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    PROFILES | PERSONALITIES

    Personalities

    Welcome to my new column. Each month I’ll shoot 10 questions at someone who is making waves in the Black Canadian community and beyond.

    It is not every engineer whose innovation has actually added a term to the English language, but so it was with African Canadian-born inventor Elijah McCoy. The automatic oiling device he invented in 1872 revolutionized steam train technology. It was much imitated, but his own version was so much more effective that for many railroads, only the “real McCoy” would do.

    Three years ago Ainka Jess was having a chat with some other women around the office. The topic was sports, and many of the women said they didn't feel comfortable either talking about sports or engaging in conversations about sports. Especially if they were around their male colleagues. “A lot of them said they kind of felt like they to ask for permission to just be a part of the conversation,” says Jess. With 12 years experience in media and communications, and being a huge sports fan herself, Jess thought she could do something to bridge this gap. She's4Sports was…

    In October 2018 Weyni Mengesha returned to Toronto as Soulpepper Theatre’s Artistic Director - making her the first woman and person of colour to sit at the helm of the city’s largest non-profit.

    Neke Ibeh pronounced Neh-keh is a bioinformatician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. She was born in Bulgaria to Nigerian parents, and migrated to Canada at an early age. Growing up Neke recalls her mother asking only one favour. “Do well in school and represent God in all you do.”

    Dr. Kenneth Montague is a well known dentist, curator, and respected collector of works by local and International contemporary African artists. He works behind the scenes in Toronto's art world as one of the AGO's Board of Trustees, and as founding director of Wedge Curatorial Projects; a not-for-profit arts organization that supports Black emerging artists.

    With a one-hundred-and-fifty-year head start in marketing beer to guys - as a guy’s product, Ren Navarro disrupts the white male-dominated Canadian beer industry, with diversity and inclusivity.

    Nadia Theodore has been awake since dawn today, out of the house before 7am for a speaking engagement with the Atlanta Council on International Relations. And she still has a lot more on her calendar before trying to get home in time for dinner.

    Aaron Lewin is a Canadian comic on the verge of greatness. You may recognize the "Aaron Lewin and Friends" brand from his most recent sold out comedy show during Toronto Carnival, featuring another comedian, Shiggy - who skyrocketed to fame with the #InMyFeelings challenge.

    More than half of Toronto identifies as a visible minority, making it one of the most diverse cities in the world. So when Al Ramsay found out he would be the first Black person to receive the Trailblazer Alumni award from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, he was floored.

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