The objective of Black History Month is to highlight the historical contribution of Afro-descendant communities to the construction of Canadian, Québec and Rimouski societies, their roots in Québec for over four centuries, as well as their commitment to making this province an inclusive, pluralist and prosperous society.
We would like to take this opportunity to present a portrait of Christine Paré, Senior Advisor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the TransMedTech Institute (iTMT) since May 2022.
Tell us a little bit about your background:
I am originally from Burkina Faso. I arrived in Québec in the early 2000s, I started a master’s degree in project management at the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, which I finished at UQAM. I also completed a DESS in Administration at Concordia University, a PhD in Applied Human Sciences at the Université de Montréal, and more recently in 2022, a DESS in Public Administration at the École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP).I worked in various community organizations before joining the Université de Montréal in 2006, where I held various positions until 2022.I then joined the TransMedTech Institute team in May 2022.
I have always been an advocate for social justice, equity, representation, anti-racism and women in high office. I am a committed feminist; I was a member of the Fédération des Femmes du Québec and I am actively involved in many historically under-represented groups in my neighbourhood and nationally. I was already socially involved even before we talked about EDI. For me, it is a question of social justice to be implemented concretely not only in speeches.
Why did you choose to work for the iTMT?
The health and medical technology sector is a very new sector for me, and I believe I can contribute in the area of EDI for a positive impact in research and ensure that everyone is represented.
What is your mission at ITMT?
To ensure the effectiveness of EDI policies. As an organization, you can be diverse but not inclusive. Being inclusive means taking into account the views of others, including those of historically underrepresented minorities, and making sure everyone feels welcome and valued. My mission will be successful if the impact of the iTMT’s research projects is beneficial to the entire population in its diversity and if the iTMT continues to be inclusive.
What are your values at work and in life in general?
Respect, social justice and the fight against inequalities.
There are different ways of looking at success. For you, what would it be?
For me, success is the positive impact of our actions on others, on society in general.The success of a project is measured by its impact on the community as a whole.As far as EDI is concerned, I would say that my mission will be successful if all the projects developed take EDI issues into account. I hope that this becomes a reflex for all of us to integrate EDI, both in terms of representation in the team and in the research projects, and not only because the granting agencies require it.
Describe a day when you just had the best day of your life at work. What was it about that day that made you so happy?
I had a mandate to develop a course in EDI. I did it with Maria-Gracia Girardi, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor at Polytechnique Montréal, and other colleagues (Neïla Kaou, Valérie Calédec, Géraldine Dumesnil and Michelle Poulin) and the day it went online was a very satisfying day. I greatly appreciated this co-creation and the collaborative aspect of this project, the pooling of ideas and the realization of the project in record time.
A person who inspires you and why?
In Québec, I would say Madeleine Parent, a feminist trade unionist, who fought for women’s rights and also those of Aboriginal and immigrant women. In Burkina Faso, I would say Jaqueline Ki-Zerbo, an activist for women’s rights, very involved politically and socially.
What book(s) would you recommend to read?
Andrée Lévesque (2003) Madeleine Parent, activist
Angela Davis (1989), Women, Culture and Politics
The actions favored by the iTMT in terms of EDI are to:
- Raise awareness of EDI issues among internal and external members of the community.
- Increase the presence, retention and promotion of people from under-represented groups within the iTMT.
- Conduct our activities in an inclusive research environment.
- Innovate in our R&D approaches based on our EDI commitments.
- Ensuring equitable access to the iTMT funding opportunities.