Deborah is a nurse with health care, education, and research experiences in Ghana, West Africa and Canada. She has a long-term career goal of championing health equity and cultural safety for better healthcare outcomes for all persons in Canada and globally. In pursuant of this, Deborah is currently a PhD student at the University of Toronto with research focus on the cardiovascular health of mothers of African descent in Canada. Additionally, she volunteers as a research analyst at LetsStopAIDS organization, contributing towards the fight to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS globally.
Nakema has spent the last decade focused on developing policies and engaging in advocacy for Canada’s Black communities. As a Master of Social Work student, Nakema is involved in researching social policy to support Black children, youth and families engaged in the child welfare system at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Previously, Nakema worked with the provincial Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services where she led the consultation and program development for the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan and helped establish the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities. In addition to her work with the Black community, she’s passionate about addiction services and harm reduction. Nakema volunteers as the vice-chair of the board at Breakaway Community Services, a Parkdale-based harm reduction agency, and is a member of the CAMH Constituency Council.
Anna-Kay Russell is the co-founder and Director of Funding Partnerships for the Canadian Black Policy Network. She is also the Manager of Public Affairs at WoodGreen Community Services, one of the largest social service agencies and second largest affordable housing provider in Toronto. Passionate about pathways to tangible equity, environmental and social sustainability and governance in her local and global communities, she brings with her diverse expertise as the Director of Strategy & Governance for Leading Change Canada and an alumna of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and Glendon College at York University.
A frequent public speaker, EDI advisor and media commentator, Anna-Kay was recently named a Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader in 2020 by Corporate Knights and a COP26 Canadian Climate Champion by the Canada Climate Law Initiative and British High Commission in Ottawa.
Jennifer Oduro recently graduated from the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Prior to beginning her master’s degree, she completed an undergraduate degree in Health Studies at York University. Some of her former engagements include Director of the Equity, Diversity, and Public Policy Initiative; Director of the Munk School Black Student Association; Junior Analyst at the Canada School of Public Service; Panel Manager for the 2021 Harvard Black Policy Conference. Currently, she works as a Policy Advisor for the Indigenous Languages Branch at the Department of Canadian Heritage. She is interested in contributing to the development of equitable and socially just societies.