We are happy to share that Laarni Paras was named a finalist for the Women In Research 2020 MRX Diversity Champion award. This award, created to honor people who are actively embracing all aspects of diversity in market research, and embodying the values of respect, dignity, autonomy, and equality, so aptly describes Laarni and her contributions. The full press release of winners is available from Women In Research.

Regardless of where she’s worked, Laarni has made social justice and anti-racism activism a key component of her entire career. Most recently, she helped found Sklar Wilton’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and is supporting our broader DEI strategic plan. This plan includes reviewing and updating our processes from recruitment to research practices to be more inclusive and equitable. As a member of our Mental Health committee, she was a key promoter of including resources specifically focused on BIPOC mental health. And, she was recently invited as an expert panel member on the Canadian Research Insights Council’s webinar – Confronting Exclusion and Racism in Canada’s Research & Insights Industry.  Previously, she was the co-lead of the Nielsen PRIDE Employee Resource Group.

In her personal time, Laarni serves on the Research Ethics Board at the University of Toronto, is a board member of Insights In Colour (a community for multicultural market research and insights professionals), and volunteers for Endeavour Volunteer Consulting (an organization that provides management consulting services to non-profits to improve their organizational capacity and community impact).  She was one of the founding members of WIRe Toronto from 2018 to 2020 and was a lead mentor for George Brown College Alumni for immigrant students looking to break into the research and analytics industry.

Prior to focusing on market research, Laarni worked in community-based research with a specialization in developing programs for marginalized communities. She conducted anti-oppression trainings for government and non-governmental organizations to better serve their communities by addressing their intersectional needs. Laarni also designed leadership programs for newcomer women and women with disabilities that earned awards and grants from TD, KPMG, Telus, and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.  She was a contributor to the Migrant Mothers Project to help shape policies affecting immigrant mothers fleeing abuse. 

We are grateful and proud to have Laarni as a member the SW&A team. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to increase access for marginalized communities.