Meet The Immigrants Of African Descent Nominated For The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards+ Find Out How To Vote!

2019 ’s semi-finalist for the annual RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards have been announced—and 11 immigrants from Africa or Africans by marriage have made the prestigious list.

Hundreds of nominations were received from which 75 names were shortlisted by a judging panel. The top 25 finalists will be chosen by a combination of online votes and a judging panel.

Let’s help them make the Top 25 list by voting for them. To read their full bio, visit and vote by May 16, 2019.

The African Canadian nominees are:

Ejibola Adetokunbo-Taiwo

City: Grande Prairie, Alberta
Country of Origin: Nigeria

Ejibola Adetokunbo-Taiwo is the founder and chief entrepreneur executive of Made by Africans, an e-commerce platform that is aimed at promoting local African entrepreneurs around the world.

She is also the founder of W.E Hustle in Heels, a platform that provides a tribe of diverse women a safe haven to share their stories of how they were able to utilize the resources in Canada to thrive

Brenda Okorogba

City: Winnipeg
Country of Origin: Nigeria

Brenda Okorogba is a multiple award-winning youth education and engagement specialist, scholarship search strategist, grant writer and a community builder. She is currently serving as an ambassador to oversee activities in Winnipeg under Black Women Honors and Empowerment (BWHE).

Allan Ebedes

City: Toronto
Country of Origin: South Africa

Allan Ebedes who is the President and CEO of Excellence Canada, a not-for-profit organization that helps business to improve their performance and recognizes them with the Canada Awards for Excellence. He is an author, member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and serves as a director on various boards including the MS Society of Ontario and Nunavut.

Areef Abraham

City: Vancouver
Country of Origin: Tanzania

Areef Abraham is the founder of Community Power, president of Empower Me and a director at Kambo Energy Solutions. Throughout his career, Abraham has combined his entrepreneurial and technical skills with his passion for helping people to impact diverse communities in a measurable and meaningful way.

Jenny Okonkwo

City: Mississauga

Country of Origin: U.K.

Jenny Okonkwo is accountant and founder of Black Female Accountants Network (BFAN), a platform for building connections, economic empowerment, creating opportunities for professional and leadership development. She is also an experienced senior finance leader having led complex business projects in multiple countries across three continents.

Kimberlee Shelley-Ajibolade

City: Oakville, Ontario
Country of Origin: Jamaica

Kimberlee Shelley-Ajibolade, Jamaican-born author, community activist and HR professional. She was the Black Canadian Queen Ambassador Brampton (2017) and is the current district manager for Black Women Honours and Empowerment – Brampton Chapter. Shelley-Ajibolade is a trailblazer, determined to break barriers and stereotypes and be a positive leader and role model in the community

May-Marie Duwai-Sowa

City: Hamilton, Ontario
Country of Origin: Sierra Leone

Marie Duwai-Sowa, dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and social change in both her personal and professional endeavors. She currently serves as an employment equity specialist at McMaster University, working to advance the institution’s Employment Equity Framework. Duwai-Sowa is also the founder and publisher of Illuminessence e-Magazine, dedicated to showcasing exemplary fem-leaders and men who get it for their remarkable accomplishments.

Nizar Ladak

City: Toronto
Country of Origin: Uganda


Nizar Ladak is the president and CEO of Compute Ontario. Gratitude and giving back have defined much of Nizar Ladak’s personal and professional decisions since he immigrated to Canada as a refugee in 1973. These values have framed his business leadership, which focuses on using data to solve Canada’s challenges and mentor young professionals to achieve their own goals.

Karim Karsan

City: Toronto
Country of Origin: Kenya

Karim Karsan is a registrar at CPA Ontario. Karsan’s upbringing instilled in him the value of giving back to his community. He has been volunteering since high school at a number of community organizations. He also worked as vice chair on the Capital Campaign Cabinet to raise $10 million to build the new Casey House day health facility. Karsan currently sits on the board of the Ontario Arts Council and heads its audit and finance committee.


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