Coalition Against Racism launches new equity programs

Claudette McGowan, chair, Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism

The Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR) has launched two new programs, ACCELERATE Mentorship and ACCELERATE Leadership. Each program takes a unique approach to helping Canada’s innovation sector become more equitable, diverse, and inclusive in an accelerated way.

CILAR is a diverse group of Canadian leaders committed to creating equitable pathways for the Black community, Indigenous peoples and People of Colour into the innovation economy.

The ACCELERATE Mentorship program will help expand diversity in leadership roles by pairing current executives with Black and Indigenous leaders in a reciprocal mentoring relationship, with guidance and support from CILAR for a minimum of five months.

The ACCELERATE Leadership program will support the development of inclusive products, services, and programs by providing Leadership Labs – workshops with Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) experts and fellow executives, an online community platform, and peer-to-peer and executive coaching to executives over three months.

Serena Nguyen

“Most executives in the innovation sector know it’s important and valuable to improve diversity and inclusion in their organizations and they are committed to taking action, but it’s not always clear exactly what they should do for the most impact,” explained Claudette McGowan, CILAR Chair. “Our two new programs offer insights, processes and tools that provide a clear pathway for effective action to accelerate impact.”

By participating in the ACCELERATE Mentorship program, an executive will provide access to insights and social capital that can help their partner accelerate their transition to senior management and executive roles. At the same time, the executive will gain insights to improve organizational culture, and a deeper understanding of the role of EDI in organizational success.

“In typical mentorship programs, a senior-level individual ‘helps’ someone in a more junior-position. While that can certainly be useful, we have found that a reciprocal approach dramatically boosts the impact,” said Serena Nguyen, CILAR Executive Director. “In today’s fast-paced, multi-generational, and diverse organizations, there’s incredible value in learning from more perspectives to boost your leadership skills. This program provides an accelerated learning opportunity for both participants, providing valuable insights and new perspectives, and creating a culture of inclusive innovation and growth.”

By participating in the ACCELERATE Leadership program, participants will learn from, and share personal insights with, fellow executives and experts to better integrate EDI capabilities into organizational products, services and programs.

“This program is unique in that it will provide a safe space for a small number of senior innovation sector leaders to learn from experts and one another about a sensitive and challenging subject. There is no silver bullet for the complexities of integrating EDI in your organizations,” said Ms. McGowan. “This program will provide multiple insights on potential solutions, but more importantly, the focus is on the application of that new knowledge, to transform products, services, and/or programs so that they are more inclusive.”

Both programs will begin in early July, and space is limited. Here is some information you will need to know:

ACCELERATE Mentorship | Application Deadline: June 26, 2023

ACCELERATE Leadership | Application Deadline: June 30, 2023

Or, contact the CILAR team at with any questions.