By: Jesse Cnockaert, Lobby Monitor
Published: Thursday, February 4, 2021
As the newest consultant at Earnscliffe Strategy Group’s British Columbia office, Olivia Dixon is bringing her lived experience as a Black, intersectional feminist to the firm with JEDI.
“What I am passionate about, and am hoping to do more of is [what] I call … JEDI – justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.’ That is what I want to focus more on as I learn my role and go forward,” said Dixon. “We’re getting to the point where people are actually starting to pay attention to it, and that is why I joined Earnscliffe. They are very much on the right path.”
Dixon came to the firm after serving more than two years as an administrative assistant in British Columbia and New Democratic Party Premier John Horgan’s office. She is passionate about advocating for equality, and volunteered for almost two years as the co-chair of the B.C. chapter of Equal Voice, an organization dedicated to supporting the involvement of women in political roles.
Dixon decided to join Earnscliffe because the firm is “putting in the work” when it comes to JEDI. She declined to explain further, describing it as internal company business. However, she said the firm has hired consultants to review how to improve its internal structure with JEDI in mind.
When Dixon first started working at Earnscliffe in January she pointed out to her colleagues that Black History month was coming up in February. In response, the team began reaching out to clients and brainstorming how to recognize the month, she said.
“The first thing they did when I was hired was allow me to just be myself and voice my opinion,” said Dixon. “I was very much brought into a company knowing that I can be myself and achieve my goals, and they’re here to support me and help me learn.”
Earnscliffe’s approach is to bring solutions to clients, according to Dixon. This reminded Dixon of her earlier professional experience working in kitchens as a cook.
“That was how my brain was designed to work. If you messed up something, you go to your chef with … three different ways you can fix it,” she said. “That’s sort of how Earnscliffe plays – if you’re going to talk to any officials or stakeholders with a problem, you’re going in with three different solutions you think can fix it.”
Dixon studied cooking at Vancouver Community College, and she later applied her skills in the dining hall of B.C.’s Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. She also cooked at Glowbal, a restaurant in B.C.
During the B.C. provincial election last October, Dixon volunteered as a field organizer for the NDP. She served in an administrative role and co-ordinated with other volunteers to make sure they had everything they needed, she said. Incumbent Premier Horgan’s NDP won the election with a majority government, and he became the first consecutive two-term premier in the party’s history.
Dixon’s involvement with Equal Voice dates back to 2017, when she participated as a delegate in the organization’s first Daughters of the Vote event. In honor of the 100th anniversary of some women getting the right to vote in Canada, Equal Voice gathered women delegates in 2017 from each of Canada’s 338 ridings to participate in a leadership summit in Ottawa. The event was repeated in 2019. This year’s Daughters of the Vote event, which will take place between March 5 and March 8, will be a virtual event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the summit, Dixon became involved with Equal Voice as a co-chair because of how the organization made her feel, she said.
“When I went to Daughters of the Vote, I was surrounded with, for the first time, a bunch of women who were not only interested in politics and activism, but also women who looked like me,” said Dixon. “When I sat in the chamber with all those women, all their opinions, all different backgrounds, it really sunk in how important that is and how we need more of it.”
In her role with Earnscliffe, Dixon is currently active on the federal lobbyists’ registry as a consultant for the Canadian Pharmacists Association.
Learn more about Olivia here.