At a time when the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) is changing the way it operates, Barrington Coke is excited to be stepping into the driver’s seat as the new president.
He replaces Audrey Campbell, who served with distinction since 2009.
In the last few months, significant changes were made to the governance structure of the 51-year-old organization.
The JCA has been split into three entities. They are the Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN), the JCA Membership Organization and a JCA Foundation.
The critical social services delivery through full and part-time professional staff will be governed by a separate board that will set policy and provide leadership that will enable it to blossom and grow by fully serving the designated communities within its mandate.
The CAFCAN board members are Kemi Jacobs (chair), Ciann Wilson (vice-chair), Diane Daley (treasurer), Maureen Henry (secretary) and Shawnee Hardware (director-at-large).
“This new CAFCAN agency is incorporated and the new board was appointed by the JCA board,” said JCA executive secretary, Adaoma Patterson.
The membership component will continue to provide cultural programs that include events that appeal to a younger demographic while the foundation will raise funds for the other two entities.
“In the next 12 to 18 months, the transition team will be responsible for implementing the new structure,” said Campbell.
A member of the JCA for almost 15 years, Coke took a 10-year break from the organization before returning three years ago and assuming the post of executive vice-president in 2012.
“This is an organization with a rich legacy which I am proud to be part of,” he said. “Sometimes, change is necessary and we are going through a transition that I am confident will enhance the way we do business and serve the community. These are good times for the JCA and I am delighted to be part of a competent team now in charge of steering the organization in the right direction.”
Migrating to Canada as a teenager almost four decades ago, Coke completed Grade 13 in the Greater Toronto Area and graduated with a Master of Applied Science in Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Policy from York University.
With over 30 years industrial experience in quality and operations management primarily in the automotive industry, Coke has helped several companies, including General Electric, Nortel and Magna International, increase customer satisfaction and profitability.
He has also taught engineering and quality assurance courses at Ryerson University and Sheridan College and served as president and managing director of a partnership that purchased and operated a manufacturing operation that supplied the automotive and aerospace industries with precision machined components.
Coke is currently a management consultant.
Former Black Business & Professional Association president Audrey Walters returns to active community service as the vice-president. In March 2010, she underwent a nine-hour surgery to remove a large brain tumour.
A graduate of Westview Centennial Collegiate and York University, Walters scuttled plans to represent the Conservative Party in York West in the last federal elections. She was in the process of putting together a campaign team when she became ill.
Walters worked in the travel industry as an accounts/operations manager and was a co-founder of the Jane-Finch Concerned Citizens Association.
The other JCA board members are Tonya Brown (treasurer), Tanya Chin (executive secretary), Kerry Ann English (communications director), Rosemarie Bryan (fundraising director) and Cheryl Ann Ewan (director-at-large).