Diversonomics Season 5 Episode 3

Solving for X: The problematic advancement equation for Black people in the workplace

15 December 2020

How do we achieve a justice system that provides equal and fair representation without discrimination, especially for Black people and people of colour? Some might say that one way to get to a just society is through diverse and dedicated lawyers working at their best.

In this episode, we hear from Charlene Theodore, in-house counsel at the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, and the Ontario Bar Association’s first Black president (and first “pandemic” president too!). Charlene candidly discusses her experiences as a Black female lawyer in Canada and sheds light on her forward thinking initiatives “Work that Works” and “Not Another Decade,” aimed at reimagining workplaces from an equity and diversity framework.

Episode tip:

“…The status quo of not being racist means that it is just accepted that we are able to practice in this profession, as Black lawyers, [but] we are unable to have our choice of opportunities. Whatever metric you're looking at, whether it's by partnership, whether in-house, whether it's by management success […] whether it is access to funding and financing in terms of Black businesses – it's clear that the world is not okay with that, and so we shouldn't be.”

— Charlene Theodore, in-house counsel, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association; president, Ontario Bar Association




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This program will count for up to 30 minutes of EDI Professionalism credit toward the mandatory CPD requirements of the Law Society of Ontario.

This organization has been approved as an Accredited Provider of Professionalism Content by the Law Society of Ontario.

Episode hosts

Roberto Aburto

Roberto Aburto is a partner in Gowling WLG's Ottawa office, practising in municipal law and civil litigation, with a focus on real estate disputes, land use planning law and commercial litigation.

He is also an active member in the swimming and lifesaving community, serving on the board of directors for the Lifesaving Society (Ontario Branch) as the corporate secretary/legal adviser, and on the Lifesaving Society (National Branch) National Team Selection Committee for Lifesaving Sport.

He is also co-chair of Gowling WLG's Diversity and Inclusion Council and is committed to promoting these principles.

To learn more about Roberto, visit his biofollow with him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Cindy Kou

Cindy Kou is a business law associate. She assists clients in a broad range of industries with corporate, commercial, and regulatory matters. She also regularly advises on technology law matters.

Cindy holds degrees in Common Law and Civil Law from McGill University and has worked in both common and civil law jurisdictions in Canada and abroad. She speaks French and Mandarin.

To learn more about Cindy, visit her bio or follow her on Twitter.


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