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  • 2023
  • Sophie Williams | Active Allyship in the Workplace - Making anti-racist spaces for workers and communities

Sophie Williams | Active Allyship in the Workplace - Making anti-racist spaces for workers and communities

Equity + Justice, Series Taking Action!, Future of Work, 2023

BC’s low unemployment rate is giving some workers an advantage. Employers are using strategies to appeal to potential employees, investing in recruitment bonuses and increasing benefits to boost retention. But, in this competitive environment, BC’s evolving workforce is looking for employers to also offer something more fundamental –– an equitable, anti-racist workplace.

The Taking Action! lecture series offers fresh ideas from anti-racism activists outside of our province. This January we will be hosting UK Author, TED Speaker, and equalities advocate Sophie Williams who will be leading a presentation about the fundamentals of active allyship in the workplace and daily life.

Following the lecture Sophie will be joined in discussion by moderator Sharon Thira, Executive Director of Engagement and Education at the BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner.

Wed, 25 Jan 2023

12:00 p.m. (PT)

Online event
ASL interpretation and closed captioning in English will be available.

About Taking Action!

The Taking Action! series is part of a partnership between SFU and the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, a provincial government program that connects B.C. communities with support, information and training to prevent and respond to incidents of racism and hate. With this partnership, SFU aims to build reciprocal relationships that combine the university’s research expertise with the knowledge and experience of community activists who have been leading anti-racism work in B.C. for years.

For more about past Taking Action! events with Dr. Eva Jewell of the Yellowhead Institute in conversation with Ginger Gosnell-Myers, and Sarah Augustine in conversation with Sophie Pierre, including video, transcripts and resources, go here.

About the speakers

Sophie Williams

Sophie Williams is an expert in the field of Diversity, Equity and inclusion. She is the Author of Anti-Racist Ally (2020) and Millennial Black (2021), a TED Speaker, the Founder of the @OfficialMillennialBlack Instagram page, and an Intersectional Equity Consultant for several businesses in the UK. 

Sophie is a regular panelist, speaker, consultant, and workshop facilitator with a focus on Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion, and Allyship - through her talks she encourages people to take their first steps of their own activism or allyship journeys, or to build on their existing foundations to truly build equality into their personal and working lives. 

Sophie’s writing has appeared in publications such as The Guardian, Bustle, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Refinery29, Elle, and Grazia

Before beginning writing, Sophie had a career in advertising; where she has held the positions of COO and CFO. Sophie held the role of Global Manager of Production Planning at Netflix - she left in spring 2021 after leading the European employee walkout in protest of transphobic content.

Sharon Thira

Sharon Thira is the Executive Director of Education and Engagement at British Columbia's Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. She has focussed much of her work on equity issues, first in developing suicide prevention programs for youth and adults then as Executive Director for the Indian Residential School Survivors Society where she developed response and treatment programs for residential schools survivors. Through her learnings from survivors, she participated in the development of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and moved on to work in Indigenous Health Research at UBC then Indigenous Education and Engagement at New Brunswick Community College. She is interested in the interplay between individual and collective responsibility and in the history of social systems to inform how we can respond to the intense polarization that we are facing in British Columbia. She believes that change can happen quickly and that we all have a role to play in sustaining the gains we make as a society. She is the proud mother of a strong daughter and step-daughter and while she is adopted through Halalt FN on Vancouver Island she is Indigenous and of mixed race from South America.


Further reading

Event partner

Have a question?

Questions can be sent in advance to We will also be accepting questions during the event itself.

Accessibility, technology and privacy



Closed captioning in English will be available. The event will be recorded, and a link to the captioned video recording will be emailed to all registrants after the event.


A link and password to access this online event will be emailed to all registrants via Eventbrite shortly before the event.

To engage in this online event, you will need a computer (laptop or desktop), tablet or smartphone, with speakers or headphones.

We recommend that you use a computer for the best experience of this event. Some interactivity and accessibility features are not available when using a smartphone or tablet.

Protecting your privacy

This event will be recorded, but only the speakers will be visible in the published recording. The recording will be shared with all registrants and published on SFU Public Square’s website, YouTube and social media channels.

To ensure that we are using online event technology in a privacy-conscious way, we are following best practices for this online event series:

  • We will only circulate the event link to those who are registered for the event
  • We will password-protect the event
  • We will enable end-to-end encryption
  • We will not use attention tracking

To protect your own privacy:

  • We remind you that whatever you say during the event is public, so please do not share sensitive information about yourself or others, and do not say anything you do not wish to enter the public domain.

To protect the privacy of others:

  • Please do not record or photograph yourself, other participants, or the hosts during the event, unless permission is requested and given.

If you have any questions about this event’s accessibility, technology requirements or privacy, please connect with us at

Community guidelines

Our community guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of all guest speakers and event participants, and to foster honest, socially accountable dialogue at our events. Thank you for respecting these guidelines!

  • Above all, there will be zero tolerance for those who promote violence or discrimination against others on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, or disability. Anyone who incites harm towards other participants (whether through chat, video, audio or otherwise) will be removed at the discretion of our technical team and moderator.
  • Don’t assume pronouns/gender/knowledge based on someone’s name or appearance. Please refer to people using the usernames and/or pronouns they provide.
  • Take space, make space: share your perspective, and make space for other voices to be heard too. Recognize that we are all here to learn.

Events in the Taking Action! series