Calgary Black Achievement Awards

Recognizing Members of the Community

This past June 9, 2023, we celebrated the achievements of Black Calgarians during these uncertain times. Hosted at the HYATT Regency, we heard amazing stories of success and perseverance.

Why do we need an awards ceremony?

Black people have been in the Calgary area for many years and have made significant contributions to the growth and vibrancy of this great city. It is important to show our youth, newcomers, and established residents, that noteworthy accomplishments are being made by our people in several domains. Let’s show our youth that there are Black people doing amazing things, not just showing up, but excelling in their fields.

The award categories are intended to cover the major areas of contribution. However, we recognize that not everything will be represented and invite suggestions for next years.

We urge you to nominate people so we may formally recognize those who are making us proud. Think about who might be a good nominee in 2024 and let us know early 2024!

CBAA Hall of Fame

Nominees were Calgary-based and have exhibited an impressive history of high achievement, success, and excellence in one of the following categories. 


2023 Winners

Arts, Media and Entertainment

This award recognizes a Black individual who has excelled in the Arts, Media, who has used the Arts to highlight and advance Black and societal issues in Calgary and who has shown leadership in the community through the Arts.

Simone Elizabeth Saunders

Community Service

This award recognizes a Black individual who understands the importance of giving back, and who has given their time and service to improve our community. This award is sponsored by TD Bank.

Gar Gar


This award recognizes a Black educator whose educational practises is making a positive impact in the lives of students in the community or an educator whose educational practises is making a positive impact in the lives of Black youth in the community. This award is sponsored by Bow Valley College.

Jacqueline Musabende


The award recognizes a Black energy professional making a difference in the energy sector and Black community. This award is sponsored by Pembina.

Heather Campbell

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

This award recognizes a Black entrepreneur or innovators moving the needle in terms of Black leadership in the community. This award is sponsored by TC Energy.

Gladys Afolayan

Professional Services

This award recognizes a Black professional making a difference in their field. This award will go to a professional in any of the following fields: law, consulting accounting, finance or medicine.

Samuel Adeyemi


This award recognizes a Black individual making a profound difference in the areas of STEM. This award is sponsored by Suncor.

Dr. Charles Odame Ankrah

Sports & Athletics

This award celebrates a Black individual involved in sports and athletics. who exemplifies leadership, and dedication and passion.

Ezeoha Santiago

Youth Achievement

This award recognizes Black individuals under 30 years of age who are positively impacting people around them and making a difference in the community. This award is sponsored by Bank of Montreal.

Sinit Abraha

Lifetime Achievement

This award goes to a Black individual who has inspired those around them and made exceptional and last contributions to the community. It recognises outstanding achievement, dedication and service.

Dr. Malinda Smith

Previous Years

Arts, Media and Entertainment

An individual who uses expression or application of human creative skill and imagination to enrich our community 

Business and Entrepreneurship

An individual in a leadership position in business or who created a successful new business

  • 2022 Winner: Elise Konadu Ahenkorah
  • 2021 Winner: Selam Gutema and Anwar Sultan – Yegna Ethiopian restaurant

Community Service

An individual who provides service and time to improve our community

  • 2022 Winner: Cynthia Okafor
  • 2021 Winners: Jean Claude Munyezamu & Adanech Sahilie


An individual in education making a positive impact in the lives of our students and youth in Calgary


An individual working in the Legal field who make an impact in the community


An individual practicing in the Medical field working to improve the lives of their patients, their students, and research in the field


An individual who excels in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and who is creating opportunities for Black community members to get involved and join the field

Sports & Athletics

An individual with athletic achievements, playing and on the sidelines

  • 2022 Winner: Jabari Arthur
  • 2021 Winners: Eddie Richardson & Hakeem Dawodu

Youth Achievement

A young individual (under 30) who has positively impacted our community in any of the above areas

  • 2022 Winner: Shenneile Henry
  • 2021 Winners: Semhar Abraha & Deborah Mebude

Lifetime Achievement

An individual whose continued contributions over the years made Calgary a better place to live for Black people


Watch the 2022 Awards

Watch the 2021 Awards