TORONTO — Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has hired RBC vice-president Teri Dennis-Davies as senior vice-president, equity, diversity and inclusion.
Dennis-Davies, who will start her new position on Oct. 19, has spent the last 14 years with the Royal Bank of Canada in a variety of senior roles in the Caribbean and Canada — most recently as vice-president, employee relations.
"MLSE and our teams are continually focused on bringing people together and representing the best of our community," MLSE president and CEO Michael Friisdahl said in a statement Wednesday. "The social issues that have been brought to the forefront over the past several months, including efforts to combat systemic anti-Black racism and highlight the need for social justice, diversity and inclusion are priorities that we must help address as civic leaders.
"Teri's breadth of experience and perspective will help further cement our equity, diversity and inclusion efforts as an organization, bringing together the many people and opportunities that will ultimately bring about positive change within our company and the community. We look forward to Teri joining MLSE next month and championing this cause for us."
Dennis-Davies will report directly to Friisdahl.
The MLSE job posting looked for candidates "to architect, design and champion the strategic vision, best-in-class practices and organization-wide meaningful programs that create deeper understanding, awareness, inclusivity and engagement for our employees, teams, fans and partners, and elevate their experiences."
At RBC, Dennis-Davies led a global employee relations team responsible for managing workplace issues including diversity, inclusivity and respect, discrimination, harassment, health and safety, accommodations and performance management, while also advancing the company's conduct and risk culture.
She also launched and chaired the functional Diversity Leadership Council for Human Resources, Corporate Communications, Brand and the Employee Ombudsman.
Prior to RBC, Dennis-Davies held senior roles in the U.S. and the Caribbean with Hyatt Hotels, Merrill Communications, LLC, Fortis Fund Services, and KPMG.
"MLSE has a very strong and influential voice in our community and I am thrilled with the opportunity to join them to help the organization, and its teams, achieve sustainable progress towards its goal of having a positive impact on these important issues," Dennis-Davies said in a statement.
"This will require focused leadership to make these changes possible, and I look forward to working with everyone at MLSE to build on some of the strong steps they have already taken to advocate for change."
Dennis-Davies obtained her B.A. from Rutgers before attending the University of Connecticut School of Law. She later attended a negotiation and leadership certificate program at Harvard Law School.
The hire is MLSE's latest move on the diversity front.
In July, the Raptors named John Wiggins their vice-president, organizational culture and inclusion. Wiggins has been tasked with leading the campaign to address social injustice, inclusion, equity and political reform.
"We want to affect change on a global scale, and that has to begin at home," Raptors president Masai Ujiri said at the time.
Wiggins joined the Raptors from Raptors 905, where he helped launch Canada's first G League franchise.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020.
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