Delores Lawrence has an MBA, RN and is the founder; President & CEO of NHI Nursing & Homemakers Incorporated since 1985. Born in Jamaica and migrated to Canada in 1969. She completed her Secondary and University education in Canada and chooses her first career as a Registered Nurse. After graduation, she worked in major teaching hospitals in critical care nursing and as a nursing supervisor. In 1985, Delores became the passionate founder of an Award winning Canadian healthcare company known as Nursing & Homemakers Inc. aka NHI Healthcare. A company that provides opportunities to close to 800 individuals comprising of temporary, permanent, casual and contract workers, with over 72 different languages and dialects spoken throughout the organization across Ontario, Canada. NHI offers health care staffing and home care services to clients in hospitals, long term care facilities, insurance companies, dentists and other healthcare companies. Delores has a passion for helping those that are needy in our society and is accountable for doing so. Ethics, accountability and compassion are practiced throughout the organization and this helps in providing the high quality of service to her clientele and employees. With her leadership, NHI is committed to continuous quality improvement. In March 2013, the organization had an organizational review and scored a 99.3% overall rating by Accreditation Canada. This is an organization that measures NHI’s standard of practice against national standards.
Archbishop Dr. Deloris Seiveright was born in Jamaica and has been in Canada since 1969. She is the Founder and Archbishop of the Shouters National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith International Centre of Canada, overseeing the Canadian Archdiocese and co-founder of one of the first Spiritual Baptist churches in Toronto, St. Frederic’s Cathedral. A distinguished member of the Caribbean Religious Community, the Archbishop has not limited her time and contributions to her church alone, but has also provided a community service in Ontario and abroad. A recipient of awards like the African Canadian Achievement Award and the Racial Harmony Award, Badge of Honour for Long Service in Religion from the Prime Minister of Jamaica and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award Medal in November 2012 from The Province of Ontario. Dr. Seiveright’s vision, enthusiasm and leadership skills are exemplified through her longstanding years of volunteer work.
Her work empowers youths and builds their future with love for the betterment of the community. She has developed and implemented youth mentorship, entrepreneurial and crime prevention programs. She serves and mentors young people, building their self-esteem respect, spiritual awareness, honesty, and humanity through her coaching. She also provides youth employment opportunities and has launched a scholarship fund to assist youths with their education.
Denise has been a member of the Ontario Public Service since 2010 and has held key leadership roles in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. She joined the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2015 where she is currently the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Workforce Planning and Regulatory Affairs.
Denise Siele is an award-winning public affairs professional and the President of SEMgroup Public Affairs, a strategic events firm through which she has successfully collaborated with a top range of government, business and civil society leaders and stakeholders. Her diverse clientele has included heads of states, the Governments of Canada, Alberta, Ontario and the Yukon, the United Nations Association in Canada and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Also, as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Operations at Equal Voice, she manages Canada-wide efforts to get more women elected to legislatures across the country.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Denise moved to Ottawa as a young teenager accompanying her mother on a diplomatic posting. At the conclusion of the term, her mother returned to Kenya to run for public office, the first woman in her community to do so. Denise, then 18 years old elected to remain in Ottawa where she continued her education while setting course for a dynamic contributing journey — launching SEMgroup in 2004, and balancing entrepreneurial excellence with philanthropy by donating countless hours to many local and international community initiatives.
Fond highlights include her tenure as Dean’s list student at Carleton University’s Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs and Policy Management, during which she founded one of the most successful student organizations which earned her the Association of the Year Honours, and helped establish Carleton’s Race and Ethnicity Hall.
Djanet Sears was born Janet Sears in London, England to parents of Caribbean descent; her mother is Jamaican and her father is Guyanese. She lived in England until 1974, when her family moved from London to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada. Her family then relocated to Oakville, Ontario in 1975 and Djanet remained there until 1977. She then moved to Toronto, Ontario to attend York University and there, received an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. She also studied at the Canadian Film Centre and New York University in New York. In the 1980s, questioning her place in Canada as member of a visible minority and in search of her ancestral roots she traveled to West Africa. It was a cathartic experience, when she came across a plateau area called Djanet. This inspired her to change her name to Djanet and embrace her African ancestry. She returned to Canada and constructed the play Africa Solo, a semiautobiographical one-woman show about her path of self-discovery from childhood through her time in Africa. Published in 1990, it was the first play by an African-Canadian playwright to be published. The Canadian Broadcasting Company Radio produced the play and she won the International Armstrong Award for Outstanding Radio Play, which brought her national recognition and a lightning rod to galvanize a force for the African-Caribbean theatre movement.
Sears has earned international fame as a talented writer, director and performer. She has written critically acclaimed plays, in addition to Afrikca Solo, Harlem Duet and the Adventurers of a Black Girl in Search of God-a work for which she won Canada’s highest literary award, The Governor General’s Literary Award, in 1998. She has directed and produced numerous other plays and has won several awards. There are central themes present in all of Sears’s plays. The most obvious themes presented have to deal with race relations, with gender issues, with individual as well collective identity searching and with political action. All of her main chapters are women, and while most of their struggles are universal, they do face certain issues that are specific to being woman. Djanet also belongs to a number of organizations and is the founding member of the Obsidian Theatre in Toronto, a theatre dedicated to producing works by authors of African descent living or working Canada.
Donna initiate the Nubian Book Club, an intergenerational community initiative that encourages minority youth, their families and community leaders to engage in a rich dialogue about literature to support the advancement of the participating youth. The Nubian Book Club was also able to support the Hohle Intermediate School in South Africa to fill its library with hundreds of books through donations, and has subsequently renamed its library after the Nubian Book Club, in honour of this ongoing support.
Dr. Jarvis says she was lucky to have found a career that combined her two passions: working with children and medicine. Born in Jamaica, she became a Doctor in 1969, graduating from the University of the West Indies, (U.W.I.) Kingston, Jamaica. She lived on the campus, and refers to her relationship with U.W.I. as a family affair and very close to her heart. After her internship at the U.W.I. Hospital, she worked for two years as a Casualty Officer at Holberton Hospital, Antigua, and had a part-time family practice. Dr. Jarvis migrated with her husband to Canada in 1972 and completed paediatric training in the Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto. Certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1976 she joined the Department of Paediatrics and The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) and remained until retirement in 2010.
At a Toronto Gala in 2014, where she was being honoured, she recalled one of the highlights of her career was, when she had the opportunity to work on the late Dr. Mustard’s team. He was the first cardiac surgeon in the world to save children with complex congenital heart disease. Until Dr. Mustard perfected his surgical techniques, most of these babies died. It was a game-changer – just marvellous. She also noted that another career highlight was being part of the development of “Emergency Medical Services”. She went on to say that “When I came to Canada, they didn’t have paramedics; the service started in 1984, and I was very lucky to have been invited to teach some of the first groups of paramedics. That was a whole adventure and certainly, I never thought working in paediatrics, I’d have a chance to be part of that.”
Dr. Jarvis held a succession of academic appointments at the University of Toronto, in addition to hospital appointments. Leadership positions included Associate Dean, Health Professions Student Affairs, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Director of Sick Kids Emergency. The recipient of a host of teaching awards, her trainees now work as leaders in clinical, education and administrative positions around the world. She served as an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, invited lecturer to countless education events across Canada and member of the National Task Force that led to the accreditation of Paediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) by the Royal College. A leading proponent of Paediatric Life Support education, she trained providers and instructors through the Michener Institute Program 1984-2015.
Dorothy Abike Wills, B.Sc., M.S.W., M.A., PhD., LL.D., DHL (Honoris Causa), C.M., retired in June 2000, as the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Technologies at Vanier College, Quebec. She was born in Dominica, West Indies. She was left orphaned at an early age and with the bequest from her parents, she migrated to Canada at seventeen and enrolled at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. There, she completed the Bachelor of Science Degree in 1956, and was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal for the highest academic performance that year. This was the beginning of a truly remarkable career of one of Dominica’s renowned daughters, who earned the distinction as “one of Canada’s leading educators and community leaders”. As an outstanding student, Dorothy continued her education at McGill University while working full time, and sometimes holding down two jobs, and raising her children. She earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work, and a Masters in History from Howard University. She however, found her passion in teaching and education and went on to do a Master’s Degree in Education at Concordia University and later earned her PhD in Philosophy of Education from Pacific Western University in California. She has since dedicated her life to being an Educator in the areas of Business Education, Social Work and Andragogy (the method by which adults learn) and encouraging the integration of visible minorities into Canadian society. She taught at the High School (CEGEP) and University levels.
As Strategic Development Director of the non-profit, Collective Community Services, located in Verdun, Montreal, Dr. Williams works to develop innovative programs and partnerships to improve the lives of English-speaking residents. She has worked as an historian, author, educator, researcher, content developer, and consultant.
Dr. Williams specializes in Black Canadian history and has authored three books and contributed to other scholarly and academic publications. Her first book was Blacks in Montreal, 1638-1986: An Urban Demography, was written at the behest of the Quebec Human Rights Commission in 1989, during their study of racism in Montreal’s housing market. Her second work, published in 1997, The Road to Now: A History of Blacks in Montreal, remains the only chronological study of Blacks on the island of Montreal. Her most recent book in 1998, Les Noirs à Montreal, Essai de demographic urbaine, was a translation of Blacks in Montreal.
With a strong afro-centric focused perspective, Dr. Williams’ Ph.D. thesis, “Sankofa: Recovering Montreal’s Heterogeneous Black Print Serials,” explored the range of Black print culture in Montreal. In addition, she has penned popular articles in magazines and newspapers about black culture in Canada. In addition, Dr. Williams has contributed to various refereed anthology volumes, such as D. Brundage, M. Lahey, eds. Acting on Words: An Integrated Reader, Rhetoric and Handbook and in two volumes of the University of Toronto Press, History of the Book in Canada/Histoire du livre et de l’imprimerie au Canada. Moreover, Dr. Williams has published in professional journals in her doctoral field of Library and Information Studies, such as Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science.
Dr. Kimberley Tavares, an educator for more than 15 years, is currently a Vice-Principal in the York Region District School Board (YRDSB). In February 2013, Kimberley was appointed an Equity Consultant, supporting African and Caribbean youth in the York Region District School Board. While in the position she worked with schools, and families to ease the often difficult navigation that can be schooling in Canada, while supporting schools in the development of equitable curricular practices. Prior to this appointment, she served as Head of the Department of English, at the York Region District School Board and was seconded to the Faculty of Education at York University for nearly three years. She attended York University, where she received the degrees: B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed., and PhD in Education. She is the Co-Chair of the Alliance of Educators for Black Students, an organization of educators that focus on the academic and success of Black students. Her recent research focused on what education can learn from the experience and expertise of those most likely and willing to support the educational aspirations of marginalized learners – the Canadian Black Women teachers.
Kimberley is known for the passion she brings to the classroom, her encouragement of individual students and for her creative teaching techniques. Tavares, mother of three, said that her motivation to understand why a disproportionate number of Black male youth disengage from the school system, began with the birth of her son. It was then that she really began thinking and questioning what was happening to Black youth, specifically boys in our Society, especially when she projected her thoughts to twenty years “down the road” and it generated a huge fear in her. These thoughts provided “meat” for her ground-breaking research for her PhD in Education. It was her assumption, in following along with media and popular notions, that young Black men needed Black male role models in schools. She, however, discovered that the theory was misguided, as the Black males she interviewed, credited the Black women in their lives for their success, consequently allowing her to realize that care, more than gender (or even race) can determine a child’s success. In 2013, she received the Cornerstone Leadership in Action Award. This Award is given each year to recognize graduating teachers who demonstrate exceptional potential and values-based teaching, such as, honesty, integrity, creativity, courage and humility amongst other related values.