Inclusion Day 2019: Innovation through Inclusion

On Thursday, January 24, 2019 the Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion hosted York University’s 10th Annual Inclusion Day event: Innovation through Inclusion

Inclusion Day 2019 explored the theme, innovation through inclusion – a quartet of compelling presentations from four global leaders on the creative potential of belonging. The presentations were followed by a brief period of Q&A.


Adrian FungAdrian Fung

Associate Dean, Professor, University of Oklahoma, Arts Executive, Concert Artist

Recognized as one of Musical America’s 30 Innovators of the Year, Adrian Fung is an award-winning cellist, educator, and arts executive. As Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Music at the University of Oklahoma's Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, he launched an arts management and entrepreneurship graduate program and the national Arts Incubation Lab program.

With Afiara Quartet, Adrian is a winner of the Concert Artist Guild International Competition, 2nd prizes at both the Munich ARD and Banff International String Quartet Competitions, and the Szekely Prize for Best Interpretation of Beethoven. His JUNO-nominated projects have been featured by Forbes and CBC Music in each of their Top 10 Albums of the Year.

He was previously Vice President for Innovation at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where his work included leading a nationwide project reaching an audience of 14.5 million via 50 orchestral commissions and over 40 partner orchestras nationwide.

Sarah KaplanDR. Sarah Kaplan

Distinguished professor of Gender & The Economy, Rotman School, University of Toronto

Sarah Kaplan is Director, Institute for Gender and the Economy, Distinguished Professor of Gender & the Economy and Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. She is a co-author of the bestselling business book, Creative Destruction as well as Survive and Thrive: Winning Against Strategic Threats to Your Business. Her next book, The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation will appear in 2019.

Formerly a consultant at McKinsey & Company and a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, she earned her PhD at the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Her research has covered how organizations participate in and respond to the emergence of new fields and technologies in biotechnology, fiber optics, financial services, nanotechnology and most recently, the field emerging at the nexus of gender and finance. Her current work focuses on applying an innovation lens to understanding the challenges for achieving gender equality. See her twitter at: @sarah_kaplan and @GenderEconomy.

Usha SrinivasanDr. Usha Srinivasan

VP Venture & Talent Programs, MaRS Discovery District

Usha Srinivasan is a recognized leader in the Canadian innovation community and in the past 10 years of working at MaRS has built some of the most unique service offerings for start-ups. She leads a team dedicated to both nurturing & developing the talents of Canadians through a range of diverse programs. Together, they provide advisory services and leadership training, connect entrepreneurs with program funding, help leverage market & industry intelligence, engage the tech talent community and work to make online and experiential educational content accessible through Regional Innovation Centre’s across the province, including MaRS. She is also passionate about making the tech community inclusive which she does as both co-chair of the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging council at MaRS and supporting her team in doing this work in the ecosystem.

Usha is a scientist turned market researcher and now educator of entrepreneurs. Prior to joining MaRS, she worked at Frost & Sullivan, a leading global market research and consulting company where she published key research papers, consulted for companies of varying sizes and managed a group of analysts to provide quality market research and consulting services.

She is a recent graduate of Stanford LEAD Executive program on Corporate Innovation. She has technical & industry background in water, environment and building technologies space having worked with global clients such as GE, Siemens, Veolia, American water, IBM, Honeywell and Brita. She holds a BSc Hon in Environmental Microbiology from University of Bristol and a PhD in Environmental Sciences from University of Abertay in Dundee, Scotland. She is an NRC fellow and has completed postdoctoral work at the US Environmental Protection Agency and University of New Brunswick.

Fred SwanikerFred Swaniker

Founder & CEO, African Leadership University, Mauritius and Rwanda

Fred is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. In line with this, he has co-founded three organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders: African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, and African Leadership University. Collectively, these institutions aim to groom 3 million leaders for Africa over a 50-year period. A passionate entrepreneur, Fred also served as Founder and CEO of Terra Education, a global education company that today provides leadership training to about 4,000 people annually at 46 sites in 20 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Prior to his work in education, Swaniker co-founded Synexa Life Sciences, a biotechnology company with operations in Cape Town, Berlin, London, and Dublin. Prior to launching his entrepreneurial pursuits, Swaniker worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in South Africa. Swaniker has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and was listed by Forbes Magazine among the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa. Fred has an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar , a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class. He holds a BA in Economics with a minor in Mathematical Statistics from Macalester College (magna cum laude). He was born in Ghana but has lived and worked in about 10 different African countries.


Second Student Centre, Second Floor Ballroom

15 Library Lane, York University Keele Campus

The Second Student Centre can be located using the interactive map of York University’s Keele Campus.

We would like to thank our partner, Miller Thompson, L.L.P.