Leela MadhavaRau was born into a family that believed everyone needed to do their best to make the world a better place for all. She has depended on the wisdom of those ancestors and more recent mentors to develop a practice based on valuing each person's cultural and social wealth, honouring the earth on which we live, and working to acknowledge and rectify past wrongs committed in this world.
Leela is a Canadian British South Asian who is fascinated by the ways in which communities select what elements to retain and what to lose over generations. Leela’s academic background is in Social Anthropology, with a specific focus on the transmission of culture across time and space. Her degrees are from McGill and the University of Cambridge.
Leela has an inherent curiosity about what makes it hard for humans to understand the Ubuntu concept "I am a person through other people. My humanity is tied to yours." Leela continues to work in this field with the hope this understanding does become accepted universally.
Leela loves to work on projects that allow conversations about equity and human rights to occur in different places, spaces and with a wide variety of audiences. One of her dreams came true in southern California with running a One City, One Book programme for three consecutive years. The joy of seeing children with the first book they actually owned and adults being able to read a Spanish-language version of a book and engage in facilitated dialogue in their own language has provided a powerful incentive to keep working in this field.
LMR Consulting offers expertise rooted in 30 years of human rights and equity practices in both Canada and the United States.
Prior to the pandemic, she served as the inaugural Executive Director of Human Rights and Equity at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. Before that, Leela spent 16 years in southern California as the Advisor to the President and Associate Dean for Campus Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Redlands, while simultaneously serving as the President of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE). Earlier in her career, Leela undertook similar work at Michigan State University and Western University in London, Ontario.
Leela’s expertise has provided her with the opportunity to present at many national and international conferences on EDI strategic planning and assessment, as well as becoming a mentor for individuals beginning their careers in this field.
This expertise can be applied to all aspects of equity, human rights and inclusion work depending on your needs. Leela facilitates large and small sessions on these topics and is equally comfortable engaging in conversations about strategic planning and assessment.
Leela has conducted in-depth work in higher education (university and college, Board of Trustees through students), K-12 school districts (all employee designations), non-profit organizations from provincial writers' organizations to theatre companies.
She recognizes that applying Loretta Ross's lens of "calling in with love" allows for dialogue without humiliation. Establishing cultural safety by means of developing each individual's sense of ongoing cultural humility is at the core of her work.