Ladies Corner Magazine Fall 2023 | Black excellence dominates

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A Glimpse into Our Vibrant Fall Edition

Expanding Horizons I

t brings me joy to present this brief introduction to our Fall Edition. This edition centers on the arts, celebrating those who illuminate Black Arts and Culture in Edmonton. We extend gratitude to Elsa Robinson and Fetsum Teclemariam for their features. We are showcasing Alfonse Ndem Ahola — Executive Director at Francophonie Albertaine Plurielle (FRAP) — for the first time, aiming to spotlight our brothers and sisters in the francophone community. We’re equally thrilled to share the story of Prof. Alice Prophete. Her leadership as Chairperson of the Board of Directors exemplifies that no obstacle is insurmountable for a woman.

The expansion of our readership brings us a sense of peace. We kindly ask you to invite someone in your network to read the magazine. May the same God who propels us forward also guide you through the upcoming season. Please share your thoughts, concerns, or news articles with us at

Here’s to more,

“In this edition we are shining a Light on Black Arts and Culture: Celebrating Alberta’s Creative Voices”

6. The Struggles of Theatre for Black Immigrant Artistes — Dr. Lebo Disele

8. Little Pieces, Big impact — Elizabeth ChroneyBooth

9. The Gift of Giving Back — Shelley Waite

11. Uniting Science, Business and Leadership — Azam Nikzad

12. Brushstrokes of Inspiration — Elsa Robinson

14. Palette of Dreams — Festum Teclemariam

16. Navigating Leadership with La FRAP’s Board Chair, Dr. Alice Prophète — A Visionary Board’s Impact

20. More than just settling, it’s adapting to Canadian life Alphonse Ndem Ahola

24. Education, Empowerment and Excellence Neriah and Moriah

26. From Mum to Mogul — Folasayo Williams

5 September, 2023 LadiesCorner – Fall 2023 No time? No problemo! Enjoy heat and serve Italian comfort food made from scratch, daily. Grocery. Bakery. Deli. Café. EDMONTON | CALGARY | SHERWOOD PARK
Alphonse Ndem Ahola Dr. Lebo Disele Elsa Robinson Neriah Inyang-Otu

The Struggles of Theatre for Black Immigrant artistes

Dr Lebo Disele

Dr. Lebo is an independent artist who comes from a theatre background. Noted for her work with movement, poetry, and art for research, she is the Coordinator of the Ribbon Rouge Foundation Arts Collective, a group of artists serving the African, Caribbean and Black communities in Alberta. She recently attained her doctorate from the University of Alberta. Dr. Lebo has been involved in many productions, festivals, and theatre performances.

Using theatre to understand what is happening in the community is Dr. Lebo’s goal. Interactive theatre allows the audience to ask questions and be involved in the performance. For example, she and her team created workshops and performances for students regarding health equity and accessing health services. The theatre group hopes to connect with Albertan communities and capture their stories.

As a research assistant, Dr. Lebo became interested in interactive theatre and felt it would benefit Ribbon Rouge. She also does playback theatre, forum theatre, and interactions for change. Even though she is involved in dance improvisation, Dr. Lebo shares that “improvisation func-

tions differently at different levels and in different disciplines.”

The resilience and kindness of the community has struck a chord with Dr. Lebo. As an immigrant, there are struggles, but there are also resources to guide and help. Audience response has been positive and a feeling of being represented is evident. Funds are limited, but there are grants for project funding. Part of her focus with the Artist’s Collective is to recognize, celebrate and honour the diverse work of African – Caribbean and Black artists. Making art accessible is one of the challenges, such as getting community members out to the shows and sharing the messages.

Edmonton Community Foundation is doing a lot to financially support and recognize artists at different levels, such as acting and directing in theatre. In the dance world, Dr. Lebo has choreographed, but acquiring a space for dance in Edmonton is needed. As a producer and creator who is evolving and emerging, Dr. Lebo continues to work toward being established in the art community. Edmonton BIPOC and ACB artists are searching for opportunities to further their careers. “There are plenty of opportunities for independent art productions but where do you go from

there as an immigrant?”

What informs her passion for this art medium is that “it chose me,” Dr. Lebo shares. She has invested her entire life in this and her love for African-Caribbean Black people. Her background experiences in Botswana with her family influenced her in wanting to “uplift the whole people.” Her legacy desire is to bring awareness within ourselves.

Dr. Lebo is a strong supporter of traditional dance and singing, and contemporary art practices but ACB cultural expressions could perhaps be diversified at festivals within the city. The Artist’s Collective has been piloting projects for the last two years, but with proper funding – the organization can thrive and make art more accessible. They are presently working on KinFest, ACB Artist Festival, a multidisciplinary art celebration. The reason Dr. Lebo does collective creation is “to build relationships.” Her artistic family continues to grow.

Dr. Lebo Disele collaborates with Ribbon Rouge Foundation and the Arts Collective to use interactive theater to effect change in the community

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Dr Lebo Disele


LadiesCorner – Fall 2022


Little Pieces, Big Impact

Umoja Community Mosaic weaves a warm welcome

Asense of belonging is often developed through a series of small, seemingly insignificant gestures and connections. For racialized newcomers to Canada, those gestures might include access to familiar foods with a deep cultural significance, borrowed laptops to help facilitate video calls with family overseas or even a simple game of soccer in a public park. Umoja Community Mosaic specializes in taking small actions to build a larger picture of connectivity for youth and families who may otherwise find themselves feeling isolated and struggling to plant roots.

Founder and executive director Jean Claude Munyezamu started what would become Umoja Community Mosaic in 2010 as the Soccer Without Boundaries drop-in sports program. Munyezamu, who immigrated from Rwanda in 1998 and knows firsthand how difficult fitting into a new country can be, saw unrest among kids in his Calgary neighbourhood. He wanted desperately to help get them on the right track by giving them something to feel a part of. Recognizing that soccer can be a universal language, Munyezamu launched the program

to engage youth while simultaneously planting seeds of community ownership and belonging.

A decade later, when the pandemic hit, low-income and immigrant populations were disproportionately affected by the isolation and economic upheaval that came with it. Munyezamu knew that Soccer Without Boundaries had to transform into something bigger — that’s when Umoja Community Mosaic was born, a fitting name as umoja means unity in Swahili. “We learned during the pandemic that human-to-human contact is very important in these communities,” he says.

On top of addressing the needs of kids stuck at home who had previously relied on school and the soccer program for socialization, and those with language and cultural barriers to understand and stay up to date on public health information, Umoja Community Mosaic now faced food security as a pressing issue. Accessing food banks is especially difficult for immigrants who are single parents with young children. Those who could get there often found themselves with bags of unfamiliar ingredients that offered little comfort. Munyezamu and his volunteers jumped into action, putting

together culturally specific food hampers for families who needed them.

At the peak of the pandemic, Umoja provided 1,000 families from different parts of Africa, South America, Mexico, the Philippines and other countries with food hampers stocked with products they knew, purchased from local specialty food stores. Even as pandemic restrictions eased, the need did not disappear — with rising food costs, Umoja continues to provide hampers to around 700 families, mostly referred via word-of-mouth or through kids participating in the soccer program.

“Food is an important part of culture and human existence,” Munyezamu says. “When we deliver people food they’re familiar with but may not be expecting, they often cry. Food is part of belonging. If you cannot find the food that you recognize and find comfort in, it is very hard to feel like you belong.”

All of which is what ultimately drives Umoja Community Mosaic — using small pieces like soccer and food to create a larger mosaic of belonging. The organization has opened new hubs in Edgemont and Deer Run to complement its headquarters in Glenbrook. Its free indoor soccer programs run at the Genesis Centre and Foothills Alliance Church, plus there’s an all-girls program in the southwest quadrant of the city. Add to that, it offers after-school programs, tutoring and mental health support. All of this in an effort to create a grassroots movement to empower people to find or invent their place in Calgary.

“We try to catch people before they fall,” Munyezamu says. “Everything we do is to help kids and their families feel like they belong to a larger community.”

→ Learn more at

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• Photography by Erin Brooke Burns


The Gift of Giving Back

Financial legacy planning is an opportunity to create a lasting impact on the people and community you value and love

peace of mind to clients interested in addressing the needs of loved ones and their community through the gift of giving.

Shelley Waite is a partner with McLeod Law LLP and has worked as a lawyer specializing in estate planning, wills and estates for nearly 20 years. In her role, Waite has the opportunity to educate clients about the value of giving back and the importance of leaving a legacy that supports the people, causes and communities they care about.

“A great part of my job is being an educator, helping clients understand how to give to a charity, and also including family members and loved ones in identifying how that money gets utilized, by which charity and for what purpose,” says Waite.

Waite helps clients build legacy plans into their wills or estate plans that reflect their personal values. Legacy planning involves deciding how a client wants their assets donated or entrusted

to a loved one after passing away. Waite says the process creates an opportunity to discuss the client’s unique “why” about the specific reasons or values that motivate them to give back.

“It’s important for all people doing their estate planning to understand that their “why” is particular to them because there are so many different ways to give,” says Waite.

When choosing an organization to work with, Waite frequently directs clients toward the Calgary Foundation. “I always say the Calgary Foundation is a charity for charity,” explains Waite. “The Foundation has all these wonderful tools we can utilize to create a community of giving.” Since its inception in 1955, the Calgary Foundation has dedicated itself to nurturing healthy, vibrant, giving and caring communities across Calgary. By working with donors and their advisors, the Foundation supports both charitable and financial goals, while ensuring donors receive the maximum tax benefits from their gift. The Foundation’s endowment model means donors’ gifts will grow and support Calgarians well past their lifetimes. The Foundation also offers professional investment management for those endowed gifts. Waite says all of this brings

According to Waite, there are two guarantees in life: death and taxes. Creating a personal legacy plan ensures that more of your money goes to the people and organization you care about, even after death. Without proper planning, a large portion of taxes owed on your estate can go to the Canada Revenue Agency rather than benefiting family members or a chosen charity. Charitable giving, however, always grants a tax-saving return. Many clients, Waite says, don’t realize that every dollar spent on charitable giving earns approximately a 55 cent credit.

Creating a legacy plan doesn’t have a deadline either, says Waite, as you can begin immediately, and don’t have to wait until the end of your life to give back. A fund created by family members can be passed down and managed by the family for years. At the same time, donating to an existing fund can support the generations impacted by those initiatives. Either way, Waite adds, the impact is significant. “Every single dollar you give makes a difference,” she says. “$5,000 from one individual is just as meaningful as the gift of $5 million by someone else.”

Being able to shape these lasting impacts is what makes Waite’s job so fulfilling. “Creating something so powerful and meaningful and lasting is the best part of my job,” says Waite.

→ Learn more about including Calgary Foundation in legacy planning at

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I always say the Calgary Foundation is a charity for charity. The Foundation has all these wonderful tools we can utilize to create a community of giving.”
Calgary Foundation | Summer 2023 30

Be part of Calgary’s future.

Each year, Calgary Foundation flows millions of dollars to every corner of our city, supporting causes as myriad as our population.

Talk to your professional advisor about partnering with Calgary Foundation in your legacy planning.

Learn more at

Azam Nikzad’s Inspirational Journey

A Uniting Science, Business, and Leadership

zam Nikzad embarked on her academic journey with a Ph.D. thesis that took her across three continents: America, Middle East and Europe. This journey not only honed her scientific expertise, but also cultivated her innate leadership qualities. From the outset, Azam embraced collaborative research opportunities spanning multiple countries, immersing herself in diverse environments that fostered her growth as a leader. As she worked alongside researchers from Mexico, Iran, and Italy, she developed a deep appreciation for cultural diversity and the power of collective knowledge.

Upon moving to Canada in 2015, Azam recognized the need to bridge the gap between academic achievements and practical applications in the industry. Motivated by a desire to leverage her research accomplishments, she embarked on a path of personal and professional development. With a thirst for knowledge and a vision for success, she pursued an MBA while completing her second Ph.D. at the prestigious Alberta School of Business.

Armed with a unique skill set that combined scientific rigor with strategic management and effective communication, she emerged as a dynamic leader ready to make an impact. Azam’s experience as a Technical Manager at Highline Mushrooms, the largest organic mushroom company globally, provided an ideal platform to refine her leadership abilities further. Collaborating with diverse teams, both internally and externally, she demonstrated her capacity to inspire and motivate others while driving operational excellence.

Leading by example, she initiated and spearheaded an internship student program, offering valuable opportunities for aspiring professionals to enhance their employability skills. By leveraging her research findings, Azam revolutionized operational procedures within the company, driving efficiency and innovation. Her natural talent for inspiring others and her unwavering commitment to excellence made her a sought-after mentor within the organization.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Azam remained deeply passionate about making a difference in her community. She devoted herself to inspiring newcomers and empowering them to become change-makers and industry leaders. Her unwavering belief in the transformative power of leadership and her dedication to sharing her experiences served as a guiding light for those around her.

Through her journey, Azam exemplifies the profound impact that leadership can have, not only on personal and professional growth but also on fostering collaboration, driving innovation, and making a positive difference in the world.

September, 2023
Azam Nikzad

Brushstrokes of Inspiration

Elsa Robinson is a multidisciplinary artist and art instructor based in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton). Through careful attention to colour, shape, texture, intuition and the power of cultural symbols, Elsa expresses themes of love, friendship, inner strength, equality and ancestral connection that guide her own life. As a passionate and experienced arts educator, Elsa facilitates workshops for artists of all ages and experience levels.

After working as a self-taught artist, Elsa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design from the University of Alberta and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Art. She also received the National Black Coalition of Canada 2012 Fill Fraser Award for Outstanding Work in Visual Arts. She was shortlisted for the 2022 Eldon and Anne Foote Edmonton Visual Arts Prize and received the 2022 Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Has the art scene changed over the years in Edmonton?

Yes, it has. We have more artists working on a broader variety of genres and the arts organizations respond to our needs and support us with relevant programming and opportunities.

What are some happy memories you can share with us of your journey?

This journey has given me many happy memories and milestones. I remember my very first art show. I submitted my first portrait painting for a Workers’ art show. It was a mixed-media textile piece. I still have it. I was so proud of myself! A more recent milestone was completing my Master of Fine Arts degree at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Initially, I was so afraid of attending that school that even after receiving the acceptance letter, I postponed starting the program for one year.

Taking the MFA was a tremendous and very successful endeavour. The most important moment at that time was at the graduation ceremony. In that school, it is the family who presents the diplomas. When my mother walked across that stage and handed me my diploma, my joy was

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“Life has blessed me and continues to bless me with teachers who taught me many important lessons. I infuse all this knowledge and wisdom into my art with purpose and beauty”

immeasurable!!! Years before, I told my mother I wanted to become an artist. She encouraged me and supported me unwaveringly! So being able to celebrate that achievement with her meant everything to me. Throughout the years, having my children and grandson attend my shows are always ‘happiest’ moments for me. I stand tall for them and with them.

In a sentence, how would you describe your legacy to the world of art and to the city of Edmonton?

Honestly, I cannot identify, much less describe, my legacy in Edmonton’s art world. Others will be more equipped to do that. Life has blessed me and continues to bless me with teachers who taught me many important lessons. I infuse all this knowledge and wisdom into my art with purpose and beauty. I have my own goals for my art career and work steadfastly to achieve them.

What are the barriers for artists today? Are they surmountable?

Many artists are concerned with the lack of affordable studio space as well as a lack of opportunities to show their work. We will continue to find ways to address these issues.

Another concern for artists is that few of us have a full-time studio practice, which many want. However, some artists are comfortable with having a day job related to their art. Others are comfortable having a day job unrelated to their art. Each of us finds the best solution for ourselves.

Artists are the spokespersons of our world; what type of conversations

do we need to have to advance the arts in Edmonton today?

One crucial conversation concerns recognizing the value of art in building community capacity. Artists need to find more ways to integrate our work into our community. Some artists are already doing an excellent job at that. Others will learn and grow in this over time.

Community members need to accept that artists are professionals who have professional standards. Yes, we

have a natural ‘gift’ or inclination towards making art. In that way, we are the same as teachers with a genuine ‘gift’ or inclination for instruction and classroom management. In all cases, the professional is committed to developing the ‘gift’ through study, consistent practice and growth.

Are Black youths receptive to the arts? Are they willing to learn new things?

Youth in the African Caribbean Black community is no different from youth from other ethnocultural communities. Love for the arts and a desire to become an artist is an individual preference. Some youth love art, some love literature, some love science. Youths receptive to the arts are willing to learn new ways of expressing their ideas and feelings.

Do you find time to read? What was the last book you read?

I make time to read, especially to build my art practice. I really appreciate audiobooks I can read while working in the studio. I just finished reading a book titled Nanny’s Asafo Warriors, The Jamaican Maroons’ African Experience by Werner Zips. Queen Nanny - as we call her in Jamaica - is Jamaica’s only female National Hero. She was a Maroon leader who successfully waged war against the British over many decades to maintain her people’s freedom during slavery. In this book, the author shows the parallels between leadership structures and traditions in the Maroon communities in Jamaica and those of the Asante people in West Africa. It is a compelling and inspiring book.

What do you do for mental health?

First of all, I stay close to mySELF and to my truth. Secondly, I make art. I also stay close to my family, pray, eat healthy, and surround myself with beautiful people and things that bring me positive energy and enhance my life.

Find out more about Elsa Robinson by visiting:

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“Youths receptive to the arts are willing to learn new ways of expressing their ideas and feelings.”
Elsa Robinson A capture of the essence of vivid emotions and cultural symbolism through a mesmerizing blend of color, form, and texture


Palette of Dreams

Eritrean Painter Fetsum Teclemariam Inspires a New Generation of Artists

Agift from childhood is where Fetsum believes he acquired his love of painting. The shapes and colours of the flowers, seeing nature and using his senses were the starting point of his journey as an artist. His persistence in his art form made people recognize his talent as early as 5 years of age. Later, he tried to study professionally, but there was no opportunity where he grew up. He travelled to various countries and finally settled in Israel, where he studied art and obtained his Master’s class for painting and drawing.

where he teaches students of different ages and backgrounds.

Most exhibitions are his student’s artwork – ages seven and older –which is very satisfying. Art heals and brings positive mental health to the community. He is proud of the work of his students.

Fetsum’s most significant accomplishments and challenges started as a child in Keren, Eritrea. He wanted to show others the beauty he saw in his paintings. His first exhibition was successful. In Israel, he also did well and sold all his paintings. His latest edition has been in Edmonton, where the art world is different, but he continues to work and compete in some exhibits. The Art Foundation of Alberta accepted his paintings. All in all, his paintings sell well and connect with the memories of Africans. Many appreciate his art because he paints still-life objects and landscapes in the classic tradition.

choices as well as New York; however, he is teaching 60-70 students in Edmonton.

Fetsum has been training assistants for a few years, but his plan for the next 5 years is to have an Art Foundation and Studio and that people will benefit from the skills he teaches. Art has many benefits for children and the elderly. He needs space and teachers to take students into their next skill levels. He also teaches online to students in Africa, Europe and all over the world. His dream is to have an Art Institute in Edmonton one day.

Being a mathematics and physics teacher enabled Fetsum also to have the experience of teaching. He instructs children in drawing and painting and knows how to use what he was taught. The most important point of teaching is “the more you share, the more you get.” After leaving Toronto, Fetsum started a home-based art school called Pallet Classical Drawing and Painting Studio in Edmonton,

One of the challenges Fetsum has encountered in Edmonton is being an immigrant. He is the father of 4 children and art is its own challenge. He has no sponsors; however, his studio space accommodates students who take drawing and painting classes in his home. He feels that Edmonton needs more appreciation for art and connection to other artists. There was no art community in Tel Aviv; however, most of the time, people bought his art. Toronto and Vancouver were his

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“Life has blessed me and continues to bless me with teachers who taught me many important lessons. I infuse all this knowledge and wisdom into my art with purpose and beauty”
Fetsum Teclemariam
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Navigating Leadership with La FRAP’s Board Chair, Dr. Alice Prophète

A Visionary Board’s Impact

Dr. Alice Prophète is originally from Haiti. She moved to Edmonton with her husband and three boys in 2002. She is an accomplished educator with over 30 years of experience in Canada and internationally in both the school and university systems. Dr. Prophète holds a Ph.D. in Education from Simon Fraser University and has worked as a professor-teacher at Campus Saint-Jean, University of Alberta in the Education program since 2017. Dr. Prophète is interested in francophone “ other” identities and studies devoted to their models of integration and professional insertion. Her research and publications, including her academic and professional presentations, contribute to renewing the way we view professionals from francophone immigrant communities by highlighting the migratory journeys that have led these individuals to rebuild their professional lives in Canadian francophone minority contexts, as well as the resilience they demonstrate in overcoming structural barriers to professional integration in minority settings. Dr. Prophète is deeply committed to her community. Since arriving in Edmonton, she has been committed to the advancement, development and representation of her community in Edmonton. Recognizing the growth of the Haitian community and its needs,

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Dr. Alice Prophète

in 2010, she co-founded the Haitian Organization of Edmonton, which works to settle and integrate newly arrived Haitians in Edmonton and to promote Haitian culture through socio-cultural activities and cross-cultural exchanges. Dr. Alice Prophète is also involved with the Haitian diaspora around the world, particularly in North America, and sits on several boards promoting her compatriots’ socio-economic integration. Dr. Prophète is recognized above all for her human dimension. Her generosity, altruism, professionalism, transparency and a strong sense of ethics. Her communities appreciate her exceptional dedication and have awarded her trophies of honour and merit.

How does the board steer Frap’s leadership?


The Board of Directors of La Francophonie Albertaine Plurielle (FRAP) plays a crucial role in guiding the direction of the organization. As the decision-making body, the Board defines FRAP’s vision, mission, strategic objectives and policies. It is also responsible for monitoring progress toward achieving its goals and mission), assisting the Executive Committee in managing the organization, approving the annual budget, ensuring that financial resources are appropriately allocated to support the achievement of its goals, representing the interests of its members, and ensuring the viability and ability of the organization to fulfill its mission in the future. Working with FRAP’s leadership, the Board of Directors plays an essential role in the governance and strategic direction of the organization. Its ability to provide leadership ensures effective management and a positive impact on Alberta’s diverse francophone community.


Le conseil d’administration de la Francophonie Albertaine Plurielle (FRAP) joue un rôle crucial dans l’orientation du leadership de l’organisation. En tant qu’instance décisionnelle, le conseil d’administration a pour responsabilité de définir la vision, la mission, les ob-

jectifs stratégiques et les politiques de la FRAP. Il a aussi pour responsabilité de surveiller les progrès réalisés (vers l’atteinte de ses objectifs et sa mission), de soutenir le conseil exécutif dans la gestion de l’organisation, d’approuver le budget annuel en s’assurant que les ressources financières sont allouées de manière appropriée pour soutenir la réalisation de ses objectifs, de représenter les intérêts de ses membres et d’assurer sa viabilité et sa capacité à remplir sa mission dans le futur.

En travaillant de concert avec le leadership de la FRAP, le conseil d’administration joue un rôle essentiel dans la gouvernance et la direction stratégique de l’organisation. Sa capacité à bien orienter le leadership assure une gestion efficace et un impact positif sur la communauté francophone albertaine plurielle.

How did you become interested on FRAP?


First of all, I’m a French-speaking black immigrant, a woman (a minority in every sense of the word), who is still rebuilding her life in a country where we are considered perpetual newcomers, people to be integrated for the rest of our lives. With its mission, goals and values, this organization tries to guide the people I represent towards a more or less successful integration, towards becoming part of a society to which they belong. These are questions that challenge me. My research, my company EdiCa and my involvement in my communities are consistent with my position and the services I offer. So, given its mission, I thought that this organization could be another way for me to serve in the

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– Fall 2023
“Representation gives Black women a voice and simultaneously, increased diversity on boards also supports better performance.”
Dr. Alice Prophète

same way. My voice can be heard on a large scale through FRAP. FRAP’s values of integrity, inclusion, equity, and resilience are already part of my personal and professional life. These values frame my actions as a teacher, researcher, trainer, and community leader. Another reason is that I can always inspire a different way of making decisions and a different culture that embraces the plurality that is the very definition of FRAP. All this should be the reason why I joined FRAP.


Tout d’abord, je suis Femme Francophone Immigrante Noire etc… (minoritaire sur toute la ligne), toujours en train de se reconstruire dans un pays où on est considéré comme perpétuels nouveaux-arrivants, des personnes à intégrer toute notre vie. Cette organisation, avec sa mission, ses objectifs et ses valeurs, tente quand-même de guider ces personnes que je représente vers une intégration plus ou moins réussie, devenant partie prenante d’une société à laquelle elles appartiennent. Ce sont des enjeux qui m’interpellent. Ma recherche, mon entreprise EdiCa, mes implications dans mes communautés sont cohérents avec ma position et les services que j’offre. Ainsi, je me suis dit que cette organisation, étant donné sa mission, peut constituer une autre voie pour moi à servir dans le même sens. Ma voix peut résonner/ raisonner sur une grande échelle à travers FRAP.

J’ajouterais que les valeurs de la FRAP : l’intégrité, l’inclusion, l’équité et la résilience participent déjà de ma vie personnelle et professionnelle. Ces valeurs cadrent mes actions que ce soit comme enseignante, professeur, chercheure, formateurs, leader communautaire. Une autre raison reste le fait que je peux toujours inspirer d’autres manières de procéder dans

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“I’m not a slave to time. That may sound strange, but it’s true, and it’s my reality: I defy time.”
Dr. Alice Prophète

des prises de décision et aussi une autre culture qui tiendra compte de la pluralité qui est la définition même de la FRAP. Ces raisons m’ont motivée de joindre FRAP .

Should more black women join boards? What are the limitations?


Despite ongoing efforts towards equity, diversity, and inclusion within many organizations, Black women remain among the most underrepresented in leadership positions. Representation gives Black women a voice and simultaneously, increased diversity on boards also supports better performance. Unfortunately, harmful stereotypes, routine microaggressions, and other forms of systemic discrimination deter and limit Black women’s access to such opportunities. While I believe more Black women should join boards, organizations must also value their perspectives and lived experiences.


Malgré les efforts déployés en faveur de l’équité, de la diversité et de l’inclusion au sein de nombreuses organisations, les femmes noires restent l’un des groupes les plus sous-représentés aux postes de direction. La représentation permet aux femmes noires de se faire entendre et, simultanément, une plus grande diversité au sein des conseils d’administration favorise de meilleures performances. Malheureusement, les stéréotypes néfastes, les microagressions habituelles et d’autres formes de discrimination systémique découragent et limitent l’accès des femmes noires à ces opportunités. Si je pense que davantage de femmes noires devraient siéger dans les conseils d’administration, les organisations doivent également valoriser leurs points de vue et leurs expériences vécues.

How do you combine work, community leadership and family

Je ne suis pas les routines. Je n’aime pas être dans une routine. Ce qui

fait que je ne me stresse pas, je ne panique pas. Il y a quand même des situations qui sont naturellement stressantes. Je les assume et c’est tout. Ainsi, je ne suis pas esclave du temps. Cela peut paraître étrange à dire, mais c’est vrai et c’est ma réalité: je défie le temps. Pourtant je suis bien organisée. J’ai quand même un calendrier avec des priorités. Mais ma flexibilité me permet de mettre chaque chose à sa place si il y a urgence ou des impondérables. Si je dois me lever plus tôt tel ou tel jour pour accomplir une chose, je le fais même si dans mon calendrier cela dit de le faire dans 2 jours. Si je n’ai pas de priorités pour une journée, je m’en vais au lit ou bien je joue à ma guitare ou bien j’écoute ma musique préférée…ou bien j’appelle une amie.

Je peux, par exemple, décider de ne pas corriger le travail de mes étudiants dus dans deux jours et écouter ma meilleure musique ou lire mon livre. Le lendemain, je suis clouée devant mon ordinateur avec mon café, à corriger ces travaux pendant 10 heures de temps sans bouger de mon siège et la vie est belle. Je ne me stresse pas.

Mon leadership dans ma communauté ? Je délègue beaucoup et j’assure un suivi. Je mets du temps pour ma communauté selon mon expertise. J’avoue que je ne passe pas du temps dans les réseaux sociaux. Voilà ce qui me stresserait.

J’avoue toutefois que concilier le travail, le leadership communautaire et la famille est un grand défi pour moi ainsi que pour toutes les femmes car les tâches domestiques et les obligations familiales demeurent encore sur nos épaules car il faut encore croire que les rapports sociaux et la division sexuelle du travail désavantagent les femmes. Aujourd’hui, mes enfants sont grands. Chez nous, mon mari me soutient beaucoup et partage les tâches domestiques. Une chance…

Enfin, du fait que je ne me stresse pas pour des situations déjà stressantes, ma santé mentale demeure intact. Aujourd’hui ma vie de femme épouse mère, professionnelle et

maintenant, il y a 5 mois, grand-mère tient bien encore. Cela dit que je balance tout très bien. Je ne change pas ce qui fonctionne bien pour moi.


I don’t follow routines. So I don’t get stressed or panic. But some situations are naturally stressful. Accept them. So, I’m not a slave to time. That may sound strange, but it’s true, and it’s my reality: I defy time. And yet I’m organized. I have a calendar with priorities. But my flexibility allows me to move things around in an emergency.If I have to get up early on a particular day to do something, I do it, even if my calendar says I have to do it in 2 days. If I don’t have priorities for a day, I go to bed, play my guitar, listen to my favourite music...or call a friend. For example, I may decide not to mark my students’ papers due in two days and listen to my best music or read my book... The next day, I’m sitting in front of my computer with my coffee, correcting that paper for 10 hours without moving from my seat, and life is good. I don’t stress. My leadership in my community? I follow up a lot. I make time for my community, according to my expertise. I must admit that I don’t spend much time on social networking. That would stress me out. However, I must confess, that → balancing work, community leadership, and family is a big challenge for me and for all women, because domestic and family responsibilities still fall on our shoulders, as social relations and the sexual division of labour still put women at a disadvantage. Today, my children are grown up. At home, my husband is very supportive and shares the workload. I’m very lucky. Finally, because I don’t stress myself over already stressful situations, my mental health remains intact. Today, my life as a wife, mother, professional and now, 5 months ago, a grandmother is still going well. This tells me that I have a very good balance. I don’t change what works well for me.

19 September, 2023
LadiesCorner – Fall 2023

More than just settling, it’s adapting to Canadian life

Alphonse Ndem Ahola is the Executive Director of La FRAP. He has been committed to advocating for improving living conditions and including Francophone immigrants in Alberta since he arrived in Canada.

How did you come to join La FRAP?

In January 2016, I joined as a volunteer. I ran for the position of Board Chair of La FRAP and was elected. I had only been in Canada for a year before la FRAP started in 2014.

How were you able to move from Board Chair to Executive Director?

We were just a board that did not have any staff or money. We had 7 – 9 volunteers doing whatever they could for the community. We needed La FRAP to support immigrants, mostly of African descent, that were coming to Edmonton. We came together as volunteers just to work on and address issues like racism and inclusion. In 2019, the previous Francophone organization funding was withdrawn from the Federal government. I was working with the government of Alberta. As chair of the board, we applied for the funding to replace that organization and fortunately we were selected to take on the settlement services for Francophone newcomers in Edmonton.

Who were some community leaders and members who started the organization with you?

There were 10 of us, but another 8 were dedicated community members that worked with us. We also had

Alphonse Ndem Ahola

the support of the entire community at large. The issues they were concerned with, like racism, inclusion, and difficulties in the education system, were of concern to us as well. The board, the cultural community, and the Canadian Francophone heritage supported us.

What were some of the issues you dealt with before 2019, and are they the same issues you face today in FRAP?

There were some political issues, but the first was recognizing that immigrants are an asset and opportunity to Canada, particularly the Francophone community. It was difficult. Almost every week, we had a press conference to discuss issues. Thankfully, the Federal government understood, and there were some changes in the system. I kept advocating for cultural sensitivity to the African newcomers, making them feel welcome. I applied for La FRAP. We also had a fiscal agent, and after a few months, the Federal Government agreed with the application and gave us the money.

What can people come to FRAP for? What does it mean to people? What are some of the key services you deliver?

We started by advocating for the Immigrant Francophone communities. Racism and inclusion were the issues in the education system. Black staff were needed, and we started approaching the school Boards. Today as an organization, we are still advocating for this but also dealing with the settlement. We help families with orientation, needs assessment and counselling, translation and documents, housing and banking help, school registration and connecting with the community. Case management programs and settlement workers also help with children and youth. These are funded programs from the city, provincial and federal governments.

Is it just Francophone people who benefit from your extensive work?

All Canadians can benefit from the

services we provide – both Anglophone and we are funded for Francophone.

Are you excited about where you are as an organization?

Yes, we did a great job in the past number of years. I am very proud to have the team that I work with. Many people are contributing to the organization and work being done. The Board has been supporting us.

What would you project for La FRAP for the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

I hope there will always be a better FRAP after me. The vision I share with the Board is that my colleagues understand all levels of what FRAP is doing. It will thrive and continue.

What are some projects you are excited about?

The Cultural Association are the first settlement agency as our partner. FRAP prepares before people even come to Canada. The settlement workers in all Francophone schools in Edmonton and region and some French Immersion schools are excellently welcoming newcomers. We are working in the North West Territories and the Prairies. Immigrants must have a system to settle and thrive in this country.

Would you guide, teach, and train the other communities?

We support organizations and capacity building in schools and in ethnocultural communities. We have been involved with other organizations and communities. The City of Edmonton also supports us.

What kind of challenges do you face now?

One of the challenges, when you advocate is the need for government funding. The other challenge is we

are realizing that the needs are huge. We need to develop, and this year we are reviewing all our services and will adapt to the needs of the community and hope to convince funders for this support in education, counselling, and financial literacy.

Do you belong to the leadership circle in the city? And what wise words or guidance would you leave the leaders and our readers?

We are not managing a company. We are taking care of people and the first ones are our colleagues. I am not concerned with the money, the targets and La FRAP – I am concerned with people, which makes the whole difference.

What do you do for your mental health? Do you have time to read and if so, what have you been reading lately?

I work on what is essential. I am reading – The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway and Architects of Disaster. I am interested in the situation in Africa and other places in the world. Reading helps me a lot with my mental health. I also have my family and music, which I cannot live without. I listen to all kinds of music, even Michael Jackson.

21 LadiesCorner – Fall 2023

Plus qu’une simple installation, c’est s’adapter à la vie canadienne.

Alphonse Ndem Ahola est le directeur général de la FRAP. Il s’est engagé à défendre l’amélioration des conditions de vie et l’inclusion des immigrants francophones en Alberta depuis son arrivée au Canada.

Comment es-tu arrivé à la FRAP ?

Dans les débuts de la FRAP en 2014, je venais d’arriver au Canada depuis un an.

En janvier 2016, j’ai rejoint l’association en tant que bénévole. J’ai brigué le poste de président du conseil d’administration de la FRAP et j’ai été élu.

Comment avez-vous pu passer de président du conseil d’administration à directeur général ?

Nous étions un conseil qui n’avait ni

personnel ni argent. Nous avions 7 à 9 bénévoles qui faisaient tout ce qu’ils pouvaient pour la communauté. Nous avions besoin de la FRAP pour soutenir les immigrants, majoritairement d’origine africaine, qui venaient s’installer à Edmonton. Nous nous sommes donc réunis en tant que bénévoles pour travailler et résoudre des problèmes tels que le racisme et l’inclusion. En 2019, le financement antérieur du Gouvernement Fédéral aux organismes francophones est retiré. À cette époque, je travaillais avec le gouvernement de l’Alberta.

En tant que président du conseil, nous avons appliqué pour le financement pour remplacer cette organisation et heureusement,

nous avons été choisis pour prendre en charge les services d’établissement des nouveaux arrivants francophones à Edmonton.

Qui étaient certains des dirigeants et membres de la communauté qui ont lancé l’organisation avec vous ?

Nous étions au nombre de 10, dont 8 étaient des membres dévoués de la communauté.

Nous avons également eu le soutien de toute la communauté dans son ensemble car les questions qui les concernaient comme le racisme, l’inclusion et les difficultés du système éducatif nous préoccupaient également. Nous étions soutenus par le conseil d’administration, la

Alphonse Ndem Ahola

communauté culturelle et le patrimoine francophone canadien.

Quels étaient certains des problèmes que vous avez traités avant 2019, et ces problèmes sontils les mêmes que vous rencontrez aujourd’hui à la FRAP ?

Il y avait quelques problèmes politiques, mais le premier était de reconnaître que les immigrants sont un atout et une opportunité pour le Canada, particulièrement pour la communauté francophone. C’était difficile. Presque chaque semaine, nous avons tenu une conférence de presse pour discuter de ces questions. Heureusement, le gouvernement fédéral a compris et il y eu quelques changements dans le système. J’ai continué à plaider pour une sensibilité culturelle envers les nouveaux arrivants africains afin qu’ils se sentent les bienvenus. Nous avons appliqué pour la FRAP. Nous avions aussi un agent fiscal à l’époque et après quelques mois, le Gouvernement Fédéral a accepté notre demande et nous a donné le financement.

Pourquoi peut-on venir à la FRAP ? Qu’est-ce que cela signifie pour les gens? Quelles sont certains des services- clés que vous fournissez ?

Nous avons commencé par défendre les communautés immigrantes francophones, le racisme, l’inclusion, et les problèmes dans le système éducatif. Du personnel afro descendant était nécessaire dans les écoles et nous avons commencé à approcher les commissions scolaires.

Aujourd’hui, en tant qu’organisation, nous plaidons toujours en faveur de cela, mais nous nous occupons également de l’établissement. Nous aidons les familles avec l’orientation, l’évaluation des besoins et conseils; la traduction des documents, le logement et l’aide bancaire, l’inscription à l’école et la connexion avec la communauté. Il y a aussi la gestion de cas, des programmes et des travailleurs en établissement pour aider les enfants

et les jeunes. Tous ces programmes sont financés par le gouvernement municipal, provincial et fédéral.

Est-ce seulement les francophones qui profitent de tout le travail considérable que vous faites?

Tous les Canadiens peuvent bénéficier des services que nous fournissons - à la fois anglophones, mais nous sommes financés pour les Francophones.

Êtes-vous enthousiasmé par l’endroit où vous en êtes en tant qu’organisation ?

Oui, nous avons fait un excellent travail au cours des dernières années. Je suis très fier d’avoir l’équipe avec qui je travaille.

De nombreuses personnes contribuent à l’organisation et au travail effectué. Le Conseil d’Administration nous soutient également.

Que projettes-tu pour la FRAP pour les 5 prochaines années ? 10 années? 20 ans?

Ce que j’espère, c’est qu’il y aura toujours une meilleure FRAP après moi. La vision que je partage avec le Conseil est que mes collègues comprennent la pleine portée de ce que fait la FRAP, qu’ils prospèrent et continuent la course.

Quels sont les projets qui vous passionnent ?

Nous développons des partenariats avec Les Associations ethno-Culturelles. Le FRAP prépare les nouveaux arrivants, avant même leur arrivée au Canada. Les intervenants en établissement de toutes les écoles francophones d’Edmonton et de la région et certaines écoles d’immersion française font un excellent travail d’accueil des nouveaux arrivants. Nous travaillons dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest et les Prairies. Il est essentiel que les immigrants disposent d’un système pour s’établir et s’épanouir dans ce pays.

Souhaitez-vous guider, enseigner et former les communautés Ebo ?

Nous appuyons les organismes et le renforcement des capacités dans les écoles et dans les communautés ethnoculturelles. Nous avons été impliqués avec d’autres organisations et communautés. La ville d’Edmonton nous soutient également.

À quel genre de défis faites-vous face maintenant?

L’un des défis lorsque vous plaidez, c’est le besoin de financement gouvernemental. L’autre défi est que nous nous rendons compte que les besoins sont énormes. Nous devons nous développer et cette année nous revoyons tous nos services afin de nous adapter aux besoins de la communauté et en espérant pouvoir convaincre les bailleurs de fonds pour ce soutien dans les domaines de l’éducation, du conseil et de la littératie financière.

Appartenez-vous au cercle des dirigeants de la ville ? Et quelles sages paroles ou conseils laisseriez-vous les dirigeants et nos lecteurs ?

Nous ne gérons pas une entreprise. Nous prenons soin des gens et les premiers sont nos collègues. je je ne me soucie pas de l’argent, des objectifs et de la FRAP – je me soucie des gens et ça fait toute la différence.

Que faites-vous pour votre santé mentale ? Avez-vous le temps de lire et si oui, qu’avez-vous lu dernièrement ?

J’essaie de travailler sur l’essentiel. Je lis – Le vieil homme et la mer de Hemmingway et Architectes du désastre. Je m’intéresse à la situation en Afrique et ailleurs dans le monde. Lire m’aide beaucoup pour ma santé mentale. J’ai aussi ma famille et la musique sans lesquelles je ne peux vivre. j’écoute toutes sortes de musique; jusqu’à Michael Jackson pour ne citer que ce dernier. 992 mots

23 September, 2023 LadiesCorner
– Fall 2023

Education, Empowerment, Excellence

Neriah Inyang-Otu is a second-year University of Alberta student currently studying Physiology, and her sister Moriah is pursuing Biochemistry as a third-year student. They both have aspirations to become physicians in the future. Still, alongside their education and career goals, they share a strong passion for social justice and making a positive impact in their community. They are co-founders of the Purple Tie Foundation.

The Purple Tie Foundation was established in 2021 with the aim of encouraging the community in Akwa Ibom State, a minority group in the South of Nigeria, to invest in education and the future.The name of the foundation was inspired by Moriah’s novel, “Purple Tie Foundation: There is Royalty Within,” which she wrote at the age of 15.

high school student who has demonstrated an interest and active participation in social justice issues, as well as students who have volunteered with organizations dedicated to addressing injustice and a commitment to serving others.

“The Purple Tie Foundation was established in 2021 with the aim of encouraging the community in Akwa Ibom State, a minority group in the South of Nigeria, to invest in education and the future.”

As the current Vice President of the Black Students Association (UABSA), Neriah’s role involves extensive outreach and collaboration with local and national organizations that share their values. UABSA serves as the leading association for Black students at the University of Alberta, providing events and creating a safe space for members. One of the main challenges is bringing awareness to Black students’ access to resources, including mental health support and academic/career resources.

While their initial focus has been on hosting essay-writing competitions in Akwa Ibom state, they have expanded efforts to Canada in supporting multiple communities, where they provide an annual scholarship to a

Moriah’s involvement with TeamUp Science stems from her deep passion for science. The program aims to make science accessible and enjoyable for Edmonton’s youth, specifically focusing on Indigenous, rural and inner-city communities. They host an

24 LadiesCorner – Fall 2023
The Inspiring Story of Neriah and Moriah Neriah Inyang-Otu Moriah Inyang-Otu

Interdisciplinary Science Competition, workshops in medicine, computer science, and engineering, as well as project-based after-school programs. She leads the division coordinating weekly programs in schools and organizations across Edmonton.

Regarding role models, their mother stands out as an incredible inspiration. Her faith in God, the kindness of others, and the promise of a better tomorrow instilled humility and fire for life in the girls. Reading has always been a passion for them.. Neriah finds valuable lessons in every book.. One book that has resonated with her is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” which has had a lasting impact on both personal and professional growth. Moriah’s current read is “Purple Hibiscus” because of its themes of resilience and personal growth, and the insights it provides into the socio-political context of post-colonial Nigeria.

At Students for Change, they initiated numerous efforts to raise awareness about racial discrimination students face. Both girls balance and dedicate focused time to academic pursuits and extracurricular commitments. They turn notifications off and unwind for a mental reset at day’s end..

The girls’ core message for the next generation is to use hobbies and talents to spread joy and even spark innovation. “Embrace the opportunity to be a leader within your own community, a true global citizen”.

25 LadiesCorner – Fall 2023
Moriah Inyang-Otu

From Mum to Mogul

Folasayo Williams’ Mission to Bridge Culture and Play

Folasayo Williams demonstrates that if you can think it, you can do it. She is a mother to two energetic and curious boys, a business analyst by day and an entrepreneur by night.

Even though Folasayo never considered herself a writer, she had stories she wanted to use to inspire empathy and kindness in children by publishing her own book.

“You want your kids to grow up knowing and talking about their origins. And you want them to see themselves in the games they play and the stories they read. But mostly, you want them to be happy, confident and kind and to have fun playing games with each other and with you!”

When her older son was approaching toddlerhood, she realized the puzzles, books and toys in general in the marketplace did nothing to provide representation and connection to her Nigerian heritage and she realized.she could do something about changing that.

Folashayo probably under-estimated what it took to run a business but she has learned how to become

a graphic designer, marketer, website designer and creator, content creator, social media manager, copywriter, stock manager, operations and logistics manager. This has been done in conjunction with working a full-time job, a mother, and wife. There are times when she feels isolated and overwhelmed but she made mistakes and found ways to recover. There were many sacrifices but worth the successes.

When she saw the joy on her son’s face when he viewed an illustration of a black mum and dad and baby boy on one of the puzzle sets, she realized that at 3 years old, this was the first time he was seeing an illustration of a family unit that looked just like his. Falashayo said he was so excited!

The positive reviews, retail and wholesale sales, media features and awards won are making a difference and are encouraging. People of all ages enjoy the products and Falashayo states that even parents and grandparents wish they had toys like these while growing up.

“The importance of preserving and sharing culture today cannot be

over-emphasized. Thanks to air travel and technology, we are basically living in a global village. We are sure to come across people from various walks of life, ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds whether as children or adults…and it’s important that we learn to treat everyone with respect and understanding and also to embrace and celebrate these differences.”

In order to balance work and family life, Folashayo sets boundaries. She believes that work time is work – and play time is play. She uses alarms to either start or stop a task. She can focus on the activity and then take a break – whether it’s drafting emails, creating social media posts, playing with her kids or even getting some alone time with Netflix or a book like The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Even during holidays, she unplugs, recharges and gets refreshed.

You can find her on Instagram as @sheniandteri; check her products and story on the website or email her at

26 LadiesCorner – Fall 2023

community, serving


Edmonton Community Foundation will match up to $100,000 in donations to EBCF. For more details on how to contribute, visit

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