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Fast and Female taps human rights advocate and non-profit leader Shanaaz Gokool as its new Chief Executive Officer

Toronto, Ontario
May 3, 2021

Fast and Female, one of Canada’s leading charities supporting girls’ empowerment and health through non-competitive sports and physical activities, has tapped a national human rights advocate, Shanaaz Gokool, to lead the organization as its new Chief Executive Officer.

We are grateful and excited to welcome Shanaaz as CEO at this pivotal time for the organization, for a generation of self-identified girls, and for the world at large,” said Debbie King, Chair of the Fast and Female Anti-Racism and Respect Committee. “Shanaaz not only answers our need for an experienced leader with proven strengths in the non-profit sector and a commitment to Fast & Female’s mission. She is also candid, compassionate, and unwavering in her anti-oppressive values while inspiring vision and confidence. With Shanaaz at the helm, we undoubtedly have exhilarating times ahead breaking barriers, ceilings and limits!

Gokool has over 30 years of leadership experience in both the non-profit and private sectors and is an emerging governance expert on systemic racism and discrimination. She is the former CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC). In 2016, she ushered in a new national movement supporting assisted dying and other end-of-life issues re-framed as human rights issues. Under her leadership, DWDC emerged as a key player in Canada on the assisted-dying file with successful court interventions, public mobilization campaigns, $5-6 million dollars in earned media, and national fundraising recognition with the Moe Davies Award for fundraising excellence. 

“Since the very beginning in 2005, this organization has relied on leaders beyond myself to make everything happen while I focused on the vision, partnerships, and competing in 3 Olympics,” explains Fast and Female’s Founder and Development Director, Chandra Crawford. “Now, we are at a very exciting stage in this charity’s evolution: hiring an experienced CEO who can take us to new levels of positive impact on the girls we care so deeply about. Shanaaz’s advocacy for social change and anti-racism is exactly the direction we are heading. To achieve our mission we must tackle the systemic barriers to girls achieving their potential in sports, physical activity, and life.”

In the fall of 2019, Ms. Gokool launched a wrongful dismissal and systemic racism and discrimination lawsuit against her former employer. In doing so, she became the first Canadian immigrant, woman of colour and former CEO of a national charity, to go public with the systemic discrimination she experienced in her place of work. Her case is ongoing and she continues to write and comment on issues of systemic racism, discrimination, sexism, harassment, and oppression in Canadian nonprofits and other work environments.

“I am thrilled to be working with the staff and directors at Fast and Female, an organization dedicated to social change for young girls through sports and physical activity,” says Gokool. “Now more than ever, opportunities to participate in organized sports and physical activity in Canada must continue to evolve to provide meaningful and equitable participation for girls all across the country. As a 12-year old girl with a mixed racial, cultural and religious background who was very uncomfortable in my own skin, I wish Fast and Female was there for me.”


Media contact:
Dominique Bouchard –
Communications Manager, Fast and Female

About Fast and Female
Fast and Female is a Canadian charity on a mission to keep self-identified girls aged 8-14 healthy and active in sports and physical activities. Founded in 2005 by Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford, Fast and Female believes in the power of positive sport experiences and role models to give girls leadership, teamwork and resiliency skills.