We are thrilled to announce that Meenu Sikand, the executive lead, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) has been named Senior Executive of the Year by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.
“In just over one year, Meenu has made significant strides advancing Holland Bloorview’s commitment to action in equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. As a valued member of our team, Meenu never hesitates to ask important and sometimes uncomfortable questions that push us to be better and more thoughtful about how our decisions, policies and practices affects the diverse range of people who make up our community. She is tremendously deserving of this honour and I am thrilled for her to receive this prestigious award.” – Julia Hanigsberg, president and CEO, Holland Bloorview
Meenu is the first to hold her position at Holland Bloorview, and joined the executive team in January 2019. Among her many accomplishments during this time are:
- Development of an EDI policy that embeds inclusion in all hospital operations with a strong focus on intersectionality to empower the people we serve and employ;
- Roll out of identity inclusive (personal pronouns) email signature across the organization;
- Facilitated cultural acknowledgement and celebrations, such as Orange Shirt Day, International Women’s Day, and International Day of Persons with Disabilities and used these opportunities to educate staff and build their capacity around EDI;
- Increased cultural competency among staff on health inequity through Indigenous Culture Safety training and Indigenous blanket exercise;
- Co-executive lead for Project SEARCH Toronto; an international, transition-to-work program for youth with intellectual disabilities;
- Mentored employees with disabilities, and from BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities; and
- Analyzed systemic barriers experienced by marginalized and at risk communities and worked collaboratively with other leaders to develop and execute strength-based solutions.
In June 2020, Meenu was appointed as co-chair of the newly formed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) task force established to address and promote anti-racism at Holland Bloorview.
Later this fall, Meenu will be inducted into the Disability Hall of Fame.
In addition to her role at Holland Bloorview, Meenu has been an equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility champion for more than three decades, dedicating her professional and personal life to advocating for the rights of people living with disabilities and those in marginalized communities at the local, national and international level. As an immigrant woman with a disability, she has been pushing the boundaries within the EDI profession to ensure people living with disabilities are included in the conversation. Her lived experiences, among other things, as a South Asian immigrant to Canada and a woman with a physical disability mean that Ms. Sikand has a critical eye on equity and intersectionality.