on a range of strategic priorities, including partnering on the development of a student name change process and form, the creation of a gender affirmation fund and emergency survivor fund, mandatory consent training for all 2,700 students living in residence, and anti-racism training for all varsity athletes.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Chelsea since she arrived at Brock and I have always been deeply impressed by her exceptional knowledge of policy, planning and frameworks, as well as her thoughtful and empathetic approach to her work,” says Brad Clarke, Associate Vice-President, Students, and member of the search committee. “Equity work is hard, and Chelsea’s diligence, knowledge and commitment will continue to help shape Brock as we learn together.”

Takalo has a Master’s degree in Social Work from York University, is currently pursuing their PhD in Social Work, and has worked as an instructor at Sheridan College for the past 10 years.

“I am so pleased that Chelsea will be taking on this vital role at the University — their incredible knowledge, values and commitment to doing EDI work here will have a huge impact as we continue to build a more inclusive and equitable community at Brock,” says Lesley Rigg, President and Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the search committee. “I also want to thank Brad Clarke for his invaluable leadership and guidance in this area over the last number of months, and for helping us to keep up the momentum in this incredibly important work.”

Takalo says they’re “thrilled to be taking on this leadership role at an institution known across the country for its welcoming, diverse community.”

“I deeply believe in naming and changing systems and ideas that marginalize, oppress and exclude equity-deserving groups,” says Takalo. “Universities should be places that not only hold space for shared knowledge, but that generate the best new ideas and learning — something that can only happen if everyone has the ability to share their voice. I am deeply committed to continuing to provide support and structure to deepen Brock’s programs and practices connected to EDI so that all members of our community can reach their full potential.”

Takalo will begin their role as Associate Vice-President on Monday, August 28.

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