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December 7, 2020 46 min

“First, in order for racism and discrimination to continue, you need silence. And the second is the 'Otherwise Good People' who won't stand up and support the target of the discriminatory behavior.”

Shanaaz Gokool, human rights activist and former CEO, is fighting for freedom from workplace discrimination – for herself, and countless others whose stories we don’t know, because they have been silenced and unsupported.

In this episode, Shanaaz courageously shares her personal story of discrimination, and gives practical ways that we can effect change, especially at the Board level.

Shanaaz also gives three tips for people who may be experiencing workplace discrimination, and invites you to contact her for more support:

In this episode:

We talk about:

  • How failing to share power, leads to failure of governance
  • Two things that are necessary for racism to continue (i.e. what not to do)
  • What happens when “Otherwise Good People” try to avoid taking sides (hint – there’s no such thing)
  • Why anti-discrimination is the Board of Directors’ responsibility, not just HR’s, and what they can do differently
  • The kind of discrimination story we need right now
  • Three tips for victims of workplace discrimination
  • Full transcripts available at:

    Guest Bio and References/Links

    Shanaaz Gokool is a life-long human rights activist and non-profit discrimination disruptor. She has been inspired to do social justice work primarily because of the rampant racism she experienced and witnessed growing up in Halifax-Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

    She has held leadership roles in the private and non-profit sectors and is an emerging governance expert on workplace discrimination. 

    As the former CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC), she ushered in a new national movement supporting assisted dying and other end-of-life issues re-framed as human rights issues. Under her leadership, DWDC emerged as a key player in Canada on assisted dying.

    She currently has a wrongful dismissal, systemic racism and discrimination lawsuit pending against her former employer.

    You can contact and follow her on LinkedIn:

    Links to the court filings:

    Statement of Claim

    DWDC Defence

    Shanaaz's reply to DWDC

    Music Credits

    Intro Music:
    What Words Can't Describe, by Vlad Gluschenko
    License: CC BY 3.0:

    Outro Music:
    Beautiful Modern Rock Pop Guitar All Goodness Background Music, by Royalty Free Music
    License: CC BY-N

    If you enjoy the podcast and want deeper ways to Change your Lens in work and business, check out the free resources on my website, I also offer workshops and keynote speeches on JEDI topics like Decolonizing Corporate Workplaces, recruiting more inclusively, anti-Asian racism, and many more. How can I  support your JEDI journey? Contact me at

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