Personnel updates in the VPPEI Portfolio

July 21, 2022
Dr. Samir Traoré, left, joins the VPPEI portfolio as the university's first executive director, equity, diversity and inclusion. Joyce Boddington, right, has also joined SFU as the executive assistant to the VPPEI.

I’m writing to share two important hires in the VPPEI portfolio.  


Dr. Samir Traoré will join SFU as the university’s first Executive Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) on August 24, 2022.

An antiracism professional with management and program-development experience, Samir comes to SFU from the University of British Columbia, where he was previously director, faculty equity in the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic, and institutional initiative strategist in the Equity & Inclusion Office. There, he co-developed and managed the institutional-wide operational plan of UBC’s Inclusion Action Plan.

A public educator, EDI consultant, and adjunct professor, Samir holds a PhD in sociology from McMaster University and is co-chair of the B.C. Multicultural Advisory Committee, which reports to B.C.’s attorney general and helps shape the province’s progress on anti-racism work, including the anti-racism data act, the first act of its kind at a provincial or state level in North America.

At SFU, Samir will lead an established team of dedicated equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) practitioners to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive community where all can feel welcome, safe, accepted and appreciated in their learning, teaching, research and work.  

Reporting directly to Samir are EDI Directors Suman Jiwani, Theresa Burley and Nadia Mallay. Formerly EDI specialists, this important change to the title of our EDI Directors better reflects their work and signals the responsibility they have in this portfolio, leading institutional initiatives while advising on equity matters for faculty, staff, students and our entire SFU community. It also aligns with the positioning of similar roles across SFU.

For me, this is an exciting day. With the EDI team established, we can begin our journey together and continue developing the systems, processes and culture that contribute to a more equitable and inclusive SFU.

I also want to thank the members of the hiring committee who supported this search process, and to acknowledge the members of the executive sub-committee on EDI for their leadership and guidance over the last several years.

As we build this portfolio, I want to recognize that we stand on the shoulders of those who laid the foundations to bring this Equity Office to fruition. Thank you to SFU faculty, staff, students and alumni who have been part of these conversations for embracing this difficult and necessary work.


I would also like to take this time to announce the hiring of Joyce Boddington as the permanent Executive Assistant to the VPPEI. Joyce joins us from Fraser Health after over 20 years in healthcare, most recently as an Administrative Assistant to the Leadership & Talent portfolio where she supported three senior leaders. Joyce starts with SFU on August 8, and can be reached at  

I also want to take this moment to acknowledge Cookie Purewal for stepping in as acting Executive Assistant on an interim basis and for onboarding Joyce before returning to her role. Cookie, thank you for all your hard work and support over the last several months.

Please join me in welcoming Samir and Joyce to SFU, I look forward to beginning this new chapter together.  

Yabome Gilpin-Jackson, PhD
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion
Simon Fraser University