Fem-leader Nikki Clarke continues to raise the bar

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At Illuminessence, we strive continuously, to feature women who are raising the bar beyond barriers.

Meet Nikki Clarke (if you have yet to)!

Clarke is an educator, a talk show host (the Nikki Clarke Show), President of the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) and a great storyteller.

In February 2017, I attended a Black History Month function, where Clarke served as Keynote Speaker. Her story ranged from her experiences of racism as a young Black immigrant child growing up in Montreal, to her Black pride, faith in God and gratitude for her present ability to be able to positively impact lives.

Photo courtesy of Nikki Clarke/Illuminessencemag

Clarke transitioned from a successful career in teaching to media and has successfully run the Nikki Clarke Show for close to 9 years. In Fall of 2015, she was nominated as the President of the Ontario Black History Society. It can be stated without a doubt, that whatever Nikki Clarke does, she does it with passion and does it well. Amongst other recognitions, in 2015, Clarke was listed by the Canada International Black Women Event as one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada. She is also a past recipient of the Black Business and Professional Association Woman of Honor award.

Feel illuminated by the words of this great storyteller, Nikki Clarke!

Getting to know Nikki Clarke
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica. My family moved to Montreal, Quebec in 1970 where I grew up. We were the only English speaking and black family in our neighborhood for many years, where I faced overt racism. Those early childhood experiences made me resilient and open to diversity. I enjoy writing, reading, watching live theatre, musical groups, dancing, and travelling. I taught at the college level for 10 years and then took a leap of faith to start my media company, The Nikki Clarke Network which produces the Nikki Clarke Show.

Motivation to pursue a career in media and create the Nikki Clarke show
It just happened one day. I woke up, went through the routine I took to get to work and realized that I had lost the spring in my step. I was dragging my feet.

I knew I had to take a chance to start something that had been emerging in me from some time. I wanted to be a talk show host. It was latent in my subconscious, something you feel and desire but fear of the unknown delays your decision to go for it. The epiphany arrived at the time it was supposed to and I took a leap of faith.

I left a secured, well paid teaching position to go over the wall of fear to see what was on the other side. Nine years later, I have never looked back.

The Nikki Clarke Show has been transforming lives, one story at a time. It is a blessing for me to have God create this platform for others to be informed and transformed.

Photo courtesy of Nikki Clarke/Illuminessencemag

As President of the Ontario Black History society, can you please give some insight as to how OBHS serves the Black community in Ontario?
The Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) was co-founded in 1978 by Dr. Daniel G Hill, the grandfather of author of “Book of Negroes”, Lawrence Hill. The OBHS was born from the vision of promoting, protecting and preserving black history in Ontario throughout the year by providing resources and speakers to school boards or boardrooms. The OBHS works with the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

Career Highlights
A pioneer and community champion, some of Clarke’s achievements include starting the first inner city media arts group, Clark Media Arts in Toronto and the first Urban Music Showcase with Canadian Music Week. As an Educator, Clarke taught at Sheridan College in the Faculty of Early Childhood Education and Community Development for 10 years. She also taught Spanish at Titchfield High School, Port Antonio, Jamaica. Always the innovator, Clarke started the Nikki Clarke Network, online TV network in 2014. She is the recipient of the Woman of Honor Award by the BBPA 2015, and African Canadian Women’s Achievement Award for excellence in teaching and community service in 2008.

What inspires you to strive for success?
My faith in God and love for my 3 children, Navaan, 26, Khyra, 23, and Josiah, 21 are my motivating forces for success.

Chiamaka is a Nigerian-born teenage entrepreneur and media consultant who is passionate about social justice and helping people achieve their true potential. She is also the author of Blurred Creations http://blurredcreations.wordpress.com

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