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Rachel Décoste named Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, at the National Film Board of Canada. New position to lead the NFB’s diversity, equity and inclusion effort as part of an organization-wide transformation.


© Moshe Zusman / HeadshotDC

September 23, 2021 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur announced today that Rachel Décoste has been appointed as Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, a newly created position at the NFB, effective September 27, 2021.

Rachel will be a strategic diversity leader, subject matter expert, change agent and lead advisor to the NFB in support of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) goals and objectives aligned to an organization-wide strategy.

Rachel will lead the execution of strategic DE&I initiatives and programs, and coach and guide all levels of NFB leadership to build cultural competency and inclusive leadership skills. She’ll also ensure that the NFB’s programs and policies are equitable and inclusive, and implement and evaluate the NFB’s anti-racism policy and procedures.

Her duties will include developing initiatives to create a pipeline of talent as well as retain talent from underrepresented groups, while overseeing relationships established across the NFB with organizations serving underrepresented groups. Rachel will also collaborate with J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth, the NFB’s recently named Director of Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement, to implement and execute the Indigenous Action Plan.

Rachel will be part of the NFB’s Executive Committee and report directly to the Commissioner. This nomination fulfills one of the NFB’s key commitments on diversity, equity and inclusion, and reflects the NFB’s dedication to lasting change and ensuring that it is an egalitarian, open and diverse organization.

About Rachel Décoste

Rachel Décoste is a writer, educator and social policy expert who has been a community activist since her youth, working with organizations such as the Children’s Aid Society, S.O.S. Montfort Hospital, the Famous 5 Foundation and the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund, to name a few. She has also provided aid in South and Central Americas and West Africa, and worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

Rachel lived and worked in Washington, DC, where she managed a national bipartisan tech education initiative on behalf of the US Congress. She has published over 150 op-eds on diversity, race and immigration policy, and is cited in a dozen academic research papers. Ms. Décoste has lectured on diversity and inclusion at several top universities in the USA and Canada and holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the George Washington University.

Rachel was named one of Ottawa’s Top 50 Personalities in Ottawa Life magazine’s 2010 annual edition, and was named one of the Top 100 Accomplished Black Canadian women in 2018.


“NFB founder John Grierson wanted the NFB to be ‘the eyes of Canada.’ In the more than 80 years since, that lens has widened as Canada has evolved into a diverse multicultural nation. With this role comes the opportunity to strengthen the NFB’s commitment to operationalize equity, diversity and inclusion. It’s an honour to be an agent of change at the NFB, and I look forward to beginning the important work of ensuring that the perspectives and stories of all Canadians are reflected in all that we do,” said Rachel Décoste.

“As Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Rachel will guide us in our diversity, equity and inclusion objectives and help us to ensure the NFB fully reflects the full diversity of Canada, on-screen and off. At the NFB we’re committed to an organizational transformation that will have a profound impact on who we are and how we work, and the way we connect with all Canadians. I’m excited to start work with Rachel on developing and implementing this vision,” said Claude Joli-Coeur, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson.

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Associated Links

NFB’s Diversity, equity and inclusion plan
NFB’s Indigenous Action Plan

French version here | Version française ici.

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  • About the NFB

    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.