For any awards, carrying out fair, consistent, and accurate judging is key to ensuring the true winners are recognized. To deliver this, we have assembled a diverse and unbiased judging panel of experts. The judges are assigned categories which reflect their expertise and are asked to recuse themselves from voting in any category in which there is a conflict of interest.
All Judges are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement for the purpose of preventing the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. This includes the sharing of the information contained within the submission forms with any third parties and communicating with shortlisted nominees in any way.
The Diversity Agency
Andria Barrett is a Corporate Wellness Strategist, Anti-Black Racism Facilitator, Speaker & Small Business Advocate. She is a SheEO Activator, former member of Brampton Mayor’s COVID 19 Economic Support Task Force, an active investor supporting women entrepreneurs, and serve on the boards of the Culinary Tourism Alliance, Keep6ix and PACE (Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education).
In 2021 & 2022 Canadian SME named her as one of the Most Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders and in 2022 she was awarded the Rotman Family Entrepreneur of the Year.
Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University
Dr. Kiana Basiri is an Assistant Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University. Her research focuses on using econometric tools to understand the relationship between housing and credit markets. Her research centers around Real Estate Economics, Housing Policy, Household Finance, Consumer Bankruptcies, and Default. Her work has been published in leading academic journals and she has consulted with government and other organizations on issues related to residential mortgages. She has 4 years of industry experience working at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as a Senior Specialist. Dr. Basiri received her Ph.D. in Applied Economics from HEC Montreal.
Black Business & Professional Association (BBPA)
Ross Cadastre is the founder and CEO of Innovative Talent Solutions Inc. a leading talent company with two distinct brands ITS Global & Kontingence Recruitment, which address recruitment challenges for organizations throughout Canada. His passion is people, their elevation, their development, and ultimately helping people find their true purpose and power.
He also founded Lyenn Dous — a near-shore Knowledge Process Outsourcing operation located in Saint Lucia, providing back-office services to North American technology start-ups and high growth companies.
Ross is a known champion of the advancement of the work of under-represented people. His establishment of www.bipocjobs.ca, the leading job board for BIPOC talent across North America, has provided BIPOC professionals with the avenue necessary to break barriers in their various fields.
A believer in building generational wealth within the black community, Ross serves as the President of the Black Business Professional Association (BBPA), an organization that addresses equity and builds programming to support black-owned businesses across Canada.
Ross’s impact on the business community has earned him many awards and recognition from both a corporate and community work perspective. In 2017, Ross was recognized at the Black Business Awards and inducted into the Black Canadian. In 2020 he was recognised as one of Canada’s Top 100 Professionals and then accepted as a member of the prestigious Forbes Business Council in 2022, the foremost growth and networking organization for successful business owners and leaders worldwide.
His hard work and dedication to social responsibility and the upliftment of black owned businesses and entrepreneurs has earned him a spot as a “Top Staffing Leader” to watch in 2023. His role as President of the Canada Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) puts him in a unique position to directly influence and create opportunities for growth and development not only for business owners and entrepreneurs in his community but across Canada by extension.
As a nominee for Canada’s Black Entrepreneur of the Year, Ross remains commitment to his mission of being the voice of underrepresented, black businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs across Canada looking for equal access to resources and opportunities.
As he journeys on his quest to develop the next generation of black professionals, Ross continues to positively influence the world of recruitment by imparting knowledge at every opportunity.
Chief Executive Officer
Equity Economic Development Group
Senior VP – Business Development: CMBA Ontario Board of Director
MCF Mortgage Investments
Chad Mooney is the SR VP of Mortgage Operations at MCF Mortgage Investment Corp. Mr. Mooney’s career in the mortgage industry began in 2006 when he co-founded a successful mortgage brokerage firm. It grew rapidly and became one of the preeminent brokerages in the industry. After working closely with MCF as one of their primary lenders, Mr. Mooney made the transition to the lending side of the business in 2012, joining MCF as their Business Development Manager. His considerable experience and passion for private mortgages has helped MCF to become a household name in the industry today. Mr. Mooney currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association (CMBA) and is an active volunteer in his community.
Founder 2020-2021, President
The Lisa Patel Team Toronto Regional Real Estate Board
A third-generation entrepreneur, brand specialist, sales rep, Lisa Patel is leaving a legacy of community and business building in the GTA and beyond.
From her childhood, Lisa had an entrepreneurial spark. Her parents created and ran a number of businesses including motels, hotels, department and convenience stores, restaurants, and more across Ontario—and Lisa followed in their footsteps. As a child, she began her own entrepreneurial ventures selling gift-wrap and bubble gum to her school friends and running a candy shop.
Lisa Patel is an award-winning Real Estate professional, entrepreneur, and social activist. Lisa founded the Lisa Patel Team (formerly known as The Property Princess Team). She and her team of experienced real estate staff work diligently to find families and businesses the perfect spaces to live and work. They focus on all aspects of real estate across the Greater Toronto Area including commercial, residential, leasing, land, and investments for over 13 years.
Lisa’s successful brand has been included by McGraw-Hill in an educational textbook and studied by students in business, business professionals and entrepreneurs. The Property Princess brand was recognized by Andris Pone, author of Attract: Power Up Your One-of-a-Kind Personal Brand for brand strength and consistency. The National Post featured Lisa Patel on “the Art of Networking”, In 2009, Ryerson University recognized Lisa as Top 30 Under 30 and named by Ryerson University as the “Art of Diversification”. Lisa Patel was also a former host for a television show with Rogers TV “A Greener Durham”.
Giving back to the community is an integral part of who Lisa is. She is the Immediate Past President, 2020-2021 President of TRREB and has served as a director of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) for many years. Lisa has also worked with several groups including the CREA, Canadian Real Estate Association and OREA, Ontario Real Estate Association and has served many committees with both organizations over the years. Lisa, has also worked with the Canadian Youth and Business Foundation (now known as Futurpreneur Canada) for close to 15 years as a mentor and coach to assist young entrepreneurs meet their business goals. Lisa is also a mentor for University of Information and Technology assisting young leaders in their career endeavours and a Past Director of a Board of Trade. Over the past 15 years, Lisa volunteered with a numerous amount of community organizations.
Lisa has shared her knowledge and experience with many organizations, speaking on topics such as human connections, transformation, the Real Estate Market, Diversity and Inclusion, entrepreneurship, and women in business and real estate. She has spoken to a number of audiences including Home Depot Canada, Real Estate Boards around the world, Winspire, Boards of Trades, University of Toronto’s Women in Business group, Speakers Slam 2018, Royal LePage Signature on Success, WXN Women’s Executive Network, and Ryerson University.
Over the past 15 years, Lisa volunteered with a numerous amount of community organizations.
A promoter of lifelong learning, Lisa has a diverse background in education from Public Administration and Government, Public Relations, Project Management, Finance, Marketing & Communications, Leadership, Life Coaching, Metaphysical Teachings and Adult Education. She continues to use these skills sets today to offer her clients, community and her mentees the best of her wisdom.
Associate Professor, Strategy and Business Economics Division
University of British Columbia – Real Estate Division
Dr. Tsur Somerville is an associate professor and holder of the Real Estate Foundation Professorship in Real Estate Finance at the Sauder School of Business at UBC. He served for 15 years as the Director of the UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, where he is now a Senior Fellow. His academic research includes work on housing market policies, housing supply, mortgage and real estate finance, and housing affordability. Dr. Somerville has worked with all levels of Canadian government on the effects of immigration, capital flows, money laundering, and government policies on housing affordability and housing supply. Dr. Somerville received his PhD in Economics from Harvard University and his BA in Economics and East Asian Studies from the Hebrew University.
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