Bio of Valarie Steele
Valarie H.A. Steele (President JDCF)
President of the JDCF, Valarie H. A. Steele, is a founding member of the Jamaica Diaspora movement who worked assiduously to mobilize a delegation from Canada to the first Diaspora Conference in 2004 in Jamaica. As President of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) at the time, she brought greetings from Canada to that conference. She has attended all five Diaspora Conferences in Jamaica and in 2013, led the Canadian delegates to that Conference as President of the JDCF.
As President since May 2012, Mrs. Steele has overseen the development of a strategic plan for the JDCF, including new Mission, Vision and Values statements. She is also a member of the Diaspora Advisory Board, which advises the Government of Jamaica’s Diaspora Minister.
Mrs. Steele is a proud Jamaican who was born in Broadgate, St. Mary. She attended Broadgate Public School and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel High School in Annotto Bay, St. Mary. She received post-secondary and professional training at The Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators, Micro Skills Information Technology Institute, A+Professional, MCP, MCSA, MCSE, a Management Certificate at Queen’s University at Kingston, Civilian Police College Certificate and has several brokerage-financial designations.
She has been a successful financial administrator and practitioner in Canada’s financial sector and other private enterprise. She has also been a successful entrepreneur.
Mrs. Steele is, and has been, an effective and successful community wide advocate in several areas of human services organizations in the province of Ontario over a period of 35 years, having served as founding member in some of these organizations and as executive team member on all of these organizations; as well as the Board Chair for many of them. Her demonstrated leadership has given the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the province of Ontario, and Canada, a better perspective in human relations for Blacks in Canada, and West Indians and Jamaicans in particular, through her outstanding performance as president of the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) and now the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation.
Mrs. Steele’s community involvement has been many and varied. From 1986-2000, she actively participated in various activities in Toronto schools, serving on the parent committees that advocated for better conditions in the schools. She served as Chairperson of these committees for approximately 10 years. She is a founding member of Acting on Behalf of our Children (ABC), an organization that ensured that the former City of York Board of Education began treating their diverse student body with the respect that they deserved, and she became a candidate for School Board Trustee in the old City of York. She is also a founding member of York Children’s Festival, which parades on Eglinton Avenue West annually. With the JCA, the oldest and largest Jamaican community organization in Canada, Mrs. Steele served on the Board of Directors from 1999 – 2006, first as Vice-President and then as President. Other community involvement included member of the York Race Relations Committee; member of the Oakwood Community Organization; member of the Community Police Liaison Committee in Division 13, where she was Chairperson for four years and Vice-Chair for two years.
Valarie Steele is a recipient of a myriad of awards for her community work, including The Ontario Crime Central Commission of Excellence, 2000; The Bob Marley Award, 2002; The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002; The Prime Minister of Jamaica Medal of Appreciation for service to Jamaicans in Canada, 2002; City of Toronto Persons Day Certificate of Honour, 2004; and the Jamaican Canadian Association Women’s Committee award for community service.