Shanaaz Gokool

Pronouns: she/her

Location: Tkaronto

Shanaaz Gokool has been a life-long human rights activist since she began her career advocating for racial justice, equity and meaningful inclusion as a teenager in Halifax-Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She is the current Executive Director of Leadnow, one of Canada’s leading progressive advocacy organizations.

She has over 30 years of leadership experience in the non-profit and private sectors and is an emerging governance expert on systemic racism and discrimination. She is the former CEO of Dying with Dignity Canada, and in 2016, she ushered in a new national human rights movement supporting medical assistance in dying. Under her leadership, DWDC emerged as a key player in Canada and internationally on the assisted-dying file with successful court interventions, strategic government relations, legislative advancements, public mobilization campaigns, $5-6 million in earned media, and national fundraising recognition with the Moe Davies Award for fundraising excellence.

In the fall of 2019, Ms. Gokool launched a wrongful dismissal and systemic racism and discrimination lawsuit against her former employer. In doing so, she became the first Canadian immigrant, woman of colour and former CEO of a national charity, to go public with a systemic discrimination lawsuit.

As a mixed-race immigrant, woman and person with disabilities, Shanaaz brings both a human rights lens and an intersectional framework to interrogate and challenge systems of power, discrimination and oppression.