The following six panel sessions was held at the conference. Please click on each of the listed panels to learn more about the panelists at each session.
SELF EMPLOYMENT AND COOPS
Jethro Odanga – ACFOLA
Jethro is a graduate of the University of Guelph and the Project Manager of ACFOLA’s Labour Market Partnership Project, in partnership with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The project harnesses potentials, priorities and needs for attaining successful Cooperative unions, sustainable job growth, labour skills and opportunities for incentives and business growth for African Canadians in London and area.
Victor Aideyan – Firstbrothers Partnerships
Victor is the Chief Executive Officer and one of the owners of Firstbrothers Partners Inc. Firstbrothers is an investment vehicle that is active investing in Canadian farmland and other real estate and food business ventures. The company is wholly owned by Canadians of African descent. Victor has twenty years experience in commodity trading and marketing. He received a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario, London Ontario Canada. Victor is also the Senior Risk Management Consultant and Head of Strategic Planning at HISGRAIIN Commodities Inc. a provider of Commodity and Renewable Energy Marketing and Strategic Planning Consulting Services.
David Proudfoot – Small Business Centre
David Proudfoot has an extensive career as an entrepreneur and business advisor. He is a Business Advisor at the London Small Business Centre and oversees the Ontario Works Self-Employment Program. David has also worked with numerous clients applying to the Microloan program.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
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Terry Webb – Co-Author of “You are Hired… Now what?”
Terry Webb is the Lead Instructor for Language for the Workplace courses at the G. A. Wheable Centre for Adult Education. She has been working for the Thames Valley District School Board since 1989, teaching all benchmark levels and also speciality courses. She has been teaching anthropology at Western University since 1983. Terry is a consultant for the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks and also a certified assessor. She just recently retired from her positions as a tester and as a writer for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) for Cambridge University.
Kate Kennedy – Access Centre for Regulated Employment
Kate Kennedy is a veteran Career Counsellor. She has worked with immigrants and refugees for over fifteen years and is an enthusiastic advocate and promoter of the benefits of cultural diversity in the London area. As the Project Manager of the Access Centre for Regulated Employment and WIL Employment Connections, Kate has been a leader in the field drawing attention to the needs of newcomers that lead to successful integration as well as espousing the benefits of authentic inclusion to our community. Over the last decade Kate has participated on numerous diversity initiatives including local, provincial and national conferences as well as providing insight and support to local workforce and social strategies. Kate has served on a number of Advisory Committees including Bridging programs that recognize prior education and experience of internationally educated professionals.
Paul Hubert – Pathways Skill Development
Paul Hubert is the Executive Director of Pathways Skill Development. He has a M.A. from University of Guelph and a Honours B. A. from Western University. For almost 30 years, Paul has engaged with people to assist them to discover their future. He lived and work in Latin America as a “foreign trained professional” for seven years. He is fluent in Spanish. He also has served London as a city Councillor for the past seven years.
Matt Bazely – English Language Centre at Western University
After several years working with international students, Matt decided it was time for a change of scenery and began working with professionally trained immigrants to Canada where he carried out pilot projects for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and Colleges Ontario as a consultant. After some time, Matt returned to his roots and resumed working with international students as he started The English Language Centre at Western University. In addition to working with different cultures and people at Western, Matt is an enthusiastic traveller and lover of street food across the globe. Matt currently resides in London, Ontario with his family. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne Langille – WIL Employment Connections
Anne has been Executive Director at WIL Employment Connections since 1991. WIL is dedicated to assisting new Canadians to become employed. To this end, WIL offers services in Assessment, Employment Counselling and Preparation and Job Placement. Since incorporation in 1984, WIL has successfully served thousands of men and women originating from over 100 different countries in achieving their employment goals. WIL is also the founding partner and sponsor for the Skills International website.
Anne also participates on a number of local, provincial and national initiatives.
• Past President of the Ontario Network of Employment Skills Training Projects
• Co-chair of the Employment Sector Council London-Middlesex, since 1992
• Past President Alumni Association, Western University
• Current member Honorary Degree Selection, Western University
• Member , Steering Committee, Immigration Portal
• Sub-council Chair Employment, London- Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership
• Member Central Council London-Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership
• Member, Advisory Committee, London Middlesex Immigrant Employment Council.
• Recipient Canada 125 Medal
• Nominee Queen’s Jubilee Medal
EMPLOYMENT & EMPLOYMENT EQUITY
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Lumembo Tshiswaka – OCASI, Etablissement.org
Lumembo Tshiswaka is a social scientist with degrees in sociology, demography and theology. After working 10 years in his native Congo with the national Institute of Statistics and the United Nations Funds for Population Activities (Maternal Health & Family Planning), Lumembo migrated to the Caribbean where he spent 7 years (1995-2002) working as a United Nations Volunteer Specialist in household surveys and statistics.
Relocated to Canada (Toronto) in 2002, Lumembo has been working with OCASI, first as a Bilingual Community Researcher (2004-2005) conducting a survey on challenges faced by Francophone Newcomers from Africa and Haiti and from 2007 as Promotion and Outreach Coordinator for Etablissement.org, a site dedicated to francophone newcomers in Ontario. Lumembo is an ordained Pastor and has been active in the francophone communities since ten years by delivering information sessions to newcomers in various cities, doing research, holding community radio interviews, writing articles on religious and settlement topics and presenter in many workshops and conferences. Lumembo can be reached at email@example.com
Nicole Bernhardt – York University
Nicole Bernhardt is a PhD candidate in Political Science at York University, majoring in Women and Politics and Canadian Politics, with a minor in Political Theory. She holds a Master Degree in Philosophy from Queen’s University and has served as one of two interns, selected in a Canada-wide competition, with the Sheldon Chumir Foundation, a Calgary-based organization that seeks to promote ethics and leadership in public life. Nicole has presented papers and workshops on anti-racism throughout Ontario as well as in France and Australia. She has worked as an investigator with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and as a Conflict Resolution and Human Rights Consultant with the Ontario Public Service.
Kim Godin – City of London
Kim Godin’s current role is Manager of Employment Strategies within the Housing and Social Services division within the City of London. Kim brings twenty two years’ of experience in leadership, management and as a community connector. Kim has worked collaboratively with a variety of community stakeholders in developing intergraded solutions addressing complex and interrelated employment challenges within London and Middlesex. Kim is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario in Public Administration.
Grace Johnson – London Employment Help Center
Grace Johnson has been a Job Developer with the London Employment Help Centre for the past 8 years. A graduate of York University in Environmental Studies and a Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies, Grace continues to work with Internationally Trained Professionals, new Immigrants Newcomers to Canada and those who are unemployed to assist them in finding employment. For 3 years Grace has been a Guest Speaker at the University of Western Ontario on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity as it related to her migration to Canada. In partnership with Wilfred Laurier University and the Network Inclusive Community in London, Grace has taken a course in Linking Cultures: Building Exchange with Newcomers. As a Current member of the London and Middlesex local Immigration partnership Grace works with community agencies and different levels of Government to support Newcomers and Immigrants with issues related to Settlement, Wellness, Employment etc.
SUPPORTS FOR FAMILY, WOMEN AND CHILDREN
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Rifat Hussain – London Cross Cultural Learner Center
Rifat Hussain is the Settlement Manager at the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre. She was raised and educated in London Ontario holding 2 Honours degrees in Criminology and International Politics. Rifat has worked in both Europe and the Middle East but is happy to be back in her hometown. Her work at CCLC has lead to her holding chair duties to a variety of boards and committees and has conducted numerous workshops on cross cultural communication as well as cultural diversity. In her spare time, she volunteers with many youth related initiatives that range from anti-bullying, positive esteem/positive respect with young women, youth mentoring, interfaith groups etc.
Jennifer Slay – Children Aids Society
Jennifer Slay has been a child protection worker with the Children’s Aid of London & Middlesex for the past fifteen years after obtaining honors degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the University of Western Ontario. In 2003, she obtained a Masters Degree from MacMaster University and wrote a thesis on the relationship between parents experiencing difficulties with their teenagers and the services of the Children’s Aid. While at the CAS, Jennifer has worked in various roles and recently completed a management contract. In December she will start a six month contract with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in Toronto, Ontario. Jennifer has been an active volunteer in her community having directed the Black History Month Closing Gala from 2002-2012, serving on the Board of the London Children’s Museum and Congress of Black Women, and she had developed a youth mentorship program for the Boys’ and Girls Club of London. For several years, Jennifer owned a piano studio and taught at half the going rate to give more children an opportunity to learn to play. She also turned her Mary Kay business into “Pink Ink”, a partnership with another member in the community that empowers women and youth to look, feel and be their very best. In 2013, Jennifer was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Kenny Gbadebo – Youth Connection Association for Academic Excellence Inc.
Kenny Gbadebo is a teacher, an advocate, public educator and a certified addiction counselor. Kenny Gbadebo has been a sessional instructor at St Clair College Continuing Education in Windsor since 1986. He has also taught for various universities and colleges, including University of Windsor, Wilfrid Laurier University in Kitchener, Ontario; Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Trios and Everest College. As founder of non-profit organizations in Windsor, Kenny has conducted extensive research on youth issues, education and addictions. In 1994/95, he conducted a study on problems and issues prevalent among visible minority youth in Windsor and Essex County. In 2006, he received Social Justice Person of the Year Award from the University of Windsor’s Social Justice Department. In 2004, he also received the champion of Black Excellence Award from the North American Black Historical Museum. In 2007, he was nominated for a 2007 Today’s Parent FOR KIDS’ SAKE Award. From 2005 to present he has been the President for the Spelling Bee of Canada Windsor Chapter.
Kenny received his M.Ed. in education and counseling and M.A. in Sociology on criminology and race relations from the University of Windsor. He also has received certificates on various youth issues, addictions and human relations. Presently, he’s the President of the African Community Organization of Windsor and the Executive Director of Youth Connection Association for Academic Excellence Inc. He is truly proud and honored to be part of this conference.
Dr. Gaston NK Mabaya – Association Canadienne-Française de l’Ontario (French Canadian Association of Ontario)
Gaston is currently the Executive Director of ACFO (French Canadian Association of Ontario), London, Ontario and a member of various boards in Ontario. He was a University Professor and author of many scientific publications. His accomplishments in the community include the implementation of settlement program for newcomers, establishment of a Francophone Business Centre and participation in various community committees. Gaston obtained his Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kinshaha (Democratic Republic of Congo) and a PhD in Telecommunications from University of Ghent (Belgium). He also has a Business Communication Certificate from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
Ola Lawal- Women of the World (LIHC)
Ola is currently the Program Coordinator of London Intercommunity Health Center’s Women of the World (WOW) program. In her role as WOW Program Coordinator she facilitates programs, trainings and activities that support the healthy integration, inclusion and empowerment of immigrant, newcomer and refugee women into the London Community. She is a qualified researcher and a manager of Non-profit businesses. She comes with over a decade’s experience working/serving in the Nonprofit/development field. Prior to joining the organization Ola worked and studied in Nigeria and the USA. Her areas of expertise spans human rights education, grassroots advocacy, community organizing and mobilizing, gender mainstreaming of programs and Non-profit program design and evaluations. Her grassroots work in Nigeria involved advocating for the promotion of health of people living in poor communities with housing challenges especially slum dwellers and people who are homeless. Ola’s work with women in particular started from these slum communities. She worked to promote the economic rights of women from these communities through poverty alleviation programs, specifically micro-credit. She has also worked on projects to promote women’s right to participation and leadership in Nigeria. Ola’s grassroots work also involved facilitation of training programs to empower communities on their social and economic rights. Internationally, she has facilitated many sessions on health as a human right, identifying indicators for promoting the right to health in local communities, advancing health through the human rights framework and promoting social and economic rights through budget analysis. She’s well travelled and a member of various international networks including the international network for economic, social and cultural rights, ESCR-Net. Prior to coming to Canada Ola offered consultancy services to NGOs in Nigeria in diverse areas from undertaking community research projects to fundraising.
Ola is happily married with two kids.
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Evelyn Agyem – London InterCommunity Health Centre
Evelyn Agyem is a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator at the London Intercommunity Health Centre Diabetes Program. Evelyn emigrated from Ghana as an elementary school teacher and settled in London Ontario in 1986. She worked at Chelsey Park Retirement Community for 15 years as a Healthcare Aide, after which she pursued a degree in nursing at the University of Western Ontario and graduated in 2007. Evelyn has spent her career working with marginalized and vulnerable people, and as an immigrant herself, understands the different challenges that immigrants face. It is no wonder that she approaches her work with marginalized population with such ardent passion. When it comes to diabetes management, Evelyn believes that small lifestyle changes can yield great results.
Muriel Abbot – Middlesex-London Health Unit
Muriel Abbott is a public health nurse at the Middlesex-London Health Unit where her work is focused on the social determinants of health and issues of health equity. Muriel has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Western University), a Bachelor of Education-Adult Education (Brock University) and national certification as a community health nurse. She is actively involved in several cross-sector partnerships in the community including Networking for an Inclusive Community, the London & Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership, and the Newcomer Health Resource Group.
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Alana Sutton – The Mortgage Store
Alana Sutton has been a mortgage agent with The Mortgage Store for 8 years, and a Member of the Independent Mortgage Brokers Association for the last 6. Alana has volunteered much of her time and talents assisting clients and minority group associations such as the Afro-Canadian Association of Hamilton with expert mortgage and credit advice. She has also given many credit counseling seminars to graduating high school students – giving them a different perspective of finance and their possible futures. Owing to her West Indian heritage, Alana has seen the need to assist and council new immigrants to Canada; providing information and assisting them to become more familiar with Canadian credit guidelines, home ownership, and commercial finance. She has also conducted many credit seminars and various fundraising events in the London, Hamilton, and Greater Toronto area , as well as assisting with various fundraising events.
Taiwo Emovon – Thomson Mahoney Delorey
Taiwo Emovon is a lawyer with Thomson Mahoney Delorey in London, Ontario, with a practice focus on Purchase, Sale and Financing of Residential and Commercial Real Estate, Wills and Estate Administration. She obtained her L.L.B. from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom, a Masters degree in Law from the University of Ottawa, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007.
Kate Cowan – United Way London & Middlesex
Kate Cowan’s portfolio includes managing investments and projects within the Poverty Impact Area, and participating in collaborative initiatives related to advocacy, research and community development. Prior to joining United Way, Kate worked within the sport and international development field. Spending over five years abroad developing youth sports programming with community leaders throughout Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Kate has a great appreciation for community development. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Leisure from Brock University and a master’s degree in Recreational Sport Administration from Indiana University. In her spare time, you can find Kate enjoying outdoor activities, traveling and yoga.
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Adulis “Chedo” Mokanan – The Come Up Show
Adulis “Chedo” Mokanan radio journey started in 2007, when Chedo took action on his life long dream of running a radio show. Beginning his journey in the early hours of the morning (2am-6am), he worked on overcoming his nerves and organizing his content and ideas into a fluid, entertaining radio show. He’d dreamed of hosting a radio show since he arrived in Canada in 1996 and fell in love with hip hop. And soon he’d have the chance to talk to even more listeners, as The Come Up Show moved to Monday afternoons. This meant more exposure, more opportunity and more leverage. The guests started rolling in and the show’s credibility was building. Since then, Chedo’s interviewed countless artists, developed an attractive website, secured a prime-time radio slot and built his team. No longer is this a one man operation. With dedicated bloggers, TheComeUpShow.com is a current, relevant destination for news and music. Several videographers and photographers from both Toronto and London keep programming clean and crisp. And Chedo continues his tireless work hosting, DJing, coordinating and researching. It’s with genuine enthusiasm and passion that The Come Up Show presents its take on hip hop culture. He is also the current Program Director of 94.9FM CHRW and manages over 75 radio shows and volunteers.
Julia Katsivo – @NecessaryChats (twitter)
Julia is a blogger, speaker and writer on spiritual and personal development issues. She is a University of Western Ontario Alumni (Film Studies), Interdisciplinary Studies student from York University, and currently a student at University of Toronto pursuing Creative Writing. Julia is a full-time Federal Government employee with Canada Revenue Agency, and is in the editing process of a mystery Christian novel, as well as ghostwriting a Canadian refugee’s heroic journey into Canada. At the moment, she is participating in an international 50K-words-in-30-days November writing challenge. She is a talent-motivator, and has been instrumental to the beginning, and continued success of those who seek her counsel in matters of the heart. It is her lifelong ambition to realize all her God-given dreams that drives her to do these things. When she’s not speaking or writing, Julia’s sharing her thoughts on social media under the handle @NecessaryChats, and her blog is found on blogspot.ca under the same name.
Today’s necessary chat from Julia, will be on key lessons learned on the pursuit of passion.