Past events

YCIF TOR - Webinar - Addressing Racial Bias in Canadian Finance

Jul 07, 2020
From 5:30 PM to 7 PM

Members of all chapters are welcome to register for this webinar.



Recent events have put a spotlight on issues of systemic racism that have been facing black people for a long time in the US and Canada. This has also caused many companies across all sectors to look inward and examine how systemic racism may have gone under the radar within their walls.

In light of this, Young Canadians in Finance (YCIF) in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP) is pleased to invite you to a virtual panel discussion on Race in Canadian Finance. We will discuss the racial experiences of Black professions in finance and what Canadian financial services companies can do to implement real and sustained change.


When:               Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Time:                 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Where:              Online, you'll receive the link to connect to the webinar shortly before it starts
Members:         FREE
Non-members: FREE

Meet our panelists

Marlon Reid

Marlon Reid serves as Director-Business Effectiveness, CIBC Commercial Banking and Wealth Management. In this role, he provides leadership and strategic direction to his team and internal business partners to resolve client complaints within a complex and stringent regulatory framework. Marlon Reid previously worked at TD Securities for over 11 years in progressive roles. As Vice President, Global Counterparty Credit – Investment Banking, Marlon led a high performing team of professionals supporting Global Energy Markets, Global Precious Metals, Global Foreign Exchange, Asset Securitization and Commercial Paper businesses. His focus involved negotiation and deal execution of TD's energy origination transactions in addition to various other over-the-counter derivative and capital market transactions. In this capacity, Marlon developed an industry reputation as a skillful, but "disarming" negotiator. Marlon also served as co-chair on the Black Community Subcommittee of TD Bank's Diversity Leadership council and currently holds a seat on the Steering Committee on CIBC’s Black Employee Network. Marlon holds an undergraduate commerce degree from York University, a law degree from University of Ottawa and a Master of Finance degree from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Meryl Afrika

Meryl is the current President of CAUFP, a non-profit organization that provides a link between corporations and the Black community, through innovative programing that increases Black talent pipelines, provides educational opportunities, and fosters economic growth. Meryl’s career within Canada’s Financial Services industry started when she emigrated from South Africa and began working at Mogo Finance Technology Inc., an emerging Fintech company located in Western Canada. After 3 years within the start-up space, Meryl embarked on a sales career in Commercial Banking at CIBC where she managed the sales portfolio for Northern Alberta and the North West Territories. Meryl transitioned from Sales to Product Management, where she leveraged her client experience to manage payment and liquidity products for clients within the Small Business, Mid-Market and Large Corporate segments. Additionally, Meryl managed corporate partner relationships with multi-national organizations, such as US Bank and Global Payments while launching CIBC’s first suite of credit cards for Commercial Banking clients. After 3 years within Product Management, Meryl she transitioned back to a sales role at Scotiabank as a Senior Manager, Payments & Cash Management. Meryl currently works as a Payments Expert, Marketing & Innovation at Peoples Group, where she is responsible for representing the organization’s interests in the industry wide Payments Modernization program lead by Payments Canada. Meryl holds a Bachelor of Information Technology with a specialization in Business Systems from Monash University.

Allen Benjamin

Allen is an experienced professional whose career to date spans across a wide array of industries both in Canada and the Caribbean. His experience ranges from managing IT systems & business analysis in the a supermarket retail industry, financial & operational analysis experience in the pharmaceutical distribution industry and most recently, 12+ years in a corporate finance capacity in financial services working with TD and BMO. His current role is Managing Director, Loan Syndication and his responsibilities include structuring, leading and managing syndicated senior debt financing solutions for large and complex transactions across a wide array of industries at BMO. Allen holds an MBA from Schulich School of Business – York University, a B.Sc. Computer Science (with an E-Commerce Specialization) from Acadia University and is a CFA Charterholder. Outside of his day job, Allen has held and continues to hold leadership roles in volunteer and non-for-profit organizations focused on various community and diversity initiatives. He currently co-leads the Black Professionals Network at BMO which is focused on supporting Black employees at the Bank.

Abdul-Aziz Garuba (moderator)

Aziz is a finance and management consulting professional with over 12 years of experience in both public and private sectors. His most recent experience was as an Engagement Manager in the Advisory Services practice at Ernst & Young (EY) where he led performance improvement and digital finance transformation engagements for clients across various industries including financial services, mining, retail, and technology. Prior to joining EY, he worked at Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) focusing on business performance and management reporting, forecasting planning and analysis (FP&A), and strategy for the Wealth Management and Retail Banking businesses. Before joining RBC, Aziz was a tax auditor with the Canada Revenue Agency. Aziz is active in the community and is a member of the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals (CAUFP). He served as the 16th President of CAUFP from 2017-2018 and now chairs the organization’s Corporate Advisory Board. He’s also a member of the Toronto executive of the Young Canadians in Finance (YCIF) Aziz holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa and an MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).



About YCIF

Young Canadians in Finance was founded by Paul Desmarais III and Michael Blickstead in 2006. The organization is present in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, New York and Vancouver.

The Young Canadians in Finance network is a unique meeting place for young professionals and entrepreneurs who want to cultivate a network of privileged contacts and develop their skills through knowledge sharing experiences and networking.