Greetings! I was born in Jamaica and spent a happy childhood there, until the age of 18. After high school I decided to study overseas and my journey took me to Worcester, Massachusetts and then to Waterloo, Ontario, where I earned an Engineering degree. I met my “Trini” wife, Anandi, while at university and we have been married for over 25 years and have three beautiful children.
To everyone who is from Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, or any of the thirty countries/dependencies in the Caribbean, we welcome you to the Region and invite you to become a member of our organization. Despite the many different languages and cultures we represent, we share a memory and a history of sea and sky and sand, tropical heat and musical beats.
We also share the common experience of emigrating to a colder climate and being a visible minority, likely for the first time. The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region was founded in 1975 by immigrants to this region who wished to celebrate their culture and provide a supportive space for those who were working to make Canada their new home.
Over the past 45 years the CCAWR has sponsored and supported many events and programs that benefited the Caribbean community.
The CCAWR continues to evolve and grow to meet the needs of the community, but we cannot accomplish our goals without your support. I invite you to connect with us and to use your skills and talents to help us build a strong, engaged and caring community. There is strength in numbers, and we can accomplish far more together than we can as individuals.
You can reach him at: email@example.com
Nigel Henriques emigrated from Jamaica in 1979 to attend the University of Waterloo, where he graduated with a degree in Honours Computer Science and Masters in Management Science. Nigel has lived in Waterloo since that time and has a long career of over 30 years in the Information Technology field in a number of industry portfolios, including; automotive, inventory management, finance, agriculture and higher education. He has worked on a variety of projects across Canada and Internationally throughout his career. He currently holds a senior role at the University of Waterloo as an Associate Director.
Nigel joined the CCAWR Scholarship Committee back in 2010 when it was first initiated because he strongly believes that every child deserves an opportunity to develop and grow through a solid post-secondary education. He has volunteered as a soccer coach in the community for over 17 years and constantly preaches the value and importance of a good education.
Place of birth: London, England
1970-1978: Campion College, Kingston, Jamaica
1979-1983: University of Waterloo, Honours. Computer Science
1983-1986: University of Waterloo, Masters in Management Science
You can reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, Amanda undertook immigration to Canada in 2008, establishing her residence in the Region of Waterloo. Preceding her immigration, Amanda pursued an early retirement following a distinguished 21-year tenure as an elementary teacher with the Ministry of Education. Amanda possesses a Bachelor’s in Education with a specialization in Educational Administration and a Master’s Degree in Sociology, both acquired at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago.
Demonstrating a profound commitment to community service, Amanda sought avenues to contribute meaningfully to her new environment. In 2016, she assumed the role of a Board Member at the CCAWR, drawn by the alignment of the organization’s values, mission, and vision with her own. Amanda served as a Director of the Board in the capacity of Secretary for six years. She also engages in the Scholarship Committee, fostering connections with fellow Caribbean residents in the region.
Beyond her board responsibilities, Amanda dedicates part-time hours to instructing adults at Pathways Educational Services and at Conestoga College. Additionally, she is a solo entrepreneur and operates a modest notary services practice situated in Kitchener-Waterloo. During her non-professional commitments, Amanda prioritizes quality time with her family and pursues her enduring passion for writing. Leveraging various platforms, including blogging and social media, she endeavors to inspire others by sharing her insights on education, parenting, and law. Amanda acknowledges that her writings, much like herself, are perpetual works in progress, marked by an ongoing journey of refinement rather than an aspiration for flawlessness.
You can reach her at: email@example.com
Olive J Coke is a CPA who emigrated from Jamaica and settled in Kitchener in 1999. She is a graduate of the Conestoga College, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). She became a member of The Certified General Accountants Association in 2012.
Olive enjoys giving back to the community and has worked with the CCAWR Scholarship Committee since 2010. She is currently a member of the Events Committee.
Olive is involved in her Church and has chaired the Women’s Retreat Committee for over 6 years as well as being part of the summer ministry where she teaches women at Manitoulin Island. Her passion is to empower women to fulfil their potential to be their best and to believe that they can rise up from any adversity they face.
When she is not busy volunteering or giving a helping hand, Olive enjoys painting, gardening reading, and travelling.
You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Roslyn Yamoah was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. She graduated from University of Waterloo with a B.A. in 1980. She worked as a teacher in Jamaica and Nigeria and later spent 27 years working with the City of Kitchener and The Region of Waterloo.
She is a past recipient of the Kitchener Award for Positive Suggestions from The City of Kitchener. Mother of four children Isaac, Patricia, Lynta & Megan, Emily is a tourism lifestyle enthusiast and has travelled extensively.
Emily has been a member of the association for the last 25 years, serving as a Board member for 20 of those years.
Emily gives her time to multiple non-profit boards and community organizations. During her time at the association, she has organized and supported activities that contributed to social and business development within the community, especially in economically depressed areas. She has also made significant contributions through organizing community events, annual commemoration ceremonies and memorials.
You can reach her at: email@example.com
Avonaé Gentles was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated to Waterloo, Canada in 2009 with her family. Since then she has graduated from St. David Catholic Secondary School and is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science at the University of Waterloo.
Avonaé has always been an active member of the Waterloo community, in particular the health subset. She has volunteered with the Grand River Hospital (GRH) cancer centre and the Northfield Medical centre in addition to working with the University of Waterloo Health Services. She is passionate about female reproductive health and removing the ambiguity behind medical conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, fibroids, and preeclampsia, that disproportionately affect women of colour and envisions a future where black women in Canada will receive equitable medical care.
Avonaé is also a youth leader at a local church, where she works with a team of likeminded young adults and health care professionals to organize annual mission trips to marginalized areas in Canada and provide community and counselling services to at-risk youth.
Avonaé joined the CCAWR scholarship committee in 2020 following the paradigm shift ensuing from the shooting of George Floyd. Her goal is to make meaningful contributions to her community and the the growing momentum of the Black Live Matter (BLM) movement, with a specific focus on creating initiatives for adolescents and young adults.
Carla Beharry is a mixed-race, Guyanese-British-Canadian mental health advocate, antiracism consultant, writer, speaker. She works as relationship coach for racialized individuals and intercultural and multi-ethnic families and conducts antiracism and anti-oppression trainings for workplaces and corporations. Carla has a special interest in ensuring services for mental and emotional wellbeing available for our Caribbean and African families, as well as for all communities of colour. Her work focused on dismantling stigmas and barriers to receiving healthcare in our communities.
Carla is the founder of DOCUMENTING US, a video and audio documentary series featuring stories of racialized women and men, and is the co-creator of the WOKE WO/MEN’S Stories of Resilience + Challenge Speaking Events. She works to build platforms for racialized and marginalized individuals to have a space to share personal stories of overcoming adversity. The WOKE events focus on reducing the isolation can have extreme impacts on our Black, Brown, Indigenous People of Colour who live carrying the weight of trauma and anxiety alone.
Carla was one of the organizers of the KW Solidarity March for Black Lives Matter and is the co-creator of the Antiracism Community Collective. She is an Antiracism Consultant for workplaces, schools, wellness studios, libraries and corporations who are prioritizing learning about antiracism language, non-performative allyship, diversifying employees, dismantling cultural appropriation for profit, decolonizing wellness spaces and creating businesses that feel like inclusive and equitable environments for racialized and marginalized residents.
Antiracism Consultations for Wellness Studios, Corporations, and Nonprofits:
Donnette became a Board Member of the CCAWR in 2013, but has been actively involved with the Association since she first came to the Region in 2011. Having immigrated to Canada in 2010 she saw this as a great opportunity to connect with Caribbean Canadians and the wider community and a means of integrating into and serving the community.
She received her education in Jamaica at the University of Technology where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Engineering. Donnette has over 10 years of experience working with community-based Socio-economic Infrastructure and Social Services projects, which involves the development of poor communities through small-scale community-based projects as a component of the Government of Jamaica Poverty Alleviation Strategy. She also worked in Jamaica with the Commission responsible for overseeing the process for the awards of Government Contracts. As a Project Manager, she sat at the Commission’s meetings and was also the representative at the Sponsoring Public Sector Procurement Agency meetings. Donnette presently is employed to a major Telecommunications Engineering Consulting Company in Waterloo, Ontario; her work involves providing structural details and drawings of telecommunications towers and appurtenances for Canadian and USA wireless providers.
Having the drive to contribute and make a difference in her community, Donnette participates through her work in Construction. This is unique, international event engaging designers, architects and engineers to use their talents to help those struggling with food insecurity. The event raises funds, food and awareness for local food banks. Donnette hosts International students through various organizations in her community where she provides an English immersion environment, friendship, support and guidance in a caring atmosphere where a wealth of cultural knowledge and experiences are exchanged. Donnette’s greatest strengths are creativity, organizational skills and dedication to task. She has a passion for service and finds satisfaction in a job well done.
After graduating from York University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Everton Dixon grew his understanding of the financial industry through working for BMO Bank of Montreal and RBC Insurance. He joined the mortgage industry to help people avoid the limitations set by traditional banks and financial institutions.
Everton's motivation came from the fact that he could help Canadians find better mortgage terms and more flexibility. Early in his mortgage career, Everton partnered up with Home Equity Bank to become a Tri-City reverse mortgage referral partner and successfully became a Certified Reverse Mortgage Specialist. This experience is in-home refinancing for those looking to beat their bank renewal or increase their monthly cash flow by consolidating high-interest unsecured debt.
To further grow his expertise in wealth generation through real estate, he enrolled in the Real Property Administration (Assessment & Appraisal) program at Seneca College. Once he completed his Ontario College Diploma in Real Property Administration and his Ontario College Graduate Certificate in Financial Planning, he was hired by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) as a property inspector. After enrolling in several courses in the Real Estate Division at the University of British Columbia School of Business, he decided to register with the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) and enter the private sector of property assessment in commercial and residential spaces. Everton is currently an AIC candidate working towards his AACI designation.
Everton applies this expertise to help people from all stages of life and backgrounds break into the real estate market, even under the most challenging financial circumstances. By having a foothold in the financing and appraisal portion of real estate, his end goal is always to help people become successful in their financial endeavours.
Daren James is a tech and education professional who immigrated from St. Lucia and lives in the Waterloo Region. He holds a Master of Technology Management, a bachelor’s degree, and several diplomas and certificates in education and technology.
He has worked in different industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, education, and engineering.
Daren is passionate about the community and fostering environments where everyone can thrive and be their best version. His passion for community has brought him to volunteer with several community organizations, such as CCAWR.
Astrid Landeau is one of the newer additions to our Waterloo region family having migrated in 2020 from Trinidad and Tobago. She holds a Masters in Business Administration and BS in Engineering Science, along with multiple project management professional designations.
Astrid creates highly collaborative, exciting and fulfilling environments for teams working on complex technical projects. Her professional journey thus far has resulted in her amassing hands-on experience in the energy, healthcare, tech and finance industries.
When she’s not managing a project, you can find her trying out different painting techniques or simply making a mess in the kitchen while cooking something delicious. Astrid joined the CCAWR Board to use her skills to make a positive impact on the Caribbean community in the Waterloo Region.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1960, we immigrated to Canada in 1968 with my parents and six other siblings. We moved to the Waterloo Region at that time and I attended various elementary schools in Waterloo Region and attended Waterloo Collegiate Institute for most of my high school years.
I obtained a Control Systems Engineering Technologist certification in 1981 and have been working in the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering & Automation Service field ever since. I would like to help to provide a practical lens to the CCAWR.
I met my spouse, Teresa, in 1991 and we have been married for over 28 years and have two children and three grandchildren. The nine of us immigrating from Jamaica, now we have family and extended family totaling about 45 on my side and 55 on my wife side in Waterloo Region. We have been truly blessed.
Since the inception of the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region in 1975, our family attended many of the functions. in the early days when there were no formal meeting places, before conference calls and video conference, most of the meetings occurred at homes of people like Chloe Callender, Noel Richards, my parents, Loren & Veronica Norris-Lue, etc.
Like many of the amazing people that previously and presently serve on this board, I would like to celebrate & raise awareness of our culture and provide a supportive space for those who are living and working in Waterloo Region and to those who have recently immigrated to Canada and are making Waterloo Region their new home.
Clive and his wife Natasha moved to the Waterloo region in 2018 and both joined the CCAWR shortly afterwards. Clive was born in Jamaica and moved to Canada in 2008 as a Visiting Professor at York University.
He has a PhD in applied linguistics from UWI, Mona. Since 2016 he has been a faculty member in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo where he teaches courses on linguistics, academic and technical writing, and Caribbean language and literature.
He’s also a member of the CCAWR’s scholarship committee. In the future he hopes to start a dominoes and ludi committee in the association.