I was born in … Somalia
And I currently live in … Toronto, a vibrant and emerging global city struggling with its contradictions. I love living here because it is a large-scale prototype of multiculturalism and inclusion.
I speak … French, Somali, y un poco de Español
Diverse leadership is important because… we will not be able to address the challenges facing our region if everyone is not at the table. However, being at the table must come to mean more than token representation, but true engagement and empowerement of leaders in all our communities. Leaders, can come with various set of skills and backgrounds and it is through their diversity of lived experience that we can enrich City building with new and dynamic ideas. We must strive to make more spaces fertile for this kind of leadership.
The issues in our region that keep me up at night are… the growing inequity in our city. I often think about UofT professor’s David Hulchainski’s 2007 report ‘The Three Cities Within Toronto’. He predicted that if nothing was done to reverse the trend lines we would see an emergence of Two Cities Within Toronto by 2025: one rich, one poor. My daily commute, from the inner suburbs to downtown Toronto, is a constant reminder of that growing disparity in our City.
My greatest city-building accomplishment to date is … shaping the design of a new vision of policing for the Toronto Police Service, through the Transformation Task Force.
One thing I do to ensure I continue to grow and develop as a leader is…embrace uncertainty and ambiguity. Be comfortable with tensions, they offer insights. Try to see problems from different – and opposing – perspectives. Stay humble. Asking more ‘how-to’ questions.
To me, an inclusive city/region/GTHA looks like…a city where an individual’s potential and access to opportunity is not limited by their geogaphic or socio-economic status.