Wes Hall inspires GBC audience of students, employees and alumni with his story of personal triumph

While he's on top of the world now as a Canadian business leader, Dragon's Den investor, change-maker and best-selling author, Wes Hall overcame serious obstacles to get where he is today. 

As part of George Brown College's (GBC) Black Futures Month celebrations, Hall reflected on his life during a fireside chat with Vice-President of External and Community Relations Kizzy Rodney. Students, employees and alumni attended the February 8 event at the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences at Waterfront Campus, organized by Alumni Relations and Black Futures.

Hall and Rodney discussed the inspiration for Hall's book No Bootstraps When You're Barefoot: My rise from a Jamaican plantation shack to the boardrooms of Bay Street (everyone who attended received a free copy) and his grandmother's influence on his life. He also shared the struggles he's experienced as a Black person in finance and how he's overcome them. 

Hall, a GBC alumnus, founded the BlackNorth Initiative in 2020 to dismantle systemic barriers, tackle anti-Black racism and increase the representation of Black people in corporate boardrooms across the country.

Last month, Hall received the Empire Club of Canada's Nation Builder of the Year award for "positive, timely and lasting" contributions to Canadian society and inspiring others through his actions. 

Wes Hall speaking into a hand held mic
Stacks of books
Wes Hall and Kizzy Rodney during fireside chat
Audience at Wes Hall event
Wes Hall and Kizzy Rodney during fireside chat
Wes Hall signing his book
Wes Hall signing a book