Number of black professionals on Quebec corporate company boards:
The Problem to Be Solved
On May 25, 2020, a video set the world ablaze for weeks to come. It showed a white American police officer, Dereck Chauvin, choking an African-American father. The name and face of his victim, George Floyd, as well as his last words, “I can’t breathe”, have since become a symbol of the sometimes-deadly consequences of the systemic racism experienced by racialized people, and black people in particular. In the wake of this crime, many conversations have emerged about the barriers faced by black people in many parts of the world, including here in Quebec. It was this spark that led five friends to create the Black Executive Leadership Initiative. While they individually have reached senior positions in their careers, few other blacks, all around them, have. The numbers substantiate this: while Blacks make up 6.8% of the Greater Montreal population, there were none on corporate boards in the summer of 2020, and only 1.9% across all sectors. *
(*Source: Diversity Leads, the Diversity Institute Report, 2020)
Let Black talent have a seat at the table.
The Change the Project Will Help Bring About
The Black Executive Leadership Initiative aims to open boardroom doors and executive positions to black leaders, whether they are seasoned executives or just starting out. Through mentoring, the Initiative expects knowledge transfer and experience sharing will help candidates focus their energies on showcasing their talents, rather than on strategies for overcoming the pitfalls of systemic racism. At the same time, the Black Executive Leadership Initiative will also offer consulting to companies that want their leadership to be more reflective of society.
How this change will be measured
The number of participants in the cohorts, the number of companies benefiting from the Initiative’s advice and the increase in the proportion of black people on boards of directors in the Greater Montreal area will be key indicators to measure the impact of the Black Executive Leadership Initiative.
Develop the positioning, branding and visual identity of the organization.
What the Jury Liked About the Project
“The Black Executive Leadership Initiative is an inspiring model of networking and leadership to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. But it’s not just that, it’s the beginning of a movement that will become great.”
Karma board member
“We were blown away by the extremely positive energy, determination and deep conviction of the instigators of this project as well as by their relevant and impactful vision. For the betterment of our society: long live the Black Executive Leadership Initiative.”
Karma board member
“There are glass ceilings in business, and they must be broken. The world needs organizations like the Black Executive Leadership Initiative.”
President of Karma
Co-President of BELI
Dawn is a well-known sales and recruiting expert, as evidenced by her background and her role as President of Sirius Personnel, where she has been for 14 years now. This energetic and irrepressibly selfless woman – she finds time to teach her craft and to volunteer at the Montreal Children’s Hospital – was deeply shaken by the George Floyd tragedy. The Black Executive Leadership Initiative, which she co-founded, is her opportunity to make a difference and bring her experience as a black person, a woman and a senior executive to the community.
More information about Dawn LinkedIn
Co-Founder and Co-President of the Black Executive Leadership Initiative
Colin began his career in commercial real estate as a consultant at Colliers in 2001, which he now runs as the Managing Director, Brokerage & Market Leader for Colliers International Quebec. He has also served on the boards of directors of Cornet Global's Montreal chapter and F.A.C.E.S. If this career seems successful, to Colin’s eyes, it wouldn’t be without community involvement. For several years now, Colin has taken a public stand for diversity and inclusion in business -co-founding the Black Executive Leadership Initiative is for him another step toward a higher representation of Black leaders within the corporate world.
More information about Colin: LinkedIn
With eight years of experience as Project Manager to advertisers (Loto-Quebec) and agencies – at Cossette, LG2 and now TUX – Annie shines with her unwavering commitment to managing her assignments (as well as with her infectious laughter). Passionate and empathetic by nature, Annie never misses an opportunity to get involved in issues that are close to her heart; she is proud to have been able to put her talent at the service of Doctors of the World and the Sainte-Justine Foundation. Through her participation in the beginnings of the Black Executive Leadership Initiative, Annie intends to contribute to a better representation of racialized talents in the management bodies of Greater Montreal companies.
More information about Annie : LinkedIn IG : @annwoang
Senior Graphic Designer
Joanie has been a Graphic Designer and Art Director for five years. Eager to put creation at the service of positive changes, Joanie feels her heart beating when she sees that her work is making a difference, like when she works with foundations and social businesses in which she believes – Accueil Bonneau, Association des Popotes Roulantes du Montréal Métropolitain, Librarylab Foundation, 12/12 Farms and Yaourti. Three years ago, Joanie decided to join forces with TUX, seduced by the company’s values and team spirit – more like that of a “gang of friends without ego” than an advertising agency. Finally, Joanie co-founded the magazine Échelles. This editorial collective, born of the desire to create a platform for sharing and multidisciplinary reflection accessible to all, develops publications where the goal is to observe, understand, and sensitize the general public to the societal issues raised by design.
A brand and communications strategist for the past 13 years, Sarah has reoriented her career in order to reconcile her convictions with her work. After three years at Publicis and seven years at Sid Lee, she joined TUX and put her energy to work for numerous brands and organizations with a strong social and environmental impact (Accueil Bonneau, Doctors of the World, Gusta, LOV and BLOOM restaurants). Sarah is also involved in the community on various levels, notably in the fight against racism and police violence, through community action as well as through her writing – she is also a slam and rap writer and performer.
More information about Sarah : LinkedIn, IG : @sarahvakana
Marie-Laurence Grenier Trempe Copywriter
Marie-Laurence spends her time reading, questioning herself, writing, questioning herself and rewriting. By developing a brand’s tone, she is able to give it a voice and a personality that is expressed through original content ideas. Formerly an Account Director, she brings a strategic and pragmatic vision to creation. Her agency career began at Sid Lee and it has led her over the years to collaborate with Polygraphe, McCann, DDB and TUX, where she currently works as a Bilingual Copywriter. An expert in naming, branding and advertising design, she also produces explainer videos for Observatoire, a studio she founded with her partner Maxime. Finally, because collective well-being and social justice are values that are dear to her, Marie-Laurence is happy to be able to contribute to the Initiative’s influence, which is more relevant than ever.
Originally from Australia, Anna likes to use her other-hemisphere mind to create interesting stories. She’s touched brands like VIAGRA, UPMC Health Clinics, GURU, Converse and Ivanhoé Cambridge while working for agencies such as Tank, GREY New York and now TUX. An expert in 360° campaigns and the English language, Anna is excited to contribute to a cause that is relevant, necessary, and most importantly, full of potential.
August 2021: Strategy
September 2021: Naming
Novembre: Visual Identity and copy
December 2021 : Launch