Young Jamaican shining brightly in Brampton, Ontario
When the 'Brampton Top 40 Under 40' awards are presented on June 20 in Ontario, Canada, Jamaican Kimberlee Shelley-Ajibolade will proudly take her place among the honourees.
The annual awards are given by the Brampton Board of Trade to individuals in leadership roles who are making an impact in the community, and Shelley-Ajibolade is ecstatic about being recognised.
"I'm excited because lots of time people are making their mark but they are often not recognised. It's just so good that the person who nominated me found the work and all the accomplishments worthy. Even more so that after the nomination the board thought to choose me as one of the recipients for the award, it's really amazing," said Shelley-Ajibolade, who grew up in Kingston.
She attended the Arnett Gardens-based Iris Gelly Primary School before moving to Holy Childhood High School, where she completed grades seven and eight. At age 14, she migrated with members of her family to Canada, where they settled in Brampton, Ontario.
Shelley-Ajibolade was a national delegate for Jamaica through the Diversity Advancement Network, the Black Canadian Queen for Brampton in 2017, the winner of a Community Activist Award, and at age 27, she was made the youngest branch manager in the history of the company where she was employed, Universal Staffing Inc.
According to Shelley-Ajibolade, from as long she can remember she wanted to serve, and plans to expand that service by moving into politics.
"I am contemplating running for Member of Provincial Parliament in the next four years, because I'm passionate about giving back, and this gives me an opportunity to provide a service to those most in need.
"When I see the positive impact my services have, it is rewarding. Being a member of parliament will help me do more and I can be a greater change agent and voice with the authority the office holds," Shelley-Ajibolade told The Sunday Gleaner.
At 28 years old, Shelley-Ajibolade, who wears many hats, including author, wife, minister, online TV personality and human resource professional, says she's also passionate about empowering young women.
"So many times we hear people say 'I wish someone had told me that', or 'If I knew then what I know now', and I feel when ladies are young, it's a good time to mould them, to change their thinking to let them understand that they can be and do anything they put their minds to," declared Shelley-Ajibolade.
She said even though she lives in Canada, she uses every opportunity to portray her Jamaican heritage in a positive light.
Her mother still lives in Jamaica, and Shelley-Ajibolade says she visits the island regularly and plans to make her mark in Jamaica.