Redefining Leadership Fellowship

In October 2021, we launched our Redefining Leadership Fellowship and welcomed our first cohort of young leaders.

Our Redefining Leadership Fellowship seeks to advance intersectional leadership capacity among Black, Indigenous, and racialized young women and gender diverse youth leaders in what is currently known as Canada. The second cohort of this fellowship focused on environmental justice.

Our Fellowship aims to advance intersectional leadership capacity among Black, Indigenous, and racialized young women and gender-diverse leaders, by providing the tools, resources and knowledge our Fellows need to actively participate in all spaces where decisions are made, and effectively lead within their communities.

The inaugural Fellowship cohort included five Black, Indigenous, and racialized young women and gender diverse youth leaders, aged 18-25, with a background in anti-racism and racial justice work. 

Over six months, Fellows were guided through a curated series of leadership workshops, mentorship sessions, and learning opportunities, focused on deepening their leadership and community engagement work.

Over the six month cohort, Fellows examined various topics and engaged in the following workshops and sessions: 

  • Lived Experience and Trauma-Informed Work, facilitated by Debbie OwusuAkyeeah, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Sexual Diversity 
  • Two sessions on Leadership & Land and Decolonizing Time with Shanese Steele, Afro-Indigenous podcaster, writer, and educator
  •  Anti-Oppression & Leadership, with Aniquah Zowmi, International relations leader and public servant
  • Leading Against the Current, with Andrea Vasquez Jimenez, municipal politician and leader 
  • Three sessions on Nonprofit Leadership, Development, and Fundraising, with Arezoo Najibzadeh, Co-founder and Managing Director of Platform Networking and team-building sessions with Platform staff and Fellows 
  • An intimate group mentorship session and Q&A with Harsha Walia, ahead of her Redefining Leadership Keynote

Meet the inaugural cohort!

The inaugural cohort of our Redefining Leadership Fellowship consisted of five extraordinary young leaders whose work advances and or intersects with anti-racism.

What is intersectional leadership?

“Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects. It’s not simply that there’s a race problem here, a gender problem here, and a class or LBGTQ problem there. Many times that framework erases what happens to people who are subject to all of these things.”

Kimberlé Crenshaw

Our program will address four key competencies that make up intersectional leadership to us. We believe that by putting intersectionality (coined by scholar and civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw) at the heart of leadership, we can support young leaders in transforming their knowledge and experience into an inclusive, caring, and transformative style of leadership that challenges the status quo.


Equity and anti-oppression are integral to intersectional leadership because they are the foundation to doing work that is intersectional – recognizing the multitudes of our identities, the intersecting barriers we face, and working to build systems that speak to those barriers and destroy the systems that perpetuate them. In order to build intersectional leadership, we need to centre equity and anti-oppression to transform power relations and structures (in all their different manifestations) into an enabling environment for the leadership potential of individuals and communities.


Our understanding of community is grounded in lived experiences and struggle. To us, community is more than a shared identity; it’s about how we care for each other, how we are accountable to each other, and how we show up for each other. Intersectional leadership requires us to get to know not only our own communities, but also communities we aim to stand in solidarity with. We must do this work with intentionality and humility, as well as honesty about our capacity to show up for our communities.


Responsivity means being responsive to community needs and listening to community members when they vocalize issues, solutions, and advocacy efforts. It is central to our understanding of intersectional leadership because it allows us to work in relationship with others, to change our strategy and initiatives when necessary, and most importantly, to amplify and support the voices of those who are leading the advocacy and addressing of social issues, in ways they deem fit.


We understand that progress is achieved through the work of many, and that no one, regardless of age, or education has all the answers. Our understanding of intersectional leadership requires collaboration because we understand that intersectional and anti-oppressive approaches to advocacy and civic engagement involve the communities which we seek to serve, and the communities we are a part of. Working in teams, consulting community members, facilitating intergenerational dialogue and de-centring hierarchical structures of leadership create the conditions for collaborative, community-centred leadership.

 This program has been made possible through a contribution from Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) Canada.