Message from the Dean, Dr. Anne-Liisa Longmore – June 2022

Dear PSB Colleagues,

Sheridan’s commitment to building spaces and community to ensure all students, staff, and faculty feel welcome and have a sense of belonging continues to be a priority. As I was writing this month’s Dean’s message, I found myself continuing to reflect on what it means for our community members to truly have a sense of belonging. I often reflect on how I, as a white, cisgender, heterosexual individual who benefits from the privilege afforded to me by birth, and as Dean, might effectively and authentically practice intentional allyship. How might I foster a community culture that embraces diversity, includes multiple perspectives, values individual experience and knowledge, and co-creates spaces in which everyone’s voice is amplified and systemic barriers are being dismantled and removed? 

Not one day goes by where I do not ask myself, “Am I – are we –  doing enough?”, “Am I – are we – serving the needs of ALL of our community members?”, “Where and how might I – and we – do better?” The privilege of my position is never lost on me, nor is the responsibility I feel to practice purposeful, intentional, allyship. 

In this month’s Dean’s message, I would like to take this opportunity and space to amplify the voices of our LGBTQ2+, Indigenous, and Black community members,  in addition to highlighting events and celebrations of our learners and community members.

During the month of June, Sheridan has been celebrating Pride Month and our LGBTQ2+ community with events, activities, and celebrations. In addition, Pride Month is a time to continue to embrace diversity and celebrate differences.  I offer the following resources and encourage colleagues to share others: PFLAG’s National Glossary of TermsUN Free and Equal, Pride In Business, and Sheridan’s updated  Pride Guide. Sheridan’s Pride Guide shares helpful resources, learning modules, and connections to community initiatives. Throughout the summer, Sheridan is also partnering with Pride at Work Canada to host webinars for employees, show allyship with our community, and boost social well-being. 

June also marks National Indigenous History Month, an opportunity to learn more about Indigenous peoples, our shared history, and to reflect upon and honour the heritage, accomplishments, resiliency, and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Peoples across Canada. A few ways through which to learn more about Indigenous peoples and our shared history include reviewing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls to Justice, or the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. From a business perspective, consider checking out “Focus on the future: Building trust with Canada’s Indigenous business community”,  “A profile of Businesses in Indigenous Communities in Canada” (a special StatsCan report), or the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, to name a few. 

For members of our community wanting to learn more about how Sheridan supports the success of Indigenous students visit our Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support or follow @IndigenousSher for regular updates and news.

You may have heard our Integrated Learning Services and Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support teams recently launched the newest extension of Sheridan’s “Well Series”, Babamadizwin: Start Well. Launched on June 1st, Babamadizwin: Start Well is intended to support Indigenous learners adapting to post-secondary learning, and provides a resource with an indigenous lens for our academic and student support colleagues across the college.

Last week, PSB had the honour to host our partners the Afro-Caribbean Business Network’s first annual Federal Black Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Conference at the HMC campus.  Many thanks to our colleagues Dr. Anne Coulter, Dr. Brian Chama, Renee Deveraux, Cheryl-Anne Shirley, and Lesley Rumsby among others who worked tirelessly with the ACBN team to bring the conference to life.  A heartfelt thank you also to Brian Chama, Cameile Henry, Patrick Francis, Jamaa Nassy, and Hyacinth Campbell who facilitated break-out sessions and discussions with participants. The three-day conference (2 days of which were hosted at Sheridan), hosted more than 200 attendees both in-person and virtually, providing opportunities for Black community leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals to come together to network, connect, learn and collectively explore ways to continue building capacity and co-develop best practices.

Convocation ceremonies and 2020 & 2021 Graduate celebrations were held at the International Centre on June 8, 9, 10, and 11th.  Our events and OTR team did an amazing job planning, coordinating, and operationalizing our first foray back to in-person celebrations.  Thank you to the many PSB community members who took time out of their schedules to volunteer during the celebrations, you made a difference!  Many thanks to our faculty and staff who attended the ceremonies as members of the platform party as well.  In speaking with some of our graduates, they were so excited to cross the stage in person with family and friends in the audience, cheering them on. Imagine, many of our graduates (particularly those graduating from one or two-year programs) crossed the stage having never met or interacted with their faculty or peers in person.  Having their peers, faculty and administration cheering and honouring their accomplishments and wishing them well on their next adventure meant the world to our graduates. 

Our 2022 PSB Student Academic Awards and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony will be held virtually again this year on June 28th starting at 4:30 p.m.  This year, our donors have generously supported 52 awards with a donation value of $29,100.00.   Our organizing team of Dr. Anne Coulter, Tommy Sian, Lesley Rumsby, and our co-op students Matt Song and Almira Nanez have once again outdone themselves by deciding to host the virtual ceremony via HopIn this year.  In addition to the Awards ceremonies, award recipients, donors, faculty, staff, and other attendees will have the opportunity to network and share real-time messages of congratulations to award recipients.  Sincerest thank you to our Hall of Fame panellists (Dr. Brian Chama, Vishal Badiani, Almira Nanez, and Faith Tull) who carefully reviewed and scored (applying the established rubric) all of the Hall of Fame, and Hall of Fame – Recent Grad nominations. I’m sure many of you are eager to learn who this year’s inductees are.  You’ll just have to wait until the ceremony next week as I am sworn to secrecy until then. A huge thanks and recognition to Tommy Sian, Sarah Dickson, and Jennifer Deighton from our advancement office for the coordination behind the scenes and for the administrative support for the Student Awards and the Hall of Fame. I am beyond excited for our Awards ceremony this year and I hope you might consider joining in networking with our students and sharing your congratulatory wishes.

I also invite our community to take the time to provide feedback on the SpeakingBiz Newsletter. In September, the newsletter will be relaunching, and input from our PSB community would greatly assist with this process.

Before I sign off for the summer, I want to thank you all again for continuing to lean in, even when you are tired, for your continued resilience and perseverance, and most importantly your commitment to our community and each other. Congratulations, and welcome to Sean O’Flynn who is joining PSB as a professor in collective bargaining and industrial relations. I also want to share my heartfelt best wishes to Dr. Fred Koch, Dr. Ibrahim Balkir, Roger Halfacre, and Sharon Tiraborelli who will be retiring from the Pilon School of Business.  Best of luck and best wishes also to our colleague Dr. Natalia Pshenitsyna who will be moving to the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology to teach math.  Wishing everyone a lovely and safe summer filled with opportunities to rest, rejuvenate and connect with loved ones. Please stay tuned for updates on our PSB Fall Kick-Off meeting tentatively scheduled for August 31st.

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