Celebrating Black excellence
In honour of Black Excellence Day Jan. 13, we’re re-sharing some of the many stories of Black Excellence from the Royal Roads community of students, alumni, staff and faculty members. Black Excellence Day is an initiative created by the Ninandotoo Society, whose president and co-founder is Royal Roads Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management grad Kamika Williams. They’re lifelong learners, award-winning researchers, authors and leaders.
“Learning is a lifelong journey”
Tade Owodunni loves to learn and that passion has taken him from his native Nigeria to the Netherlands and, most recently, to Victoria, BC.
That love of learning has led to two accolades for the Royal Roads University Doctor of Business Administration student.
“My dreams were not too big”: Entrance Award makes a difference
Odion Welch discovered that her dreams were not too big when she received an Entrance Award that helped fund her Master of Arts in Leadership at Royal Roads.
Upon completing her degree, she’s gone on to work within her community to improve cultural supports in healthcare and mental health care for African, Caribbean and Black communities in Alberta.
Welch has worked with HIV Edmonton as a national project coordinator reviewing cultural supports in HIV/AIDS organizations and as the mental health coordinator with the Africa Centre, a social services organization where she helped launch a free mental wellness program for Black Albertans dealing with mental health challenges, including those that stem from the impacts of COVID-19. Currently, she serves on the Habitat for Humanity community advisory board and The Ribbon Rouge education board.
DBA student takes leadership role in Alberta health system
Nathan Banda chose a personal path for his research — to write an auto-ethnographic research paper on his experience with racism while working in Alberta Health Services.
“It’s time now to embrace our diversity and embrace our differences and see how we can work in harmony so we can utilize and benefit from such differences in the workplace,” says the Royal Roads Doctor of Business Administration candidate.
RRU grad Siobhan Calderbank receives lifetime achievement honour
Master of Arts in Leadership grad Siobhan Calderbank is an example to follow, especially among Black women in business.
“I find that many other women of colour, and especially Black women, feel that they can relate to me. To see somebody [who’s Black in a senior position] gives you hope that ‘I can break through those barriers’ or ‘I can be something,’ but it’s hard for you to believe it’s possible unless you actually see it.
“That’s why I think it’s so important to provide that reassurance or that extra level of support and encouragement to other Black females in their careers… As long as we’re working collectively towards the same goal, we all rise together.”
Are you non-racist or are you anti-racist? There’s a big difference
Dialogue is everything, says Olaolu Adeleye, a Royal Roads associate faculty member who designed a course to both teach the difference between being non-racist and anti-racist, and to help people make a difference.
The Book Club Hub he helped design for BCcampus, which supports the province’s post-secondary instructors, and the selection of the book How to Be an Antiracist by American author and historian Ibram X. Kendi.
Adeleye, who teaches in Royal Roads University’s School of Communication and Culture, the School of Humanitarian Studies, in the Faculty of Management, and is a BCcampus learning and teaching advisor, says the Book Club Hub looks at the core differences between being non-racist and anti-racist.
Tourism student knows about journeys, including from Nigeria to Canada
Back home in Nigeria, Oluwafisayo Olayinka-Bello runs a business connecting tourists visiting several African countries with expert guides for their journeys.
Here in Canada — what she and fellow Nigerians refer to as “The Abroad” — she has turned into a guide herself, sharing her experiences and insights as a student at Royal Roads to help other international scholars on their educational journeys in this country.
Governor General’s Gold Medal for RRU graduate Lawrence Jarikre
Master of Global Management grad Lawrence Jarikre received the highest honour a graduate student can achieve at RRU at our Fall 2022 Convocation.
Jarikre’s willingness to learn and desire to promote change within his own industry were among the reasons Assoc. Prof. Mark Lokanan nominated him for the Governor General’s Gold Medal.
“He has this intellectual curiosity. He wants to learn. The more I put on him, the more he was accepting the challenge,” Lokanan says, adding, “Lawrence is a very good ambassador for this university. Two things that stood out were his altruistic desire for education and his enthusiasm for education.”
You can contribute any amount to the Award for Diversity and Community Building, an annual $1,000 award to recognize students of Afro-Heritage descent who serve their communities through volunteering, applied scholarship or leadership. Contact Advancement to learn about what’s needed most right now, and how donors like you are shaping opportunities for learning and growth.