Speaker Series - calgary

Ignorance is Not Bliss

Recognizing and Unpacking Unconscious Bias

Speaker Series Event by Dr. Valerie Pruegger

Valerie Pruegger portrait

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.

What is implicit bias and why is it important to understand this topic? In this engaging presentation, Dr. Valerie Pruegger, will discuss the neurological underpinnings of unconscious or implicit bias, its pros and cons, and how it can negatively affect our behaviour leading to blind spots in decision making, unintended discrimination, and reduced creativity and innovation in the workplace.


8:00 am – Registration, Networking & Breakfast

8:30 am – 10:00 am – Workshop

10:00 am – 10:30 am – Optional Networking


Dr. Valerie Pruegger – Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Protected Disclosure

Valerie Pruegger earned her M.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Calgary and her Ph.D. In Organizational and Cross-Cultural Psychology at Queens University. In her career she has served as Executive Director of the Calgary Multicultural Centre and as a Research Social Planner for the City of Calgary where her focus was on immigrants, refugees, racialized Canadians, discrimination and hate crime. At The City of Calgary, she spearheaded signing on to the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD) and led the development of a Welcoming Community Policy and Framework. As a consultant, Valerie has worked with government, voluntary and private sector organizations on developing diversity and inclusion strategic plans and facilitating DEI training. Dr. Pruegger is currently the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Protected Disclosure at the University of Calgary. She has served as: Past President of the Alberta Association for Multicultural Education; a member of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee; a member of the Calgary Diversity and Inclusion Network; and she is currently the Vice Chair of the Inclusion Network for Canadian Research Universities. Dr. Pruegger was honoured with the 2005 Legislative Assembly of Alberta award for her contributions and service to the people, communities and province of Alberta. In 2017 the Black community in Calgary recognized her work on anti-racism with an Obsidian Award, and in 2018 the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calgary awarded her with the Celebrated Alumni award in honour of her career achievements.


The Westin Hotel
320-4th Avenue
Calgary, AB T2P 2S6

Silver Partners:

   Scotiabank logo

March 19, 2019
8:00 am - 10:30 am
Calgary, AB