Speaker Series - halifax

Ignorance is Not Bliss

Recognizing and Unpacking Unconscious Bias

Event Details:

While prejudice and discrimination remain pressing issues in workplaces around the world, the more elusive challenge facing many organizations is unconscious bias. This is not a new concept, so why have both public and private organizations struggled to address it? Learn the theories behind biases, and the tactics to limit their impact. We must challenge our existing beliefs. In doing so, we can outsmart our brains and make less-biased decisions, both in the workplace and in our social lives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Increase the learners’ awareness of the concept of Unconscious Bias
  • Assist learners to recognize bias within themselves
  • Enable learners to recognize the impact of their personal bias on others
  • Ensure the learner understands bias is natural, but needs to be managed


6:00 pm – 6:40 pm – Registration & Networking

6:40 pm – 8:00 pm – Cocktails, Discussion & Networking

8:00 pm – Cocktail Concludes

8:00 pm – 8:30 pm – Optional Networking


Laura Lee Langley – Deputy Minister, Office of the Premier; CEO Communications NS; Public Service Commissioner, Province of Nova Scotia
2018 Top 100 Award Winner

Langley, Laura Lee portrait

Laura Lee Langley is the Deputy Minister of the Office of the Nova Scotia Premier, Deputy Minister of Treasury and Policy Board, Clerk of the Nova Scotia Executive Council, Head of the NS Public Service, Chief Executive Officer of Communications Nova Scotia, and the NS Public Service Commissioner.

She began her career as a journalist in the early 1980’s and worked in both radio and television as a reporter, anchor and producer until the late 1990’s when she began her public service career in strategic communications.

She was first appointed Deputy Minister in 2010.  She has a Master of Public Administration Degree from Dalhousie University (2002) and a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University (2015).

Laura Lee has served as a board member for various professional and community organizations and is known as a champion for diversity and inclusiveness. She has been recognized by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission as a Champion of the Workplace for her work in this area. She is also passionate about employee engagement and revitalising the public service and is actively leading a campaign called ‘Be the Change’ encouraging innovation and pride in the NS public service.

Laura Lee lives in Oakfield, Nova Scotia with her husband Sean Carson. They have two grown children Parker and Ashley.

Denise Pothier – Vice-President Practice Services & Vice-President Indigenous Relations, Stantec Consulting Ltd
2018 Top 100 Award Winner

Pothier, Denise portraitDenise Pothier has a background in chemical engineering and more than twenty-five years of industry experience. She is currently the Vice President of Practice Services and the first-ever Vice President of Indigenous Relations at Stantec. She sits on the board of directors of Techsploration and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB); she serves on Engineers Canada’s Equitable Participation committee and is the current chair for the Indigenous Peoples participation in engineering committee; and she serves on Engineers Nova Scotia’s Council and is the past-chair for the Women in Engineering committee.  She is a recipient of 2016 the Canadian Progress Club Halifax Women of Excellence Award for Management and the Professions; was named as one of the 2018 Canada’s Inspiring Fifty women in STEM; and named one of 2018 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners. She is a firm believer that a diverse and representative employee base, led by a diverse and representative leadership team, enhances and strengthens the cultures of quality, innovation, and health and safety within an organization.

Tracey Thomas – Senior Policy Analyst, African Nova Scotian Affairs

Tracey Thomas portraitTracey is the Senior Policy Analyst with African Nova Scotian Affairs.  She is passionate about her community and strives for excellence in everything she does.  Her strengths are in organizational development, communication, and building teams to work collaboratively towards a common goal.

Tracey completed an 18-month secondment with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission where she restructured and advanced the work of the Race Relations, Equity and Inclusion unit,

Prior to joining government 8 years ago, Tracey was the Operations Manager for the Women Unlimited program, this opportunity came after 7 years with the Black Business Initiative as the Director of Client Development.

Tracey completed the Executive Leadership Development Program at Dalhousie University, holds a Master of Education in Lifelong Learning from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Saint Mary’s University.  Her Masters Research paper went on to be published in a book entitled “Theorizing Africentricity in Action: Who We Are Is What We See”.


The Honourable Wanda Thomas Bernard – PhD, C.M., O.N.S., Senator – Nova Scotia (East Preston)

Senator Wanda Bernard

Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard who was appointed to the Senate on November 10, 2016 is a highly regarded social worker, educator, researcher, community activist and advocate of social change.

In 2016, she was appointed Special Advisor on Diversity and Inclusiveness at Dalhousie University and is the first African Nova Scotian to hold a tenure track position.  In 2017, Senator Bernard was appointed Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Work (SSW) at Dalhousie University; the first woman within the SSW to achieve this appointment, and the first African Canadian to be appointed Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University. She is a founding member of the Association of Black Social Workers who has also served as an expert witness in human rights cases and has received many honours for her work, including the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada.

Senator Bernard is the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (RIDR), and a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (AGFO). She is also Vice-Chair of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association.


Casino Nova Scotia
Compass Room
1983 Upper Water Street
Halifax, NS B3J 3Y5

Silver Partners:

   Scotiabank logo

May 2, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Halifax, NS
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