WINNERS 2016

Diane OJAR ALI
Actor, Writer, Producer


Diane L. Johnstone, was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut. More than 20 years ago, she migrated to Toronto, Ontario Canada, after a divorce. She has since remarried and is a dual-citizen. She is the well-pleased mother of a very creative daughter, who earned a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from OCAD University. Diane herself has a love for the arts, as an Actor/Writer/Producer. More importantly, Diane credits her success to God. From an early age her father taught her the Lord’s Prayer and took the family to church. However, after her parent’s marriage failed, she tried to disguise the pain through drugs and partying. BUT GOD! Always prayer minded, she prayed her way out. Diane got back on track, obtained her Theology Degree and became an Ordained Minister. Although, not preaching from a pulpit, Diane enjoys encouraging people through the word of God and the arts. Her parents exposed her to the entertainment industry. They took her to the famous Apollo Theater, Madison Square Gardens and the Westport Playhouse, to name a few. As a teenager she was graduated from Barbizon School of Modeling. Diane’s fourth one-woman show, she wrote and performed, “Desperate Church Wives” garnered a Canadian Comedy Award nomination for Best One Person Show! She works as a full-time actress and is a member of the unions ACTRA/CAEA and listed on IMdb (International Movie Data Base).

Dione MASON
Registered Nurse, Jazz Singer


Dionne R. Grant is a jazz singer born and raised Ontario, Canada. Dionne was first introduced to jazz music by her father. She listened to her father’s extensive jazz collections for decades. During her early years she was deeply influenced by: Ella Fitzgerald, Dionne Warwick (whom she was named after) Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, Billy Holiday and Nina Simone – just to name a few. She often tried to sing in the likeness of her mentors. 

As a child, teenager and young adult Dionne sang at many venues and was part of many choirs. Always singing mezzo soprano. Although she studied classical music until 18 years of age and graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music, grade 8 with honors. Jazz music has always been her first love.

Dionne rested her musical goals for a number of years in order to pursue her academic and career goals. However, she has now resurfaced with a new found passion and boldness to express creations of jazz music in her own tempo, rhythm and style. Not only is Dionne a jazz singer, but she is also a song writer and music composer.

The release of her debut CD called I Met Him In New York, is collection of her original songs and standard jazz songs, sung in a style created by her own interpretations of jazz music.

Dionne is currently recording her own original music for her second CD. And promises to bring out songs blended with jazz, swing, Afro-Cuban and some gospel jazz music as well.

Dionne currently performs her songs and poetry at many events in the community and private engagements. She sings at the Gospel Café located in Mississauga, Ontario every 2nd and 3rd Thursday night at 8:00 pm. Dionne is a Registered nurse with a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing and a Master of Arts Degree in Education. She is employed at one of the largest nursing schools in Canada.


“Live, Love n Laugh today to the fullest; life is too short to be bitter.”
Eleanor MILLER
Business ­ Owner of Do Grow Hair Clinic inc Community ­ President of Chadian
women association of Ontario


When I started my Business three years ago, I was very excited but wasn't sure how I could survive. I didn’t have any money to start my business, only an idea and determination. So, I decided to work with a hair stylist and rent a chair to treat their customers with hair loss problems.

They said I will never able to survive for even 6 months because my business is very unique and rare and people wouldn’t be open to the idea, but I was very determined to succeed. And, after one year travelling every day from Hamilton to Oakville, I was able to open my own clinic in Hamilton. Moreover, I am also a holistic nutritionist.

Now I have been able open my own clinic and partner with Doctors to do more invasive and advance techniques to restores the hair. I have two locations in Hamilton and Oakville.

Emily MILLS
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist – Founder and
President of Ghana Schools of Dreams


Dora Anie is a successful owner of a hair salon for over 25 years. She is a proud mother of two beautiful and intelligent grown daughters who are her pride and joy. Ann-Marie, the eldest, is a French Teacher and Barbara is a Strategic Solutions Lead at Metro Media.

Although she has two biological children, she is also proud to say that she is surrounded with love from many people who look up to her as a mother figure.

In addition to the aforementioned accomplishments, I am also a philanthropist. I am the Founder and President of Ghana Schools of Dreams(GSD), a non-profit organization that builds and renovates Ghana Government schools in rural areas. This organization was established in 2003.

For more information about Ghana Schools of Dreams or if anyone would like to help, we invite you to visit our website at: www.ghanaschoolsofdreams.com

Fatmatta KANU
Director at Victoria Park Health Club
(Westmount, QC)
Celebrity Trainer
Model


Drea is the original Texas girl and has been involved in competitive sports and in athletics her entire life. Her name in track & field has been made through her years of competition. With a double Major in University in Sociology and Criminal Psychology she combines her past life struggles with her everyday outlook on life to help her clients accomplish HAPPINESS. Drea has a new innovative approach to getting fit and bringing people together. Drea's enthusiasm and passion for fitness is what brings a new refreshing style in the Montreal fitness scene. An amazing energy to every class and having a blast and burn tons of calories without even noticing it, that's Drea's style!


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion,
some compassion, some humor, and some style.” -- Maya Angelou
Foluke AKINREMI
Youth Minister


Eyitayo Dada is an Evangelist, she ministers the love of Christ to families across the world. She has a special passion for the integrity of the Christian family, focusing on its impact on the global move of God. She also loves to minister to youth; volunteers at programs focused on reducing violence among youth, and spend time refocusing youth and young adults on the fear of God and building integrity in all areas of their lives.

She practiced as a solicitor and advocate in the environmentally ravaged Niger Delta region of Nigeria for over fifteen years and was an ardent advocate for women’s rights and continues to play a significant role in the social justice and international Human Rights Movement. She currently runs her Legal Practice in the Toronto Area and also works as the Director of Amelie House and St. Francis Residence, homes for individuals facing various life challenges. She is the founding president of the Continental African Family Outreach Services and a Senior associate member of The International Association of Non Violent Crisis Intervention Certified Instructors.


“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13
Gloria SWAIN
Scientist


After attending the prestigious “Lycée Louis le Grand” in Paris, France, Dr Noué completed her undergraduate studies at “Université Pierre et Marie Curie”, followed by a masters/doctorate degree in Chemistry/Biochemistry at the University of Houston, in Texas.

She started her career working as research scientist in petrochemicals; she later found her niche and passion upon joining Merck in 2008, first as country medical information and drug safety officer, and most recently as global medical information Manager supporting the company’s neurology and immunology franchise. She is the proud recipient of their circle of excellence award for exemplary individual contributor as well as STAR awards for leadership and customer service.

Marie-Ange is recognized as a proven leader in her field and is the current chair of the Canadian pharmacovigilance & medical information network, a forum where over 600 industry peers and regulators meet to share best practices and enable ongoing improvements.

As a former model, Marie-Ange has a passion for fashion. When she's not busy with her husband and 3 children, you can find her at the local equestrian club or the local airport as she's an avid horseback rider and private pilot.


Gwyn CHAPMAN
Strategic Development Planning,
Policy Expert, Educator


A multi-skilled, trained and qualified Development Policy and Planning Expert , An Educator/Trainer, as well as a Legislative Drafter, with a PhD and M.Sc. in Policy, Planning and Development Studies and Urban Development Planning respectively, from the University College London (UK); a BA (Hons.)-Double Major in Geography and Geology from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, an LLB (Hons.) from the University of Wolverhampton (UK), a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and a Certificate in Legislative Drafting from Boston University, USA. Dr Morris is also a Certified Teacher and a Certified Professional Coach (CPC); Certified in Strategic Project/Programme and Performance Management, as well as an Environmental and Social Impact Assessor of Development Projects and Programmes.

Dr Morris migrated to Canada in 2010 with over twenty years of expertise in her fields of technical competencies as an International Consultant and Strategic Planning and Policy Development Advisor in the implementation of Development Legislations, International and Regional Agreements and Protocols. Strategic Policy and Planning and Institutional Strengthening projects in the field of Land Use/Physical/Environmental and Urban Development Planning. . In addition she is experienced in the conduct of legislative review and legislative drafting exercises in the Caribbean as a member of consultancy teams.

Her policy and planning experiences have been gained largely from working in developing countries, particularly in the Organization of Easter Caribbean member States (OECS) and Guyana, as Integrated Development Planning or Development Planning Advisor on projects and programs policies reviews and strategic action planning, for the public and private sectors. These programs and projects have been supported by bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements of the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States (OAS), the OECS and UN Systems, as well as the Caribbean Development Bank and the European Union- Special Framework of Assistance for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Countries, (EU- SFA-ACP).

She has worked in the education services sector for over twenty-five years, as teacher, lecturer, adult trainer, administrator, training programme developer as well as performing the roles of student mentor, coach, counsellor and thesis advisor.

She has worked as Development Policy Advisor and fulltime employee as an Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building specialist for various planning and development agencies in the Public Sector of many countries the OECS, Guyana and in Toronto, Canada.

Since February 2014-Vice President and Volunteer Strategic Policy and Program/Project Advisor/Developer for the Not For Profit Charity, The Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) of Toronto – Established the BBPA Centre of Excellence and Business Incubator for the BBPA in 2015, along with the related training development programs and institutional structure and accountabilities.

January 2014 to November 2015- Volunteer Member and Chair of the Higher Education Commission of Ontario National Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE)-.a not for Profit agency that seeks to improve access of black students.

Since January 2014-As a Volunteer Director of Programs, Strategic Planning and Policy at e-CAMPMENTORING,(Not for Profit Agency), Oshawa, Canada- where the focu I on Mentoring of Youth between the age of 15-29 year.

October-November, 2013- As a volunteer member of the Strategic Review & Planning team, for the Re-structuring Plans of the Not for Profit- Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA)-995 Arrow Road-Toronto. Team reviewed the operations, identified the organizational restructuring institutional framework, procedures, change management processes and organizational human resources needs and capacity building training focus.

Since March, 2016. Governance Director of the Not for Profit-Ontario Association of Black Educators (ONABSE).

Since 2012- Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Caribbean Council on Economic Development-A USA registered charity promoting Caribbean Development and Investment promoting Diaspora investment and collaboration with the Countries of origin of the Caribbean.

Since 2015, affiliate of the collaborative Coach Training alliance, Wainwright Global Inc and the Strategic Learning Alliance Institute, California., and a member of the Board of Trustees.

Co-Founder and Program Manager, Canadian Research Centre for Humanities and Science and the Ontario College for Research and Development, Toronto

Founder and Director of Programs, Ontario College for Development Training, Toronto

Founder & Director of Programs, Inspiring Life Solutions, Toronto

Dr Morris focuses her coaching on educators, parents. family and the youth, as she wants to build awareness among families, educator and policy makers as to the importance of social and emotional learning and contemplative education for raising conscious and successful children and young people in the 21st Century and Beyond. Social and emotional learning (SEL). SEL is recognised as a deliberate or intentional strategy in the child’s nurturing and socialization process that provides the tools for living abundantly. For college and university level students her focus is to ensure their Mental Preparedness for Success in Life, Career and Business

Awards and Recognitions 1. 1989-World Bank-Japanese Scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University College London of the University of London, UK. 2. 1986 The Overseas Research Student Award from the Association of Vice Chancellors and Principal of the United Kingdom for Distinction in the Master’s Degree Dissertation University College London, UK 3. 1988, United Nations Development Program Scholarship to Pursue The M.Sc in Urban Development Planning at the University College London, UK

Listed in Who Is Who in the World, 1993 for excellence in Career.


Irine ASANJI
CEO of Alabaster Wellness Clinic


Dr. Nadine Wong is an immigrant of Jamaica who has called Canada home for over 20 years. She is the C.E.O of Alabaster Wellness Clinic and The Alabaster Gate Children’s Charity, creator of Alabaster Ointment Hair Care Products, and author of “What If Your Hair Could Speak, What Would it Say?" and is currently working on her second book “Revelation of my Hair Chronicle”.

Dr. Wong has always been intrigued with the wonders of the human body. After graduation from Centennial College with certificates in Psychology and Interpersonal Group Skills, she decided to pursue her passion for hair care. Attending Marvel Beauty School; she obtained a Hairdressing Diploma and Black Hair Dressing Certification. However the quest to learn more about the function of the body and how it affects hair growth at a cellular level did not end there. She completed further studies in Cosmetology and advance studies on Ethnic Hair at Dudley University, North Carolina. Dr. Wong obtained her Doctorate in Cosmetology from the Dillard University and another Doctorate in Trichology from The International Institute of Trichology, Huntsville, Alabama (board certified with the American Drugless Association). Her academic journey came full circle at the California State Christian University where she majored in Psychotherapy. There she has obtained her General Practice Psychotherapist (GPP) and Clinical Psychotherapy accreditations.

Dr. Wong is a Board Member of the following organizations: The World Organization of Natural Medicine (www.wonm.org), The Board of Intergrative Medicine (www.boim.org), The Board of Natural Medicine (www.boardofnaturalmedicine.org), Education Beyond Borders, The Black Hair Dresser Association (Canadian Chapter) and The National Beauty Culture League Inc., Washington DC. In addition to her practice, Dr. Wong is a sought after Motivational Speaker.

In 2013 she was the recipient of Harry Jerome Health Science Award, The Parliamentary Award, also the 2003 Achievement Award, 2002 Trichology Student of the Year, and 2001 Pioneer Award. She also functioned as a guest Health advisor contributor on G98.7 FM (CKFG). Her personal aspiration is to unlock the harmony of individual’s mind through education based on complete wellness involving the mind, body and spirit.

In 2010, Alabaster Gate Children’s Charity was established Dr. Nadine Wong, based on her desire that every child should be able to have an education and develop vital life skills. That each child should have the freedom to focus only on the lessons being taught in school, and not be distracted with concerns of a hot meal or finances to obtain the necessary school items. The charity also has grown and now includes The International Skype Education Project.


J.Nicholle NOELLE
Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Health
& Wellness Speaker/Educator


When I started my career in the health and wellness field I knew I wanted to help others achieve optimal health. I believe that healthy living is a right and not a privilege. We all have a right to have the information that we need to be healthy, regardless of our race, religion, socioeconomic status etc.

They said I will never be able to run my own business. It has been long and difficult journey but I am proud to acknowledge that last month, my clinic, The Chiropractic Office, celebrated 6 years in business. And most recently, I have joined Toronto's most comprehensive health clinic, Integra Health Centre, which allows me to run a practice alongside the best health care practitioners in the GTA.

Now I have been able to share my belief with a large and diverse community of patients. I have been able to work with athletes at large sporting events, including the Pan Am Games. I have been able to work with large co-corporations like Nissan Canada, in providing health and wellness workshops for its employees. Most recently, with the launch of drnekessaremy.com, I am able to reach even more people and help those who are interested, in becoming their own health advocates.


My recipe for living a happy life: “Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it”
Janet AIZENSTROS
Department Leader/Guidance Counsellor, Student Services, TDSB
Sessional Lecturer, OISE/UT
Scholarship Fund Director, Black Pearls Community Services, Inc.
Partner, The Miss Education Project


Dr. Renée N. Rawlins, aka Miss Guided, has always prided herself on being relevant in the community and not merely apparent. Dr. Rawlins attended Schulich School of Business at York University, where she graduated with honours, attaining a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in marketing. After graduating from York University, Renée attended the University of Toronto where she earned a Bachelor of Education. Dr. Rawlins’ passion for education and community advancement further led her to earn a Masters and Doctorate in Education, specializing in counselling psychology with a research focus on African/Caribbean-Canadian Women Coping with Divorce from a Black Feminist perspective, at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Rawlins is currently the Department Leader of Student Services and a Guidance Counsellor at a secondary school in the Toronto District School Board. She is also a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Toronto where she teaches in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, the Department of Social Justice Education, and the Continuing and Professional Learning Department. Dr. Rawlins is also a Founder and the Scholarship Fund Director for Black Pearls Community Services, Inc and she is a Founder and Partner of the Miss Education Project. In her professional capacities, Dr, Renée N. Rawlins is dedicated to helping youth, girls, women and the greater community through counselling and education. She has conducted numerous counselling groups, workshops, speaking engagements, and media appearances with a focus on the well-being of women and girls, particularly in the Black community, and from a Black Feminist perspective.


“Live, Love n Laugh today to the fullest; life is too short to be bitter.”
Jessica LOBALU
Doctor of Natural Medicine, Homeopathic Medicine, Nutritional Medicine, Vibrational Medicine & Womb Wellness Worker


When I started my journey towards this magnificent work of Natural Medicine, this expedition of sorts, began when I was a child; birthed, nurtured and shaped into the Revolutionary work of my parents Joan Gabriel Farrell and Lennox Farrell - who lovingly nourished me on fascinating narratives- exemplar expressions of my Ancestors’ love for Self, their expressed need to serve others, and, above all God, and all of His Creation.

They say I will never be able to retire from this work. That aforesaid, with the profound love unveiled in this endeavour, I concur. When you witness people emerging from their cocoons, ascending, overcoming all obstacles in their paths- the observer beholding the metamorphosis- actualizes self-healing!

Now I have been able to say I am “discovering” a new paradigm of Medicine- the innate ability for the body to heal itself! The quintessential example of a Love Supreme! Ergo, the journey continues…


“A Nation can Rise No Higher than its Woman!” ~ The Most Hon Elijah Muhammad
Jill ANDREW
Founder of: The Real Single Ladies
and Toronto Formation
Entrepreneur, working in the social media and hospitality industry


When I started my journey in pursuing love, peace and purpose after a series of traumatic life altering experiences, I decided to use my story and social media as a platform to encourage, equip and empower others. People will always have something to say and I am sure they say I will never do many things, however I choose to remain focused on positivity, surrounding myself with supportive individuals and concentrating only on things I have the power to change. With that focus I now have been able to engage thousands of people, bringing us together in meaningful conversations/events with a message of positive progression.


"Believe In Yourself! ~ As simple as this sounds, it is one of the greatest quotes of inspiration
as we cannot achieve what we first do not believe we can accomplish.”
Joanna PARRIS
Public Relations, Marketing, & Entertainment


When I started my company PR Diva Communications in 2015, I decided that I was tired of settling for less in my career. I was a Marketing Manager for one of the biggest engineering company's in Canada but that still wasn't enough for me. I felt that I was still not living my purpose and had to take more risks to start living it. Although I had that great position, I would reflect on the struggles that it took me to get there. The lack of opportunities that are given to women of colour in Canada in the corporate world (especially in my industry) are little to none. Even with my educational background and work experience I would be regularly turned down by companies after the interview stage with the same excuses..."You don't have enough experience" and etc. This is why I had to take matters into my own hands. I was tired of having doors close in my face and I started to focus on building my own doors and walking through them.

They say I will never make it in the entertainment industry, It is all about who you know. I have had so many critics and skeptics look down upon the risks I have taken to get to where I am now. Regardless of what peers have said to me, I have always remained true to myself and go after what I want. Your dreams are not for anyone else to understand but you. I have made so many sacrifices being an entrepreneur to live my purpose and there is no stopping me now.

Now I have been able to build established relationships and clientele in the entertainment industry not only in Canada but in Nigeria, UK, and America. I have sponsored my own trips and donated my time to platforms that I enjoy and feel will help develop my brand. In the last few years I have successfully worked with A-list celebrities, Athletes, Media Outlets, Start-ups, Corporations and with some of the biggest names in entertainment including: BET, MTV, CTV, CBC, NBA Canada, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Essence Magazine, The Juno Awards, Canada's Walk of Fame, NAACP Image Awards, African Fashion Week Toronto, Ty Hunter (Beyonce's Stylist), Wanda Sykes, Tika Sumpter and the list goes on.


"Walk by faith, not by sight.” - 2 Corinthians 5:7
Johanne P.GRANT
Justice of the peace Ontario Toronto
region ministry of the attorney general


When I started my legal studies I had many people tell me not to be disappointed if I did not finish and graduate. They did not have faith in my ability to achieve beyond what they had achieved for themselves. These words were meant to discourage me. They say that I will never go beyond what I have already achieved. I feel it is my obligation to my hard working parents and their legacy in Canada that I continue to strive. I am a first generation Canadian of Caribbean descent; I have a duty to my parents and my nieces, and nephews to be the best that I can be.

Now I have been able to achieve far beyond what my parents could ever have dreamed for me and further than the systemic and real constraints that have been imposed upon me as a woman of colour.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson.


Joy PERRY
Senior Vice President, Human Resources,
Randstad Canada


When I started my formal education at the age of 10 I was put back a grade when I started school in Canada. I spent the next decade working to keep pace with my peers. Being a shy and introverted individual, my confidence was shattered. However, being raised by a determined single mother of 4 daughters, as the youngest I became equally determined to overcome the early obstacles. Through determination, I graduated from high school.

They say I will never obtain a university education because I did not obtain grades required for a university education, however, I pursued and graduated from Sheridan College’s Business Administration Program. After a few years of working I felt my career was not progressing fast enough so I decided to quit my job to finally pursue a university education. I went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Labour Relations from the University of Toronto. But it didn’t stop there. I wasted no time in building an impressive Human Resources career. Now having a passion for continued learning, while working I took the opportunity to earn an Adult Training and Development certificate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. I became a successful leader, mother, joint care giver for our terminally ill mother, but still managed to complete a Masters of Human Resources Management Degree at York University.

Now I have been able to.... be at the top of my game as Senior Vice-President, Human Resources for Randstad Canada. After several years in the field, I catapulted into becoming the spokesperson in thought leadership for Human Resources. I rose to the top in spite of early challenges and am now an inspirational role model to others through hard work, dedication, resilience, grit and of course faith. I enjoy spending time with my teenage daughter, travelling, family and friends. I also mentor other professionals and volunteers while giving back to my community.


“Live, Love n Laugh today to the fullest; life is too short to be bitter.”
Juliet CREARY
CEO and Creator, Paba Cosmetics Inc.


Felicia Sarpong is the CEO and creator of Paba Cosmetics Inc. It was in 2001, when Sarpong decided to start a small cosmetics line that was created to flatter and compliment women of colour. Sarpong started off the business part time by selling the products wholesale to beauty supply stores across the GTA, Ottawa and Montreal. In 2010 Sarpong decided to make Paba Cosmetics her full time job and left her position as a senior manager in a bank. That year she opened the first Paba store in Accra, Ghana. Since then she has opened two more locations in Ghana and recently, the first Canadian location was opened in Etobicoke, Ontario. Sarpong currently runs Paba Cosmetics alongside her two daughters.


Karen DONALDSON
Trade & Investment Commissioner for Dominica (Canada)
IPP Commonwealth of Dominica Ontario Association (CDOA)
IPP Council of Caribbean Associations Canada (CCAC)


When I started my life in community service, I was five years old. My mother was the representative for UNICEF in my village in Dominica; she taught me at a very early age the responsibility I had as a human being to help the less fortunate by serving them. They say I will never missed an opportunity to make a positive difference in someone's life and that I will never give up on building community and making our world a better, safer and more positive place.

Now I have been able to reach thousands with inspiration & hope that our world can be a brighter more positive one. I have been able to help young children stay in school; encourage youth to attend college and university. I have been able to help seniors who were once isolated, to become more engaged in their senior years. I have been able to help build better communities in Dominica, the Caribbean and in the world.


"Thoughts become things...choose good ones"
Karen KING
Minister of the Gospel


When I started the journey was very rough and tough, but the Lord has been faithful and my husband who happens to be my mentor has been very supportive of me.

The general impression about me from the onset from my family member and friends was not encouraging. Many doubted the ability of God to do what man cannot do in my life, but the Lord has the final say and that is exactly what God has been doing in my life and with my family. Today I can stand anywhere to celebrate the grace of God upon my life, family and ministry.

“Love everyone, but trust no one but God.”
Karima GOUNDIAM
Founder Kids On the Mission to Excel Philanthropist/Community Mobilizer


Karine MORIN
Image Consultant, Executive Director & Show Organizer/Community Events


When I first started this journey of creating an accepting, welcoming and safe space for full figured women it was built on pain and frustration; as an immigrant to Canada from the island of Jamaica I was raised in an environment where you as a 'big girl' were never discriminated against. Then to be brought to a country where full figured individuals are looked upon with distain can cause major mental health and self esteem issues on a young girl's development. After overcoming self inflicting self confidence challenges, I was determined to never let another young girl or woman feel the way I did hence, The Fuller Woman Inc. was born. With the foundation as a certified Image Consultant teaching the ABC's of Image - Appearance, Behaviour and Communication skills I exclusively worked with full figured women to elevate and increase their self worth and confidence allowing them to see and feel their true beauty, but that was not enough. I decided to expand into events, pageants, girls’ camps and clothing.

They said I would never be able to make it all work, well I have always loved a challenge and as long as I live its a work in progress but so far I have been able to start a clothing line, run a pageant, organize and execute the first consumer trade show in North America and the only one in Canada with divisions in the US and Africa.


“Coins always make sounds but paper money is silent so when your value increases keep yourself humble and silent.”
Karlyn PARCIL MERCIECA
Public Health Nurse / Community Educator / Registered Midwife


When I started nursing I was the only black woman in my course. Since then, I have accomplished two degrees; in Nursing, and in Education. I successfully completed my Graduate Diploma in Midwifery and my Masters in Nursing. I am currently working on my Doctoral Studies. They say I will never make it, but despite their opinions I have since worked as a labour and delivery nurse, in public health, Childbirth Education and in curriculum and program planning.

Now I have been able to gracefully rise in my career where I currently work as a Community Educator, making policy and practice decisions for community staff and working in Public Health Nursing. Other expertises I possess include developing, coordinating and implementing health promotion programs to address community health needs. My career is dedicated to nurturing a future generation of leaders by modelling high quality, reliable systems of care through my life experiences.


Virginia Henderson: “A Great nurse has to have a combination of heart, head and hands”.
Kay MORRIS
Founder/Host of Integration TV


Hodan Nalayeh is a social media powerhouse who has built a multimedia empire that showcases the power of digital storytelling by sharing diverse cultural stories. A pioneer in her community, she is first Somali woman media owner as the Founder of Integration TV. Nalayeh's honest & authentic social media posts about life's challenges and hurdles have inspired many to look at life in a new perspective.

Nalayeh is currently working on her first book due in 2016.


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”― Mahatma Gandhi
Kaylee SHALLOW
Vice President Nursing Program/Chief Nursing
Officer - Community Health Sector


When Ryerson University created their Degree Program I took the challenge and became the second graduating class in 1982. This program introduced me to my passion in health care when I was slated to work as a community health care nurse for the Victorian Order of Nurses. I was fortunate to be able to work in the capacity as a frontline nurse for 5 years.

As reserved as I was, most people thought that I would never be able to excel as manager when I acquired a management position at VON in 1987. I mastered this front-line management positions for over 10 years at VON and eventually was appointed as the Director of the entire nursing department.

My management experience at VON served as the foundation to propel me into other management positions within the Community Health care sector. I was able to excel from a Director of Client Services to Executive Director of the Community Care Access Centre in Scarborough for over 9 years. I finally achieved my current position as the Vice President and Chief Nursing Office for S.R.T. Med-Staff in 2013. In this capacity I have the opportunity to provide leadership and support to middle management and frontline staff; strategic planning, program development; resource management and alliance building. My resume attached provides a detailed overview of all my accomplishment throughout my wonderful career in nursing.


“Janet does not want to follow where the path leads, she wants to create a path and leave a trail for others to follow!”
Keesha BROWNIE
Law Clerk, Author, and Poet


When I started my journey to publication of my book Life's Poetry, I was excited and happy to embark on this journey knowing that it was a dream that I wanted to fulfill and accomplish. I started writing at an early age and used this as a communication outlet to express my feelings and emotions. I believe we all go though various challenges in life and it is very important to channel our emotions in a positive way. When I made that choice to pursue my dreams it was the most amazing feeling ever. Since then, as an artist I have faced various challenges and was told that I have to be more like this poet or that author and recite my poetry a certain way. They say I will never be as successful as that author or poet but I have always believed that everyone has their own view of what success should be. I believe that once you have made a difference and inspired others, then you have accomplished success. I feel very blessed with my level of success and will continue to strive for the best. Now I have been able to determine that I have been successful by inspiring others. I am the founder of Life's Poetry Community Empowerment, which is a non-profit organization with a mission of inspiring others through community empowerment. I currently mentor girls ages 8-12 and organize a community book club for girls which encourages reading and writing poetry. This book club empowers our girls to believe and follow their dreams.


Be Inspired! Feel Inspired! Stay Inspired! This is your time...just shine!