TIME:  1:25 pm – 2:25 pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

2020 will be etched in our memories for our lifetimes.  Seared in there is the memory of watching Mr. George Floyd being murdered by a white policeman. Suddenly, we understood at a different level the why of “Black Lives Matter”.  Debates took place about whether there is systemic racism in the police force or the murder is reflective of a “few bad apples”; in reality, both can and do co-exist.

Incredibly, Mr. Floyd’s murderer and his colleagues knew his act was being witnessed.  Mr. Floyd called out that he couldn’t breathe more than twenty times.  Without the incontrovertible video footage, Mr. Floyd’s murder would have been one more murder of a black person who never got justice.

As humans, we are in the early days of a new digital era.  What traits of digital technology do we need to be aware to build true inclusion?  What can businesses working in technology do to build – systemically – a future that cherishes the creativity and curiosity inherent in pluralism?

Yasmin Meralli
President, Pluralism Performance Inc

Yasmin is a steadfast advocate for diversity and inclusion.  As President of Pluralism Performance Inc., Yasmin has worked with start-up tech companies, banks, educational institutions and not-for-profits to identify opportunities to improve diversity and inclusion.

Yasmin’s background includes executive/leadership roles in Strategy and Business Planning at BMO Financial Group.  She was part of the first e-business group at BMO.  As BMO’s VP of Diversity and Workplace Equity, Yasmin led a North American mandate to foster pluralism; during her tenure, BMO was recognized with several awards including Mediacorp’s award for being one of Canada’s Best Employers for New Canadians

While at BMO, Yasmin also joined forces with Mediacorp and TWI to initiate Canada’s Best Diversity Employer Award.  This Award has helped to advance pluralism across Canada.  At the invitation of the Canadian Embassies in Norway, Finland and Iceland, Yasmin was invited to present the Canadian business view on diversity to business leaders, labour groups and policy makers.  Yasmin was recognized by Planet Africa as one of twelve “Phenomenal Women Transforming our World”.

Geoffrey Cowper
Partner, Fasken, Strategic Advisor, Promerita Group

Geoffrey Cowper Q.C. is a partner at Fasken, one of the largest business law firms in Canada with more than 700 lawyers and agents in ten offices on four continents. He is also a Strategic Advisor at Promerita Group.


As the national leader of Fasken's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, Geoff is one of Canada’s leading trial and appellate counsel and is internationally recognized as a leading jurist in a number of aspects of commercial law. Geoff’s appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada have included leading cases concerning banking, contracts, trusts as well as constitutional and civil rights. He has also been counsel in leading private and public cases in Canada and internationally. These cases include investor-sovereign state and international commercial arbitration matters and have led to significant decisions with national and international dimensions respecting commercial law, public law and human rights.

Geoff is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, was named Canada’s “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by Benchmark Canada for 2016, and is repeatedly cited as a leading counsel in many areas of law by a number of the profession's leading ranking services including Chambers & Partners and Best Lawyers.  

In addition to bringing preeminent legal expertise to his role as a Strategic Advisor to Promerita Group, Geoff brings significant investment, commercial and strategic business insight from his many years serving as a board member or investment committee member of several prominent corporate and charitable boards both regionally and internationally. Geoff is passionate about sustainable economic development and the rule of law, and education. He believes bringing people, communities and sustainable business initiatives together in a way that benefits all stakeholders is critically important in improving our society and economy, and has served the national and international community in leadership roles in law reform, legal aid, housing services to the homeless, and international economic development and conservation. 

Geoff was raised on the outskirts of Calgary, Alberta, and attended the University of British Columbia to study ornithology, but got sidetracked on a bird walk and ended up graduating with a degree in Law. He received his QC (Queen’s Counsel) in 1997 and in 2012, at the request of the Province of British Columbia, Geoff conducted an independent review of that province’s judicial system.

Javade Chaudhri
Partner, Jones Day

Javade Chaudhri is a Partner at Jones Day, an international law firm with 40 offices around the world. He has worldwide experience in helping major private and public sector companies across a range of industries to transact business, including advising on domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, and matters involving corporate governance and compliance.

Prior to rejoining Jones Day in October 2013, Javade was the executive vice president, general counsel, and chief compliance officer for Sempra Energy, a roughly $30 billion California-based Fortune 250 energy services company. Prior to joining Sempra he served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Gateway, Inc., then a $10 billion technology company. Javade currently serves on the boards of the University of California’s School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, The Institute of the Americas, The National Judicial College, and The San Diego Zoo. He has been a visiting faculty member for the International Development Law Organization in Rome and the international Law Institute in Washington, D.C.

Chaudhri was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and received his early education at Strathmore College in Nairobi. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University (US) and a Juris doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center (US).

Laura Tuell

Laura Tuell directs and coordinates Jones Day's pro bono activities across the Firm. The Firm's pro bono efforts are diverse both substantively and geographically. In recent years she has specifically directed initiatives to improve access to counsel for refugees, combat human trafficking, promote peaceful protests, and deter hate crimes through litigation strategies.  Laura sits on several Boards of Directors of non-profit organizations and participate in panels and other presentations at various conferences and convenings highlighting Jones Day's work.

She graduated in 1991 in “Political Science” from George Mason University and she graduated as “Doctor of Law” from Georgetown University Law center in 1996.