Cicely Belle Blain, 25
Life Story: When Cicely Belle Blain launched her Vancouver-based diversity and inclusion consulting business early last year, she quickly attracted customers, thanks to connections she had made as an activist. Changing attitudes helped, too: “My clients are from so many different industries, and it’s great to see how people value building more inclusive workspaces and more respectful environments,” says the co-founder of a local chapter of Black Lives Matter.
Blain grew up underprivileged in Southeast London, where at 15 she joined forces with other young residents to secure an $8-million national grant for a local leisure centre that now offers employment training and other services. After winning an International Leader of Tomorrow Award to study at UBC, she earned a BA in modern European studies and Russian in 2016.
She often advises organizations that have tried to become more diverse and inclusive but aren’t sure how, partly because they lack the tools to measure results. There’s some denial in Canada about the discrimination that women and people of colour still face at work, Blain argues: “It’s systemic issues that we have to recognize that have historically held certain people back.”
Bottom Line: Blain has worked with more than 50 clients. In B.C., they range from UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health to Electric Company Theatre and e-commerce outfit Elastic Path. She has customers in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea and the U.K.