Keynote Address – Galvanizing Businesses for a More Inclusive Future

This year’s virtual Summit engaged over 160 employers, civic leaders, stakeholders and speakers to explore the theme Brave New Future: How Businesses can Re-build for a More Inclusive Future.

Speakers shared unique and diverse experiences and examples of how to create opportunities, dismantle barriers and build more inclusive and equitable businesses that leverage the skills and talents of immigrants and racialized people.

Wes Hall, Founder and Executive Chairman, Kingsdale Advisors, and founder of The BlackNorth Initiative delivered an engaging and insightful keynote. Using storytelling and data, Wes delivered a compelling case of how racism impacts the full lifecycle of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC), and immigrants in areas such as employment and career advancement, education, healthcare and policing.

Wes shared his personal journey from poverty in Jamaica to senior executive in Canada. He spoke about his own experiences of racism and the impact of the murder of George Floyd on him. How it propelled him to take action to create positive change, starting in an area he knows well – corporate Canada. Through the BlackNorth initiative Wes has worked to galvanize the business community to commit to measurable action to address systemic anti-Black racism in Canada.

Emphasizing the urgency for action, Wes used the analogy of buying and repairing his family home to describe the situation we face in Canada. It was a mess when he first considered buying it – it was in complete disrepair. He said he faced a decision to either fix the house and pass a better one onto his children, or to leave it alone and let it continue to crumble. Drawing the parallel, he highlighted how we have the same choice as a society in Canada. “Are we going to pass a broken house on to our kids?” Challenging the audience and business community,” he said. “We have the ability to do something and change the system.”

Wes Hall’s Slide Deck.

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