Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, ATB Financial
At the age of 12, Roselle Gonsalves’s whole world changed when she moved from India, where she was born and raised, to Ontario. There were many differences, but one that stands out in particular is when she realized her skin was a different colour than most other people.
“I very significantly remember that exact moment. And because of that difference, I changed who I was in relation to other people. There was a power dynamic shift where I went from being part of a homogenous whole, to being the ‘other,’” she says.
Since then, Gonsalves has been motivated to find out what makes people tick. She eventually went on to do an undergraduate degree in neuropsychology, and later completed her doctorate in identity and diversity at the postgraduate level.
Now, as the head of diversity inclusion and belonging at ATB Financial, she guides conversations around equity and inclusiveness both within ATB and with its external partners. But the most rewarding part of Gonsalves’s work is seeing the bigger impact it makes.
She remembers one instance, after running a workshop explaining what microaggressions were, when a skeptical participant reached out to her, months afterwards.
“They sought me out in the middle of nowhere and said, ‘Holy smokes, now that you’ve pulled back the veil, I see [microaggressions] everywhere. And I’ve now started taking active steps to address them when I see them,’” she says.
“Those feedback loops create for me the motivation and drive for me to appreciate what I’m putting out into the world — I might not always see the immediate impact, but there are ripple effects that I don’t always have access to.”
Why She’s Top 40
She helps people understand what it’s like to be the “other”