Our nominees 2023

Discover the exclusive profiles of our candidates for the 6th edition of the Women of Diversity Summit and Awards.  There are 34 nominees coming from across Canada. These inspiring women of colour are breaking down barriers across the country through their actions and missions.

The Entrepreneurship Award

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Antuanette Gomez

CEO OF Peak Pharm Labs & Pleasure Peaks

Antuanette Gomez is  the CEO of Pleasure Peaks, which specialized in developing products

designed to enhance sexual pleasure by using cannabis. She is also the co-founded Peak Pharm Labs.

Antuanette is committed to educating the public about the benefits of cannabis for sexual health and wellness. She regularly speaks at conferences and events to promote the use of cannabis as a safe and effective alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals.


In addition, Antuanette is dedicated to promoting inclusivity and diversity within the cannabis industry. She has been a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and has worked to make her company and its products more gender-inclusive. 


Antuanette Gomez inspires people by being a trailblazer in the cannabis industry and using her platform to advocate for social justice and equality.

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Chichi Okiche

Founder & CEO of KOKAHAIR

Chichi Okiche has been passionate about business since she was in high school.

In 2019, she launched Kokahair, a company that offers high quality, luxury natural wigs made with 100% human hair. Her love for beauty led her to discover that human hair could be used to enhance the beauty of women who have hair issues such as, hair loss or who simply want to have versatile looks.


Chichi also wanted to create through Kokahair a space to educate and support people in wearing wigs, so that they can feel good about themselves and have the confidence to make a statement about their look.


Kokahair embraces the community by participating in social and digital initiatives that aim to advance entrepreneurship and provide a platform for dedicated practitioners to come together, share ideas and tell their stories.

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Diana Ombe

Founder and Executive Director of AGENCE CHRISTELLE

Diana Ombe is a political communications officer for the Canada Employment and Immigration Union. Since her graduation in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Innovation, she has worked for several Francophone organizations operating in minority environments. 


From the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (FESFO), passing through the

Fédération nationale des Conseils scolaires francophones (FNCSF), the Média TFO group and Onfr+, she dedicated her professional career by promoting the inclusiveness of visible minorities within Francophone communities outside Quebec.


In 2019, she created her digital marketing company, Agence Christelle, to support francophone SMEs in the development of their online brand.

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Dr. Laurie Samuel


Dr. Laurie Samuel is a Criminologist with expertise in police-community relations, police misconduct, risk management, community engagement, and interpersonal violence.  With over ten years working with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, DC she is a leading expert in Early Identification and Intervention System (EIS).

In 2015 Dr. Samuel noticed an escalation in violence against women incidents based on police reports and news stories. In response, she created Cupid’s Sting, a  program that teaches women life-saving skills through workshops on interpersonal violence, domestic violence, and street harassment, including demonstration and practice of self-defence techniques.

In 2018, Dr. Samuel launched Cupid’s Sting Non-Profit partnering with the community to create a safer and healthier environment for families, students, employees, and neighbours.  Cupid’s Sting now operates in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. 

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Faïna Dzah Sali

founder of Your Private Assistant
& Nouvelles arrivantes canada

Faina Dzah-Sali has been an Executive Assistant / Personal Assistant since 2011 and a Press Officer and Etiquette Consultant since 2022.

Based in Toronto, she offers her services as a freelancer. She also speaks in various private women’s groups. 

Since 2020, she has been collaborating with clients from all over the world. She helps them to achieve their goals, their needs through their heavy lifestyle. She is very active on social media and has a Youtube channel “Liyaah Sali” and a podcast “On a deeper note” available on the Anchor and Spotify apps.

Beside her work and her activities, she loves fashion and design. Being passionate about styling since her childhood, she decided to combine her passion for fashion and self-development to become a personal stylist for women trying to regain their confidence at DressForSuccess Toronto.

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Kamelah Blair


Kamelah Blair is an author and recipient of the 2022 Top 100 Black Women To Watch award in Canada. Raised in Toronto, Kamelah has written 14 books about growing up with gangsters and overcoming the trauma of witnessing a homicide at the age of 6.

She wishes through her experience and trauma to encourage young people to put their pain or their purpose to paper and make the world more profitable.

She recently started a youth writing program normalizing the power of reading and writing by giving youth and young adults a place to release and express their feelings and giving them the opportunity to become authors themselves. 

She also launched Library Behind the Walls a book Donation program, where fellow Authors donate their masterpieces to the Toronto South Detention Center as the library is lacking books.


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Lancy Qiu

CEO OF iWare Travel Inc.
& Ex-able (Qiu Zucco Inc.)

Lancy Qiu has started her entrepreneurship journey in Canada in 2017 at the age of 43. Originally from China, she is the founder of iWare Travel Inc. a platform that serves visitors interested in traveling to Canada by helping them purchase Canadian travel insurance online. During the pandemic, when nobody was able to travel, the business was hit but survived.

Lancy started thinking about how to pivot her business and adapt to the new normal. Considered as a resilient and adaptive person, she launched Ware Health, a remote home rehabilitation application for the aging and chronic disease population.

Lancy is committed to promoting the Chinese community in Canada and developing trade and cultural exchanges between Canada and China.

She is one of the first Asian immigrant women to start a business in Calgary.

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McKaila Richards

CEO & owner of Mckie rich productions

McKaila Richards is the owner of a production company McKie Rich Productions.

Based in Toronto, they specialize in photography, filming, graphic designing and printing promotional material.

She has facilitated entrepreneurial workshops and has helped others to start up their own businesses.


McKaila has also been a guest speaker at a few events where she shares her expertise about entrepreneurship in a way to help the future generations build wealth with fundamental skill to running a business.


Very involved in her community, she does not miss any opportunity to support other businesses by highlighting them on her platforms and participating in community events.

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Nik-Keisha Moodie

Founder & President of Nik-Keisha Moodie Coaching and Development (NMCD)

Nik-Keisha (nikki) Moodie is the founder and the president of Nik-Keisha Moodie coaching and development.

During covid, she became a Certified  Life Skills Coach and a Licensed Life and Accident & Sickness Advisor. 

Nikki has a passion for education and entrepreneurship. Having also studied adult education at George Brown, she has been able to utilize these skills to create programs and host educational  events for families and entrepreneurs. This has allowed her to build a brand known for  community building, empowerment, and leadership. Nikki enjoys giving back by hosting food drives and workshops for the community.

Her  professional career is to help those around her navigate through life and to provide resources  and support for entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses.

Sandrine Kake

Sandrine Kake

Chair & Founder of DAKS Foundation

Originally from Cameroon, Sandrine Kake is the founder of The DAKS Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Canada to help Cameroonian people in terms of education, disability and health.

Established in 2018, she implemented practical solutions for rural communities to improve the living conditions of children. Sandrine Kake has raised funds, built and inaugurated three and soon four water fountains in three different rural areas.

She has also donated school benches, paid school fees for six hearing-impaired children, and provided the center with school and food supplies. She also founded Moms in Shape in Mirabel with over three hundred and twenty moms whose goal is to collectively stay fit by exercising daily to ensure mental, physical and general well being so that they have energy to take care of not only themselves but their entire family.

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Seun Adetunji

founder of MedInclude

Seun is a Communications and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) professional with experience in the CPG, Tech, Education, and Healthcare sectors. Her experience in healthcare includes working with a government agency, patient advocacy foundation, and a clinical research organization. As a newcomer, Black woman to Canada, Seun’s interest in health equity grew from her own interaction with the inequities in the system and working directly with vulnerable, underrepresented patients.

This led her to found MedInclude, a platform that leverages technology to help patients better understand medical information and participate in their own care.

She is a GreenHouse Alumni and is enrolled in a Master’s in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) Program at the University of Waterloo.

Stephanie Guingané

Stéphanie Guingané


Originally from the Ivory Coast, Stéphanie Guigané is the founder of SMJWEB, an agency that offers web development, digital marketing and IT support services to small businesses.

She is also the founder of LONCANI Beauty, a platform that allows professionals from the Afro-Caribbean community in Canada to develop their business online. Stephanie is committed to helping people in need and giving them the tools they need to succeed.


Her talents as a singer and dancer led her to be crowned Miss Burkina Canada. Thanks to this wonderful journey, she not only got the chance to facilitate workshops in preparation for a talent and beauty contest but also to be a finalist in the Community Engagement category during the 12th edition of the Gala d’excellence Prix du Regroupement Affaires Femmes.

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Yvonne Osagie

FOuNDER OF med melanin

Yvonne Osagie is currently a 3rd-year Masters of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology student at the University of Waterloo researching the intersectionality of health equity, bias, and telemedicine.


Through her research and Masters, she founded Med Melanin,  a telemedicine provider exclusively for women of color that incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusion methodologies to improve patient outcomes.

With Med Melanin, Yvonne aims to provide a solution that will decrease the misdiagnosis rate for women of color and improve patient outcomes.


In her free time, Yvonne loves to read and listen to podcasts. She once hosted a podcast called Deja Vu Pod with Yvonne & GG that focused on mental health challenges and resources for millennials.

The Influencer Award

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Dr. Real Kuene


Dr. Real Kunene is an International Human Rights Policy Analyst, who consult on policies and procedures related to human rights compliance.


She is also an Award winning author of “Rise to Greater Heights”. Her #1 bestselling book has inspired and empowered many to pursue their personal and professional passion to become go-getters.

Dr. Kunene serves not just as a vocal protester, but she goes one step further by encouraging these changes, through education instead of merely telling government leaders, why something needs fixing.


She is also the founder of Swazi Canadian International Foundation (SCIF) a worldwide humanitarian relief and development organization dedicated to support the less privileged with basic needs through communities, churches and schools. As a change-maker and trailblazer, she is pushing boundaries and creating real change worldwide.


Kamshuka Barrocks


Kamshuka is an award winning entrepreneur and community leader for over 18yrs, winning awards for her involvement with youth and community leadership.

She is the founder of “The Conscious Warriors” – a wellness platform. In 2020 during the pandemic she was named 1 of 100 “Accomplished Black Canadian Women”.

Kamshuka is a mindfulness practitioner and certified LifeStyle & Wellness Coach who encourages wellness and healing through her influence and masterclass sessions.


She has been recognized as one of Canada’s women making history, and also captured the hearts of her people in Uganda, naming her an “Empowered Woman of Power” seen on Uganda’s National network of NTV.

She highlights travel, adventure and experiences in her celebration of life as a survivor of war, sexual abuse and mental illnesses.

The goal is to thrive, not just survive. “Be Well and Serve Well, live full and die empty

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Laurabel Mba


Laurabel Mba is a Communications, Marketing

and Fund Development Specialist.

She recognizes and has lived experiences of the disparities in society for BIPOC, marginalized and underrepresented communities.

She raises her voice and leverages her experiences to bring their concerns and struggles to the

decision-making table.

She is also the founder of Race 2 Dinner NL and one of the hosts of Rogers TV’s “Out of the Fog” show. Laurabel enjoys shining light on those working hard and smart to make Newfoundland and Labrador a more welcoming province as well as those striving to improve the lives of all who call it home.

As a member of the Anti-racism Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador, a member of both the St. John’s Status of Women Council and Happy City St. John’s; she works with a wide variety of like-minded individuals to improve the experiences of marginalized communities in our province

Reni Odetoyinbo

Reni Odetoyinbo

founder of Reni The Resource
& content strategist

Reni Odetoyinbo is a content creator & marketing consultant based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. On her YouTube channel, ‘xoreni’, she shares resources about career development and financial literacy.  

After purchasing her first property at the age of 23, she began to share her knowledge with others with the goal of helping people understand “adulting”. 


She helps them become more financially literate and shares tips to help them excel in their careers. 

From finance to career and lifestyle content, Reni aims to make complex topics, simple. 


Reni is a winner of the Bay St Bull 30 under 30 award and an alumnus of YouTube Black Class of 2022, an accelerator program run by Google to build her channel.

Rokhaya Gueye

Rokhaya Gueye

carpenter, CEO & Co-Founder of Global Connection Venture, chair of the sisters in the brotherhood
career coach & outreach strategist

Rokhaya Gueye is a mentor, a coach, a community organizer, a carpenter, an interpreter, and a serial entrepreneur. As a community servant, Rokhaya has, for the past 27 years, volunteered her time by working tirelessly to help various non-profit organizations both locally and abroad such as Member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Carpenters Local 27.

As an entrepreneur, she is the co-founder of Global Connection Venture and Afya Choices.


Rokhaya is passionate about social change, women & youth empowerment, construction, technology, community economic development and philanthropy.

She also believes that, “Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful!’’

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Tonya Yearwood

founder & promoter of Black Aviation Professional Network, founder of air Canada’s Black ERG & Ella Electric (women ERG)

Tonya Yearwood is a Senior IT Project Manager with Air Canada.

Additionally, Ms Yearwood is the founder and President of the Black Aviation Professionals Network (BAPN) which aims to help her fellow colleagues and the next generation of leaders and aviators in the sector and promote diversity in Aviation and Aerospace.


Prior to her career in the aviation sector, Ms. Yearwood, worked  in various sectors including finance, fitness and aviation but found her passion in air transportation.

Tricia Henry

Tricia Henry

blogger & content creator - Miss Trish TV

Tricia Henry is a blogger and content creator through her YouTube channel Miss Trish TV where she has created a safe space for people to express themselves without being shy in front of the camera.

She ensures to highlight all black community events and shed the much needed light on black women businesses and events in her city. 

She also allowed other influencers to highlight their brand in front of the camera. 


Tricia continues to successfully succeed by providing revenue for black businesses. She also ensures to help out in the community by volunteering and leading young women to self-love.

The Leadership Award

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Agapi Gessesse


Agapi Gessesse is a powerful, influential and fearless changemaker. Born and raised in Toronto by a refugee mother, Agapi’s commitment to community development stems from her lived experience, which propelled her to obtain her Master’s Degree in Social Justice. 

She is currently the Executive Director of the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals. She is a passionate, driven and visionary leader who champions the mission and vision of CEE-addressing economic issues affecting Black youth.  Since starting her role, Agapi has spearheaded the substantial growth of the organizations’ impact, reach and sustainability.


For over a decade, Agapi has worked to enhance the lives of marginalized youth through her work with Toronto such as the Community Housing (TCHC) and United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT).

Throughout her career, Gessesse has been recognized for her work in the field as Dial Mover in Tech in 2019 and has been awarded the Maytree Fellow and Aroni Awards.

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Carelle Lahouri

Speaker, Motivatitor, business consultant & BLOGGER/influencer - INSTANT DU PALAIS

Speaker, Motivator, Business consultant and most importantly a successful entrepreneur, Carelle is the definition of an inclusive leader.

She hosts panels on leadership, entrepreneurship, and all things related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Passionate about food, Carelle is also a blogger/influencer.

She promotes her culture through various recipes that she shares with her engaged community of over 140,000 followers on social media (@instantdupalais). On top of all this, Carelle has a 9 to 5 job as a Business Development Officer.

Her role is to support entrepreneurs in their journey. Carelle was the first to introduce the concept of exclusive online catering with home delivery.

She is currently working on the opening of the first West African luxury restaurant in Ontario which should open next summer.

Stephanie Guingané (2)

Charlène-Rokhaya Jaye

founder of roetco &
penser demain en numérique
Content creator - les inspirés en gestion

Charlène Rokhaya Jaye is a digital professional with over ten years of experience.

She is also the founder of Roetco, a company specialized in accompanying companies and managers towards their digital transition.

Charlène is also the creator of the podcast Les inspirés en gestion.

Very involved within the Senegalese community in Canada and thanks to her expertise, she was able to train, empower and support people from her community to transition to digital.

She is also known for her expertise in managing public figures’ images, producing digital content, and as a trainer. 


Charlene was nominated by the Afro Canadian women acting during Black History Month.

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Claudette Howell Rutherford

FOUNDER OF CR Consulting

Claudette Howell Rutherford is the founder of CR Consulting.

She runs her own private consulting firm, developing curriculum resources and offering professional development and strategic planning services from an anti oppression lens. 


She serves on several municipal and provincial steering committees championing for racial equity and inclusion.

Claudette is working on developing a Knowledge Exchange Centre for POBC which will serve as a hub for information sharing and a repository for Black scholarship and research to support the well being of Black children.


Claudette was a 2018 recipient of the York Region District School Board Applause Award for outstanding contributions to education.

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Connie Amartey

founder of collective society 360

Connie Amartey has been an event marketing and branding specialist for 20 years working with notable luxury automotive brands, corporations and startups.

Through her various experiences, Connie noticed the lack of  BIPOC representation in the event and marketing space and decided to create her own pathway to  success. In 2020, Connie started a not for profit called Collective Society 360.

Through this organization Connie leverages her networks and allies to foster a safe space and  learning environment for marginalized BIPOC youth. They have provided an opportunity to discover  their inner passions with hands-on mentorship and training programs without any barriers or  associated biases. Collective Society 360 also focuses on womxn empowerment and has started a  branch called LeadHer TeacHer focusing on entrepreneurial growth and self empowerment.

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Kamelah Blair


Kamelah Blair is an author and recipient of the 2022 Top 100 Black Women To Watch award in Canada. Raised in Toronto, Kamelah has written 14 books about growing up with gangsters and overcoming the trauma of witnessing a homicide at the age of 6.

She wishes through her experience and trauma to encourage young people to put their pain or their purpose to paper and make the world more profitable.

She recently started a youth writing program normalizing the power of reading and writing by giving youth and young adults a place to release and express their feelings and giving them the opportunity to become authors themselves. She also launched Library Behind the Walls a book Donation program, where fellow Authors donate their masterpieces to the Toronto South Detention Center as the library is lacking books.

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Khalieha Cunningham


Life Beyond The Hurt is a non profit organization dedicated to individuals who have experienced some form of domestic violence/hurt in their lives and need a place of hope, resources and solace.The President Khalieha Cunningham decided to create this safe space to help other marginalized women experience the same.


Lately, she hosted free personal development workshops,clothing/grocery drives and provided grants/financial assistance to members within the community. Khalieha and LBTH focus has been centered around the execution of the organization’s mission to raise awareness while supporting those who have experienced domestic & sexualized violence.


She understands that Innovation is an essential driver of economic progress that benefits our community, organization and the economy as a whole.

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Mariam Magsi

Multidisciplinary artist, writer & educator

Mariam Magsi is a Multidisciplinary Artist, Writer and Educator. Mariam not only runs a successful sole proprietorship under Mariam Magsi Art & Photography, but she also uses her visibility to uplift others in BIPOC communities. 

In 2022, Mariam’s ancestral village in Balochistan was hit with devastating flash floods.She utilized all her resources and networks in Canada and single-handedly raised over $10,000 CAD within a month’s time to send back home for rehabilitation efforts.



Mariam’s life experiences and challenges did not hold her back but rather propelled her to keep striving. She  is also the first artist to serve on the Toronto Police College Anti-Racism Community Panel.


Her role as an immigrant and a strong woman of colour has been monumental in the development of the Cooking Up Feminism program under the Healthy Arts for Seniors program at Scarborough Arts.

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Ovie Onagbeboma

Executive director of canadian black nurses alliance (CBNA)

Ovie Onagbeboma is nationally recognized as a nurse and business leader. She is pursuing her master’s in business administration.

Ovie is a sought-after consultant to many national organizations. She is an  advisor to the Chief Nursing Officer of Canada focus: Nursing retention.


She is a transformative leader who identified a serious problem in healthcare and acted quickly to form a national organization and initiative to address this problem.


Ovie is also a co-author in nursing curriculum change with a nursing school in Toronto that develops Online Educational Resources (OERs) for nursing students.

She sees the future of nursing through an African proverb Ubuntu and embodies the understanding that “I am because we are” as a motivation to strive for a society where all can  grow and flourish.

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Sandra Anin

director & strategic partnership coordinator - intimate session & anin experience

Sandra Anin was born and raised in Jane and Finch, one of Toronto’s deemed most dangerous  neighborhoods in the city.


She received several recognitions such as one of  the 100 black Canadian women inducted as a role model in Toronto for her community efforts,  contributions, and achievements. She advocates for women empowerment, body  positivity, children and youth, and education. She also cultivated a second love and passion for law and she is now working as a Paralegal. 


Sandra is the author of a book called “Child of An Immigrant”,  “That’s a Great Idea- Daily Journal”, and “A key to Self Help 30 Days of Affirmations”. Her goal is to encourage women young and old through action, by letting them know that nothing in life is impossible.

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Tina Mbachu

PrograM specialist - black innovations program - DMZ

As the Sr. Programs Lead for the DMZ’s Black Innovation Programs (BIP), Tina helps BIPOC founders start and scale their tech businesses and supports BIP’s programming and partnership development.


She is also a budding entrepreneur with a passion for linking Africa’s informal sector to markets.


Over the past years, Tina’s role has been instrumental in helping BIPOC founders through her work at the DMZ, despite the economic downturn.


The Youth Leadership Award

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Brenda Okorogba

founder & learning experience designer - moments with bren consulting

Brenda Okorogba is a multi-award-winning service and learning experience designer who focuses on creating targeted learning solutions that advance opportunities for equity-deserving groups through inclusive education and decent employment.Brenda has coached diverse students and professionals on college and career readiness, resulting in $80.4M in college funding and successful career paths. She authored a college financing directory with over 21,000 unique financial aids worth $446 billion for students worldwide. She is committed to changing systems impacting youth’s ability to thrive in the workforce, serving as a Board Director at the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity.

She was selected as one of the 100 Gender Equity Advocates with the YWCA Canada in November 2018, where she lobbied for a budget of $75 million that would invest in initiatives that are gender-informed, intersectional, and tailored for local contexts. Brenda also called for a gender lens on the National Housing Strategy, which would dedicate a minimum of 25% of funds to projects and services for women, girls, and their families across the country.

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Brianna Nelson

FOUNDER & executive director

Brianna is a community developer, researcher, MSW candidate and, above all, a very proud Black woman. She has a passion for social justice and mental health and is committed to amplifying the voices and experiences of racialized folks.


Brianna has worked for a variety of non-profit and community-based organizations and was recognized this past year by CIBWE as one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch.


Brianna is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Womxn of Colour Durham Collective, which is a youth-led community organization in Durham Region, Canada, that is run by, for, and with Black, Indigenous and womxn of colour from the ages of 16-29+ with the purpose of making space for support and community.

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Jasmine Uboma

founder & CEO OF beyondmath

Jasmine Uboma is a 19 years old  second year student of Statistics at the University of Western, Ontario, Canada and the Director, women in STEM. 

Jasmine founded Beyond Math to allow children as young as 8 years old to begin developing critical and analytical thinking skills by understanding that the world is full of puzzles.


Jasmine has noticed the absence of people from the Black community in her math classes. Her passion is to break the stereotype that Black people are only good at sports, but also at technology. 

Jasmine has been privileged to be honored with many awards including Rising Star award from NNC and Youth excellence Award.


She was recognized by the Nigerian Ambassador to Canada in commendation of her work.

Recently, she was featured on CBC to highlight her story.