Working to Make Change: Kentia Dazulma’s Diversity and Inclusion Journey at Transport Canada

Many exceptional women lead fearlessly, inspire change, and make Transport Canada a better place to work to serve Canadians. Kentia Dazulma, Director of Data Analytics, is one of them. Kentia is also the Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Black and other racialized persons at the department.

In May 2020, the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, affected her very deeply.

“Just like any other Black person,” she said, “I experienced racism and discrimination. I promised myself that if ever a situation arose where change could occur, I needed to be part of the solution.”

Kentia decided to take action in the community she had been a part of for 10 years –Transport Canada’s workplace. Recognizing that there was a Black community in the department, including many who were similarly experiencing anguish and distress following Floyd’s death, Kentia decided reached out to Deputy Minister Michael Keenan.

“I wrote that things are bad from a societal perspective, people were gathering, there was a sense of unfairness and unrest,” she said, “and Transport Canada needs to acknowledge that we have Black employees who are deeply affected by the situation.”

The Deputy Minister reached out to her right away, and they spoke about creating a safe space for racialized people in the department. Shortly after that, Kentia was asked to join the department’s diversity and inclusion champions Kevin Brosseau and Shari Currie as Lead for Blacks and other racialized persons.

Transport Canada’s 2020-2023 Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan outlines the department’s vision of inclusion and fair treatment for everyone at Transport Canada. The Plan also sets out indicators to measure progress over months and years.

How would Kentia Dazulma measure success and define progress in the next five to 10 years?

“I have a teenage niece whom I hope will one day join the public service,” she said. “My goal would be to create a workplace where she can enter as her own person -- a place where she is recognized as being an equal contributor, and valued for being her authentic self. I want her to be part of a work environment where her uniqueness is valued, recognized, and is part of the culture. I want her to feel that she is included as part of a team.”

Kentia is focused on providing practical tips and tools which Transport Canada employees can apply on a day-to-day basis. “I’d like to provide people with things they can practice every day. We need to help people become aware of their unconscious bias,” she said. “Additionally, it’s important for members of the Black community to see themselves reflected in leadership positions, and to hear about their colleague’s achievements and experiences. We need to highlight the achievements of Black employees and celebrate the successes of the Black community at Transport Canada.”