Manager, Alumni Relations, University of Toronto & Co-Founder / Program Director, Black Pearls Community Services Inc., Toronto, ON. Born: Toronto, ON.
Kimberley has been employed with the University of Toronto for the past nine years, working in various roles in Advancement (Awareness Programs Coordinator, Alumni Relations and Annual Fund; Young Alumni Programs Coordinator; Alumni Programs Administrator, Alumni Programs and Education). In her present capacity as Manager, Alumni Relations at the University of Toronto in Scarborough, her primary role is to identify the needs of the alumni, students and community and match those needs to programs and initiatives at the University. Her area focuses on building meaningful relationships with alumni and the community through an array of programs and outreach initiatives. Her hope is for UTSC to become a lasting and meaningful pillar in the community, by developing expertise in service learning and community outreach and provide learning opportunities, programs and services that encourages collaboration between the university and the community.
Kimberley has always been actively involved in her community. As a teen, she worked with the Durham Board of Education to help improve race relations within the community and its high schools. As a result, she was part of a selected group chosen to develop the very first race relations policy for the City of Pickering.
In 2003, she co-founded and became Program Director of Black Pearls Community Services Inc., a community-based not-for-profit organization, committed to the advancement, development and education of the Black, West Indian and African community, and the community-at-large in the Greater Toronto Area. The organization produces programs focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on socio-economic and academic concerns of Black women and girls. Program curricula and initiatives focus on servicing and strengthening communities through outreach and awareness in the areas of health and well-being, education, self-esteem, arts, financial literacy and empowerment. Black Pearls provides creative and interactive programs and initiatives to communities that have a hard time being reached, thus building a diverse and more inclusive larger community.
Other: Prior to working at the University of Toronto, Kimberley worked for BMG Music/UOMO LLC and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). Kimberley has been highlighted in Sway Magazine, Share Magazine, the Toronto Star, Toronto Observer, among others.
Affiliation: Chartering Vice-President of the Psi Delta Omega (Ontario Chapter) of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Honours: Silver Prix d’Excellence Award, Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE); Silver District II, Best Event Series Award, the Council of Advancement and Support of Education; named “Acting Mayor” for a day; received Race Relations Policy Award from the City of Pickering; “Outstanding Contribution Award” for her involvement in student mentorship and drug tutoring programs.
Education: Honours Bachelor of Arts, University of Toronto; Post-Graduate Diploma in Arts Administration & Cultural Management, Humber College; Events and Meeting Management Certification, George Brown College. Currently, pursuing her Master of Education in Adult Education and Community Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (OISE/U of T).
Favourite books? I love to read. So many [books] to choose from, but Alice Walker’s Possessing the Secret of Joy, is one I read at a young age and continue to revisit at various points of my life. This book tells a story of pain, suffering, the discovery of the secret to life, happiness, and joy: self acceptance and love. Reading this book is always a powerful experience for me. Ishmeal Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is a humbling read and firm reminder of things that we take for granted. What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. What can I say, I stand firm in faith and hope that there are such things as happy endings – call me idealistic, hopeful, or a romantic.
Favourite quotes? 1) “The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the ‘buts’ you use today.” – Les Brown 2) “When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go. Only one of two things will happen, either He’ll catch you when you fall, or He’ll teach you how to fly!” – Unknown 3) “If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” – Maya Angelou
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Live abroad. I feel like so many of us are anchored to Toronto. When I travel, I meet so many people who have had the courage to pick up, explore and try somewhere new. I think that we (Black people) are a people who are capable of adapting, I feel like (at times) we limit ourselves to the here and now. There’s so much more out there, to live, to experience and I hope that one day I get the opportunity! Hopefully, then I’ll be able to learn another language (fluently) and scuba dive! So much to do! I have a poster up in my office that says: “Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Make some corner of the world distinctively yours.” I absolutely love it!
Who inspires you? God – always at the head of my life. My family -wonderful people and unbelievably supportive, according to them there’s nothing I can’t do. And friends – they keep me in check and accountable. They’re doing such fabulous things that I can’t help but be inspired. I want to live my life not just to exist but to enjoy and to create it. Twenty years from now, I don’t want to be disappointed by the things I didn’t do. I want to know that I tried, even if I failed because at least then I know I’ve grown from the experience. I don’t want fear to dictate my choices.
Why do you do what you do? I have been so blessed in my life and I have always been a person with a passionate sense of responsibility to the community. As an individual who has been involved in community development from a young age, I have seen that there is a great need for skilled individuals to assist members of the community; whether it is helping through educational and service programs, or simply taking the time to listen to someone’s story. Looking back, I always knew that I wanted to work with people, teach in non-traditional settings and work towards the betterment of our community. Giving back means to me, a responsibility to tell and share our stories, beliefs and passions, and to proudly represent and enrich our respective communities. It also means a responsibility to develop our talents, thus increasing the potential and opportunity of culturally diverse professionals to contribute to our community-at-large. And most importantly, it means a responsibility to create a positive and safe space for those of all backgrounds to learn and grow.