Diversity and Beyond Inc.
Diversity and Beyond Inc.

Our Team

Rekha S. Verma

Founder & Principle Consultant


Diversity and Beyond is founded by Rekha. Rekha moved to Toronto from New Delhi, India in 2014. In a short time, she led Diversity and Inclusion for EY Canada - Winner of Canada's Best Diversity Employer Awards for seven years in a row. During her leadership, she developed a multi-year diversity strategy and outcome-based action plans that resulted in significant accomplishments. EY Canada made substantial progress on partner promotion for women and Visible Minorities. Rekha also led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Johnson and Johnson group of companies in Canada.


Before moving to Canada, Rekha led a national, and regional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion portfolio for British Council - a global not-for-profit organization. She worked on a global initiative in the UK and led British Council-India to prominence in the DEI space resulting in some of its best practices being featured alongside Google, and IBM in prestigious Publications.


She started Diversity and Beyond with an aim to accelerate positive outcomes for a broad spectrum of organizations. Her mission is to create workplaces that work for people, all the people, and in the process, help leaders be a better version of themselves and organizations have wider impact and innovation.


In the past, Rekha has coached young social entrepreneurs as a part of a UN initiative. She continues to be an active supporter of Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of women.


Dr. Fiona Bartels-Ellis, OBE

Chief Mentor

Fiona was the Global Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the British Council and a member of its Global Leadership Team. She had responsibility for setting and driving the strategic direction of EDI across offices in 100 countries and territories.


She is a former social worker, a member of the Higher Education Academy and her local Race Equality Council, a Trustee of Africa Gifted Foundation led by Tom Ilube, supporting gifted and talented African girls in science, and a a founding member of the Premiere League’s Independent Equality Panel. 


Her qualifications include but are not limited to an Advanced Diploma in Social Work, a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, an M.Phil in Social Policy and a Doctorate in Professional Studies (social sciences). 

Her contribution to equality and diversity has been acknowledged through a 2005 OBE and a number of awards from different countries including Canada and India, the Ghana Professional Achievers Award for humanitarian services to the UK and Ghana, the latter being her country of birth, as well as the USA Peter Robertson award for Equality and Diversity Champions by the former ORC (Organisation of Resource Counsellors) Worldwide. She has been recognised in Britain’s most influential people of African and African Heritage Powerlist on three occasions and is now in its Hall of Fame.


Publications include co-edited Global Diversity Management: A Fusion of Ideas, Stories and Practice (Management for Professionals)  with Professors Mustafa F. Ozbilgin and Paul Gibbs, published by Springer in 2019 and Bartels-Ellis, F. (2017) 'Mainstreaming inclusion in higher education' In Stiasny, M. and Gore, T. (eds), Going Global: Building nations, connecting cultures. London: British Council and UCL Institute of Education Press.



Keith Butts

Senior Consultant

Keith is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with over 25 years of HR experience   He brings strategic as well as operational skills to DEI consulting projects. Keith is a Steering Committee Member of the Government of Canada’s Visible Minority Chairs and Champion Committee.  He is a knowledgeable and passionate practitioner In the inclusion, equity, diversity, anti-racism, and accessibility (IDEAs) space. Keith applies his knowledge of human resources management and IDEAs to help organizations instill a shared sense of belonging, to improve authentic leadership, employee engagement, innovation, team cohesion, and ultimately, profitability.   


 Keith has successfully designed and implemented various enterprise-wide DEI, human resources, and organizational change initiatives.  He is also a trusted advisor assisting clients in implementing equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies and action plans.  He is working towards becoming a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory.  Keith is also passionate about coaching community football and basketball.  This leisure activity allows him to lead, develop and mentor youth and young adults ages 8 to 19 years old, through sports. 

Julie Ambachtsheer

ESG & DEI Consultant

Julie is a consultant with 15+ years of experience working across the finance, corporate, and non-profit sectors. She has a deep understanding of how important ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues are to investor due diligence and corporate success. Julie works with corporations on DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) strategy, policy, measurement and disclosure.

Julie has the proven ability to engage with diverse stakeholders. When she was Director of Programs at Canada’s Responsible Investment Association, she spearheaded working groups, professional training, and industry programs to promote sustainable finance. Julie has a genuine desire to support projects which advance social and environmental causes.

Julie is a CFA Charterholder. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts from York University, several courses on responsible investing, and is trained in conflict and sensitivity facilitation.

Nikita Agnihotri

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program and Policy Analyst 

Nikita is Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with two Masters’ degrees specializing in Psychology. She is a researcher with experience in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and programs. Her master’s thesis focussed on how organization-based self-esteem impacts voice behavior amongst employees at corporate workplaces. 


Nikita has worked as a Research Fellow at Catalyst Inc. New York. She specializes in developing policies, tools that create a community where individuals from diverse backgrounds can come together to celebrate their differences, engage in dialogue, and respect the uniqueness that each one of them brings to the table.

Kim Smith

Coach and Consultant

Kim is the recipient of the prestigious Catalyst Canada Honours Emerging Leader Champion award for her relentless work in fostering an inclusive workplace culture working closely with black and LGBTQ2+ employees. 


Kim is a senior financial services professional by qualification. She holds a Master’s degree in Accountancy from Florida International University and a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Iowa. She uses her insights into workplace culture as a black and openly queer person along with her passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion to create a safe space for all employees. She coaches young finance professionals as they navigate workplaces and helps organizations with strategic planning design and implementation. 

Shruti Singh

Community Engagement Consultant 

Shruti has integrated her passion for social justice, equipped with a Master's in social services to make a difference for the historically disadvantaged communities.


She has extensive experience in action-oriented research on gender, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ2+, disability, and millennials. Her work in the social space has helped hundreds of marginalized youth find resources and solutions to their needs, be it related to education, careers, coaching, or therapy.


 In addition to being a competitive runner, she is passionate about liberal arts that have enabled her to understand the nuances of the varied contexts that individuals and groups share and belong to.