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.
Neto Frank Naniwambote
Neto Frank Naniwambote is a Licensed Legal Practitioner and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO). Neto is a founder and executive director of NNWAMBOTE PARAJURISTE LEGAL SERVICES. Neto’s practice encompasses a variety of legal areas—including, but not limited to, torts, accident benefits, provincial offences, summary convictions, human rights, residential tenancies, and immigration; Neto has appeared in Small Claims Court, the Ontario Court of Justice, and various tribunals on numerous legal matters—including motions, mediations, pre-trial hearings, settlement conferences, examinations for discovery, and trials. Neto is multilingual and speaks English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch/Afrikaans.
Neto served as chairman of the Board of Directors of IGNITE—an organization dedicated to giving College and University students a positive school experience by advocating for students’ rights, providing services, opportunities, and advocating for Black students. As Chairman Neto had served in the Governance and Finance Committees; Neto was responsible for protecting stakeholders’ interests, establishing policies for management, oversight of the organization, making decisions about important issues the organization faced, and managing a multi-million dollar budget.
Neto is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Harriet Tubman Community Organization—a non-for-profit organization for Black/African youth that provides services and programs to promote Black/African heritage, academic success, and leadership and life skills in Black/African youth. Neto holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Paralegal Studies, Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting Management (Honours), and Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics & Physics (Honours).
Ian GlynWilliams is currently a senior manager with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority. His previous assignments within the Ontario Public Service include a 13-year appointment as chief capital planner and manager of the province’s policing, emergency management and correctional facilities. He has written several reports and briefs for government on topics such as Indigenous policing, correctional capacity and construction methods and institution design. Ian was also engaged in economic development and led the effort to establish the first diamond mine in Attawapiskat that provided and continues to provide good jobs and opportunities for that community. Finally, Ian was elected to serve as treasurer and CFO for the public service union AMAPCEO that represents more than 12,000 Ontario public servants.
Ian has always tried to make a positive difference in his community. He has played significant roles in the environmental movement in the GTA through his board work on Save the Rouge Valley System and leadership of the Save the Oak Ridges Moraine effort that both led to the establishment of the Rouge National Urban Park. He was also a large player in the daycare community as the leader of two non-profit daycare centres: Le Petit Chaperone Rouge and Altona Road Daycare Centre. Until a recent injury, Ian coached youth at the Central YMCA for the better part of a decade. He is also an award-winning ambassador for Wilfrid Laurier University and the Canadian Cancer Society.
Ian was born and raised in Scarborough where he attended public schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics at the University of Ottawa and an MBA in finance at Wilfrid Laurier University. Ian raised 2 grown children who are well into their own careers and is married to Teresa, with whom he shares his life along with Massimo and Lemoncella their 2 chihuahuas.
Kenyah is a lawyer licensing candidate in Ontario and has experience in educational law, human rights, commercial transactions, and corporate governance. She is active with a few projects which all focus on providing legal support and resources to her community. Kenyah has a commitment to advocacy and has volunteered with numerous non-for-profit organizations. She is a co-founder of CARE Student Advocacy, a pro bono initiative to providing support for Ontario parents of students who require assistance with formal communication with school boards.
Kenyah graduated from York University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2017. She received her LL. B from the University of Birmingham in 2021, and is currently completing a Business Law LLM at Osgoode Hall Law School and a Masters of Business Administration at Ryerson University.
Diana is an activist, lesbian, multi-racial, French teacher with over 30 years combined anti-oppression teaching experience in Public Education in Toronto. She is a fierce advocate for Black, Racialized and under-serviced Ontarians in her neighbourhood of Etobicoke North and beyond. A bilingual multiple award-winner in Social Justice Education, she has won the Excellence in Teaching Equity Award in 2006, the 2007 provincial teachers’ federation Bev Saskoley Anti-racist Scholarship Award, and has co-written an award-winning anthology of Lesbian Sisters around the world pre-Gay Marriage Rights in Canada.
As an outspoken proponent for Black Lives and Indigenous Lives Matter, Diana has accomplished many progressive “firsts” in her Toronto teacher and support staff unions. These include: a Conflict of Interest Policy, Equity Library, and having collaborated on the establishment of a new Equity V.P. union position prior to her teaching career. Diana holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Toronto and has been repeatedly appointed to the position of National Lifeguard Examiner and First-aid Examiner statuses by the Ontario Lifesaving Society for its Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Leadership Training programmes.
Gllian was called to the bar in 2017 and joined Stockwoods LLP in 2018 after clerking at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Gillian maintains a broad litigation practice that includes civil litigation, administrative/regulatory law and criminal law. She has a special interest in public law litigation, as it relates to state accountability. In that regard, she has assisted clients on diverse matters including class proceedings and select appeals including Supreme Court of Canada intervention.
Gillian obtained her JD at the University of Windsor, and graduated with distinction. While at law school, Gillian received a number of awards for academic achievement and social justice advocacy. She summered in the Appeals Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, in The Hague; consulted for the National Judicial Institute, in Ottawa; and articled at a global, full-service law firm.
Prior to attending law school, Gillian obtained her B.A.(Hons) from Queen’s University and worked abroad, in Ethiopia, for what was formerly known as the Canadian International Development Agency. She then worked for a Toronto-based management consultancy firm advising clients with respect to corporate social responsibility.