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Diversity at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games

05/16/2013 05:30 EDT | Updated 07/16/2013 05:12 EDT
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GUADALAJARA, MEXICO - NOBEMBER 20: General view during ceremony of closing for the 2011 IV Para Pan American Games at Telmex Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo by Gerardo Zavala/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Toronto's 2015 Pan/ParaPan Am Games is in the process of asking the public to help it choose a mascot design. We are only just over two years away from what will surely be a movement of sportsmanship. Like the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that had great green innovations as its legacy, Toronto's 2015 PAN AM Games is intent on leaving a legacy found in the essence of human diversity.

The Vancouver Olympics in its attempt to fulfill its environmental commitment reused "captured methane gas from a former landfill for energy and the primary heat source for the community will be waste heat recovered from the municipal waste-water treatment system." Toronto's 2015 PAN AM Games will help capture its diversity commitments in its hiring as well as helping distribute the expected $1.4-billion in spending accordingly. According to the CEO of TO2015, the Games has "committed to encouraging Tier 1 supply and service companies by awarding 10 points for diversity in all procurement opportunities."

In this pursuit, the organizers teamed up with Diversity Business Network (DBN) to help them reach out to the community in their procurement strategies. DBN has been a pioneer in developing a strategy to mentor and integrate minority owned businesses with leading Canadian and Government agencies. In return, DBN has partnered with an emerging real-estate company named Dream Maker Realty.

There is a great reason why they have teamed up with this company.

The founder of the Dream Maker Reality who hails from Nigeria but a proud Torontonian for about two-and-a-half decades now, Issac Olowolafe Jr., is excited to be part of the Games. He believes it is a public benefit where he sees the "athletes village that is integrated into the new West Don Lands community, transforming former industrial land into a beautiful new neighborhood." He also believes "this mixed-use neighborhood should be in high demand as a place to live after the Games conclude."

Olowolafe has had a storied Canadian life since arriving to Canada as a toddler. The 29-year-old founded his company in earnest while a student at the University of Toronto where he was completing a degree in Economics. As an experiment, he paid a down payment for a downtown condominium and that netted him sizable future profits. Then he purchased a second one, and rented it to cover the mortgage payment. Then he continued to purchase more.

By the time he graduated in 2007, he was the owner of many properties all over Toronto. Today, his company has bloomed in to an enterprise that manages in excess of $200-million in assets in the Toronto area alone. The company employs 45 workers along with hundreds of consultants in Canada and abroad, and manages half a billion dollars in investments. As his company became successful, Olowolafe also turned in to an influential advocate and mentor for Toronto's youth.

Five years ago, he founded a non-profit organization -- Build Your Wealth -- by investing heavily in education, mentorship and business workshops. He partnered with his Alma mater and Toronto Community Housing to help him reach out to as many people as possible. He also established the Dream Maker Realty/Olowolafe Family Scholarship to benefit African Canadian students.

At the University of Toronto, where he is a member of cabinet for the New College, Olowolafe helped create an endowment by donating generously and had the Province of Ontario match it. He also became a board member with the University of Toronto's Transitional Year Program that gives potential students with low grades and circumstances a second chance at a university education.

The head of the Diversity Business Network (DBN) welcomed the addition of Olowolafe and his company as one that has "all the attributes we seek in a consortium leader - providing education and mentorship to the wider diverse community".

Toronto 2015 PAN AM Games is making a noble impression while fulfilling Toronto's great motto -- where our diversity is still our strength. And they are doing this by helping celebrate a real Canadian dream success story.

Kudos to them!