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WODIL 2021

 

 

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Most Important Figures in D&I

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WANDA M. COSTEN earned her Ph. D. in sociology from Washington State University. She also has an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University and her undergraduate degree is from the United States Military Academy at West Point. She is currently a Professor and Dean of the School of Business at MacEwan University. Dr. Costen’s research interests include managing diversity, racial and gender inequality in organizations, women and leadership, and str

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Dionne Sinclair is currently the Multi-Site Director of Diversity and Cultural Advancement with Southlake Regional Health Centre and Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital. In this new role, Dionne focuses on identifying gaps and developing strategies to create more just and equitable workplaces. She has a passion for change in the areas of culturally competent leadership and is focusing on diversity in health care leadership during her PHD studie

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Dr. Zinaty is a strong advocate for leadership and inclusion within organizations. She founded and spearheaded an annual Leader-2-Leader conference to foster discussion on topics impacting the workforce. Dr. Zinaty’s research is unique having conducted noteworthy studies with that are quantitative and qualitative with significant datasets and novel findings in the area of women and leadership, diversity and inclusion. She has been recognized by

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Dr. Lyle “Steamer” Hamm is an Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Leadership in the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. His teaching and research focus on provincial, national, and international immigration trends, demographically changing schools and communities, and intercultural education grounded in critical transformative/social justice leadership theory. Steamer served as a K-12 educ

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Shahina Siddiqui,L.LD. is a freelance writer, author, spiritual counselor, speaker and educator. Shahina has been working for decades in build bridges between faith and cultural communities, to help preserve human rights, develop cultural competency and mutual understanding. Shahina is originally from Pakistan and has lived in Winnipeg since 1976. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English hon. and Philosophy from St Joseph’s Col

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Rhiannon Hoyle is a mother, an entrepreneur, social activist, community leader, mentor, and philanthropist passionately engaging and enhancing the community grassroots movement for over 20yrs in Edmonton, Alberta. She holds a degree from the University of Alberta in Political Science with a specialization in International Political Economy and International Relations, and a certificate in Globalization and Governance.

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Rachel Notley is Leader of the Official Opposition and served as Alberta’s Premier from 2015-2019. She has represented the constituency of Edmonton-Strathcona since 2008, and is the longest serving member in the Alberta Legislature. Rachel grew up in Fairview, Alberta, and is the daughter of former Alberta NDP leader Grant Notley and his wife Sandy. She holds a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of Alberta, and a law

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Dr. Judy Kim-Meneen was born in Seoul, South Korea and when she was 8 years old, her father, mother, and brother immigrated to Canada. She started her career as a teacher to junior and senior high school and went on to administration. As a lifelong learner, she pursued her education and received a Masters in Education Administration and specialized in intergenerational trauma for her Community Public Health PhD. She strongly believes that

Moderator/Guest Speaker

Experienced Editor, Broadcaster, Motivator, and Servant-leader, with lots of expertise in International Affairs, including the BBC and the United Nations. Skilled in Journalism and International Broadcasting, Multi-media productions, Social Media, Strategic Communications, International Public Affairs, Crisis Communications, and Radio, plus Speechwriting. Excellent Media and Communications professional with a Master of Science (M.Sc.) focused in

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Montreal-born and raised, Gabrielle Maryse Bucaya considers herself a brand storyteller and creative strategist, wrapped by the motivation to find diversity and inclusion in the art world. She has grown up with a family coming from Filipino, Spanish and Italian celebrating cultures and traditions. For this, diversity is all that she has ever known, recognizing the value in inclusivity and the wonders of international food!

Gabrielle Battiste is a practicing lawyer with 25 years of experience across Canada in private practice and as general counsel in almost every type of law. She currently owns her own law firm, is a partner in a consulting firm and is running for City Council in Edmonton. Gabrielle was a single mom most of her career, is a survivor of more than a decade of sexual and physical abuse and believes that life is full of possibilities and opportunities.

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Donnovan Simon is the consummate contributor to the community. Since moving to Calgary from Jamaica in 2001, he has been involved in numerous community organizations. He is currently the President of the Jamaican Canadian Association Alberta (JCAA). He has been leading the association since 2015. Donnovan was also President of the JCAA from 2008-2010. He has served on the board of the Caribbean Community Council (the organizers of the annual Cari

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Jill Chesley is the Diversity & Inclusion Lead at the City of Edmonton and guides the implementation of Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) and anti-racism activities, as well as leading employee resource networks. Jill is the Founding Chair of the Edmonton Business Diversity Network, and founded the National Municipal Network of D&I Professionals. Jill has an MA in Intercultural Relations, is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Developm

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David Shepherd is a second-generation Canadian and a life-long resident of Edmonton. His mother arrived from the Netherlands in 1948 and his father from Trinidad in 1967.  MLA Shepherd’s first love was music and he spent many years as a professional musician and studio engineer. He holds diplomas in music performance and studio recording from MacEwan University and a BA in professional communications from Royal Roads University.

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Dr. Barbara Mark has a deeply held passion for working with women in midlife and has built a decades-long career as an elite leadership, career, and life strategies coach and advisor to senior executive women. She is a recognized expert on the psychology of women and is the leading authority on the midlife stages of adult development and how these stages impact a woman's career development and life choices. As a result, Barbara is a sought-after

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Dr. Gyan holds a PhD in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Philosophy degree in Social Work from the University of Ghana. Before joining the McGill School of Social Work, he served as an Assistant Professor of social work at the University of Regina and Wilfrid Laurier University. He is a fellow of several Canadian research centers including the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), the Tshepo Institute for the Study of C

Community leader and Calgary journalist Deborah Yedlin was elected the 14th chancellor of the University of Calgary, effective July 1st, 2018. Deborah Yedlin has been observing, commenting and writing about the nexus of business and politics for more than two decades, as a columnist for several Canadian newspapers.  In addition to her writing, Deborah has been a regular commentator on business issues for CBC Radio and Television and CTV since 19

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Hi, I'm Aundrea. I'm a maker of men (I have 5 boys), a lover of peanut butter, and a hater of chocolate. I feel most like myself when I'm barefoot and connected to nature. I am an International keynote speaker | Trainer | Podcast Host of The Wake Up Stories, and reputable real estate marketing business owner with years of study in diversity & inclusion as well as a degree in community health & human services. I’ve also been appointed by

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Inspirational Speaker, Ruth Rathblott, MSW is an award-winning CEO who is committed to creating inclusion for all. She is a leader who has spent her entire career focused on providing opportunities for those who face obstacles. Ruth has been a leader in nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years; 15 of which she spent at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, where she played a central role in its expansion. It was here that she fostere

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Dr. Sheena Mason earned her Ph.D. in English literature “with distinction” in May 2021 from  Howard University. She will join the faculty at SUNY Oneonta in Oneonta, NY, in August 2021, as a  tenure-track Assistant Professor in African American literature. Currently, she teaches at Howard  University and California Lutheran University. Her book titled Decolonizing America’s Raci(al/st)  Imagination: an Examination and Critique of Anti-R

Elisabeth Cooke is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Dignii. At Dignii, we elevate dignity in the workplace through inclusive employee engagement. We safely and securely measure data using a responsible, science-based employee data analytics platform that puts the employee experience front and center. This helps us to get a real picture of employee engagement that helps us identify problems and create real solutions that fit. We p

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Amarjeet Sohi is the former Member of Parliament, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Minister of Natural Resources. Amarjeet’s time in public service is marked by his success in managing divergent stakeholders’ interests, collaborative leadership, intergovernmental relations, crown corporation oversight, and indigenous consultations. Amarjeet oversaw the development and implementation of the largest infrastructure inve

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Irfan Chaudhry is a hate crimes researcher and the Director of the Office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity at MacEwan University. He was a former race relations specialist for the Racism Free Edmonton Project, and was also instrumental in creating the StopHateAB.ca website, a 3rd party hate incident reporting platform that documents hate incidents in Alberta. For the last eight years, Irfan has taught sociology and criminology at MacEwan.

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Minister Aheer was first elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for the constituency of Chestermere-Rocky View on May 5, 2015. She was re-elected on April 16, 2019, as the MLA for the newly formed riding of Chestermere-Strathmore. Born in Edmonton and raised in Chestermere, where she is raising her family, Aheer is a proud wife and mother of two boys. Prior to entering politics, Aheer was a professional vocal coach and music

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TEDx Speaker, Corporate Trainer, Certified Leadership and Confidence Coach, Business Owner and Founder of Rise Up For You, Nada is passionate about enhancing company culture and people’s development through teaching soft skills, aka human skills.

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Debra Kasowski, the charismatic host of the thought-provoking podcast, The Millionaire Woman Show, is committed to enriching the leadership potential of her countless clients, essentially guiding them to go within to capitalize on their true personal power, so they can achieve the measurable success they desire in business, and in life. After graduating with distinction, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, this aw

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Dr Unati Makiwane is a Family Physician with over 14 year experience, Health Coach and Certified Transformation Life Coach focusing on Men's Health and Boy Child’s Mental Health. She is currently pursuing her MBA in Business and Corporate Communications. She immigrated from South Africa in 2010 and worked in the Rural & Urban Saskatchewan. She later relocated to Alberta in 2014. She is the Founder and the Medical Director of United Medical C

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In over 25 years of external consulting, Peter has provided data analysis, interpretation, and recommendations for many organizations across a variety of industries. He obtained his master's and a doctorate in Clinical and Health Psychology specializing in tests and measurements from Drexel University. He joined Sirota in 2007 which became Mercer in 2016. Over the years since has been working with client organizations to drive change through enga

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Salamane Yameogo is a motivational speaker, a trainer, a mentor, and a consultant. His passion is to inspire, educate, to wheel other people to achieve their utmost potential, to bear intentional fruits, and to realize the highest purpose for their life, their career, or their organization. Born into a farming family in the countryside in Ivory Coast and the eldest of 17 siblings, Salamane combines farming principles, his experiences, and other p

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Dr. Tanisha King is an Author, Public Speaker, and Consultant, as well as a three-time alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. Dr. King currently serves as the Chief Inclusion Officer for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University, where she is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Social Medicine. Additionally, she is an Adjunct Professor at Southern New Hampshire University where she teaches a Ph

Dr. James Makokis and Anthony Johnson are two of Canada's most recognized advocates for First Nation and LGBTQ2 communities. Dr. Makokis is a Cree doctor from Saddle Lake, AB where he blends western and Traditional Cree medical services into his practice for his patients. Anthony Johnson is the program director at Dr. Makokis' clinic, he is committed to creating a safe space for LGBTQ2 to seek treatment and to assist Indigenous patients to reconn

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Michael is the Lead Pastor of North Pointe Community Church in Edmonton, Alberta. North Pointe is a church that has people from over 50 nations represented. He is passionate about making connections with people in the community and around the world.

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Meg O’Connell, is the CEO of Global Disability Inclusion. She works with Global 500 companies, foundations and non-profits to provides strategic direction, design and implementation of disability employment and inclusion programs. A few of her notable clients include P&G, Toys R Us, Starbucks, NCR, Arrow Electronics, The Poses Family Foundation, just to name a few.

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Minister Pon was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019, as the MLA for Calgary-Beddington. Pon has a wealth of work experience in banking. For more than 20 years she was the Account Manager in Personal/Commercial banking and also the Regional Manager, Business Development responsible for Multicultural Banking and working with over 230 branches and 3,000 staff in the Prairie Region for Scotiabank. She also worked at C

Her excellency Fatima Braoulé Méïté is the ambassador of Mali in Canada in addition to her role as Permanent Representative of Mali with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).  She graduated from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and the State University of Stony-Brook to New York (SUNY at Stony-Brook), long island. She has a master's degree in Business Administration as well as a double major in sociology. 

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Erin is a connector, change maker, and builder of inclusive workplace cultures. She continues to follow her passion on building workplaces that work for women and accepted the role of Director, Corporate Engagement, Western Canada with Catalyst. Previously, Erin was the Director, Global Talent Engagement at Stantec and lead their global inclusion strategy. Erin was honoured to receive both the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion award as

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Ms. Childress is the managing attorney and founder of the Childress Firm PLLC, an employment law firm based in Washington, D.C. Ms. Childress holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and African American Studies from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law. Ms. Childress graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with High Distinction from the University of Virginia in 2007. After law school, Ms. Childress s

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Ed is the Talent Transformation Expert for businesses looking to achieve 8 figure growth.  He delivers captivating, high-energy keynote presentations that challenge the traditional model of HR and prepare decision-makers for motivating their people with a win-win strategy. In his career, Ed has helped over 250 clients, including Fortune 500 companies, achieve talent and culture transformations. As a result, audiences value Ed’s deep understan

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On May 5, 2015, Tany Yao was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as the representative for the constituency of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, his home since 1977. He was re-elected on April 16, 2019. Mr. Yao previously served as a member of the Standing Committee on Families and Communities and the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing. Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Yao dedica

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Bisi is an expert in mastering and transcending internal fears, an Award-Winning International Speaker, TEDx Speaker and results-focused facilitator.  With a Corporate Finance career of over two decades, she overcame the challenges, demands, and politics of Corporate and answered the calling of her soul. She’s the Founder of Fear2Freedom and the creator of the “Live More Fear Less™ Method.

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Christopher Salem is a CEO, Executive Coach, Corporate Trainer, and Professional Speaker who works with companies to create an interdependent work environment and thriving culture through a growth mindset foundation, effective communication, transparent leadership, and higher engagement. He also mentors C-Suite, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals to build and protect their brands by raising their level of influence as truste

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Dr. Elizabeth Coker-Farrell is an Assistant Professor at the Concordia University of Edmonton, Alberta Canada. Dr. Coker-Farrell obtained her first degree in Computer Science from the University of Jos in Nigeria. She then went on to complete her master’s degree in Organizational Management, as well as her Ph.D. in Business Administration, at Cyprus International University. Dr. Coker-Farrell’s research focus is on population and organizatio

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Dr. Odame-Ankrah is an air quality scientist, inventor, community leader and educator. He is currently research manager with Global Analyzer Systems and Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Coast. Dr Odame-Ankrah is also a proven community organizer. He consistently advocates for equity and accessibility especially for minority and marginalized communities. He has strong skills in leadership, teaching, policy and planning which he

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Minister Sawhney was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta on April 16, 2019, as the MLA for Calgary-North East. Born and raised in northeast Calgary, Sawhney is a mother of four, an activist, and an engaged community volunteer. Rajan attended the University of Calgary, earning a degree in Economics and Political Science as well as an MBA. Sawhney worked in the oil and gas industry for over twenty years in a variety of different roles

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Simone D. Ross is a Colorado native who grew up in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. Simone’s upbringing instilled in her a strong sense of the importance of community, family, and building through investing in the success and dreams of one another. In an effort to catalyze change, elevate, and create visibility surrounding issues of workforce equity. Simone founded Simone D. Ross, LLC, a consulting firm with the vision of catalyzing hum

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Dennis Kennedy has an unwavering passion for people and works to ensure that all individuals receive equal opportunities in the workplace regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, physical or mental handicap, physique, gender identity or sexual orientation. In 2004, Mr. Kennedy walked away from his job to start the Texas Diversity Council, www.texasdiversitycouncil.org. He saw a very strong need to create an organization that would ch

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Aisha J. McClendon is a Democratic strategist who built a respected career engaging communities often overlooked in state and national politics. A veteran campaign operative, she began her career in the William J. Clinton Presidential Administration and has advised constituency outreach efforts for several Presidential campaigns, including Beto for America, where she served as National Director of African American Outreach. She has also advise

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Sydney Hampshire is a rehabilitation scientist from Edmonton, Alberta. Her recent thesis looked at creating a virtual reality manual wheelchair propulsion simulator for racing wheelchair athletes. This work grew out of her love for creating innovative technology to improve the lives of those with mobility challenges. Sydney's own struggles with limited mobility, the result of a stroke she suffered at age nine, and her quest to regain function

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Recognized as a changemaker by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, Dr. Golnaz Golnaraghi is an award-winning social entrepreneur, leadership development and equity and inclusion expert, TEDx speaker and author. On a mission to advance corporate representation and leadership of self-identified women of colour at all levels, she is the Founder of Accelerate Her Future™, a leading career accelerator in Canada offering career development pro

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An award winning international speaker, author, corporate trainer and diversity, equality and inclusion executive, nationally recognized thought leader, expert, strategist and advisor to some of the world’s most influential organizations in global professional services, health care, financial services, consumer products and pharmaceutical industries. A seasoned leader in transforming organizations into h

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MP Aboultaif brings more than a decade of experience as a small business owner and operator to the House of Commons. Since entering politics, Ziad remains a strong advocate for small business ownership and creating a regulatory system that empowers entrepreneurs to create the well-paying jobs that Canadians rely on. Elected to Parliament in 2015, and re-elected in 2019, Ziad was appointed Official Opposition Critic for National Revenue from 2015

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Joshua Duarte has been working with RBC since 2012. He started as a Client Advisor in Fort McMurray. He quickly transitioned to Banking Advisor where he was recognized with his first RBC Convention Award in 2014. Joshua also held the roles of Manager of Client Care, Assistant Branch Manager, and Financial Advisor. He's been awarded several Quarterly Nominations throughout his career which reflects his passion for financial literacy, investment, a

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Margaret Adekunle is a Diversity and Inclusion advocate and a Branch Manager at ATB financial. She is also the President and founder of ATB, Black Team Members Network.  Margaret has been a Branch Manager for 11 years and she's had a lot of lived experience in the Diversity and Inclusion space. She has worked in the banking industry for over 19 years. And 99.9% of the time she was the only Black Branch manager at all the Banks that she worked

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With 17 years of leadership coaching in the public and private sector, Dale’s brain-based training programs exemplify equity consciousness and social justice. Her passion for maximizing potential, heightening communication and dissolving destructive behaviour is reflected in her roles as a speaker, yoga teacher, wife and mother of two.

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Dr. Janet Kwami has 20 plus years of experience in higher education and is a leading expert in gender, digital technologies, and socio-economic development in the Global South. Her research explores social inequalities and the appropriation, use, and impacts of digital technologies. Her work informs policy and best practices on achieving gender equity, developing inclusive practices and diversity in institutions and learning environments, and pro

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Eileen Scully is an international keynote speaker, author of “In the Company of Men: How Women Can Succeed in a World Built Without Them,” and founder and CEO of The Rising Tides, a consulting firm that makes workplaces better for women through assessment and advisory services. In September of 2019, she published her first book “In the Company of Men: How Women Can Succeed in a World Built Without Them.” She is available for speaking enga

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Monica Barnett is the Founder and Chief Image Curator of Blueprint for Style, a wardrobe styling and personal branding company based in Washington, DC. She is the author of two books (Without Saying A Word: The Silent Power of Style, and The Creatives' Closet), a speaker, a style & branding coach, and the curator of your Visual Resume™️.

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Through her work with Karfi, a consulting and leadership development firm, and its charitable arm the Karfi Foundation, Seun Shokunbi [pronounced Shewn SHōkoonbee] tackles the issue of untapped talent among youth and the most marginalized communities in Africa. Seun is also a published writer and has been a speaker for TEDx, Columbia Business School, Boston College, and several other universities and corporations. She was also a 2019 Women of In

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Dr. Akolisa Ufodike is an Assistant Professor at York University. He is also the National Chair of the National Council of the Association of Black Conservatives and Chair of the Communications Committee. He has been involved in political organizing since 2004. Dr. Ufodike was a Candidate in the 2015 United Conservative Party nominations. He has sat on the board of two provincial conservative riding associations and in 2019 successfully ran t

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Kahlida is your racial healing and equity consultant and facilitator who will help transform your organization or institution to move beyond the racial justice statement toward diversity, racial equity and inclusion. As an attorney and effective communicator Kahlida seeks to ask the hard questions to get to solutions that will address race and racism so that all can thrive. Kahlida has challenged many through her workshop facilitation and has

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CJ Johnson is an acclaimed Content Creator and Startup Advisor, successfully servicing small businesses to Fortune 50 clients, worldwide and a prominent digital influencer with hundreds of thousands of online supporters. CJ is best known for creating successful influencer marketing campaigns as both a Content Creator and as a Consultant. Listed as one of the “Top Creators To Watch” and “Rising Voices in Media”, he uses his voice for creat

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Dr. Cristina Stasia is an award-winning university lecturer and the Director of Leadership Training and Program Development at the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. She is currently completing an executive certificate in Public Leadership, with a focus on adaptive leadership, at the Kennedy School of Government. In recognition of her teaching excellence and innovative pedagogy in the Faculty of Arts, she received the William Hardy Award for Exce

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Temitope Oriola is joint editor-in-chief of African Security and associate professor at the University of Alberta. Dr. Oriola’s research focuses on policing & use of force by police, terrorism studies, and social movements. A two-time Carnegie fellow and recipient of the Governor General of Canada Academic Gold Medal (first awarded by the Earl of Dufferin in 1873), Professor Oriola is president of the Canadian Association of African Studies (CA

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Dr. Raman Gill is an award-winning Educationist, a proficiency mindset expert who runs the Empower to Excellence Academy, and founder of Diya Women’s Connect. She brings 30 plus years of education and leadership experience and promotes inclusion and diversity. Dr. Gill was the first Punjabi woman to hold a position in a male-dominated non-profit organization and the first Punjabi woman to have a solo art exhibition in Calgary.

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Sharif Haji comes with over a decade of experience in policy and program design, development, and implementation. Mr. Haji has a strong background in public policy formulation along with community development experience. Mr. Haji brings a blended experience of both public and non-profit sectors in Canada and overseas. 

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