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Empowering Girls and Young Women to Become Tomorrow’s Leaders – Interview With Dr. Jean Augustine and Emma Asiedu-Akrof


On today’s show, Leslie Andrachuk has the tremendous honour to interview the Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine and Emma Asiedu-Akrof, Executive Director of the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment. 

The Hon. Dr. Augustine was born in Grenada and immigrated to Canada in 1960 where studied at the University of Toronto and obtained a BA and a Masters of Education. After university she worked as an elementary school principal with the Toronto Separate School Board and was also actively involved in Toronto’s Caribbean community, sitting on the first committee to organize the legendary Caribana Festival in 1967.

This incredible trailblazer has engaged in numerous organizations for education and social justice, serving with the National Black Coalition of Canada, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, the Board of Governors of York University, the Board of Trustees for The Hospital for Sick Children, the Board of Directors of the Donwood Institute, the Board of Harbourfront, and Chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority. She was also named National President of the Congress of Black Women of Canada in 1987.

Additionally, the Hon. Dr. Augustine is the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons. She was elected in the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore in 1993 and sat in Parliament until 2006 after which she served as Fairness Commissioner for the Government of Ontario.

Among Dr. Augustine’s many achievements and honours includes leading the motion that allowed for the placement of the Famous Five statue on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and the motion that created Black History Month in Canada. Dr. Augustine has received honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from seven universities.

And the reason for our interview today; she is the Founder of the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment. The Jean Augustine Centre is committed to empowering young women and girls between the ages of 7-17 years from across Canada.  The centre takes a holistic approach to empowerment by providing programs that support the mental, physical, and social wellbeing of young women and girls.

We’re also joined by The Executive director of JAC since 2016, Emma Asiedu-Akrof who is dedicated to supporting the young women and girls of South Etobicoke and across Canada. Emma’s career path reflects a deep commitment to celebrating gender equality, empowerment of self-identified females, and youth-based programming.

Show Notes:

The Jean Augustine Centre is seeking  volunteers committed to the empowerment of young women and girls. Please reach out if you would like to contact the Centre about volunteering.

Follow The Jean Augustine Centre on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

Start of interview (3:40)
Programming at the Jean Augustine Centre (8:01)
The importance of expanding the centre and reaching out to other communities (12:10)
Imposter Syndrome in women and confidence-building curriculum (17:43)
Partnership with License To Learn (24:25)
The importance of mental health in our youth (26:25)
What’s coming in 2022 for the Jean Augustine Centre? (38:53)
How do you define an Alpha Woman (45:12)

Leslie Andrachuk

As a bilingual pioneer in global digital publishing and marketing, Leslie is happiest when creating new things and inspiring her teams. She is passionate about changing biases that hold women back from realizing their true power and is grateful that at this point in her career she has the skills to make real change.

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