Aba Stevens is a founding member of BLAC and Chair of the Board of Directors. Having received her Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2009, she is a New York and Ontario-called attorney with a long-established commitment to equity and human rights.
She has served in a voluntary capacity for numerous community organizations and initiatives, including the Black Secretariat and the Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association. She has bridged her community advocacy with her capital markets expertise by organizing a coalition of community organizations and equity-seeking individuals to respond to proposed diversity-related amendments by the Ontario Securities Commission.
Aba’s legal practice has focused on securities, white collar criminal, constitutional, and employment law. As legal counsel to the Ontario Securities Commission and the Canadian Securities Transition Office, she has advised on wide ranging law reform initiatives relating to corporate governance, systemic risk, derivatives, market regulation, capital raising, data collection and emergency powers. Her employment law practice at Livelihood Legal fulfills her need for a practice area that is people-centred and progressive.
Roy Williams is Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University School of Business. He has been an academic, business owner and a lifelong community advocate against racial discrimination, and for racial equity and social justice.
As the founding president of the Jamaican Canadian Association, he has been involved in a wide range of social and civil rights issues that has helped to change this country. These activities include anti-racist immigration, equal employment, employment equity, human rights, policing and justice issues.
Roy advocated for diversified membership of Agencies, Boards and Commissions in Ontario and was the first Black person appointed to the Toronto Police Services Board. There he advocated for promotion of “visible minority” and female officers. He was a member of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force (1989).
Roy has received many awards that include the Harry Jerome Community Award (1989), the Jamaican Canadian Association Trailblazer Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Okeima Lawrence is multidisciplinary with a history of youth social infrastructure advocacy, grantmaking, and community development work. He is active on a number of local and international projects and works with organizations to address systemic issues faced by racialized and low-income communities. He has also served as a Director on several provincial and international Boards and Associations.
Okeima has over 15 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector administering and managing complex programs and initiatives, including leadership roles at the Youth Challenge Fund and United Way Toronto. Currently, Okeima is the Creative Director of Creative Practices Institute, a client centered boutique coaching and organizational development practice, and he currently works with the City of Toronto.
Okeima graduated from York University’s Political Science and International Relations program, Spec. Hon. BA., and is a 2010 graduate of the Rotman School of Management’s Executive Program in Small Business Development.
Erin Atkinson is a litigation lawyer with a practice that encompasses a variety of civil and insurance litigation. She has experience in the areas of personal injury, property damage, occupiers’ liability, municipal liability, social housing, professional liability, sports liability, transportation law, and environmental liability. Erin has appeared as counsel on trials, applications, motions, and interlocutory proceedings before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Erin has a long-standing commitment to community advocacy and has volunteered on numerous non-for-profit Boards and organizations since she was in high school.
Erin graduated from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Law and Society. She received her Juris Doctorate from Windsor University in 2009. She has worked at a prominent Toronto private practice firm, where she sat on the Business Development Committee and Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Erin was previous counsel for the Toronto Transit Commission and is currently Senior Counsel with Economical Insurance.