2019 Community Contributor of the Year, Eastern Canada: Marilyn Verghis

Posted in : Blog
Posted on : October 15, 2019

MacKenzie Pudwell

Marilyn Verghis holds a honours degree in International Development with double minors in Economics and Women Studies from McGill University. In both high-school and post-secondary studies Marilyn led various student equity programs and initiatives, and she currently works as a Health Equity & Inclusion specialist at William Osler Health System, one of the largest and busiest acute care hospital systems in Ontario. She has served on national and local boards and is a founder of a non-profit community organization in Brampton, Ontario.

Her equity journey began as a teenager, as a child of working immigrant parents who had earned a place in a prestigious Toronto school. Her work in equity, diversity and inclusion began with a passion for access to education and to systematically addressing the barriers diverse and intersectional students experience in the education system. This led her to take on the role of Equity Commissioner at McGill’s largest student association for two terms, to focus on social justice throughout her studies, and led her to her career today. Marilyn has dedicated her professional and personal time to the goals of equity and inclusion locally and nationally.

As a Health Equity & Inclusion Specialist at Osler, Marilyn considers it a great privilege to work in and serve the community where she was raised. Among many other responsibilities, her role involves building partnerships between the hospitals and the community, to support the social determinants of health of patients. A commitment to community underpins all of Marilyn’s work, as she also devotes her energies to managing Vision Brampton – a non-profit organization she founded in 2017. Vision Brampton’s goal is to build an equitable, engaged city where all Bramptonians feel they belong. The organization understands social justice, civic engagement and community belonging mutually reinforcing values - values that Marilyn works hard to build along with many other young professionals in Brampton.

Marilyn has dedicated her career and personal commitments to the inclusion for diverse and marginalized communities. When asked if she had any advice for other diversity and inclusion practitioners, Marilyn said it was important to “determine the central principle that guides your work.” For her, this is a deep personal commitment to the principle of anti-oppression. She goes on to speak about mapping the principles of anti-oppression into her practice helped to focus her projects and remain accountable to her values. It requires continuous self-reflection and re-alignment to values, but for Marilyn, that is what equity, diversity and inclusion is all about.

Tags Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion CCDI Awards of Success Awards of Success 2019 Marilyn Verghis

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