February 2020

Diasporic Discussions

11:30am-1:30pm | One King West - 1 King West Hotel, Toronto

The Economic Club of Canada and Ryerson's Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion is proud to present a discussion inspired by women in leadership positions who hail from diasporic states; whether first generation Canadian or long-standing Immigrants. These women collectively, although in different fields, have occupied spaces which have traditionally been occupied by men. What are their stories? This conversation will use an intergenerational lens to explore the issues that racialized women experience, how their diaspora has influenced their leadership style, and how they have been able to cope with these paradigms. It will also focus on how these women have been able to forge a path for themselves, and others and the tools they’ve equipped themselves with to navigate and be successful within their respective spaces.

- Lunch will be served -

Member price:
Individual seat: $89 +HST
Table (seats 10): $800 +HST

Regular price:
Individual seat: $110 +HST
Table (seats 10): $990 +HST

- For information about accessibility, please email nefisa@economicclub.ca
- Dietary restriction notes and meal requests must be submitted to nefisa@economicclub.ca by Tuesday, February 25, 2020.
- Refunds/credits: We require three business days notice in advance of the event date for ticket cancellations

*The views expressed on the Economic Club platform are not that of the Economic Club or its affiliates but of the speakers alone and the organizations they represent*

Diasporic Discussions

Agapi Gessesse

Executive Director
CEE Center for Young Black Professionals

Agapi Gessesse

Agapi Gessesse is a powerful, influential and fearless change-maker. Born and raised in Toronto by a refugee mother, Agapi’s commitment to community development stems from her lived experience, which then propelled her to obtain her masters degree in Social Justice.

Agapi has captivated audiences on local and national stages and conferences including the National Housing Conference, AFP, and Maytree’s Five Good Ideas. She speaks and writes articles on topics such as diversity and inclusion, workforce development and youth engagement.

Agapi Gessesse is currently the Executive Director of CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals. She is a passionate, driven and visionary leader who champions the mission and vision of CEE-addressing economic issues affecting Black youth. Since starting her role, Agapi has spearheaded the substantial growth of the organizations’ impact, reach and sustainability.

For over a decade, Agapi has worked to enhance the lives of marginalized youth through her work with Toronto Community Housing (TCHC), United Way Greater Toronto (UWGT) and as the ED of POV 3rd Street.
Her roles and mandates include that of a professional fundraiser, social enterprise manager, and coordinator of youth leadership program. Agapi’s accomplishments and practical impact continues to burgeon.

Awards and Recognition include:
Dial mover in tech 2019
Maytree Fellow
Aroni Award

Farheen Khan

Co-Founder, Women's Mosque Canada, Author and Consultant

Farheen Khan

As the Principal consultant of her own firm FSK Associates, Farheen has held several leadership positions working for and providing oversight in the areas of capacity building, community engagement, fundraising, marketing and communications to organizations of varying scales. To date, Farheen has raised over $27.5M for local and global causes. Currently, Farheen's focus is working on building the capacity of non-profit & charitable organizations from organizational redesign to strategizing and generating new revenue sources.

She has a background in Business Marketing and is a graduate of the CITY Leaders Program, Maytree Foundation's Leaders for Change, Civic Actions, DiverseCity Fellows and the Centre for Social Innovation's Agents of Change programs.

In 2015, Farheen ran in the Federal election as an MP candidate and became the only Hijab wearing woman to run during this 11 weeks federal anti-muslim, hateful divisive election campaign.

Farheen is also an author and advocate and continues to speak in the media on matters of gender-based violence, islamophobia, equity, civil and human rights. Farheen was also the host of the "Azeeza Show", on Eawaz.com, which focused on discussing social issues from a gendered lens.

Today, in addition to her advocacy work, Farheen is the Interim Executive Director of Meal Exchange and the co-founder and Imama of the Women's Mosque of Canada and the Board Chair of Azeeza for Women.

She identifies as a survivor of violence and has worked in the anti-violence and anti-poverty sectors of the last 15 years.

She has worked at women’s shelters, sexual assault/rape crisis centres and has worked actively on leading the development of a protocol in Halton to support survivors of sex trafficking during and after exiting the system.Farheen is also the Lead coach of Ascension of Women, a coaching and mentorship organization designed for women to break through barriers and to live up to their true potential.

Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine

Former Cabinet Minister, Social Justice Advocate, Teacher, Principal

Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine

In 1960, already a qualified teacher, Jean immigrated to Canada through the Canada-Caribbean Domestic Program. With focus, she attended Toronto Teachers College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto.

Jean earned her Master’s in Education degree while working as an elementary school teacher with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto. She would later become principal/supervisory officer while remaining deeply involved in grassroots efforts in the community.

Jean’s contributions extended to many social causes. She was an active member on boards including York University Board of Trustees, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Donwood Institute, Harbourfront; and served as Chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority. She was the National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. Her capacities were recognized by government leaders who requested her assistance when undertaking important initiatives -- the development and launch of Canada's official multiculturalism policy in 1971; member of the Ontario Judicial Council; the Toronto Crime Inquiry; and the training of teachers in Equity and Diversity.

In 1993, Jean Augustine made history. She became the first African Canadian woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons. She served as the Member of Parliament for the Toronto-area riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, winning four consecutive elections until her retirement from politics in 2006.

Amongst her notable achievements was legislation to protect low-income individuals including single mothers. Jean used skilful negotiation to garner unanimous support to pass a historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada. Jean also championed legislation to erect the Famous Five statue, the only statue featuring women on Parliament Hill.
In 2009, Jean was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for her extensive contribution to Canadian society as a politician, educator and advocate for social justice. She received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, and in 2014 was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to education and politics.

Today, Jean remains involved with community activities including the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment. She also supports several scholarships at various post-secondary institutions to help provide a better future for young women.

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