Masters of Ceremony

Raynald Leroy

Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Presenter and Content Creator

Raynald Leroy, is a federal public servant. Apart from his role, he’s the creative force behind RayPresents, a YouTube channel he hosts, dedicated to celebrating diversity and sparking inspiration for the next generation. Through thought-provoking conversations with accomplished individuals from various sectors, Ray amplifies the importance of diversity.
Beyond his professional achievements, he finds fulfillment as a proud father of three children.

Peggy Civil

General Manager of Civil Communication

Peggy Civil holds a degree in communications with a minor in training from the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University. Ms Civil has been founder and managing director of Civil Communication for over 12 years. She is a contributor and host with CBC Radio-Canada. The House of Commons honoured Ms. Civil for her civic commitment during the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. She was recognized for her entrepreneurial leadership as part of the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent. Ms Civil made history by becoming the first African-Canadian woman to obtain a management position with the Outaouais region's largest employer.

Guests of Honour

 Michaëlle Jean

27th Governor General and Commander in Chief of Canada (2005-2010)

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, the first black woman to be Governor General of Canada, was born in Haiti before fleeing that country's dictatorial regime for Quebec. A multilingual literature graduate, she has campaigned for women's rights and enjoyed a distinguished career in journalism. She also served as UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti and Secretary-General of La Francophonie. Her work and commitment continue through the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

Bernadette Clement


Bernadette Clement is a legal aid lawyer and senator serving Ontario. She was the first Black woman to serve as a mayor in that province. Senator Clement’s complex intersectional identity and love for politics drives her work in the Senate, in the Independent Senators Group, and in her home community of Cornwall.


Kamal Khera

Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

The Honourable Kamal Khera was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Brampton West in 2015. Appointed to Cabinet in 2021, she previously served as Minister for Seniors and is now the Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities. Minister Khera is one of the youngest women ever elected to Parliament. A registered nurse, community volunteer, and political activist, she is passionate about improving the lives of those around her.


 Claudette Commanda

Chancellor of the University of Ottawa

Claudette Commanda is an Algonquin Anichinabe from the Kitigan Zibi Anichinabeg First Nation in Quebec. A graduate of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law and Faculty of Arts, Ms. Commanda has devoted 35 years - first as a student at the University, then as a professor, member and president of the Council for Native Education, and public speaker - to defending the peoples and rights of the First Nations, and promoting their history and culture.

Lise Bourgeois

President and CEO - Collège La Cité

Lise Bourgeois has been CEO of Collège La Cité since 2010. Her vision, leadership and commitment have helped make La Cité an institution renowned for the quality of its graduates, one of the best-performing colleges in the province and a leader in French-speaking Ontario.


Keynote Speakers

Michael Coteau

Liberal MP, vice-president of the Black Caucus

Michael Coteau was elected as the MP for Don Valley East in 2021, having previously served as the provincial representative and local school board trustee. During his time at Queen’s Park, he was appointed to various Cabinet positions. He served as the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, and as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Michael is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Award, The Toronto Bob Marley Lifetime Achievement Award, The African Canadian Achievement Award, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee and the Planet Africa Leadership Award. He is currently on the Standing Committee of Canadian Heritage (CHPC) and Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA), and proudly co-chairs Canada’s Parliamentary Black Caucus.

Fatima Aden Osman

President - La Maison de la francophonie d'Ottawa

Born in Djibouti, Ms. Fatima Aden Osman was a French as a second language teacher and educational consultant for over 10 years. She has worked as a civil servant for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and currently works for Service Canada in the field of accessibility. Committed, she works in various community organizations, including Ottawa's Maison de la Francophonie.

Ronald Bisson

Long-standing Community Leader

Mr. Ronald Bisson began his career as a young teacher in the 1970s. Between 1982 and 1989, he took up the position of Executive Director of the “Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française”. He was the owner of a consulting firm specializing in official languages for 30 years and conducted more than 50 studies and research on immigration, including the preparation of the first national strategic plan promoting French-speaking immigration in French-speaking minority communities. He has served as a volunteer on several community organizations including the United Way of Eastern Ontario, the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership and the Maison de la francophonie d'Ottawa.

Richard D. Sharpe

Director of the Black Equity Branch - Ontario government

Richard D. Sharpe is a strategist, public speaker and presenter on issues focused on results-based approaches to addressing anti-black racism and other forms of racism and discrimination within workplaces and institutions. His interests are in working toward a just society in which everyone is able to reach their full potential. He has developed and revitalized employee-driven networks of workers of colour within the federal government, and built partnerships with communities of colour in the larger society.

Peter Flegel

Executive Director - Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat of the Government of Canada

With his diverse team, Peter leads whole-of-government systems change within the federal government from an anti-racist and intersectional perspective. Peter has a distinguished career as a social entrepreneur, fundraiser, columnist, community organizer and musician, with extensive Canadian and international experience in multilingual and multicultural contexts. He has demonstrated leadership in government, NGOs and the philanthropic sector in areas such as anti-racism, equity, human rights, innovation, culture, international business and entrepreneurship.

Monia Mazigh


Monia Mazigh is a Canadian academic, author and human rights activist. She writes in French and English, and is the author of a memoir and three critically acclaimed novels to date. Her latest novel, Farida, won the Ottawa Book Award for French Fiction. Monia Mazigh is an adjunct professor and researcher at Carleton University in the Department of English and Literature. Her new book, "My Journey with a "Scar...f" is an autobiographical narrative and essay on gendered Islamophobia. It has just been published in English.

Economy Panel

Nadine Spencer

Founder - BrandEQ Group
CEO & President - Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA)

Nadine Spencer is the Founder and CEO of BrandEQ Group Inc., Canada’s most prominent Black- and female-owned marketing consultancy. Her proprietary “People Matter” strategy has grabbed attention, demanded interaction, and generated long-term value for clients. She also created BrandEQ Black, the firm’s cultural sensitivity arm, to examine and address racial biases in advertising and marketing across sectors. Logging several achievements for her work – including mention in the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women anthology, the Harry Jerome Business Award, and The Dale Carnegie Highest Award in Public Speaking – Nadine has proven time and again that she’s a leader and expert who brings passion, skill, and mastery to every organization and initiative she touches.

Ed Vertus

Vice-president, Social Innovation
Team lead for the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative | Groupe 3737

He is passionate about social entrepreneurship and is committed to applying innovative solutions with a positive impact for our communities. Specializing in social economy and capacity building for NPOs, he is a mentor at Futurpreneur and is a member of the board of directors of Maison de l’innovation sociale (MIS). Ed D. Vertus is a Certified Administrator Adm.A. Within Groupe 3737, he is Vice-president, Social Innovation. He leads the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative (SBCCI): the mandate is to provide project funding to non-profit organizations (NPOs) to increase their organizational capacity.

Alex Ihama

Executive Director - Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & a Workplace Equity

Alex Ihama is a distinguished global leadership speaker, executive coach, and bestselling author. He has travelled to about 40 countries worldwide to deliver his transformative insights on nation-building strategies, transformational leadership, and social justice topics. Alex serves as the Executive Director of the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity and holds the prestigious role of President at the International School of Greatness. His expertise has been sought after by major news outlets around the world and notable institutions like the federal parliament and senate of Canada.

Vinod Rajasekaran

Publisher & CEO - Future of Good

An award-winning innovator, Vinod Rajasekaran is CEO and editor-in-chief of Future of Good, a fast-growing media and learning organization equipping changemakers with essential news, insights and knowledge on transformations and innovations shaping the social impact world. Tens of thousands of changemakers subscribe to Future of Good every day to fuel their learning, development and decision-making.

Education Panel

Anne Vinet-Roy

President - "Association des Enseignantes et des Enseignants Franco-Ontariens (AEFO)"

Originally from the National Capital Region, Anne Vinet-Roy was a teacher in Timmins for more than 20 years. From 2012 to 2019, she was President of District 60A – AEFO Catholic Northeast. She was also First Vice-President of AEFO from 2008 to 2012, and interim AEFO President in 2011 and 2012. Anne-Vinet Roy was a member of the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) from 2006 to 2010. She represented AEFO members on the Council of the Ontario College of Teachers from 2003 to 2006. More recently, she was President of AEFO’s Employee Life and Health Trust, President of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF), and President of the Association canadienne d’éducation de langue française (ACELF).
First elected as President of AEFO in 2019, she has won a second two-year term in February 2022.

Awad Ibrahim

Vice-Provost in Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence and the Air Canada
Professor in Anti-racism at the Faculty of Education - University of Ottawa

Awad Ibrahim is the Vice-Provost in Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence and the Air Canada Professor in Anti-racism at the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. He is a Curriculum Theorist with special interest in anti-racism and social justice, youth culture, Hip-Hop, diasporic and continental African identities, and applied linguistics. Among his most recent books include Disruptive Learning Narrative Framework: Analyzing Race, Power and Privilege in Post-secondary International Service Learning (2023, co-edited with Manu Sharma and Andrew Allen) and Nuances of Blackness in the Canadian academy: Teaching, learning, and researching while Black (2002, co-edited with Tamari Kitossa, Malinda Smith and Handel Wright)

Éric Génier

Main Management - Digital Learning at TFO

Éric Génier, a native of Timmins, Ontario, is Senior Director of Digital Learning at TFO, the only French-language public media fully dedicated to Ontario's Francophonie. He is a passionate advocate of Franco-Ontarian culture and strives to make a positive impact in the lives of young people and his community.

Politics Panel

Bettyna Bélizaire

City Councilor – Gatineau

Born in Haiti, Bettyna Bélizaire immigrated to Canada in 2003. With determination, she pursued a career at the University of Ottawa, helped immigrant women and served on numerous boards. Recently elected city councillor, she is a resilient community organizer driven by her passion for positive change.

Kevin Modeste

Operational Black Vote Canada Treasurer and Deputy Director of Research

For over two decades Kevin Modeste worked as a political staffer in both community and parliamentary settings, most recently as the Deputy Director of Research and Legislative Affairs for the Ontario NDP Caucus at Queen’s Park. Kevin holds degrees from Trent University (BA) and York University (MPPAL).

Umair Ashraf

Executive Director - The Canadian-Muslim Vote

Umair Ashraf is a highly accomplished leader with over a decade of experience in consulting, community mobilizing, operations, and campaign management. Previously, Umair led teams of volunteers nationally and internationally for Canada’s largest Muslim charity, Islamic Relief Canada. Combining his extensive work experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, Umair brings a history of demonstrated impact to Ontario's political engagement space.


Eric Sarah

A graduate of the University of Ottawa in Political Science, Business Administration and International Development, Wandara Topzo is a multidisciplinary artist, a native of the Central African Republic, storyteller, actor, musician, percussionist, singer, master of ceremonies, great communicator, motivator and community development agent. He plays the ngoni, kalimba, guitar and balaphone, as well as traditional dance. He offers performances and workshops in percussion, dance and storytelling.


A music lover, Kingh509 has been writing songs since the age of nine. In Ottawa, he had joined a Haitian club that helped him recognise his talent for music, theatre and dance and where he performed at least two or three times a year. He launched his career as an artist in May 2017 by releasing an EP with the sole aim of testing the music market and revealing his talent to music lovers. He is a regular of the Trap Konpa and Afro beat trend. To date, his repertoire includes two EPs, a solo album and a number of featuring tracks. In the space of five years, the urban rapper has put his voice to around thirty songs. Apart from music, he is also a community agent.



Cashboyreg is a well-known Influencer and content creator who gained popularity during the pandemic with his infamous DM'S started with the Haitian Creole greeting "ANFORM?" (What's good?) His creative content creation has made him a household name, especially in the Quebec City area, with many fans regularly requesting personalised voicemails. In 2023, Cashboyreg was able to re-invite himself by making videos with his mama Mama Cash that helped him break through internationally. Today, people in France, the West Indies and Africa watch his videos. He has also taken to the stage, creating his own show called 100 Zin where he interacts with the crowd. All his shows have sold out and created a huge buzz in Montreal.


Born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Gasline has been dancing since the age of 6. She moved to Ottawa in 2014 and, in 2015, she joined a Haitian dance troupe as dancer, then co-choreographer, and started performing with the troupe at shows, festivals (Carifiesta, Carivibe), weddings and galas (Black History month gala). In 2019, she launched her own project, DANSAYITI, designed to bring more diversity to the artistic scene in Canada, by highlighting, showcasing, and teaching afro-Caribbean culture in the community through dancing. Her focus remains on Haitian traditional folklore.



Ashley is a multi-media personality who lives for community and the culture. She’s cultivated a career as a journalist, host, interviewer, writer, and producer. Her passion for storytelling and community engagement has driven her to found Freegxrl Media, an online platform dedicated to empowering black women and women of color. In her creative journey, Ashley has adopted the mantras "Expression Saves Lives" and "Free to feel, free to believe, free to think, free to be". These guiding principles highlight her belief in the power of authentic self-expression as a means of personal liberation and societal progress. Ashley knows that while progress has been made, there is still much work to be done, and she remains resolute in her mission to shift narratives about black women in society and creating safe spaces.

Miss Nino

Her passion for music didn’t start in the studio but on the dance floor back in Cornwall! Growing up in a catholic boarding school sharpened her creative writing. Partnering with amazing photographers led her to her first two releases; Come around Ft Hypes & Over by myself. Today, Miss Nino thirsts to find a way to break stereotypes by joining pageants only to prove that Beauty and Brain should go hand in hand. She also uses her voice to bring the audience dance melodies that relate to her vibe.


Versatile DJ, animator, promoter, and music enthusiast alike. Jeff St-Louis, also known as DJ9 hails out of Ottawa, Ontario. When not performing, he likes to spend his time playing soccer and enjoys going to comedy clubs around the city. Having spent many years playing at all of the major local night clubs, weddings, birthday parties, and local events, he has had a lot of time to develop his sound. For him, it’s all about setting up the mood and bringing good vibes to the crowd, such as afrobeat, hip-hop, konpa, R&B, Dancall, Soca, and more. Playing those tracks gets people tapping their feet and nodding their head without them realizing it.