The experience is an important part of the journey for all students. The recently formed Black Students at Ivey Collective (BSIC) hopes to support students across all programs who self-identify as black, both while at Ivey and out in the workforce. BSIC strives to provide a space for black students to connect, share their experiences, and receive mentorship.
“BSIC not only hopes to improve the Ivey journey, but also to attract more underrepresented students to the School and business in general,” said Sakariya Ahmed, HBA ’19, who co-founded the BSIC along with Paul Okundaye, HBA ’19, and Shoshauna Oryema, an HBA ’20 candidate.
“Being a black student is a harrowing process at times and it’s easy to feel alone when classes rarely have more than one black student. We felt it was important to create a structure of support so students, regardless of their numbers, feel supported,” he said.
Introducing the BSIC
The initiative kicked off with a BSIC Welcome Mixer at Ivey on August 29 that was open to all Ivey students. The event provided an introduction to the BSIC and its executive team, networking opportunities, and an Ivey alumni panel featuring high-achieving leaders in a variety of industries:
- Rolake Adeniran, HBA ’11, Associate, Stikeman Elliott LLP’s Corporate Group;
- David Aideyan, HBA ’17, Senior Associate Relationship Manager, Wealthsimple; and,
- Fenton Jagdeo, HBA ’16, Management Consultant, Deloitte.
The panellists discussed the trials they’ve met during their careers and how they’ve navigated the intersectionality of these incidents as black individuals.
At the event, HBA1 students were also connected with student or alumni mentors.
“The goal of the event was to introduce students to the wonderful network and resources available to them to better prepare them for the upcoming school year. We hope the students walked away feeling part of a larger group and uninhibited as they begin their Ivey journey,” said Ahmed.
Creating an inclusive environment
Ivey Dean Sharon Hodgson attended the event and commended the BSIC leadership.
“I recognize that there is not a level playing field for all in business – for women, for the LGBTQ community, and for members of minority groups,” she said. “It is important that we raise our voices, talk about these issues, and drive the change that is needed.”
Hodgson highlighted other recent School initiatives that raise awareness of the importance of inclusivity:
- Ivey’s Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership recently launched a new Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Program; and,
- The Ivey Pride Club has been active in community events.
Ahmed said the BSIC will organize other activities throughout the school year.
“We hope to continue this conversation and host events where BSIC members can talk about their experiences at Ivey, improvements they would like to see, and identify ways in which the administration can support its minority students,” he said.