BOARD & MANAGEMENT
BOARD AND MANAGEMENT
Founder & Chairman
Michael Forrest is the Founder and Chairman of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce. He is an entrepreneur and the CEO of the Forrest Management Group of Companies. His professional experience spans several sectors from Supply Chain Management, Oil & Gas: Energy, Transportation, manufacturing, International Trade and Community Development. After attending the University of Waterloo, he has worked in a leadership capacity for Chevron-Texaco and the Mead Corporation. He is a visionary leader and a strategic thinker who aims to always exceed the needs of all stakeholders, while being cognizant of the environment and all local communities. He is a strong believer of Building Wealth and Building Trust.
Andria Barrett is the President of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce. She has been with the Chamber since its inception and is responsible for leading a team that contributes to creating and supporting Black-owned business across the country. In addition, Andria represents the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce on the Pan-African Credit Union Steering Committee. She is CEO of The Diversity Agency and has conducted numerous training and consulting assignments for corporations, municipal and provincial governments and agencies and has completed the Black Governance & Leadership Training in Toronto.
Ivor is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and is the Head of Finance for a medium-sized charitable organization. As a seasoned Accounting\Finance professional, Ivor brings over 25 years experience including over 12 years financial managerial experience, in non-profit and charitable organizations
Ivor also sits on the Board of other Non-Profit organizations, such Caribana Arts Group, and The Lions Circle African Mens Association. Tirelessly lending out his expertise and skills to the Black Community.
Part of Ivor’s success and make-up is his understanding of the power of teamwork. Ivor has over 20 years basketball coaching experience, and is a Nationally certified Level Two Basketball Coach and Nationally certified Level One Baseball Coach.
Camille is a Design Architect with Gensler’s Toronto office – the global architecture, design, and planning firm. Currently she is involved with the design and implementation of a large financial tower that is guaranteed to shape Toronto’s skyline. Camille was formerly a Project Architect with KPMB Architects where she contributed to the new commercial tower development at the Bay Adelaide Centre (Toronto) and was fully immersed in the design of the New Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois).
There is a notable disproportionate representation of Black Architects and Designers within these professions. Furthermore, Black Women compose 0.3% of licensed Architects in the United States. Comparable figures are not available in Canada as metrics regarding race or gender are not officially recorded.
Camille believes that is extremely important for visible minority groups to be involved with the design of their built environments and STEM programs. Therefore, she is passionate about promoting the profession among youth and marginalized communities and remains involved with various outlets across Toronto. She is a founding member of the independent organization BEAT – Building Equality in Architecture, Toronto. Their programs are dedicated to creating events and web content to support mentorship, networking and leadership opportunities for women and visible minorities within the architecture profession. Camille is instrumental in bringing an alternate group together to form BAIDA – Black Architects and Interior Designer Association. The vision for this group is to establish a base of support and promote outreach and opportunities throughout the community.
Camille currently serves on the Board of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce where she supports initiative to advance and promote businesses within the local community. Camille also serves as a mentor with the Lifelong Leadership Institute; a program that promotes excellence amongst Black Students as they transition to postsecondary education. Additionally, Camille is member of the Dean’s Advisory Council in the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science at Ryerson University and a seasonal lecturer for graduate course on importance of diversity and inclusion at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. This dedication to advancing and advocating on behalf of the Architecture profession was captured in CBC Television Documentary Herstory in Black that aired in September of 2017.
When time has allowed, Camille pays homage to her Trinidadian heritage by supporting the culture by serving as an official judge with Toronto’s annual Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade. Alternatively – she is an avid participant and masquerader with the various Caribbean Festivals around the world! https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.3987279
Ade Adeyemi is a Board member and leads key aspects of the Chamber’s operations and he is also responsible for establishing the organization’s mandate regarding corporate and strategic business development. He is also the Chair of the Technology Committee.
As a CEO of a management consulting firm in Toronto, Adeshola brings to the Chamber business management skills in the areas of resource management, client relationship management, vendor management, project management, business analysis and process improvement.
Norma Telfer, Principal of Telcam Training Inc. has 22 years public sector experience and over 40 years of community leadership, serving on several Boards, she is currently Vice-Chair, Government Affairs, CBCC, a founding member of the Canadian National Policy Alliance, a Core member of the Justice of the Peace Appointment Advisory Committee (JPAAC), Chair of the Community Advisory Board, (CAB) Vanier Women Institution. A former Board member of the Criminal Injuries Board, the Canadian Association of Training and Development, the Ontario, Western Taskforce, Mississauga; the Black Business and Professional Association, United Way of Peel Campaign Cabinet and former Vice-President Policy, Ontario Liberal Party. She holds a MA leadership degree, Guelph University, BA Administrative Studies, York University, Teacher Training, Church Teachers’ College, University of the West Indies, Jamaica.
Norma Telfer has consistently demonstrated the ability to manage projects involving several integrated products and to be innovative. With her extensive community leadership, strong people skills background, she is also very knowledgeable in providing services and advocating on behalf of the Black Community.
David Betty is the president and owner of Sunbelle Realty Ltd, Real Estate Brokerage. He is Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), a Licensed Public Accountant (LPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Economist. He sits on the Board of Governance at the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce and is the Chair of the Economic Committee.
Currently he holds the position of Treasurer with the Jamaican Canadian Association and is a member of the Board of Directors, He is also a member of the Executives of the Lions Circle, an afro-centric non-profit leadership organization, as well as, a member of the Caledon Public Library Board of Directors and the current chair of the Finance Committee.
David has also had a stint with the Jamaican Government as the Senior Economist and as the Acting Executive Director at the Jamaica Fair Trading Commission where he played a pivotal role in introducing competition in the telecommunication industry.
Nkiru Asika is a Board member and is an independent marketing strategist, copywriter, coach and creative economy expert. A former journalist, she is a National Press Club of America award winner and has been published in over 20 global publications including The Wall Street Journal. Her business experience includes being a partner in a top media and entertainment company in Nigeria, producing major international TV franchises such as Big Brother Nigeria, The Apprentice Africa, Dragons Den and others. She is also a founding partner and one of the original producers of Social Media Week Lagos, the biggest new media and technology conference in Africa. Nkiru founded Enterprise Creative, a social enterprise that ran a co-working space in Lagos, Nigeria, created and managed several high-profile creative economy programs and trained more than 1700 creative and digital entrepreneurs between 2012 and 2015. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford, the University of the Arts (London) and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University. Nkiru also serves on the Board of the Independent Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Toronto, as Vice-President, Special Interest Groups and Chair, Professional Independent Communicators sub-group.
Nene Judy Akintan is an entrepreneur, Mentor, Volunteer, Realtor and more importantly, God’s unique creation. Nene grew up in a family of hard-working folks. Her parents were born into poverty but through hard work and ambition, they became very successful in their careers. Her parents modelled hard work, compassion and a spirit of excellence throughout their lives. Nene embodies these qualities and she works very hard for her clients with that same tenacity, spirit of excellence. Nene, started her career, 25 years ago in banking and transitioned into entrepreneurship. Her business consisted of a brick and mortar boutique in the most prestigious hotel in the country which provided a platform to network and utilize her skills. Nene has made a living through real estate, human resources consultancy, government consultancy and as a fashion consultant.
Nene has consulted for fortune 500 corporations and governments; and volunteered for different causes. Nene currently owns a real estate business and created a non-profit, I AM. I CAN Foundation where she strives to always provide services with honesty, integrity and tenacity.
Communication & Marketing Director
Pamela Gordon, Communications & Marketing Director is a founding member who helped create the Chamber in 2017 and brings a breadth of business experience to the Chamber, gained in Education, Corporate, SME and small business settings. She has lectured at Enfield FE College and Greenwich University UK and is an Entrepreneur with experience in running her own business as a Corporate Image Consultant, Trainer UK/Australia in the private sector, clients UK Government, Universities and Further Education Colleges. Pamela also worked with the London Chamber of Commerce as a Business Development Manager. Pamela’s role with the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce changed at the end of 2019 taking on more Marketing position alongside Communications and Administrative processes.
Minter is a GrowthWheel Certified Business Advisor. Since 2005 GrowthWheel has become the gold standard in small business growth development curriculum and software tracking. Minter has been leveraging this small business tool to also be used in unification of communities and growth of non-profits. Minter is a member of the ACCE International board. Minter understands well that economic inclusion is key to innovation as well as social change. Throughout it all, Doug has repeatedly proved his ability to lead through diverse and challenging situations. Minter has a diverse background and understands the needs of rural and urban development and sites his learning from the U.S. Forest Service and building of a 60 acre family farm as real life testament to understanding. The Tennessee Governor’s Office of Economic Development believed in his concepts of urban/rural – rural/urban collaboration and granted both urban and rural grants for his one of kind national program and growing small business cohorts from both arenas together. He is an excellent agent of change and has a documented track record of accomplishments that include the turnaround of chaotic and struggling operations; start-up and management of new businesses; creation and launch of new and improved ways to help grow businesses, community and motivate people through unifying vision.
Creative Director & Event Planner
Raven Karjalainen is a Founding Member, Creative Director + Event Planner. Raven has over 10 years of experience working with different clients in the corporate and social event industry. She is a certified planner and very passionate about designing, planning, and coordinating luxury weddings and special events. She loves the art of creative direction. Raven is happy with the fulfillment and challenges of her work as an event planner and feels so fortunate to be able to do what she does.
Raven was born in Jamaica but grew up in Calgary, Alberta. Her education background is extensive as she’s earned two Oil and Gas Diplomas from CDI College, plus a General Arts and Science Degree from Mount Royal University, in Calgary Alberta along with post education Certifications..
Raven has spent the last two decades successfully working in Corporate Canada/US in varies Sales Roles & Business Development Management for multi-billion dollar companies.
As one of the Founding Members of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce Raven dedicates her time to creative direction and design. She is responsible for all things aesthetic! She work with clients to cultivate a creative vision and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that vision comes to life in an incredible full sensory experience. She design flowers, oversee the graphic design process for all of our clients, she create space layouts; develop ideas for interior designs and outdoor design installations. When she is not styling, designing or dreaming, she teaches and speaks at workshops and conferences”.
Raven is super passionate about event planning in Toronto and abroad.