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Speakers

Liberal MP Ruby Sahota

Born in Toronto and raised in Brampton, Ruby Sahota is an active member of her local community and is driven by the desire to give back to her riding of Brampton North.Before entering politics, Ruby worked as a lawyer, practicing for five years in the areas of criminal law, civil litigation, and dispute resolution. Ruby holds a combined Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Peace Studies from McMaster University and a J.D. with a concentration in Litigation from Thomas M. Cooley Law School where she was awarded the Blue Book Award in Immigration Law for achieving the highest GPA in her graduating class.

Ruby is a dedicated mother of a seven-year-old and a natural leader, she is passionate about engaging the youth vote, and is experienced in galvanizing people toward a common goal. As a Member of Parliament, Ruby is the Chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and is a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Ruby also served as the Chair of the Federal Liberal Ontario Caucus and was previously a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women and the Special Committee for Electoral Reform. Outside of Ottawa, Ruby believes in being an accessible MP for her constituents, providing mentorship to young people, and highlighting the diversity of Brampton North.

MPP Sara Singh

Born and raised in Brampton, Sara is a multilingual Ph.D. candidate at Ryerson University with a Master of Arts in International Development Studies. She has a long history of local advocacy being the founding director of Broadening Horizons, Board Director at Community Living Ontario, and former vice-president Brampton Caledon Community Living.

She has been a strong fighter of local businesses, workers’ rights and she’s committed to bringing families in Brampton-Centre change for the better. Sara is committed to putting an end to sky-rocketing auto insurance rates and postal code discrimination, and will continue to fight for better hospitals for the people of Brampton.

Nikki Clarke

Jamaican born, Nikki Clarke, holds a Diploma in Social Sciences from John Abbott College and at, McGill University, studied Film and Communications. Nikki was an instructor at Sheridan College, in the Faculty of Early Childhood Education, the School of Business, and Community Development from 1999 to 2009. Nikki was elected the President of the Ontario Black History Society in 2015. Nikki’s third book, Transforming Lives, One Story at a Time: Powerful Stories of Success and Inspiration, an anthology of empowering reflections was published in 2017. Nikki also is known as Canada’s Oprah, is the founder, producer and host of the Nikki Clarke Show. Nikki is the proud mother of 3 adult children.

Nikki was the NDP MPP Candidate for Mississauga Malton in 2018 and MP Candidate in 2019. Nikki serves on The Human Trafficking Advisory Board in Peel, Director of Policy and Research for Keep 6ix, an organization that supports the prevention of youth in the criminal justice system and a member of the Black Community Advisory Council of the United Way of Greater Toronto. Nikki is an ordained lay pastor. She was recently nominated for the Breaking Boundaries for Social Justice by Ontario NDP’s Women’s Committee, the Eminence Award, the Genius Award for Leadership, three Magnetic Entrepreneur Author Awards nominations for Demonstration of Integrity, Best Marketing, and Best Influential Book Awards.

Sheena Chaudhry

Sheena Chaudhry has over 20+ years in Human Resources in the areas of talent acquisition, generalist, leadership development and diversity & inclusion. As an effective diversity & inclusion leader and consultant she has focused on developing strategy, attracting diverse talent, increasing awareness and creating a more positive work culture. As a thought leader Sheena has partnered with the C-suite to gain buy in and traction with executive champions, customize deliverables per the needs of the organization and develop successful communication strategies to manage change.

She has led organizations to be recognized externally with titles such as Canada’s Top Diversity Employer and Canada’s Top Employer for Young People. Currently, Sheena has developed the first five-year diversity & inclusion strategy for Toronto Pearson and leads on execution, design of programming and success measures. In her first year at Toronto Pearson, she has engaged leadership and employees through various initiatives while understanding business needs and opportunities.

Sheena holds a BA in Sociology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management.

City Councillor Harkirat Singh

Councillor Singh is a well-known community leader in Brampton. Prior to his role as CityCouncillor, he served a four-year term as School Trustee at the Peel District School Board.As a Trustee, he sat on the Audit Committee, Instructional Program/Curriculum Committee,and Physical Building and Planning Committee. He was also the regional representative atthe Ontario Public School Board Association (OPSBA).

Alongside his role as a Trustee, Councillor Singh spent two and a half years as a Professor at Lambton College and two years as a Professor at Humber College teaching Marketing & Entrepreneurship. Currently, Councillor Singh sits as a Research Fellow at the Broadbent Institute.

Councillor Singh has a passion for community development, where he actively runs mentorship workshops and career fairs in local schools. In 2016, he was nominated for a mentorship award by the Brampton Board of Trade for his work with youth.

Councillor Singh holds a BA from the University of Toronto where he majored in Economics and Public Administration, MSc. in Economics from London Metropolitan University, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business where he specialized in Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Organizational Behaviour.

Additionally, Councillor Singh completed the Municipal Administration Program (MAP) from the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO). Councillor Singh currently resides in wards 9 & 10 and is extremely passionate about vocalizing the needs of his residents.

City Councillor Charmaine Williams for Wards 7 and 8

Charmaine Williams became the first black woman elected to Brampton City Council in 2018. Her beliefs, values and courage to advocate for people are shaped by her professional and personal experiences.

Prior to entering politics, she had 19-year career as a certified Multi-Systemic Therapist, behavioural consultant and counsellor. Charmaine has been a voice on behalf of families and children of all ages coping with domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, neglect, trauma and other personalchallenges. She has worked in a number of therapeutic programs and organizations like Associated Youth Services of Peel, Youth Substance Abuse Program, Peel Children’s Center and the Reach Out Center for Kids in Peel and the Halton Region.

Charmaine believes that public service is the art of the possible, and her recent personal experience overcoming a debilitating health issue demonstrated her determination to pursue what is possible. She pushed through the obstacles to be able to enter public service in 2018, inspired and energized to work for her community.

Laraib Ashfaq

Laraib Ashfaq is a passionate youth who envisions change and advocates for those in need, especially youth. Her proactive engagements reflect the issues that she holds close to her heart: governance, human rights, mental health, gender equality, and civic engagement. At the moment, Laraib is working for The Centre of Education and Training (TCET) as a Program Coordinator where she has facilitated several workshops and events.

As a result of Laraib’s involvement with well-respected organizations such as (TCET) and Amnesty International, many youths have been able to realize their potential and attain the necessary skills needed for them to grow and create an impact in their community. One of the ways that Laraib has made this possible is by mentoring youth in the community and planning events focused on youth needs. What is more, Laraib continues to give back by volunteering for community-oriented groups such as Empowher, Muslim Youth Network (MYN), Brampton Change Makers (BCM), Schulich School of Business Lab, and the Liberal Party’s Youth Council.

The relationship that Laraib has built with the youth from Peel Region has allowed her to understand the psychological toll that COVID-19 has brought to many students. This motivated her to launch her own community initiative Finding Solace Together which provides a safe space for youth to discuss their problems/concerns and offers appropriate resources. Finding Solace Together is a unique initiative as it uses art therapy to help youth destress.

By engaging with youth and being a part of that demographic, Laraib has been able to successfully navigate through societal barriers that concern youth, and as a result, she continues to propose solutions that genuinely reflect the need of her community.

Akeem Gardner

Akeem Gardner, Co-founder/CEO,LL.B brings a unique creativity and passion in creating the Atlas vison that leverages technology and the environment for global change. Akeem is a true entrepreneurial thinker that uses his keen legal mind to solve problems. As a community builder and innovator in niche markets, Akeem recognized the unlimited downstream potential of climate solutions, the natural environment and its connection to sport and has built a viable business in the cannabis/hemp industry.

Shazard Ramjohn

Shazard Ramjohn is the Founder of Helping Our People Community Projects, a Registered Charity.

Growing up Shazard came from humble beginnings. His parents were immigrants who came from the Caribbean working 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet. Shazard started his journey in Leadership at a young age of 15. He was chosen to attend a leadership program in his school in which he found his strengths, and his passion for life. Shazard was awarded a Leadership Scholarship where he was sent to Vancouver BC, to be on stage with the 14 th Dalai Lama, and Craig Keilburger, founder of Free the Children, now known as We Charity. This experience changed his life and inspired him to pursue Philanthropy and social work.

Shazard then worked with We Charity, and traveled Canada doing workshops and speeches facilitating over 4000 youth.

After his contract ended Shazard took part in small community projects in priority communities like Jane and Finch, Jane and Sheppard and Jane and Wilson. Shazard also constructed and executed a Charitable fundraiser which successfully funded a Water Well in Kenya. With his heavy involvement in the community it in turn led him to founding the Charity.

Shazard has a passion for Creativity, he loves to create music, and art as it is an outlet. He takes these passions and has applied them to his vision for the Charity. HOPCP Charity is a reflection of his passions in the arts, and entrepreneurship. Shazard hopes to inspire those who dare to dream through his charity, giving youth an opportunity to reach their dreams, and connect with like minded people.

Jennifer Fisher

Jennifer is an up-and-coming transformational speaker and writer dedicated to helping young women reach their fullest potential. "I have studied success and personal development extensively and I am on a quest to share what I know to help others achieve their personal definition of success."  

Jennifer is the Interim Supervisor and Senior Technologist for the Pathology Laboratory at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ontario.  She has a Diploma in Laboratory Medicine, a Bachelor's of Health Services Management and, two designations with the American Society of Quality as a Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA) and a Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE).  She has studied leadership, organizational excellence, and quality improvement for the past 15 years and she's putting her passion for excellence into her passion for seeing people succeed.

Tara Ocansey

Tara Ocansey is a television and commercial Wardrobe Stylist, she works with well-respected stylists in the industry, taking on jobs for big names such as Nike, Big Brother, Canada's Drag Race, and many more!

Tara is now taking over the beauty industry with her product The Oveil! The Oveil is a reusable makeup shield that protects your clothes from makeup stains while getting dressed. As a Wardrobe Stylist, Tara has frequently heard her clients express their frustration with their makeup rubbing onto their clothes while trying to find alternatives to prevent makeup stains, she decided to create an innovative product that solved this problem. After the Oveil’s official launch, beauty-enthusiasts immediately took to social media and declared The Oveil to be a “must-have item in every beauty bag!”

Tara recognizes that success is not measured by one’s own achievements, success is measured by allowing your community to grow with you. As such, Tara has used her platform to empower young aspiring entrepreneurs and has helped many realize their potential to become future leaders.

Emmanuel Amponsah

Emmanuel is a Web Developer with over 5 years of experience. He specialize in custom Wordpress and Shopify theme development, web interface design and graphic design. He is a creative individual with a strong passion for branding, identity design and photography. When he is not coding or designing, he likes to keep himself inspired by listening to music, drawing, cooking, shooting and editing photos.

Ren Guidolin

Ren started creating his own path back in 2018 during the CUPE strikes that held him out of class, and at the time, out of work, for long enough to get ideas and inspiration flowing. The newly found time lead to the development of Uniquity. From there, Ren became more involved with his community, from the businesses in the GTA to the multiple levels of government that affected them, as he became more increasingly interested in Canadian politics in practice, leading to Ren co founding a movement to get Brampton politicians to give equal attention to youth in their decision making. Making waves within just a few months, and seeing the results of them, Ren knew that the movement had succeeding in its goals, allowing him to move forward to his current projects, MAWB and NSE.

Melissa Dsouza

Melissa is a versatile Communications Specialist, Brand Strategist and a Digital Enthusiast with over 7 years of experience across corporate and not-for-profit organizations. She is an exceptional communicator with great organizational and collaborative skills, and creative abilities to drive strategic communications. Her passion to create content paired with a keen eye for design have helped transform many brands. She loves to volunteer and has been a member of EmpowHer since August 2019.

Lara Batarseh

Lara Batarseh is an experienced manager, relationship builder and recruiter with over 10 years of experience providing employment and career services to a diverse group of clients and industries. Lara has a degree from York University, has experience in social services, career counselling, adult education and community involvement. Lara strongly believes that to be successful at something, you have to be passionate about it. Her passion combined with her unique ability to connect and establish rapport and long lasting relationships with clients and stakeholders, has set her up nicely for success at every step of her career.

Marina Stilli

Marina Stilli has over 8 years of corporate recruiting experience, having worked in both the private and non for profit sectors. Marina has a degree from the University of Toronto and she has recruited for everything from the Trades, IT, Customer Service, Finance, Stakeholder Relations, Communications, Law, Fire and Emergency Services, Maintenance, Human Resources and most recently, Airport Operations. Building relationships with Hiring Managers and candidates is what she knows, which has given her a unique perspective to both sides of the recruitment process.

Yukti Aujla

Yukti Aujla is a Human Resources professional with over ten years of focus in Talent Acquisition. Most of her experience has been within the healthcare and aviation industry. In her current position at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority as a Program Manager, she has been focusing on designing and managing employee experience and organizational development initiatives. She graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, specialized in Human Resources Management, from Ryerson University. Outside of work, she loves spending time with family, travelling and experiencing the diverse cultures in the world!

Sam Walters

My name is Sam Walters, owner of Sam’s Juices. We are tropical juice and smoothie business. We currently make and serve our juices out of a juice truck. Being a mobile business allows us to travel to different food festivals and cut events to share our great product with different people. Sam’s juices has had the opportunity to be in a lot of major festivals across the GTA serving our fresh smoothies and fresh juices while leaving a smile on customers faces. Our goal is to have multiplied locations to serve our amazing product to amazing people.

Ashley Wright

Ashley Wright is a young entrepreneur and motivational speaker from Toronto, Canada. She started her first business at the age of 17 years old and used that experience to create two businesses and multiple streams of income. She has 2 businesses; The Wright Success and Study Cryptos. The Wright Success focuses on helping individuals become the best version of themselves through self-development and business coaching. Study Cryptos is an online academy that makes learning about Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology easy.

Ashley has spoken at many conferences, was featured by "Women of Influence" and "Gal Talks Tech" and has met some of the top cryptocurrency icons, including rapper, Akon. Ashley always says, "My main goal in life is to make a difference in people's lives." and "You can create your own opportunities!" She is also passionate about entrepreneurship and women empowerment.

Michael Onabolu

Michael Onabolu is a recording artist based in Brampton, with roots across the GTA. Hisstyle is best described as societal motivational with a strong mix of vulnerability and wordplay aesthetic. Michael grew up writing poetry which quickly turned into writing Hip-Hop and R&B rhymes, freestyling and at times motivational speaking through ACCESS Charity. Michael has a background in business and began his career in public accounting before making the daring switch into a music career full time. Michael now spends his time perfecting his craft and living his passion for music through recording, while working in SaaS sales to help fund his dream. Michael is actively involved in multiple social enterprises, and vehemently and whole-heartedly plans to change the World through sound with a goal of penetrating the social consciousness. Michael's early work can be found on all streaming platforms under his early monachor of I AM (see latest EP: The Dark Side of the Man), with future works planned to be presented under his real name of Michael Onabolu. Follow Michael'sjourney @onabolu_inc on Instagram and Twitter.

Mark Abankwa

Born in West Africa Ghana, Mark Abankwa migrated to Canada at a tender age of 5. He is the eldest of two and from birth, is known to be an entrepreneur and a leader. Mark Abankwa has a business diploma, majoring in Accounting, from Sheridan College. Rather then continuing his CMA (Certified Management Accounting) at Guelph Humber University, the entrepreneur spirit in Mark lead him to develop a passion in starting his own taxation company, which is now known as M|FINANCIAL. Today Mark is a 13-year self-employed businessman where he and his employed staff provide services in taxation, insurance coverage, financial planning, real estate investing, business and artist management, branded under the company M|A MANAGEMENT, and fund management for non-profit organizations. He has multiple businesses under his belt, under his umbrella company TUA (The Urban Accountant) and is well respected and partnered by many organizations and individuals.

Prince Khan

Prince is a Business Consultant with the Halton Region, servicing small businesses in the Oakville,Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills municipalities. With over 5 years of experience working with small businesses and students Prince has helped countless individuals develop and grow their personal brand through LinkedIn. In this session, Prince will walk you through the step by step process on how to get noticed on LinkedIn and the best practices you should demonstrate in order to create a brand that is recognizable by those in your network and beyond. Prince will also discuss tips and tricks on finding employment and how to also develop your company brand through the platform.

Past Speakers