Our Inclusivity Committee began out of an Anti-Racism Action Plan that we as a staff of the SOBDL created in summer 2021. We ultimately created this plan in response to the Black Lives Matter global movement that was sparked due to the police killing of George Floyd. It was a good wake up call for us to identify that there is always more work to be done within our organization to address racism in not only the explicit but also the implicit ways. The plan outlined multiple action points we will work on as an organization to continue to strive to be leaders in the craft beer industry for all things inclusion.
We have since expanded the action plan to also address other inclusion pillars such as LGBTQ+, disability, etc. We always want to be open-minded and put policies and procedures in place that will make folks feel included and welcome. As with any work of this magnitude, change can be slow but we’re committed to learning, growing and implementing. We want to make sure we don’t simply TALK, but DO! We want to set a good example for the craft beer industry at large that this work is important, necessary and needed.
The committee was formed from both Erica reaching out to certain folks and others applying during the call we put out on social media and in our newsletter. We were thrilled at the number of amazing applications and in the end narrowed it down to 12 amazing folks.
Our plan is to have quarterly meetings with the committee to listen, learn and engage in lively and productive conversations. Shortly after a meeting occurs, we will post the meeting minutes on our SOBDL blog (and this page!) for full transparency of what was discussed and so other breweries or interested peeps can check it out and hopefully use some of the resources and info discusssed. In between meetings, the SOBDL staff spearheading this initiative (aka Drea, Jess and Erica) will be putting recommendations into action.
Let’s grow! Onwards,
Our Committee Members
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Janis has made a career as a designer, an educator, a writer and local guest speaker. The gamut of her experience encompasses organizations of all sizes from early stage startups to large corporations including Scotiabank, Canada Post, and Rogers Media. Throughout, she has held numerous positions as both Senior Designer and Accessibility Lead. As an educator, she has taught and mentored design students at General Assembly Toronto and Ladies Learning Code. She continues to assist designers of all stages in their career, including providing advice on job readiness, career advancement, changing careers, and those seeking to enter the tech industry.
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Rachel Franks is an educator who is passionate about providing platforms for individuals to develop a positive sense of self and community in inclusive and diverse environments. She is Kanien'kehà:ka and a proud member of the Wahta Mohawks. Rachel enjoys spending her down time on the land, hiking and spending time outdoors in all seasons. Rachel has supported the SOBDL since it was but an idea and is excited to embark on this journey. Her favourite beers include SOBDL Vanilla Orchid Brown Ale, Collective Arts Saint of Circumstance and Muskoka's Detour!
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Dawn Sutherland is active in her community volunteering with multiple non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, and is on the Board of the Thunder Woman Healing Lodge Society. She is Ojibway whose family reservation is Batchewana in Sault Ste. Marie. Within the beer community, Dawn has been volunbeering with SOBDL since Bevy0003, the Wild Things Fest hosted by (SOBDL co-founder) Erica and the Beer Sisters, and with the Beer Sisters on their charity Hopspiels and Lawn Bowling events. As an Indigenous woman, she feels passionately about Indigenous rights, recognition and societal reconciliation. An avid beer lover, Dawn is especially partial to sours and unique flavour profiles!
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Gurpreet has been attending SOBDL events since they first started in 2014. She is an event planner in the non-profit and arts & culture sectors and has spent much of her career at feminist organizations that are working to advance gender equality. She is passionate about creating spaces for emerging and underrepresented voices through her work in event planning. Gurpreet has a love for all things cider that comes from attending SOBDL events.
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Meoshi was educated as a neuroscientist and had a special focus on linguistics. Being raised with a strong community base and belief that one should always give back she has combined her love of craft beer with supporting her community through collaborations with a few of her local craft breweries where the proceeds have been donated to a variety of local organisations. She continues to educate herself in beer having attained her Cicerone Certified Beer Server certification and is currently enrolled in a BJCP Beer Judge Certification program. She is a lover of malt based beers and heralding her Caribbean roots she is always partial to beers with tropical flavours especially those with real coconut and mango.
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With nearly a decade of experience in the alcohol industry, a passion for encouraging personal and professional growth, and her trademark wit, Ren Navarro is here to educate, enlighten, and engage. Since launching Beer. Diversity. in 2018, Ren has become a known name at breweries, wineries, distilleries, and beyond. She has given talks on diversity and inclusion at several colleges and countless festivals, panels, radio shows, and podcasts throughout North America. In addition to being a diversity educator, she is a craft beer consultant for bars and restaurants in Ontario and an educator for countless businesses throughout the country.
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Shannon has been a part of The Society of Beer Drinking Ladies since its early years. She started as a volunteer, having found SOBDL in hopes that she could build new connections with like-minded women. Quickly, she realized how much she loved the community, and how often the women she was surrounded with challenged her to think outside the box, challenge her own preconceptions and ideas of the world, and be confident about her place in it. Shannon is an advocate for disability rights, and destigmatizing mental health. Outside of the beer world, Shannon works in a group home supporting adults with developmental disabilities to break out of the boxes society has restricted them to and enjoy life to the fullest. She has found that the more she explores advocacy (and furthers her understanding of the history behind the treatment of many marginalized groups) the more she feels pushed to use her voice to push for change. Shannon is a work in progress- always working to learn more, advocate more and be unafraid of questioning and challenging the systems in place that make the world what it is today.
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Joshna Maharaj is a chef, author, and activist with big ideas about how to change our food system. She has just released her first book Take Back the Tray, Revolutionizing food in Hospitals, Schools, and Other Institutions, a story about her experience in institutional kitchens, and a blueprint for change. Joshna co-hosts HotPlate, a food & drink podcast, and she is the host of Kitchen Helpdesk, a weekly food call-in segment on CBC Radio. Joshna is still a beer drinking student, learning to cultivate her taste for beer. Recently she's been charmed by a gose, and has surprised herself with how much she digs a sour beer.
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Esther is a beer drinking lady, originally from Mexico, with a passion for craft beer. Traditional English ales are her favorite style of beer: Tasty, balanced and full of character. Sitting at a tap room full of strangers and making friends is her superpower. Esther is currently part of the brewing team at Steam Whistle.
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Sarah is super excited to be a part of the Society’s Inclusivity Committee! She is looking forward to sharing her experiences navigating the beer community as a person with a disability and helping to make Society events that much more inclusive. Sarah has a wicked sweet tooth and loves to bake – a dangerous combination. She is a big reader, especially in the fantasy genre. She has a very fluffy goldendoodle named Daenerys (named after Daenerys from the books not the show.) Owning a dog means she spends a lot of time outside and loves to hit up local dog friendly breweries with Daenerys and enjoy a pint in the sunshine. Her favourite beer style is Saison; it’s always been her go to and she hasn't had a bad one yet!
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Ro was born and raised in Hamilton, ON and currently resides there with her amazing partner Jess and their 3 dogs, Sully, Eleven and Violet (pictured below!). Ro is queer and identifies as she/her and they/them. Ro volunteers for a dog rescue called Bullies in Need, in addition to doing woodworking, leatherwork and foraging as hobbies. They have been to 2 SOBDL events in Hamilton and LOVED both of them, and their favorite beers are IPA’s, lagers, and pilsners.
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Raushan pronouns are she/her. She loves music and makes music in her apartment. She recently got a new cat named Martin who likes training Raushan to have an earlier bedtime. Raushan didn't grow up in a culture where having alcohol was permitted; as an adult, she very much enjoys beer. Her favourite beer flavours include sweet malt flavours, toasty and chocolate flavours, and spicy and bitter flavours. She hopes engaging in SOBDL helps her learn the language of enjoying beer.
SOBDL Staff Involved
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Back in 2013, Erica had the brilliant idea (in the shower of course) to create a secret society of beer loving ladies in Toronto. Having just joined the beer world she chatted up some like minded women and the rest, as they say, is history!
Jaime’s background in graphic design, party planning and beer infused cupcake creation has prepared her for favourite job yet - running the SOBDL! After joining the craft beer industry working in events and sales, she teamed up with Erica to launch the very first Bevy in 2014.
Shannon illustrated her commitment to SOBDL early on by trekking in from Mississauga to volunteer! Soon, she found her passion in the Swag Shop and in 2017 came on board to manage it, overseeing orders, pop-ups and the bevy booth.
Nancy Kim is a Toronto based lifestyle and fashion photographer who goes by the moniker NSBKIM (an acronym of her full name including her Korean name). With a keen eye for capturing just the right moment, she strives to bring out the best possible energy in her subjects.
Amber is a craft beer writer and marketer who curates a list of people, places and things that are inspiring her and the SOBDL. Recipes, new breweries to check out, podcasts we’re loving, must-try beers, stories of women generally doing awesome things.
Michelle has been enjoying all things SOBDL since August 2015. In Jan 2018, Michelle was brought on board to manage all things social media for SOBDL. From her wicked technological skills to her charming personality, Michelle has been hyping up Society in a major way.
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Jessica was an enthusiastic attendee of SOBDL's events before joining the team in 2017 as Social Media Coordinator. Armed with a strong pun game and an arsenal of emojis, Jess and her social partner-in-crime Michelle are poised to help SOBDL take over the interwebs - and then the world!
Leah is a Toronto-based freelance copywriter who has spent six years developing content for thriving boutique marketing firms. As an avid beer enthusiast and bar manager at C’est What, she joins the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies to combine her passion for writing and love of geeky beer facts as a contributor to Society Broadviews.
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Since joining the SOBDL team, Drea has assisted with creating the framework for our Inclusivity Committee. Drea works in health care and as Program Lead for "The Dandelion Initiative" and sits on the board of directors at "Rise up!" - a digital archive of feminist activism in Canada from the '70s to '90s.
Shelby began as an SOBDL volunbeer a couple years ago as she was looking to be a part of a female community. She is a self-proclaimed crazy beer enthusiast and the girl behind the beer-focused Instagram account @herhoppylife. She is now working full-time at Blood Brothers brewing in Toronto and works with the SOBDL team at pop-up swag shops and prepping the Beer Squad Mystery Boxes.
Committee Meeting Notes - Click on the Image Below to Read the Notes!
Inclusivity Committee Meeting #2
Inclusivity Committee Meeting #1
Date: March 8 2021