The 2022 Women of the Year Awards: Equity and Inclusion Champion – Runner-up

The runner-up for the Equity and Inclusion Champion category of The 2022 Women of the Year Awards is Tamisha Parris, founder of Parris Consulting.

Tamisha Parris
Founder, Parris Consulting

Few people would suddenly shift gears from pediatrics to equity studies without knowing what it is, but that’s the trajectory Tamisha Parris took at UofT. After graduation, when she taught English as a second language in a small Mexican town, that education helped her cope with the culture shock of being the only Black person some locals had seen in real life.

“People would come up to me every day, touch my skin, ask me to take pictures with them,” Parris recalls. “That is when I truly learned about diversity and how it felt, because it was never negative. It was always positive.”

Deciding to prioritize diversity work, she launched Parris Consulting in 2003, committing to it full-time a decade later. The Vancouver-headquartered firm helps organizations across North America develop sustainable equity, diversion and inclusion strategies through workshops, webinars, company-wide assessments and curriculum-building. Parris and her team of four have worked with clients ranging from U.S. tech multinational Ultimate Kronos Group to Vancouver’s RainCity Housing and Support Society.

Parris considers her very first diversity talk, in 2005 when working in human resources for the Durham Regional Police, one of her biggest accomplishments. “At the time, there were a lot of issues with racial profiling,” she remembers.

The longtime youth advocate’s first volunteer role was 30 years ago with the Special Olympics, the largest sports group for children and adults with disabilities. “I have a son who is now 15, who is on the spectrum,” Parris says. “I thought I was pretty well versed in everything diversity, and then I had my son, and it was a whole new world.”