We had the pleasure of meeting with Celina Caesar-Chavannes. Ms. Caesar-Chavannes served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the riding of Whitby from 2015 to 2019. During her time as MP, Ms. Caesar-Chavannes was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development. She became an independent MP when she resigned from the Liberal Caucus in 2019.
Ms. Caesar-Chavannes graciously discussed her life before politics, during politics, and her current career and educational journey with the OLIP interns. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in biology, the University of Phoenix with an MBA in healthcare management, and an executive MBA from the Rotman School of Management. Currently, Ms. Caesar-Chavannes serves as the Senior Advisor of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Initiatives and Adjunct Lecturer at Queens University. She released a national best-selling book, “Can You Hear Me Now?” which explores her childhood, life as a young Black woman entrepreneur and politician, and effective and humane leadership.
In our discussion with Ms. Caesar-Chavannes, we explored her incredible contributions to Canadian society, her experiences navigating the political arena as a Black woman, her life after politics, and combating bias and racism in organizations. One of her proudest accomplishments as a politician was introducing the first reading of Bill C-468, which she introduced to amend the Employment Equity Act to ensure justice for people of colour in the Public Service. She shared her experiences at Queen’s University, where she leads initiatives to create equity in workspaces.
We are thankful to Ms. Caesar-Chavannes for taking the time to meet with us!