In the lead up to July 1st, we’re profiling five Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area city builders, past and present, who have not only made significant positive impact in our communities, but have challenged us to be better civic-minded, inclusive, and collaborative individuals. Today we take a brief look at Olivia Nuamah, current Pride Toronto Executive Director, community builder, social activist, mother and artist who brings her lived experience into all that she does.
Nuamah grew up in Moss Park as an only child. At 6 years old, when her parents had divorced, she was sent to live in Ghana with her maternal grandparents for a number of years. Despite the growing pains, Nuamah would still describe her childhood as “incredibly enjoyable”. Growing up she lived in a subsidized apartment with her mother, while also attending a predominantly white, middle-class school. This contrast allowed her to gain a greater awareness of the spaces she occupied at a very young age.
With a relentless drive for action, she moved to England where she worked in both the community and government sectors to foster greater diversity and race equality. To this day, her modest upbringing, and her passion for improving the lives of others, have allowed her to infuse her work with values of openness, inclusivity, and diversity.
Organizations are only the collection of voices that embody them. We should all be concerned about Pride’s future – as we should be concerned about what is going on around the world. We have a lot of work to do.
Olivia Nuamah, 2017
On an encounter with Nuamah you’ll see she has the “the polish and on-brand messaging of a seasoned politician, cultivated from a stretch working for the government in Britain and as an executive director at two Toronto agencies” – the Atkinson Foundation and the Innercity Family Health Team. Since joining Pride Toronto earlier this year, she has had the challenging task of leading the summer festivities, and maneuvering through tense concerns surrounding Toronto Police and Black Lives Matter.
As a leader she “doesn’t shy away from the issues”, and isn’t interested in “rounding up the converted”, but is “more into bringing politically diverse groups together.” A queer black woman, Nuamah carries a unique intersection of identities, and she stands out because she uses her experiences to bridge divides. She makes it a mission to prioritise people and their needs. She’s not afraid to break the rules to reach truly inclusive solutions. For these reasons, she sets the stage for inclusive community building, and will continue to inspire generations to come.
Follow us on Twitter to find see who we’ll profile next. Also, stay tuned with our Emerging Leaders Network on July 30th, as we ask our entire network to shout-out emerging leaders who’ll shape the future of our nation.