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1:45 p.m.  |  Session 5A: Decentering Whiteness in DEI Work 

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Rehman Abdulrehman
Clinical Psychologist and Owner of Lead with Diversity 


Session Summary:
Employees often find themselves changing their way of being to meet a standard for professionalism that was set for a very specific type of person – usually white, male and able-bodied. As we incorporate DEI policies and practices into our workplace to disrupt these norms and pursue inclusion, we must be mindful that it is inclusion we are working towards and not assimilation. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of how to whiteness is centered in DEI work, and what we can do to change course
  • Learn more about what encourages authenticity among employees in an organizational context and understand how this can be an asset 
  • Reflect on your hiring practices and employee management practices for bias that might arise due to standard of professionalism

About the Keynote:

Dr. Rehman Abdulrehman
A clinical and consulting psychologist, Dr. Abdulrehman is lauded as a “beguiling storyteller, gifted speaker, and subject matter expert on inclusion and diversity,” as well as “an emerging force on leadership and cultural diversity,” Dr. Rehman Abdulrehman has a well-honed ability to catalyze insight-oriented change through powerful storytelling and practical psychology that sticks with people.

A Canadian of Zanzibari descent, Dr Abdulrehman draws on his extensive professional expertise and his life as an immigrant from an ethnic, cultural and religious minority, to illustrate the necessary concepts and actions for lasting change. In addition to speaking, he coaches, consults and delivers compelling experiential learning events, all designed to create a bridge of understanding and compassion across common human experiences and activate potent human transformation.

Dr. Abdulrehman’s portfolio is vast and international, having worked with organizations including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mastercard Foundation, Kaplan and the Young Presidents Organization. He is a subject matter specialist for Google/Youtube on unconsicious bias and also a member of the Conference Board of Canada’s Council of Inclusive Work Environments. His work has been recognized by the Society of Consulting Psychology for Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Consulting.

He’s held numerous leadership roles within his own profession, including being a past president for the Manitoba Psychological Society and Chair of the Committee on International Relations for Psychology with the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Abdulrehman is an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba, has been a visiting professor at the State University of Zanzibar, Zanzibar University and Muhimbili University over the past decade where he helped teach and develop mental health programs in low resource settings. He was also a TEDx speaker on the topic of “Resolving Unconscious Bias”, and hosts a podcast, Different People, addressing the difficulty but necessary conversations on issues of racism. He is also a lover of cakes, bakeries, and is the Mandalorian to a 8-year-old Grogu.


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