News & Media

Symposium on Diversity & Inclusion in Retail

Date Published: February 22, 2021

Proudly presented by the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing & Services at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University.

The retail sector is Canada’s largest employer with approximately 12% of the country’s workforce, 2.2 million people, working in the sector. This means that retailers are responsible for playing a large role in ensuring inclusion, equity and belonging in the workplace for Canadians.

This symposium on diversity and inclusion in retail will offer a platform for academics, thought leaders and retailers such as Lululemon, McDonald's Canada, Sobeys Inc, etc, to share their studies and best practices on the topic and open up the conversation through Q&A sessions with the audience.

Register Here 

Agenda (Atlantic Standard Time)


2:00-2:10pm | Opening Remarks:

  • Ramesh Venkat, Director, David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing & Services
  • Harjeet Bhabra, Dean, Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University
  • Vivek Sood, Executive Vice President, Related Business, Sobeys Inc.
  • Diane Brisebois, President & CEO, Retail Council of Canada


 2:10-2:45pm | 3 stories for a JEDI mind": developing a lens for justice, equity, diversity & inclusion: Yuka Nagashima, Executive Director, Food Shift


 2:45-3:15pm | Canadian Diversity & Inclusion Landscape: Michael Bach, Founder & CEO, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion


 3:15-4:10pm | Keynote: Quinetta Roberson, Ph.D., John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Management and Psychology, Michigan State University


 4:10-5:10pm | Retailer Panel Discussion:

  • Stacia Jones - Vice President, Global Head of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action, Lululemon
  • Simone Alleyne, Sr Director, DE&I, Culture and Change, McDonald’s Canada
  • Bronwyn Ott - North America Wellbeing & Culture/Canada Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Unilever
  • Rita Mistry, Human Resources Manager, Longos
  • Nichole Barnes Marshall, Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, L Brands
  • Errin Braddock, Chief Diversity Officer, Enterprise Holdings Inc.
  • Kerry Tompson, Vice President, Talent and Inclusion, Sobeys Inc.
  • Hosted By: Catherine Loughlin, Ph.D., Associate Dean Research and Knowledge Mobilization, Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University 



Meet the Speakers 


Yuka Nagashima, Executive Director, Food Shift

With 20+ years of experience as a senior executive, Yuka possesses skills from several domains that are rarely found in the same person: diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); nonprofit leadership; organizational management; policy/government; innovation strategy; entrepreneurship; and education. After founding two tech-startups, she led the tech-based economic development agency of the State of Hawaii, where she oversaw tech park development and incubation, created innovation policy frameworks, and implemented entrepreneurship and other business programs, including Innovate HI, as NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center Director for Hawaii. Most recently, based on her executive consulting work on DEI, and her experience with Astia, a non-profit operating globally to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs, she developed an inclusive leadership curriculum for Stanford Continuing Studies. She is currently the Executive Director of Food Shift, shifting the way people think and interact with food by uplifting communities through rescued produce: reducing waste, creating jobs, and nourishing our neighbors. As hunger is not caused by lack of food, but lack of financial security, we address root causes, providing practical solutions that are “for the people, by the people, and with the people”.  US wastes 40% of its produced food that ties up significant amount of resources including over 20% of drinkable water. Because food waste in landfills causes methane, our mission puts us in the intersection of food and racial justice as well as climate change. Yuka was born and raised in Japan, educated in Canada and the U.S. Having spent most of her professional life in Hawaii, she moved to San Francisco Bay Area via Denmark.


Michael Bach, Founder & CEO, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion

Michael Bach is the founder and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. He is nationally and internationally recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert in the fields of diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility, bringing a vast knowledge of leading practices in a live setting to his work.

Prior to taking on this role, he was the National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for KPMG Canada, a role he created and held for the seven years.  Additionally, Michael completed a 2½ year secondment as Deputy Chief Diversity Officer for KPMG International.

Over the course of his career, Michael has received repeated recognition for his work, including being named:

  •          Women of Influence’s Canadian Diversity Champions (2011 & 2012)
  •          Catalyst Canada Honours Human Resources/Diversity Leader (2011)
  •          Inspire Award as LGBTQ Person of the Year (2011)
  •          Out on Bay Street Leaders to be Proud of LGBT Advocate Workplace Award (2011)
  •          Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s IS Award (2010)
  •          Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award (2010)
  •          KPMG CEO Community Excellence Award (2009) 

Under Michael’s leadership, CCDI has received numerous awards, including winning Canadian HR Reporter’s Readers’ Choice Award in the category of Diversity/Employment Equity Consultant in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.


Stacia Jones - Vice President, Global Head of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action, Lululemon

Stacia built her career as a global employment lawyer and passionate advocate for Diversity & Inclusion. Over a period of 11 years at Abercrombie & Fitch, her responsibilities significantly expanded as she became Vice President, Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer.  While at Abercrombie, she helped the company with 40,000+ employees in 22 countries increase its diversity in the U.S. by more than 400 percent. She has a deep understanding of how D&I programs are built on a global scale, and is the recipient of awards naming her Equity Diversity and Inclusion Lead of the Year (2019, National Centre for Diversity), Head of Diversity of the Year (2018, European Diversity Awards, Women Worth Watching (2018, Diversity Journal) and Top Executives In Corporate Diversity (2018, Black Enterprise Magazine).   

In addition, Stacia has also held senior level roles at Microsoft, where she led a global team of diverse lawyers supporting workplace investigations, and at MFR Law Group in Seattle, where she advised clients on Diversity and Inclusion strategies among other practices.

Stacia is currently Vice President, Global Head of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Action for lululemon.  She leads a global team of creative and passionate professionals who advise on both operational and employee issues related to IDEA, while guiding the delivery of IDEA strategy and commitments across all facets of the business, through all functions, and in every region across the globe.   

Stacia is a strategic Diversity & Inclusion leader, a relationship builder who communicates clearly and effectively, and inspires across an organization. She holds a BA in Journalism & Political Science (Magna Cum Laude), and a Juris Doctor, JD (Honors), from The Ohio State University.


Simone Alleyne, Senior Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Culture and Change, McDonald’s Canada 

Simone Alleyne has been part of the McDonald’s Canada family for 35 years and was recently appointed to lead the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. As Senior Director, DE&I, Culture and Change, she is a thought partner and trusted advisor to the company’s leadership team and responsible for the development and implementation of proactive initiatives that build diverse teams, create inclusive workplaces and communities, and foster equity at every point across the McDonald’s business in Canada.

Simone got her start in the business in 1986 as crew in a Toronto McDonald's restaurant. Since joining McDonald’s, Simone has held multiple roles across operations, human resources and change management, as well as served as the chair of the Women’s Leadership Network. She’s known as a creative and strategic thinker who balances her lived experience, curiosity and instinct to solve complex business challenges, and a people-first leader who inspires a high-performance and respectful culture. She’s also a certified professional coach who helps people lean into their strengths and break through barriers.

Simone is a firm believer in the power of diversity and equity to transform organizations and create inclusive environments where everyone can work and live to their full potential. In her new role, she’s looking forward to accelerating meaningful change for McDonald’s employees, franchisees and suppliers, along with the guests and communities they serve.


Nichole Barnes Marshall, Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, L Brands

 With a deep and abiding commitment to equity and inclusion, Nichole Barnes Marshall has built a remarkable career in HR and Diversity and Inclusion leadership. Always seeking to empower others, Nichole has dedicated her time and talents to endeavors that enable people to take their lives to the next level.

Nichole currently serves as Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for L Brands, the world-renowned retailer of the iconic brands Victoria’s Secret, PINK and Bath and Body Works. She leads the development and implementation of inclusion and diversity strategies for L Brands’ 80,000 associates worldwide.

Nichole has a robust background with 20 years of expertise in Diversity and Inclusion leadership, Talent Acquisition and Community Relations. Before joining L Brands, Nichole was Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Aon plc, where she established a framework of policy and practices that advanced Aon’s recognition as a top company for diversity and inclusion in the Insurance industry. She was also Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity for W.W. Grainger, Inc., where she led the successful execution of Grainger’s inclusion and diversity strategies in the areas of inclusive culture, education and workforce diversity. She also previously worked for Aon in roles of Director of Community Affairs and Diversity Recruitment Manager, where she demonstrated leadership in engaging employees in the community and attracting the best and brightest diverse talent the marketplace had to offer. She has also served in HR leadership roles at Tribune Company and IBM Global Services.

As a result of Nichole’s innovations and leadership in diversity and inclusion, she has won numerous prestigious awards, including Black Enterprise’s Top Executives in Corporate Diversity, Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Women in Corporate America, Hive Learning Most Influential D&I Leaders, Who’s Who in Black Columbus and Chicago United Business Leader of Color.


Bronwyn Ott - North America Wellbeing & Culture/Canada Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Unilever

Bronwyn Ott focuses on creating workplace cultures where employees can be their best, authentic selves.  In her current role at Unilever, she leads the wellbeing, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) program for Canada.  Bronwyn is evolving the wellbeing program – which includes physical, mental, emotional and purposeful wellbeing – to help employees and leaders build resiliency and thrive in an environment of change and disruption.  She is also equipping leaders and empowering employees to have vulnerable conversations and is building a strong organizational foundation in EDI to foster a sense of belonging.


Rita Mistry, Human Resources Manager, Longos

Rita Mistry is a Senior Human Resources Leader with over 15 years of experience in Business Partner roles delivering on impressive business results.  With a drive to help others achieve their full potential, Rita’s passion is for cultivating strong, open and inclusive cultures. Most recently, Rita has taken on the role of leading the Longo’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy to create a safe and inclusive environment where Longo’s Team Members feel diversity is valued, equity is achieved and everyone is part of the team.


Errin Braddock, Chief Diversity Officer, Enterprise Holdings, Inc.

Errin Braddock is Chief Diversity Officer for Enterprise Holdings Inc. In this position, he is responsible for bringing to life Enterprise Holdings’ strategic vision for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), including developing and implementing an enhanced global DE&I strategy to advance key initiatives, as well as tracking and communicating progress toward company objectives.

Errin joined Enterprise in 2008 as Employment Counsel. In 2015, he was promoted to Assistant Vice President Labor and Employment and then promoted again in 2020 to Vice President Labor and Employment. 

Prior to joining Enterprise, Errin gained broad experience in labor and employment issues, having worked for more than 16 years as an in-house counsel and practicing attorney.  He began his career as an associate at the St. Louis law firm of Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin (now Husch Blackwell), specializing in labor and employment matters. Throughout his career, Errin has provided counsel and support on a wide variety of employment matters, including affirmative action compliance, inclusion and diversity training, and equal opportunity laws.

For Errin, DE&I is not just a passion, but one that he has lived throughout his life. During his time at Enterprise, he has provided strong strategy and counsel with a focus on initiatives that can move the business forward.  He has provided direct support, coaching and guidance to the company’s DE&I team since its inception. Specifically, he has been engaged in creating and aligning content for the company’s DE&I programs and training with an eye toward accountability.  He is a key advisor for the company’s HR professionals, General Managers and other senior leaders on difficult issues related to race, age, gender and disability opportunities.


Quinetta Roberson, Ph.D., John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Management and Psychology, Michigan State University

Quinetta Roberson, Ph.D. is the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Management and Psychology at Michigan State University. Prior to her current position, she was an Endowed Chair at Villanova University and a tenured professor at Cornell University. She has been a visiting scholar at universities on six continents and has more than 20 years of global experience in teaching courses, facilitating workshops, and advising organizations on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Roberson has published over 40 scholarly journal articles and book chapters, edited a Handbook of Diversity in the Workplace (2013), and is a two-time TEDx speaker. Her research and consulting work focus on developing organizational capability and enhancing effectiveness through diversity, equity and inclusion, and is informed by her work experiences, having worked as a financial analyst and small business consultant prior to obtaining her doctorate.  She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the University of Maryland and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Finance.

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