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2023 Nation Builder of the Year – Wes Hall

Thursday, January 25, 2024

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The Nation Builder of the Year Award recognizes Canadians who have made a positive, timely and lasting contribution to Canadian Society and are inspiring role models for Canadians.

The Empire Club of Canada is proud to announce the recipient of the 2023 Nation Builder of the Year Award is Wesley Hall, ICD.D, Canadian Businessman, Author and “Dragon” Investor. Wes is a renowned innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, widely recognized as one of Canada’s most influential figures.

Wes Hall embodies the spirit of The Empire Club of Canada’s Nation Builder of the Year award. Having been exposed to systemic black racism in his early years, and then emerging as a leader in confronting and eradicating racism is inspiring to not just individuals with a similar background, but to all Canadians.​

​What makes Wes a Nation Builder is not only his rise to being a successful business advisor, executive author and TV personality — it’s his philosophy and mission to constantly give back to those who need it most – and his ability to influence others to do the same through his outstanding leadership.

Join us in celebrating with our partners in recognizing this year’s award winner.

headshot of Wesley  Hall, ICD.D.

Wesley Hall, ICD.D.

Executive Chairman and Founder, WeShall Investments Inc., Executive Chairman and Founder, Kingsdale Advisors, Chairman and Founder, The BlackNorth Initiative ​

Wes Hall is a renowned innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, widely recognized as one of Canada’s most influential figures. As the founder and executive chairman of Kingsdale Advisors, he has earned accolades from prominent publications such as the Globe and Mail, Canadian Business, Toronto Life, and Maclean’s. Additionally, Wes is the owner of QM Environmental, a leading environmental and industrial services provider, Titan Supply, a top manufacturer and distributor of rigging and wear products, and the luxurious Harbor Club hotel, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton in St. Lucia.​

In 2020, Wes was appointed to the Ontario government’s Capital Markets Modernization Task Force, where he played a pivotal role in modernizing the province’s capital market regulations. Notably, he founded the BlackNorth Initiative (BNI) in June 2020, challenging Canadian businesses to confront and eradicate anti-Black systemic racism through a business-focused approach. Wes serves as the executive chair of BNI and chairman of the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism.​

Wes Hall is breaking barriers as the first Black Canadian Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, actively supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs. His generosity extends to numerous charitable initiatives, and he serves on the boards of the SickKids Foundation, Pathways to Education, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Black Academy, and the board of governors of Huron University. His philanthropic contributions have positively impacted countless children in the Caribbean and Canada.​

In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Wes received the 2020 Communicator of the Year Award from the International Association of Business Communicators (Toronto) and has been honored with an honorary doctorate in 2017 and the Vice Chancellor’s Award in 2015 from the University of the West Indies. Wes Hall is a symbol of hope and opportunity for those who share his background, making a substantial difference in both the business world and the lives of many.

headshot of Dahabo Ahmed-Omer

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer

Chief Executive Officer, BlackNorth Initiative

Ms. Ahmed-Omer has accumulated a wealth of experience and accomplishments in the performance measurement, policy development, HR planning analysis, and employment equity and diversity sectors. Ms. Ahmed-Omer has been the recipient of notablea wards over the years, including the exceptional service within theFederal Public Service, the Canada150 Community Builder Award, the Ottawa Black History Community Leadership Award, the top 100under 40 Most Influential Person of African descent in support ofUnited Nations decade and most recently, the Globe and Mail’sInaugural Business Change makers Award (2021), Most recently, last year she was listed as one of Canada’s most Influential WomenLeaders by Bay St Bull.

In the professional realm, Ms. Ahmed-Omer is the Chief ExecutiveOfficer of the BlackNorth Initiative. In her previous role, Ms. Ahmed-Omer was the Human Resources Specialist within the Public Sector and primarily responsible for the Visible Minority Advisory SteeringCommittee of the Agency and working in the agency-wideEmployment Equity Action Plan and Anti-racism Strategy.

Ms. Ahmed-Omer is a founding member of the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition, which advocated securing justice for the late Abdirahman Abdi and his family. A previous member of the Black Agenda Noir organization, a Circle of United Black Citizens whose goal is to cementBlack presence on the national radar.

Among the many other organizations she has been a part of, Ms.Ahmed-Omer has played an instrumental leadership role in the Ottawa Mayor’s task force combatting anti-black racism. Ms. Ahmed-Omer was a lead researcher for Justice for Abdirahman for its submission to the Justice Tulloch Independent Police OversightReview and street check review. Ms. Ahmed-Omer has also played an integral role in the rollout of the new Ottawa Police Service’s recruitment strategy and is a lead member of Black Agenda Noir. Her crucial role in the Nyansapo Wisdom, which promotes equity and inclusion for African, Caribbean, and Black Canadians (ACBC) students in education, has seen Dahabo make deputations at the School Board to address a series of challenges facing children and teens of African descent within the Ottawa School Board.

Ms. Ahmed-Omer stands as a strong role model, particularly to members of all-Black communities, and has played a transformative role in improving the quality of life of
Canadians of African descent and the community at large.

headshot of Featuring Special Performances by SOLE POWER CHOIR

Featuring Special Performances by SOLE POWER CHOIR