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Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion, Dr. Tanya De Mellow

Dr. Tanya (Toni) De Mello

Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion

Dr. Tanya (Toni) De Mello is a human rights lawyer with a unique background in economics, finance and operational management. With experience working in private, government and nonprofit sectors, she has co-founded two NGOs and worked internationally on three continents for the United Nations in humanitarian aid. In her role as vice-president, equity and community inclusion, she brings 25 years of experience in equity, diversity and inclusion and over 15 years working in administration of post-secondary education to help facilitate a human-rights centered campus, and build an equitable and inclusive community-focused decolonized university.

Dr. De Mello has been a valued member of the the TMU community since her arrival as director of human rights services in 2017 where she worked closely with campus administration, faculties, associations, unions and student groups to engage in programming, service delivery and curriculum development in order to operationalize diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. 

As the inaugural associate dean, student programming, development and equity at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law, Dr. De Mello had a broad portfolio including admissions, health and wellness, careers, student accommodations, targeted support for Black, Indigenous and racialized students, and student engagement. 

Dr. De Mello holds a dual Bachelor of Economics and Political Science from the University of Waterloo, a double Master in Public Policy and Urban and Regional Planning from Princeton University; a Master in Counseling and Psychotherapy from the University of Toronto and a dual law degree from McGill University. She recently completed her PhD on bias in hiring at the University of Toronto.

A trusted and collaborative leader at TMU, Dr. De Mello has over 20 years of experience as an experienced coach and mediator with expertise in discrimination, harassment and sexual violence, with a focus on the postsecondary sector. She is considered a leading expert and trainer on equity and inclusion in Canada, and explores the nuances of everyday experiences and challenges in the workplace and in our communities. By moving past definitions and handouts to help folks wrestle with the material in their daily lives, she is praised for the way in which her education and work moves beyond transactional to transformational.