BLACKS Career Conversation Series: Imagining Futures
Date: Feb. 17, 2022 – Feb. 17, 2022
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Black Leadership, Ambition, Collective Knowledge and Success (BLACKS) is a Career Conversation Series in partnership with Black Mentorship Inc. (BMI), Sheridan's Career-Integrated Learning services, Student Affairs and the Alumni Relations team. In celebration of Black History Month, we have invited Sheridan students and alumni to dive deep into a conversation about “Imagining Futures”: it is now time for us – individually and collectively – to envision dynamic futures grounded in hope and how a better tomorrow may look.
Join us on February 17 to hear from alumni who are successful Black professionals, and Black students about their experiences and success stories.
We will begin the evening with a special keynote presentation from Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa, an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and a physician. One of Time magazine’s “2021 Next Generational Leaders”, Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa is an accomplished physician, spoken word poet, and advocate for racialized and marginalized populations. Dedicated to the mentorship of racialized youth and the advancement of the Black community and beyond, she speaks to addressing inequities and advancing efforts in wellness and mental health, diversity and inclusion, and women empowerment.
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Time: 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Location: Online, Hopin
Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa
Advocate for Diversity and Inclusion | Physician
One of Time magazine’s “2021 Next Generational Leaders”, Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa is an accomplished physician, spoken word poet, and advocate for racialized and marginalized populations. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, where she was named valedictorian of her graduating class — the first Black woman to be recognized as sole valedictorian within the faculty. Dedicated to the mentorship of racialized youth and the advancement of the Black community and beyond, she speaks to addressing inequities and advancing efforts in wellness and mental health, diversity and inclusion, and women empowerment.
Currently, Oriuwa is a resident doctor in psychiatry at U of T, where she’s completing further specialist training in neuro-psychiatry and neuro-inflammatory diseases. As a first-generation Nigerian-Canadian woman, and the only Black medical student in her cohort, Oriuwa has become a vocal advocate for improving disparities in Black health and confronting institutional discrimination. She has been invited to give national and international keynotes, seminars, lectures, and panelist contributions on the topic of advancing equity in medicine, women’s empowerment, mental health and wellness, global health, and her journey as an underrepresented minority in medicine.
As an ambassador and educator of the Black Student Application Program (BSAP) at U of T, Oriuwa has had the privilege to speak on national and international platforms, through various media syndications, as a champion of inclusion, diversity, and empowerment of marginalized voices. In 2020, the Temerty Faculty of Medicine admitted the largest group of Black medical students in Canadian history, a reflection of the success of the BSAP and the power of Oriuwa’s narrative to create paradigm shifts in powerful spaces.
Oriuwa is also a professional spoken word artist. Working under the Hamilton Youth Poets, she has earned her place as a national slam poetry finalist twice. In 2017, she released her renowned slam poem “Woman, Black” and in 2018 published her seminal article In My White Coat, I am More Black than Ever for FLARE magazine’s Black History Month campaign. She has also been featured on CBC’s The National, CTV News, CP24, Toronto Star, Time magazine, and TODAY, amongst others. She is slated to release her first memoir with HarperCollins in 2023.
A recipient of numerous prestigious awards and honours, Oriuwa has been recognized as one of Best Health Magazine's “2020 Women of the Year”. She was also recently honoured in Mattel’s #ThankYouHeroes campaign alongside five other women with a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll made in her image to commemorate her contributions as a frontline healthcare worker. Oriuwa also serves on Indigo's board of directors, using her expertise to inform their efforts in advancing equity and curating spaces of wellness and inclusion.
Founder of Black Mentorship Inc.
Chima is the founder of Black Mentorship Inc. (BMI) – an organization dedicated to fostering the professional growth and personal expansion of Black professionals through education, mentorship and skill-building. BMI was born out of her personal experiences with systemic racism and bias as a Black professional woman in Canada. Despite having a master's degree in Information Technology Services, diplomas in Computer Network, Project Management, and Business Analysis – along with numerous professional certifications, her work ethics and commitment – she could not reach her professional aspirations.
Out of these experiences and with the recognition that Black professionals are underrepresented across industries and in leadership roles, Chima created BMI to inspire, support and mentor Black professionals to fulfill their potential, build community and promote change.
She created a framework to ensure every Black person has an opportunity to reach personal and professional empowerment through mentorship, education and skills building.
Chima provides consultation to Sheridan College executives and academic leadership teams on equity, diversity and inclusion through the BLACKS initiative. This past summer, she provided mentorship to 16 Sheridan students through Sheridan College's Virtual Internship Program (VIP) – Innovation accelerator stream.
She encourages communities and organizations to imbed equity and inclusion within their change-planning to create a safe, inclusive workplace. Through her work, Chima offers students from diverse communities internship opportunities via the Black Mentorship Inc. platform.
Chima sits on the Learning Disabilities Association of Halton-Hamilton Board, the Halton Equity Diversity Roundtable and the HIEC Partnership Advisory Table and participates in many strategic planning and program development roundtables, promoting change and building safe, inclusive and equitable communities.
Chima has been named one of the Black women to watch and is the 2021 Women of Inspiration Black Leader Award Winner. Her dream is to see every Black professional reach their full potential. She is also a devoted wife and mother of four boys!
Nick Nurse, Business '99
Senior Associate, Social Impact and Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank Group
Nurse began his career in banking as a teller at TD Bank in the early 2000s and earned a degree in Management and Enterprise Development from Ryerson University in 2003, after graduating from Sheridan with a diploma in business. Since then, Nurse has held progressive roles in retail banking at TD, including Financial Advisor and Branch Service Manager. In 2015 Nurse made a transition to corporate HR and supported multiple teams including Employee Programs and Leaves Management. Recent positions include strategy roles in Organizational Effectiveness and Wellness Benefits. His work in diversity and inclusion (D&I) over the years, as well as his own lived experiences, have broadened his understanding of social justice issues in the Black, LGBTQ2+ and Indigenous communities. This led to him to lend consultant support for TD's Gender Identify Evolution Management (GIEM) project in 2019. In May of 2021, Nurse was able to contribute his talent in D&I strategy and planning to the successful execution of TD's Red Dress Day event featuring notable Indigenous activist, Sheila North. In addition, he is a 2021 mentor with the Tent partnership for LBGTQ2+ refugees and creates written content for the Black Employee Network at TD. Other notable external organizations that Nurse has partnered with are the AIDS Committee of Toronto and Pride Toronto. Nurse has enjoyed travel to Italy, Spain, South America, Barbados, Cuba and Mexico and is able to communicate in basic written and spoken Spanish. He enjoys delicious food from around the world, 70s/80s music with a special affection for Latin jazz, human interest stories in cinema, personal writing projects and has an organic/holistic approach to physical/mental health and well-being. He lives with his partner in Toronto.
Nurse currently manages the Black History Month and Music/Ethno-Cultural portfolios in Corporate Citizenship at TD.
Vanessa Mensah, Social Service Worker ‘08
Project Manager, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives at City of Kingston
Mensah is a graduate of Sheridan College from the Social Service Program and a lifelong learner. With intersectional lived experience, she has been delivering innovative solutions that achieve equitable outcomes, improve culture, and produce transformational results locally and provincially. She has guided organizations and institutions in both public and private sectors towards systemic changes through reflective and reflexive practice. Additionally, Mensah offers training, coaching, professional development, and organizational change processes in social and community services.
With 10 years experience as a Child Welfare worker, Mensah has a deep interest in challenging systems that create barriers for marginalized children, youth, families, and communities particularly the impacts of colonialism and racism. Mensah recently joined the City of Kingston for work where she is providing leadership on EDI within the corporation and in the community. As well, she is a sessional facilitator with the Ontario Children Aid Society and involved in her community.
Akil McKenzie, Bachelor of Film and Television ’18
CEO, Falling Motion
McKenzie is the CEO of the media production company, Falling Motion. He runs a team of talented people that work on films, commercials, music videos, weddings, and events. Falling Motion has worked with clients such as Lexus, Carlsberg, Chanel, Red Bull, the Globe and Mail and Dexta Daps to name a few. Falling Motion is currently Halton's main hub for media production and has been filming many community-oriented projects throughout the pandemic. McKenzie is an award-winning director, producer, cinematographer, editor, public speaker, and poetic artist. He does numerous lectures at secondary and postsecondary institutions about film, poetry, social justice, and speech writing. As a creative, McKenzie is always looking for new artforms to express thought and emotion.
Black Mentorship Inc. strengthens Black leadership by providing access and training to increase awareness, self-esteem, confidence and communication to navigate problem-solving for all ages. By providing young Black people with leaders who have walked in their shoes and who they can relate to, it gives them the courage and exposure to develop their potentials.