Kimberlee Shelley-Ajibolade, who was born in Jamaica and now lives in Oakville, has been honored with a place on the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants list. The award is given in recognition of people who serve as inspire others by making positive contributions to their communities in Canada after migrating to that country. Shelley-Ajibolade says, that in addition to the prestige of receiving a place on the Top 25 list, the award has solidified her place in her adopted land. According to Shelley-Ajibolade, Canada has some 300,000 immigrants and to be singled out for special recognition from among them is humbling and “absolutely amazing.”
She migrated to Canada at age 14, leaving her family and friends, and making the adaptation to a new culture and system. She says that she knew Canada was accepting of people from different cultures and promoted diversity. Even at 14, she carried the values that her parents had given her, and these kept her grounded and focused during her teens and into adulthood.
At 27, Shelley-Ajibolade was offered the position of branch manager at Universal Staffing Inc. in Brampton. She was the youngest branch manager in the firm’s history and its only black female to have that role. In 2017, she was named the Black Canadian Queen Ambassador Brampton and was also a winner of the Woman on Fire Community Activist Award and received the Brampton 40 Under 40 title in 2018.
Now 30, Shelley-Ajibolade is the district manager for Black Women Honors and Empowerment’s Brampton Chapter and a member of Brampton’s Black History Month committee. Additionally, she was chosen to host the city’s first official Black History Month flag-raising ceremony in February 2019. She recently received the United Way of GTA Community Leadership Award. Shelley-Ajibolade serves as a career mentor for other immigrants, women, and diverse Canadians. She volunteers her time at her church where she was recently ordained as a minister. She is also on the board of directors of the Oak Park Neighborhood Center.
Her advice to others is to “work hard, stay motivated and focused, and ger involved in your community.” This involvement will open doors and “help you to succeed.” She added that the “traits of giving back and service” were inherent in her upbringing. As a child, she watched her mother volunteer at the local church and being part of the local missions project. Her mother helped everyone she could, said Shelley-Ajibolade, expecting nothing in return. “It was amazing to watch,” she said, citing her mother’s hard work as the source of her own
accomplishments and blessing. She believes she is “reaping the harvest” of her mother’s good works. “So I want to pay it forward for when my child comes, but it’s also nothing short of amazing to experience the gratitude and emotion of individuals when you impact their lives positively and that alone makes it worthwhile for me.”
Source: Inside Halton