The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism today announced its Board of Directors and its Committee Chairs.

“The announcement of the BlackNorth Initiative’s Board of Directors and Committee Chairs is again borrowing business best practices – creating a governance structure that is built for success,” said Wes Hall, Founder and Chairman of the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism. “I am extremely proud to see the extent to which leaders across Canada are committing their time to end anti-Black systemic racism.”

The BlackNorth Initiative’s Board of Directors was purposefully created to reflect the rich cultural mosaic of Canada to be a dynamic and diverse governance body – one with the depth, breadth and reach needed to create the right policies and oversight needed to sustain the organization’s drive towards dismantling anti-Black systemic racism.

The BlackNorth Initiative’s Board of Directors

  1. Chair: Wes Hall, Executive Chairman & Founder, Kingsdale Advisors
  2. Co-Chair: Rola Dagher, President & CEO, Cisco Canada
  3. Co-Chair: Victor Dodig, President & CEO, CIBC
  4. Co-Chair: Prem Watsa, Chairman & CEO, Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited
  5. Dr. Upton Allen, Professor of Paediatrics & Chief of Infectious Diseases, SickKids, University of Toronto
  6. Jordan Banks, President, Rogers Sports & Media
  7. Donette Chin-Loy Chang, Communications Strategist and Philanthropist
  8. Paul Desmarais III, Chairman & CEO, Sagard Holdings
  9. Newton Glassman, Founder & Managing Partner, Catalyst Capital Group Inc.
  10. Right Honourable David Johnston, Former Governor General of Canada
  11. Dr. Jennifer R. Jackson, President, Capital One Canada
  12. Barry Mclnerney, President & CEO, Mackenzie Investments
  13. Michael Medline, President & CEO, Empire Company Limited
  14. Mark Mulroney, Vice Chairman, Scotiabank
  15. The Honourable Donald Oliver, Retired Senator
  16. Jeffrey L. Orridge, Chairman, Tiidal Gaming Group
  17. Jaqui Parchment, CEO, Mercer Canada
  18. Brian Porter, President, & CEO, Scotiabank
  19. David Sharpe, CEO, Bridging Finance Inc.
  20. Walied Soliman, Chair, Norton Rose Fulbright

To enable and oversee specific, high priority workstreams, a team of Committee Chairs were also announced. Each committee will establish an action-oriented mandate, a set of key performance indicators, and a series of short- and long-term deliverables singularly focused on removing barriers to opportunities that Blacks face.

Committees of note include:

  1. Justice Committee – Co-Chairs: Mark Persaud, Senior Legal Counsel, Persaud Law Group Professional Corporation and Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto
  2. Education Committee – Co-Chairs: Gervan Fearon, President and Vice-Chancellor, Brock University and Carl James, Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora at York University
  3. Health Committee – Co-Chairs: Dr. Upton Allen, Professor of Paediatrics & Chief of Infectious Diseases, SickKids, University of Toronto and Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO, Wellesley Institute
  4. Philanthropic Committee – Chair: Daniel Lewis, Managing Partner, Orange Capital and CEO of Ascend Fundraising Solutions
  5. At Risk Youth Committee – Chair: Mark Saunders, Toronto Chief of Police
  6. Community Safety and Wellness Committee – Chair: Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO, Wellesley Institute
  7. Economic and Empowerment Committee – Chair: Dr. Jennifer R. Jackson, President, Canada Capital One Canada
  8. Mentorship/Sponsorship Committee – Co-Chairs: Patricia DeGuire, Sr. Arbitrator/ Mediator/ Coach and Dr. Chika B. Onwuekwe, Q.C., VP Legal, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Trican Well Service Ltd.
  9. Sports and Entertainment Committee – Co-Chairs: Isiah Thomas, Founder, Isiah International and Vice Chairman/CEO, One World Pharma and Donovan Bailey, Sports Athlete
  10. Government Relations and Public Sector Committee – Chair: Honourable Donald Oliver, Retired Senator
  11. Representation in Arts, Media & Culture – Chair: Kai Exos, CCO, Dentsu Entertainment, Dentsu Aegis Network
  12. Indigenous Observer Committee – Chair: David Sharpe, CEO, Bridging Finance Inc.

“For most of my professional life, I have advocated to have the right leaders in place – those with the right experience and skill sets to drive an organization forward. I am very proud to stand with the Board of Directors and Committee Chairs we have named today for the BlackNorth Initiative,” concluded Mr. Hall.

The inaugural BlackNorth Initiative Summit will be held on July 20, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET). At the summit, leaders will be asked to sign a CEO Pledge committing their organizations to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism.

Register today to experience the BlackNorth Initiative summit with our incredible speakers, exclusive fireside chats and much more. Share or sign the CEO Pledge and submit to to participate.


Andy Radia
Director, Communications and Marketing
Kingsdale Advisors
Telephone: 416-867-2357

Helena Wade
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Telephone: 613-483-7853