5 Questions with: Angelina Williams - The Drake
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    5 Questions with: Angelina Williams

    Continuing with our spotlight on our Drake Black Community Council members, let us introduce you to Angelina Williams, the CEO of Skylar Projects, a hospitality consulting firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Along with Charmain Emerson, Joshua Dyer, Paul Taylor, Akinkunmi Akinnola, and Erica Russell, Angelina provides the council with a unique viewpoint through her 15 years of experience working in the hospitality industry with a lens to restaurants and hotels. A champion of AI integration and automation, she has recently directed her knowledge into her passion for agriculture technology, food accessibility, and sustainable community design through her newest venture with Ladder Farms

    + What does a racially just workplace look like to you?

    A racially just workplace is an environment where folks, particularly leadership, have done the necessary work to understand intersectionality as it pertains to race, gender identity, and economic position. It also makes racial equality a visible and prominent part of their language, practices, culture, and branding.

     + What are you working on right now personally/professionally that has you excited?

    I’m really excited about my work in agriculture (Ladder Farms). It’s difficult at this point to distinguish between personal and professional, that’s the challenge with a passion. There is a desperate need for healthy and accessible produce, especially with more Canadians facing food insecurity every day. The research taking place is really exciting and we hope to find new, future-conscious ways to grow the food people want to eat. An important aspect of our work is education because many of our young people are not connected or even remotely interested in the growing process. By introducing cool and exciting technology into the equation, we aim to get young people excited about food production again and give birth to the next generation of growers. It’s a mission dear to my heart – my grandfather was a farmer. I hope he’ll be proud of how we’re transforming the industry he committed his life to.

    + What Toronto changemakers are inspiring you and why?

    I’m excited about Foodpreneur Lab’s mission to advance racial and gender equity in the food industry by helping minority communities and women get their products to market. They’re fantastic at breaking down barriers and creating better access for folks who have traditionally faced difficulty participating in the food ecosystem. The Preponderant Advisory also does excellent work. They’re a think tank that helps Canadian investors understand Africa’s growth potential as an emerging market, helping Canada be center stage for future development in a land of unlimited potential. Amoye Henry of AH Global Consulting Group is another dynamic force to be reckoned with within the community, all I will say is, just look her up!

    + What tools have helped you along your journey? 

    Books. I think it’s important to read scholars who have done the work in your various areas of study, especially if they challenge your politics. I recommend Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, Teaching to Transgress by Bell Hooks, and The Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr; His father authored The Four Agreements which I absolutely love. I’m constantly challenging my perspective on the world and ideas about our society and understanding that there’s more than one way to do things.

     + Where do you believe we must begin to advance Black leaders? What change would you like to see in your industry when it comes to Black representation?

    I would like to see more representation at an executive level. Right now, there’s a notion that Black senior talent is difficult to find, I don’t think that is true. The hospitality industry has traditionally tokenized representation by having Black folks on the front lines, in the back of the house, or in housekeeping, these are all noble roles and are paramount for successful hotel operations, however, I would like to see Black people in leadership and decision-making roles. Hiring managers need to look for talent outside the typical arenas, and consider talent from complimentary industries with transferable skills for positions that can impact a much-needed cultural shift.

    Learn more about Angelina by visiting angelinawilliams.ca

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