Gemma Raeburn-Baynes

Community Organizer / Senior Auditor, BMO Financial Group, Montreal, QC. Born: Grenada.

Gemma Raeburn-Baynes is a Senior Auditor with BMO Financial Group, where she has worked since 1973. In addition to her banking career, she has also been active in business, community development and charitable initiatives. During the course of her banking career, Gemma has held a number of management positions and made significant contributions to the bank’s development, particularly in the areas of equity and diversity.

Highlights: Advisor to the Task Force on the Advancement of Women (1990); led research of Task Force on the Advancement of Visible Minorities (1995); initiated the Trans-Canadian, Possibilities Internship Scholarship Program, a BMO education and work experience, aimed at visible minority and Aboriginal youth, and youth with disabilities (1995); initiated the Excel Minority Youth Group, a non-profit organization sponsored by BMO to instill leadership and management skills in young people (1997); implemented and managed the Career Edge Program, enabling university and college graduates to intern at BMO (1998); initiated the first Minority Youth Conference, EXCEL ‘99, at McGill University (1999).

Community: Including Executive Committe President, Taste of the Caribbean Festival, Montreal; Founder and President, Playmas Montreal Cultural Association, African Dynasty, raising funds for sickle cell; Founding Member, Montreal Caribbean Carnival; served on Executive, James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies at Dalhousie University. Currently serves on several Boards, including the Black Community Editorial Board, CBC.

Other: Created Montreal Ebony Models, the city’s first Black modeling agency; created Safari Cosmetiques Inc.; founded the Miss Black Quebec Pageant.

Honours: Several including inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada (2nd edition, 2006); Montreal Carifesta Trophy (2001); Champion of Diversity, Applaud Award, BMO (2000); Mentor of the Year, Career Edge, Program (2000); Entrepreneurship Award, BMO (1999); Woman of Achievement Award, Business & Professional Women’s Club of Montreal (1998); YWCA, Woman of Distinction Award (1997); Governor General 125th (1992).

Reviewed in: Many banking, local, and national publications; Millennium Minds (2000); Black History Month Calendar (2000).

Education: Public Relations Management, McGill University; Psychology/Humanities, Dawson College; Cosmetology, Dynique International.

Motto: “Just do it!”

Contact: Playmas Montreal | A Taste of the Caribbean