Denise Andrea Campbell

Director, Community Resources, City of Toronto, Toronto, ON. Born: Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica.

Denise Andrea Campbell has been working nationally and internationally as a social change agent since the age of 16.

Denise helped build The Students Commission as a leader in youth engagement nationally, advised on strategy development for leading foundations like the J.W. McConnell Foundation, and worked internationally on race and gender policies in numerous United Nations forums and more recently, the African Union.

She’s received numerous awards for her efforts, including, a Harry Jerome Award for Leadership (1999); a YTV Achievement Award (1994); and a “Young Woman of Distinction Award” (1993). In 2001, she was featured on a Black Canadians in History Poster and Education Curriculum, and was included in Who’s Who in Black Canada (1st edition, 2001). A writer on social inclusion issues, Denise has also been an avid media spokesperson on social inclusion-related issues.

Since 2004 when Denise joined the City of Toronto’s Social Development, Finance and Administration Division, she’s worked as the Coordinator for the Toronto Youth Cabinet, as Community Development Officer, and Manager, Community Development, facilitating the implementation of Neighbourhood Action in the City’s 13 priority neighbourhoods for investment.

Currently, she’s acting Director, Community Resources with responsibility for Community Revitalization, Youth Employment, Community Funding Programs and Community Development.

Denise holds a Masters of Voluntary Sector Management from McGill University, and has completed her undergraduate work in Political Science and Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa and University of Toronto.

Favourite book? All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks. I read it at a time when I was really open to learning. It changed my understanding of love for self and others. It inspired me to live completely honestly, and be forthcoming, and see those as necessary ingredients of love. For those things, I am grateful.

Favourite quotes: 1) “In this fast paced, fast food, fast money world, we often feel like blades of grass blowing in the wind. Yet, if we remember our past, that we came from ancestors, we know that we have roots. We are trees…not easily moved!” – Maya Angelou  2) “I see you.” – Amy Tang  3) “I don’t have to do anything but stay Black and die!” – Morgan Freeman (Lean on Me)

Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Travel to a 100 countries. It is a lifetime goal and I am currently 31. It’s a chance I will create for myself because I love the adventure, the play, the stretch, the transformation.

What inspires you? I’m inspired by daily acts of courage, of positivity, of kindness and humility.

Why do you do what you do? I do what I do because I am blessed and privileged to be able to positively contribute to vulnerable peoples and communities. I do what I do because throughout my life people have opened doors, lent a hand, ear, shoulder and heart and make things possible. I do what I do because I love making an impact in the world.