This past weekend - the Black Business Professional and Business Association (BBPA) honored some of Canada's best and brightest at the Harry Jerome Awards. Among the distinguished recipients was Tanya Walker.
Walker, with her tireless volunteering efforts, is no stranger in the community. The Osgoode Hall Law School educated lawyer with her own Bay Street Law firm -- Walker Law Professional Corporation -- has been a consummate volunteer and was recently featured on a Black History Month poster that was on display across Canada. The recipient of many accolades including Woman's Enterprise Woman of the Year Award shares with me her thoughts about her career, her future aspirations and what it has meant to receive an award named after such an accomplished Canadian role model, Harry Jerome.
Congratulations on receiving the 2013 Harry Jerome Young Entrepreneur Award. You must have been excited to receive an award named after an important noted Canadian
Thank you for the well wishes and taking the time to interview me. Harry Jerome was a successful Canadian track and field athlete that overcame challenges to succeed while continuing to give back to the community. I am honoured to receive this recognition and am encouraged to follow in his footstep of achieving success and philanthropy.
I am fortunate to live in a time where owning a Bay Street commercial litigation firm is attainable.
Tell me about your involvement with the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL)?
I have been a member for many years and really appreciate the work that the association accomplishes. In 2011, I presented on financial management at the CABL annual conference. In 2012, I presented on branding and trademarks also at the annual meeting.
For those considering law school, what wisdom would you most like to share? What was your experience like?
It is important to maintain strong grades. Mentoring is very important. If you are considering applying to law school, being able to surround yourself with people that you trust and want to guide you is helpful. What surprised me about law school was the strong sense of community that I felt. The professors were great and supportive. I continue to maintain the friendships that I have made with the alumni. I was the first year representative for the Black Law Students Association, then the president for two years. I really appreciated having guidance and support from members of CABL.
You are an active volunteer in the community. What have you learned from your experience so far and what are some of your future plans?
It is important to give back. Contributing time will make a big difference in someone's life. I would like to continue to volunteer, and keep my clients more than satisfied. I really don't want to pigeon hole myself. The opportunities available are endless, and the sky is the limit.
Who are some of your role models?
Other than my parents, I look up to Jean Augustine, who is also my mentor. Barack Obama, Sheryl Sandberg and Maya Angelou are a few others. I admire people that work hard, think outside of the box, and despite their accomplishments appear to be down to earth.
Follow Samuel Getachew on Twitter: www.twitter.com/GetachewS