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About

Our Mission

To drive generational wealth powered by sustainable economic resources, capacity and strategic partnerships.

Our Vision

To be the catalyst for Black generational wealth creation.

About FACE

FACE is a national and bilingual Black-led non-profit organisation focused on providing resources and information to the Black community across Canada with the aim of accelerating wealth creation for Canadians of African descent.

In partnership with the Federal Government of Canada, FACE created a Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund to help Black business owners with access to capital investments, working capital, or additional business resources for expansion. FACE has several other major partners that help further the mission of providing Black Canadians with the necessary resources, knowledge, and confidence to not only operate successfully as Black entrepreneurs but to thrive as a community across the nation.

Board of Directors

Louis-Edgar Jean-Francois

Chairperson and Treasurer

Rustum Southwell

Vice Chairperson

Nadine Spencer

Secretary

Burtley Francis

Board Member

Sharif Haji

Board Director

Itifo Engulu

Board Member

Michael Lawal

Board Member

Dr. Wendy Cukier

Board Member

Dave McKenzie

Board Member

FACE’s Executive Team

Tiffany Callender

Chief Executive Officer

Victor Paris

Chief Lending Officer

Christelle Francois

Vice President of Operations

Ken Birch

Vice President of Commercial Finance

Kwene Guzoraky

Financial Controller

Louis-Edgar Jean-Francois

Chairperson and Treasurer

Member of the Quebec CPA Order, Mr. Jean-François is the actual CEO of Groupe 3737, a synergic ecosystem focused on creating economic growth and social impact through diversity, inclusion and black communities.

Former Deloitte member, head of consolidation of Bombardier Aeronautique and chief accountant of RDS, Mr. Jean-François combined his experiences from then and founded, in 2009, a multidisciplinary accounting and legal services firm LEJ which, following his arrival in the G3737 ecosystem, has experienced tremendous growth in the company of other businesses that started at the same time. His objective is to help other companies / organizations to experience similar growth and thus promote economic, social development and large-scale job creation. 

Since 2009, Jean-François has worked almost exclusively with entrepreneurs / founders and today uses his knowledge and experience to serve them and help his community. He is also a member of several boards of directors for which he provides his knowledge. He secured federal government investments to support black communities in the province of Quebec as part of the Support Black Communities of Canada initiative of Employment and Social Development Canada as announced on May 16 by the Minister of Families, Children of Social Development, the Honorable Ahmed Hussen. He continues to work to bonify these federal investments.

In the short term, he helps entrepreneurs deal with the current pandemic situation through direct support and by working with certain partners to develop a direct and significant financing offer for entrepreneurs from black communities in Canada. He helped secure a 350 million dollars investment by the federal government and financial institutions for that specific purpose.

Rustum Southwell

Vice Chairperson

Rustum Southwell is a passionate leader who has invested heavily in his community – locally and globally – working tirelessly as an advocate for economic diversity and capacity building. Originally from the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies, Rustum has called Nova Scotia home for more than four decades. Dr Southwell holds honorary degrees in law from Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie Universities, and an honorary diploma from the School of Business at the Nova Scotia Community College. He started breaking barriers by becoming one of the first Black franchise operators in Nova Scotia, therefore understanding and appreciating the entrepreneurial landscape of this province, and has worked diligently over many years to guide many budding and established entrepreneurs through their arduous journeys of business ownership.

Rustum is the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Black Business Initiative (BBI), a business development initiative that addresses the unique needs of the African Nova Scotian business community which he, with his “it can be done” attitude, has led to become the strong, vibrant, and well respected standard bearer organization that it is today. As leader of the BBI, his quietly innovative and highly effective management style was instrumental in enhancing the credibility and success of Nova Scotia’s growing Black business community in the past, and under his guardianship, BBI will have a strong voice and solid hand as it strategically positions to be an effective support and pertinent resource for Black and minority entrepreneurs of Nova Scotia for the next two decades. In his tenure, he has overseen the creation and expansion of hundreds of Black businesses, not only within the province and parts of Canada, but also globally across the U.S., the Caribbean and beyond.

Nadine Spencer

Secretary

Nadine Spencer is the CEO of BrandEQ Group Inc., a global agency specializing in social change marketing, communications, and public relations. Spencer has accelerated strategic growth and brand visibility for a diverse client portfolio. She also pioneered BrandEQ Black, BrandEQ’s cultural sensitivity arm, whose goal is to work with companies, banks, governments, and leading nonprofits to look at racial biases in advertising and marketing. Her proprietary “People Matter” strategy grabs attention, demands interaction, and generates long-term value for clients.

She serves as president of the Black Business and Professional Association, founded in 1983. The BBPA is a charitable organization whose mission is to advance Canada’s Black community by facilitating the delivery of programs that support business and professional excellence, higher education, and economic development.

She has been acknowledged in 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women and has received numerous awards including the Harry Jerome Business Award, and others. A dedicated Black community champion, Spencer has devoted her life’s work to fighting discrimination, battling poverty and advancing women’s education including equality for women and girls of colour and other relevant topics related to the uplifting of society’s marginalized people. She holds a B.A. in Political Science with Honours from York University and serves on the York Alumni Board.

Burtley Francis

Board Member

Burtley Francis is a Partner with Stewart McKelvey in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a leading law firm with over 200 lawyers across six offices in Atlantic Canada. Burtley studied economics at the University of Ottawa graduating in 2004 (magna cum laude). After receiving his undergraduate degree, Burtley then studied law at Dalhousie University, graduating in 2007.

Burtley’s practice at Stewart McKelvey involves acting for clients in all aspects of corporate and commercial law, financing, and intellectual property matters as well as specialty areas of advertising and marketing, privacy, intellectual property (IP) and information technology (IT). Burtley has received national ratings by Lexpert in competition and franchise law. His clients range from owner managed businesses to larger private/public companies and are found in industries as diverse as telecommunications, manufacturing, information technology and entertainment.

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of FACE, Burtley also serves on the Board of Directors of the Black Business Initiative (BBI).

Sharif Haji

Board Director

Sharif Haji comes with over a decade of experience in policy and program design, development and implementation. Mr. Haji has a strong background in public policy formulation along with community development experience. Mr. Haji brings a blended experience of both public and non-profit sectors in Canada and overseas.

Mr. Haji is a co-founder of the Federation of African Canadians Economics (FACE), a national Canadian entity that provides access to capital for Black business in Canada. Before accepting his current role as the Executive Director at the Africa Centre, Mr. Haji had worked with the Ministries of Seniors and Housing as well as Health for over five years. During his tenure in the public sector he led and/or managed various provincial files including; implementation of the Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy, Alberta’s Primary Health Care Strategy, the design of the Family Care Clinics and Alberta’s Primary Care Networks.

Prior to working with the Government of Alberta, Mr. Haji has had extensive experience in the nonprofit sector locally and internationally. Locally, he worked with Edmonton Multicultural Coalition in different capacities. Internationally, Mr. Haji worked with World Vision International in different countries where he led or managed major bilateral and multilateral grant-based initiatives.

Educationally, Mr. Haji has a Bachelor of Arts in Health Science and Social Services from the University of South Africa (UNISA), and Master of Public Health in Global Health, from the School of Public Health, University of Alberta.

Itifo Engulu

Board Member

Itifo Engulu is an experienced investment professional, with over 23 years in the investment and banking sector.  She specializes in branch supervision and operational controls within bank-affiliated investment firms and more recently within an independent firm. In addition to her previous supervisory duties, Itifo has worked as an investment representative for clients of discount brokerage services and financial advisors. After completing her bachelor’s degree in SME-Finance at HEC Montréal, she graduated in accounting from ESG UQAM and subsequently completed the short 2nd cycle program in the prevention and detection of accounting fraud.

She also completed the Impact Investing program of the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and as part of her social commitment, had to chair the board of directors and various committees of non-profit organizations in Montreal focused on impact investments, micro-credit and solidarity finance.

Michael Lawal

Board Member

Over the years, Michael have been an advocate for the development of the African Community. He started with the Nigerian community where for several years he served on the board of the Nigerian Association (Now Nigerian Canadian Association of Edmonton – NCAE) in various capacities. He has also promoted the African community by contributing to the development of a better image for the African in Alberta. The latest being the sponsoring of the Diversity Magazine’s professional of the year award for the past four years from 2016 under the name “Sam Oboh and Michael Lawal Professional of the Year Award”.

 

Michael also served on the working group that put together a revitalization program for the 

communities of Balwin and Belvedere in Northeast Edmonton for the City of Edmonton and he is currently serving on the Balwin Belvedere Safety Project Team.

Michael is an APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta) licensed professional engineer and project manager and has served on the executive committee and as Chair of the Edmonton Branch of APEGA.

Michael has extensive experience in and has been responsible for the design, installation, construction, maintenance and management of a variety of multi-disciplinary engineering projects in Canada and internationally. He owns and manages an Engineering and Project Management Consulting Firm, a Real Estate Investment Company and a Financial Services and Wealth Coaching Agency in Edmonton.

One area that is most dear to his heart is the economic emancipation of African Canadians. As a licensed Financial Advisor and Wealth Coach, he is pleased to lead the Africa centre focus on the economic and financial sustainability of our organization, our people and our communities. Our people have to learn to be financially literate and independent and start building wealth. Africa Centre is training our people on how to manage their finances, how to start and manage businesses and help with business finance by linking them to people and organizations that can help when the banks will not. Michael has a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta, an MBA degree (Master of Business Administration in Operations and Financial Management) from Nigeria’s Premier University, The University of Ibadan, Nigeria and several professional certifications including a PMP (Project Management Professional), LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional designations and a provincial license in financial services. Michael is a Fellow of Engineers Canada (FEC) and an honorary fellow of Geoscientists Canada (FGC(Hon.))

Dr. Wendy Cukier

Chairperson and Treasurer

Dr. Wendy Cukier is a professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the Ted Rogers School of Management and is the Academic Director of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University. Previously, as VP of Research and Innovation, she helped grow the University’s research and innovation partnerships.

She has written more than 200 articles on aspects of diversity, inclusion, technology, and innovation and is the founder of several start-ups. Dr. Cukier has collaborated on research assignments including the Black Experience Project and Diversity Leads and Rise up: a study of 700 Black Women Entrepreneurs. The Diversity Institute works closely with the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and also contributes research for the Future Skills Centre. The Future Skills Centre is recognized for its evidence-based change strategies and recently led a national consultation on the 50-30 Challenge.

Wendy has received many honours for her extensive volunteer work including the Bob Marley Award, the YWCA Women of Distinction Award, the Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship, the Change Leader Award of the International Women’s Forum, the Harry Jerome Award, and a Meritorious Service Cross, which is one of Canada’s highest civilian honors. She has an MA, MBA and PhD as well as two honorary doctorates.

Dave McKenzie

Board Member

Bio coming soon

Tiffany Callender​

Chief Executive Officer

Community developer and social entrepreneur, Tiffany Callender has spent her 16 year career developing and implementing programs to support Montreal’s Black community. In addition to being the youngest female Executive Director of one of the oldest Black organizations in Quebec, she was recognized by MIPAD as one of the 100 most influential person of African-descent under 40 in 2020,

In 2021 Tiffany was named the inaugural CEO of the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE). FACE is a coalition of Canadian Black business support organizations that worked with the federal government to co-develop and administer the $291.3 million Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.

Tiffany has presented recommendations for policy change to public institutions, notably as a signatory for Montreal’s consultation on racism and systemic discrimination as well as Quebec’s Laurent commission on the overrepresentation of Black children in the Youth Protection. She also regularly presents sensitivity and equity training to private institutions. Her career is inspired by her personal life as she is a proud mother of three.

Victor Paris

Chief Lending Officer

Bio coming soon

Christelle Francois

Vice President of Operations

Christelle Francois is a bilingual executive leader and entrepreneur who has the pulse on the leaders of business, innovation and advocacy. She possesses extensive experience as a strategy consultant where she specialized in accelerating growth, developing revenue models and implementing solutions for various companies and organizations.

She is also the Founder of a firm named Untold & Co Agency, where she and her team service an array of clients in securing corporate and government partnerships, curating digital strategies and executing 360 integrated PR campaigns. Her passion for civic engagement led her to assist in leading the 2019 and 2020 Lobby Day initiative with our current Prime Minister. In January of 2021, she was appointed as the President of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, where she led the strategy that secured over $5M in funding in less than six months.

Most recently, Christelle was appointed as the VP of Operations for FACE Coalition. Christelle is also passionate about her community and has volunteered and sat on the board of numerous organisations, such as Apathy is Boring and Head & Hands.

Ken Birch

Vice President of Commercial Finance

Ken commenced his career in Banking and Finance in 1998 and held progressively senior roles at the Royal Bank of Canada based in the Eastern Caribbean, being part of Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, where he leveraged his passion & skills, helping RBC’s clients thrive and communities prosper.

Ken last held the role of Area Vice President, Business Banking with RBC (2017 – 2021), responsible for seven Eastern Caribbean countries, each with separate and distinct governments, laws, and cultures, housed under one currency union. There, he led a diverse team of fourteen members, serving industries including real estate & related, wholesale & distribution, retail, service, and manufacturing. His team included Business Banking Relationship Managers, Associate Relationship Managers, Business Solution Managers and a Manager Sales Support, supporting up to fourteen RBC branches. As AVP, he earned several accolades and awards for outstanding portfolio quality, leadership & coaching, sales results, clients’ likelihood to recommend and employee opinion surveys.

Ken also served on the Macro Risk and Governance Committee for RBC’s Eastern Caribbean Subsidiaries (2017 – 2021), was a member of RBC’s Country Management Committees to St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis and Antigua (20127 – 2021) and a member of RBC’s Pan-Caribbean Performance Committee – (2016 to 2018).

Mr. Birch continues to be an innovative change leader with a passion for learning and giving back, leveraging his skills and experience to help promote financial literacy and ultimately enable communities, colleagues, and businesses to thrive.

Kwene Guzoraky

Financial Controller

Bio coming soon