EP 04 CH 2: Leadership for Social Justice, ft. Tina Lopes, Debbie Donsky & Nouman Ashraf

By Noor El-Husseini

Podcast Music: Spinnin Tape

This podcast explores what it means to lead for social justice and how this form of leadership differs from more traditional notions of leadership. Leadership is conceptualized very broadly to challenge hierarchical, individualistic and neutral notions of leadership. The speakers name the ways that leadership is experienced and practiced differently depending on social positionalities, roles and titles and provide important insights for us all to deepen our leadership practices.

About The Speakers

Tina Lopes is an independent organizational development consultant, facilitator and mediator, skilled in promoting organizational change processes. Since 1990, she has focused on furthering equity and inclusion work with federal, provincial and municipal government departments as well as with child welfare agencies, school boards, health and social service organizations.

She has extensive experience coaching senior and middle managers to integrate equity into core organizational policies and practices. In addition to advising institutional leaders on strategies for change, Tina educates and coaches senior managers to lead more effectively when contentious issues related to equity arise.

Over the years, Tina has conducted human rights investigations and assisted organizations to put in place effective policies and practices to uphold human rights in the workplace. With her colleague Charles Smith, Tina was appointed as consultant to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, and asked to steer a province-wide systemic change process to address racism in the Ministry of Correctional Services.

Tina is also co-author of Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations which was awarded the Myers Outstanding Book Award.

Debbie Donsky is an elementary principal in the Peel District School Board. She has worked throughout the GTA and at the Ministry of Education for over 25 years as an educator. Debbie is a mom of two wonderful teenagers and has been married for over 20 years to a man who puts up with her many interests and hobbies such as reading voraciously, blogging and drawing. One of her proudest moments was on the TEDx stage last year where she shared stories about the impact of body shaming in her talk, Reclaiming Space. She has made a career focused on creating spaces of possibility–whether as an advocate, leader, writer and artist. Debbie believes that stories are what connects us. Learn more about Debbie’s work by visiting her website: www.debbiedonsky.com  

Nouman Ashraf is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream within the Organizational Behavior area at the Rotman School of Management. 

He possesses a broad range of professional, academic and research interests, with a specialized focus on enabling inclusive and innovative practices within teams, organizations and boards. For the last decade and a half, he has held progressively senior roles at the University of Toronto, including most recently as an advisor to the Vice President of HR and Equity at the University of Toronto.

He is a recognized thought leader in governance and has taught thousands of directors in the national Rotman program on Not for Profit Governance in partnership with the Institute for Corporate Directors since its inception in 2007.