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Black Girls Gather, a shared platform with HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development, engages young Black women entrepreneurs, encourages them to realize their full potential, and inspires them to become active agents in their own lives and successes.


Our programming provides participants the tools, resources and networks they need to turn their side hustles into successful start-ups and small businesses. We help our participants create a sustainable business model that can flourish and make an impact. 


Black Girls Gather partners with community organizations to ensure that participants get a culturally relevant, hands-on access to best practices in business to ensure intergenerational economic success.

Our exploration of entrepreneurship is based on the Nguzo Saba Principles. Namely, Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujamaa (cooperative economics) and Ujima (collective work and responsibility).

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Shakira Weatherdon (She/Her)
Founder and Lead

Shakira Weatherdon is a respected trainer with nearly a decade of experience in sexualized violence, equity and inclusion. She provides subject matter expertise and leads the implementation of equity-related programs and services. She is also the founder of Black Girls Gather. 


Her passions include supporting organizations to create safer, more welcoming, and inclusive environments and cultivating Black Girl Magic and Black Boy Joy. 


Shakira received her MA in Gender and Peacebuilding from the United Nations mandated University for Peace and her Honors Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Development Studies from the University of Toronto.

Karen Zishiri (She/Her)
Administrative Coordinator

Karen Zishiri provides administrative support for Black Girls Gather. She has a background in financial services, social service and the public service. 

Karen holds a BCOMM in Economics from Saint Mary's University.


Our Bridge Builders (aka advisory committee) are Black women leaders in their communities and who are committed to knowledge sharing and leveraging their relationships to advance the mission of Black Girls Gather. 

K-Lee Fraser (She/Her)

K-Lee Fraser is from the community of East Preston, Nova Scotia. She is currently the Language Studies and Sociology Liaison Librarian at the University of Toronto Scarborough Library. As an early career librarian, she supports the teaching, learning, and research of the university community. Her research examines equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, library anxiety, and sociolinguistics within academic librarianship.  

Liesl Mulholland (She/Her)

Liesl Mulholland CITP©/FIBP© is an International Trade Development Consultant and Entrepreneur with over fifteen years practical expertise in business, entrepreneurship, trade in services, and trade facilitation. Liesl is originally from the Caribbean, born and raised in Guyana before moving to Barbados with her family when she was 9 years old. She considers both Guyana and Barbados her home and continues to do work in these markets and the wider Caribbean.

Throughout her career, Liesl has developed, organised and led more than thirty (30) trade missions to countries in the Americas, Africa and the Caribbean. Her sector focus has been Professional Services, including the Creative Industries. 

Monica Njoku (She/

Monica is an inclusion, marketing, and project management professional with a zest for life. She helps organizations and groups tell their stories through digital marketing, community projects, and storytelling. After ten years of working across Canada on Olympic fundraisers, provincial health initiatives, and youth conferences, Monica moved to California to work for the University of San Francisco and pursue her dream of working internationally. Respected for her expertise as an engagement professional, Monica is a trusted leader and expert relationship builder skilled in working with marginalized communities. In her spare time, you can find her eating, thrift shopping, or cycling around the city.

Karen Mutyabule (She/Her)

Karen has experience in facilitation, program development and program implementation. She believes in the importance of spaces that center black women and give them the skills and tools for success. Her educational background is in Commerce and Philosophy for her undergraduate degree and a post graduate certification in Public Policy and Management. 
During her light moments, Karen enjoys thought-provoking conversations, photography, painting and travelling.

Michelle Patrick (She/Her)

Michelle is a career advisor at Dalhousie University and has been supporting Black Girls Gather since 2018.  Michelle works to empower students and mentees to discover their passions and develop their strengths to define and achieve successes.  As a previous program manager, Michelle supported Black high school and post-secondary students interested in seeking careers in health through the power of mentorship and experiential learning opportunities.  Michelle is a community volunteer, advocate for elimination of inequities, and believer in the power of mentorship.

Chanae Parsons (She/Her)

Chanae Parsons is indigenous to the historical Black Heritage community of Lucasville and a loving mother to her son Cairo. She holds a Bachelors of Social Work degree from Dalhousie University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Adult Education with St. Francis Xavier University.

Chanae is an active member of the Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers, as well as, a co-founder of the community based organization ACCE (Arts, Community, Culture, Economics) where she provides support to a wide range of African Nova Scotians in vulnerable positions.

Chanae prioritizes youth led initiatives and is committed to ensuring that Black youth, specifically our young Black girls and/or women, see themselves reflected in leadership roles. She is both passionate and experienced working with diverse populations in areas of research, youth leadership, and program development to drive community growth.

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