Mark McKenzie

Country of Origin:

Jamaica

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Bio

I never considered migrating but, through a twist of fate, I ended up in the Cayman Islands as a financial sector regulator at the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority in 1998.

In late 1997, I had seen a job advertised in the Jamaican Gleaner for a position in the Cayman Islands and I applied. At the time, I had a relatively young family and I was employed with the National Commercial Bank Group as a risk analyst. Jamaica was going through a systemic financial crisis and I was in the middle of it, helping with resuscitation. I accepted the job in the Cayman Islands and there I had the opportunity to delve into the intricacies of global financial markets.

Eventually I was spotted by the International Monetary Fund for a special project that would ultimately take me to the entire Caribbean, Bermuda and the Channel Islands. At the end of my contract in 2002, I migrated to Canada and struggled financially to take care of my wife and two children. Eventually, I returned to the Caribbean to take up a job at the Director of Policy Research at the BVI Financial Services Commission and, eventually, returned to Canada in 2006 and set up my own consulting practice.

Today, I provide services to financial institutions on Bay Street in Toronto and serve as an external technical assistance advisor to the International Monetary Fund. I have worked in more than 20 countries including Afghanistan in 2011.

I have 3 children. They are Marchelle, who is studying to become a pastry chef; Malcolm, a first year student at the University of Ottawa; and Marisa, who is 5 years old. I am heavily involved in activities around the GTA including Toastmasters. I do a lot of work with charities. In December, I collected over 2,000 pounds of non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army of Brampton and I am a volunteer at Regeneration Outreach of Brampton. I speak frequently on human trafficking and youth violence. I can also speak on finance, entrepreneurship, parenting young Black males, and cyberbullying.

It took passion and determination to settle into the Canadian way of life. I sincerely don't know if my experience was one based on prejudice or racism but I know that today I am the same man who first arrived in Canada in 2001. I am full of drive and ambition. I have tumbled but never been broken.