Posted by Kareem Bonner & Courtney Bowen |

Diversity & Inclusion Week 2020

Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
This year has been challenging for all of us at Toronto Global, the Toronto Region and the rest of the world. When a historic racial justice movement seized the world’s attention this summer, our team took notice and recognized it was time to help inspire change. Many at our organization felt that expressing our thoughts and views on social media or having internal conversations in open forums wasn’t going to be enough to address these issues.
 
After having various “What’s Going On” internal discussions with all our staff, through the support of the leadership team, we have launched our Diversity and Inclusion Task force. Our goal is to build an inclusive workplace that helps our employees, our clients and communities thrive. It’s good for our business, and it’s the right thing to do. We have made progress against some of our goals, but there is more work to be done.
 
Diversity & Inclusion Week in the Investment Industry
From October 26 to 30, Toronto Global is joining various investment professionals virtually from across Canada for Diversity & Inclusion Week, hosted by the Responsible Investment Association (RIA). We felt that this was an important event to be a part of. It’s a great week of education and insights for professionals to advance diversity and inclusion in their organizations and their portfolios. Not to mention, it was also a great way to give to a good cause, as 50 percent of sales from this event goes to the Black Opportunity Fund. For information on this event click here.
 
Toronto Global is Very Diverse
At Toronto Global we have a great and diverse professional team that helps international businesses expand into the most dynamic and innovative region in the world.  As a team, we are greater than the sum of our parts, a group made up of various genders, cultures, generations, personalities, coming from all walks of life. 
 
Learn about some of our team members and what they love most about the Toronto Region and their cultural background: 
 
Name: Kareem Bonner
Where in the Toronto Region do you live? Etobicoke
What is your cultural background / Heritage? West Indian (Jamaican)
What is your favourite thing / Fun-fact about your culture? Our pioneer music. From reggae, dancehall, ska, rocksteady, dub; we have musically contributed a lot to the world with distinctive sounds (and dances).  
 
Name: Salman Khan
Where in the Toronto Region do you live? North York
What is your cultural background / Heritage? Born in Pakistan. Brought up in Brunei Darussalam. Studied and now live in Toronto.
What is your favourite thing / Fun-fact about your culture? The local food in Brunei was amazing and I wish there were more restaurants that offered food from that part of the world here. I grew up listening to Pakistani pop music which I still enjoy today - Pakistani pop music is a mixture of traditional Pakistani classical music and western influences of jazz, rock and roll, hip hop and disco sung in various languages of Pakistan, including Urdu.
 
Name: Roshni Patel
Where in the Toronto Region do you live? Born and raised in Scarborough!
What is your cultural background / Heritage: Indian
What is your favourite thing / Fun fact about your culture? The food – it’s been great to see Indian cuisine becoming a favourite among people of all backgrounds.
 
Name: Courtney Bowen
Where do you live in the Toronto Region? Downtown Toronto
What is your cultural background / Heritage? I am half Guyanese (Guyana) and half Bajan (Barbados)
What is your favourite thing / Fun-fact about your culture? The sense of community that comes from sharing a meal; in Barbados on Fridays people head down to Oistins Fish Fry to enjoy a delicious meal, live music, and dance. Lastly, of course the friendliness of the rum shops, how warm and welcoming everyone is, willing to strike up to a conversation and open to getting to know a complete stranger, by the time you’ve left you’ve gained a new friend.
 
Name: Catherine Chin Nyong Lee
Where in the Toronto Region do you live? Downtown Toronto
What is your cultural background / Heritage? Korean
What is your favourite thing / Fun-fact about your culture? Favourite thing: Resilience. Korea is a small, divided country with tough history going through colonialism, the Korean War, the financial crisis in the late 90s, to name a few. Nevertheless, the Koreans always fought and survived. Now, its world-class technology and unique culture are getting the world’s attention. I’m very proud of its organically growing soft power.
Fun fact: If you must ask, yes, we eat kimchi every day.
 
Name: Liana Hovakimyan
Where in the Toronto Region do you live? Etobicoke
What is your cultural background / Heritage? Armenian
What is your favourite thing / Fun-fact about your culture? The Armenian Duduk, an ancient Armenian double-reed woodwind instrument made of apricot wood. Its origin traces back to the times of the Armenian King Tigran the Great (95-55 B.C.) and this instrument has been widely used throughout Armenia’s history. The sound of the duduk has become known to wider audiences through popular film soundtracks such as The Last Temptation of Christ, Gladiator, Syriana, Avatar, The Last Airbender, and Game of Thrones.
 
Name: Terrie O’Leary 
Where in the Toronto Region do you live? Toronto
What is your cultural background / Heritage: First generation Canadian - both parents immigrated to Canada from Ireland in 1957.
What is your favourite thing / Fun-fact about your culture? Their love of literature, history, poetry and music. I also admire the role they play internationally even as a small island country. Their passion for international development and the role they play in the international NGO community is admirable and greatly valued by both developing and developed nations. Canada represents Ireland at both the World Bank and IMF and our two countries have great long-standing relationships and bonds.
 
In Closing
Toronto Global helps international businesses gain access and expand into one of the most dynamic and innovative regions in the world. It’s also a place where the success of our staff drives the success of our company. This will be reflected in our ongoing commitment to fostering an environment focused on equality, inclusion, empowerment and respect. Although we are proud and making progress toward our goals, we know that there is still much work to do. And we’re committed to ensuring that everyone can show up as their true selves and live up to their full potential.

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Kareem Bonner & Courtney Bowen

Kareem Bonner & Courtney Bowen

Connect with Kareem on LinkedIn here
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