Senior Partners

Shakil Choudhury (M.E.S., B.Ed., B.P.E.), Senior Partner

As Co-Founder of Anima Leadership, Shakil Choudhury is an award-winning consultant with more than 25 years experience in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion. He has trained senior leadership teams across sectors and developed measurement tools for organizations, helping improve their diversity outcomes. Internationally, Shakil has designed and led peace-building projects for communities in conflict, specifically in Europe and South America.

His book Deep Diversity®: Overcoming Us vs. Them is a practical, scientific and compassionate approach to tackling systemic discrimination. Written in a Gladwell-meets-racial-justice style, many are calling this a “breakthrough” book on racism and social identity offering an innovative approach to building more inclusive environments.  He is currently experiencing his most challenging and rewarding management experience: his two toddlers teaching him about fatherhood! For more about Shakil.

Annahid Dashtgard (M.Ed., B.A.), Senior Partner

Annahid Dashtgard

As Co-Founder of Anima Leadership, Annahid is a diversity and leadership consultant, author and speaker with over 20 years’ experience. She has designed, led, coached and guided change on individual, organization and system levels. Annahid has managed national campaigns, advised on policy and led many organizational development initiatives. She has worked nationally and internationally across different sectors (education, healthcare, government, private and non-profit) and regularly writes and speaks on issues of democracy, citizen engagement, diversity and belonging.

Trained in various psychological and systemic change approaches, Annahid specializes in designing solutions that marry the internal with external, personal with political. Her published writing credits include the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Briarpatch magazine, and CBC Radio First Person recorded essay. Annahid is the author of Breaking the Ocean: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Reconciliation and host of Breaking the Ocean podcastFor more about Annahid.

Emma Lind (B.A., M.A., PhD), Diversity Facilitator and Educator

Emma Lind is a facilitator, researcher, educator, and storyteller with twenty years’ experience in the field of diversity and inclusion. She has worked with labour unions, community groups, government organizations, and educational institutions to build an understanding of social power and the impact it has on institutional cultures and working relationships. Emma has spent the last decade studying the power of stories, specifically how our awareness is linked to the stories we tell, and how we can learn about ourselves and contribute to social and institutional change by exploring new narratives.

She has taught Gender Studies courses at Carleton University and Okanagan College, and has participated in research projects on embodiment, identity, and difference through digital storytelling with the University of Guelph’s Re:Vision Centre for Art and Social Justice. Emma holds a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies and Equity Studies from the University of Toronto, a Master of Arts in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies from York University, and a PhD in Cultural Mediations at Carleton University. Emma’s work at Anima is an expression of her belief that one of the most radical things we can experience is a process that provides the room for our story to change.

James Beaton (B.A., M.A.), Office Manager

James has held a number of positions prior to becoming the Office Manager for Anima Leadership. James came to to Toronto to work on a PhD in Sociology after he completed a Master’s of Arts in Sociology at the University of Victoria focusing on the privatization of education. He has worked as a researcher at both the National and Provincial level for the Canadian Federation of Students. James has worked with the Centre for Research on Work and Society as well as on the Gender Work database at York University. James brings administrative experience from the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Education where he most recently worked prior to Anima Leadership. He balances his work life at Anima with his passion for photography and caring for his cats.


Parker Johnson, (B.A., M.Ed.) Anti-racist Educator and Consultant

Parker Johnson, Anti-racist Educator and Consultant

Parker Johnson is a group facilitator, mediator, intercultural educator, and organizational change specialist who is committed to building just, equitable, diverse and inclusive organizations. With his diverse array of interests, skills and experiences, he brings deep-level understanding of intersectionality.  Parker studied administration, planning and social policy at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and rounds out his education with practical application in mediation, coaching, intercultural communication and anti-oppression work.  He worked for the City of Vancouver for 10 years in the Equal Employment Opportunity Office delivering inclusive and respectful workplace workshops, conflict mediation and investigations, along with employment outreach to diverse communities.  His specialty is post-secondary educational institutions where he counsels on both staff and leadership development as well curriculum revisions. As a workshop facilitator, he is a master at bringing concepts alive through the power of storytelling.

Eddy Nason (B.Sc, M.Phil), Senior Consultant, Research and Evaluation

Eddy Nason is a leading researcher, analyst, evaluator and manager with a decade of experience in research and public policy from think tanks, universities and private non-profit corporations. Eddy is well-versed in a wide variety of public policy issues and contexts in Canada, the UK, the US and Europe, and an acknowledged international expert in research evaluation. In his work over the years, Eddy has provided evaluation and policy research, support and advice on equity issues including youth justice, disability and independent living, accessibility and equity in the workplace. A dynamic thinker able to combine complex issues from varying disciplines to provide effective policy solutions, Eddy is committed to providing an evidence-base for equity and diversity issues. Eddy is currently the Assistant Director at the Ontario SPOR Support Unit, working to create a more patient-oriented approach to health research in Ontario.

Vanessa Reid (B.A., M.A., M.Arch.), Facilitator and Systems Change Specialist

Vanessa Reid (M.A., M.Arch, B.A.), Facilitator and Systems Change Specialist

Vanessa Reid is co-founder of the Living Wholeness Institute which works with citizens, teams, organizations and social movements around the globe on initiatives that are transforming broken systems and creating new, deeply sustainable social realities. She has a Masters in Architecture (McGill) and a Masters in Process-Oriented Psychology and Conflict Studies (PWI) and 25 years experience in systems transformation, leadership development and building practice grounds for participatory change processes locally and internationally; including co-intiating The Art of Hosting – Athens as a result of Greece’s economic and political crisis. She combines a living systems worldview with deep democracy to discover collective ways forward while tending to trauma, diversity and relationship issues and unprocessed history.

Vanessa creates cultures – personal, organizational, societal – that are alive and deeply aligned with all of life; this includes working generatively with disruption and transitions, and hospicing endings. Vanessa is a former executive director of Montreal’s Santropol Roulant, a vibrant non-profit founded by young people where innovations with food, urban sustainability and intergenerational relationships act as catalysts for social change. A writer, and former executive publisher of Canada’s Utne award-winning ascent magazine, she brings reflective practice to develop the inner diversity and world of leaders and change agents. She is currently working on her book, The Wild Life of Dying. Her Tedx talk Conscious Closure and the Wild Life of Dying is one to watch.

Support Staff

Dan Bashaw (B.A. Information Systems), Online Learning

Dan focuses on helping organizations use web, post-web, and social technologies effectively as tools for global learning and collaboration. He is an active member of the Web of Change community, an annual conference which connects thinkers and do-ers in social media, technology, and social change, and a former Dreamfish Labs Fellow, where he facilitated a globally distributed team of designers, developers, artists and entrepreneurs involved in innovative projects promoting the ‘reinvention of human work in a globalized world’. His consulting work with Anima includes e-learning course development and the management of the Anima online learning and web environments.

Annie Liew (B.A., Multimedia Design), Creative Consultant

Annie Liew (B.A., Multimedia Design), Creative Consultant

Annie is responsible for helping Anima Leadership authentically communicate their brand values and voice through public-facing media. An avid traveller who has lived on four continents, she has worked with a diverse range of people in varied environments; from large corporations and small businesses to agencies, start-ups and entrepreneurs. She loves the creative process of starting with an idea, asking questions to distil it down to core important elements, refining it and bringing it to life. She’s happiest when she’s creating, learning, exploring and thinking about how to make things better and solving problems. Annie values the importance of community and is active in both the tech and design spaces. For more about Annie.