Dr. Wendy Cukier is the Diversity Institute Founder, Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre. She co-authored the bestseller “Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park” and is the former VP of Research and Innovation at Ryerson University. She is a leader in disruptive technologies and innovation and has authored more than 200 articles on aspects of diversity, inclusion and innovation.
The Diversity Institute has over 100 research staff, 100 research associates, and 200 industry partners from around the world, focusing on dimensions of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, future skills, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Harnessing the power of innovation, the Diversity Institute leads a number of large partnership-based projects aimed at promoting the participation and advancement of underrepresented groups including women, racialized minorities, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+ and persons with disabilities. DIs applied research and consulting projects use a gender and diversity lens to develop change strategies for government agencies (Fed Dev, Innovation Superclusters), large corporations (Starbucks, Rogers Communications) SMEs (Ontario Chamber of Commerce, I-INC) and more. Action oriented projects include DiversityLeads and the 50-30 Challenge (focused on women and equity deserving groups in C-suite and on boards); Advanced Digital and Professional Training program (ADaPT) focused on alternative pathways to digital careers; WE-Hub (entrepreneurship training for low income women), the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, Study Buddy (supporting racialized families with free tutoring), and more. Wendy also leads the SSHRC-funded Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network (IIE-Net).
A champion of social justice, she has pioneered the adaptation of ecological models of complex systems change, spearheading Ryerson’s social innovation strategy and the University to become Canada’s first Ashoka Changemaker Campus. Wendy also created the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge and most recently, co-founded Lifeline Afghanistan. She serves on many boards including the Federation for African Canadian Economics and advisory committees such as the ESDC Skills for Success Expert Panel and Pay Equity Expert Group.
She has been recognized with the Harry Jerome Diversity Award, the Bob Marley Award, the Metropolis Research Award, the CATA Alliance, and 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN. She has been named a YWCA Woman of Distinction, one of the "100 Alumni who shaped the Century," by the University of Toronto and International Women’s Forum 2020 Women Who Make a Difference. Wendy holds a PhD in Management Science (Information Systems), an MBA, an MA, and honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia.