Now that is a good question.
My name is Michelle Leong Francis - ME. That also happens to be my personal brand, nothing special - but engagingly unique.
I am a first generation Canadian, of Antiguan Caribbean Culture, Asian Influence and African Descent, daughter to a Civil Engineering trained Fire Chief First Responder & Teacher & Civil Servant. I am an amateur athlete [very amateur post pandemic], nature enthusiast and entrepreneur.
What I AM Not.
I am not a career politician, but I am a lifetime advocate. I will not be found on the 'Sunshine' list, but you will find me labouring over the ails of the world, how we can best utilize our community resources and delivering sweat equity in my own business.
I am the silent eternally grieving aunt of a young man who did not make it. Who got lost in the shuffle of life and swallowed up and left unseen and unheard.
My decision to run for DDSB Public Trustee this election term was a difficult one, especially with the very visible post pandemic traumas and challenges generally and in my ward. Afterall, there were only too many places where my diverse skillset in HR, Law, Business and Health Sciences could have taken me. The decision to run for Trustee vs Council was to go for the most impactful thing rather than the sure thing. It was made by my deep passion for youth success, years of family respite, mentoring exceptional youth and my community constituents said so - I listened, because I understand The Assignment.
The job is simple, but not all simple things are easy.
The Top Areas of Focus: 1. Mental Health 2. Violence - Bullying & Harassment 3. Dis/MisInformation - Critical Thought 4. Resources - Student and Teacher
My job as prescribed is to liaise & collaborate - check. Identify barriers to student success - check. Facilitate a 'fair' environment where both student and educator where change can happen while working together toward a common goal, academic excellence – check. Eliminate barriers, red tape, nonsensical or plain old -small 'b' small 's' – double check.
My job is to ensure the well-being, achievement and equity within the schools and community through listening so I am able to interpret, translate and act collaboratively! Simple, right?!
So, now for the uneasy part. I will embrace, utilize and assert my skills in Crisis Intervention & Mediation, boldly navigate choppy political waters and leave the doors of communication wide open - especially for those who may not like me [what is not to like, right?!] or that I may not so fond of.
Why you ask, because its not about ME, its about the children & youth and 'elimination of barriers to their success' beyond the classroom, beyond mobility-race-orientation-culture-postal code, beyond my term and certainly beyond my ego.
The Extended CV/BIO.
- Michelle has been a voice and pillar in her community in Pickering as Chair of Spirit of Community – Neighbourhood Watch advocating for child safety and fundraising to ease the burden of community families like the Maillet Family. Michelle has the skill, experience and know-how to listen to student concerns and translate them into meaningful and implementable action points, all while navigating competing interests of boards, parents, teachers, and stakeholders through evidence based mediation skills.
As a former School Community Council Chair and OSSTF endorsed Durham District School Board Trustee candidate seeking election, Michelle has been a resident of Pickering for over 20 years, alongside her partner has raised a family; natural and indigenous foster son with volunteerism at its core of their way of life.
A practitioner in HR Law, Professor Francis enters every classroom with an array of tools; cross cultural counselling, crisis intervention and the Rolls-Royce of equity and diversity – Cultural Intelligence, allowing her to negotiate everyday challenges from an inclusive and informed lens.
Michelle’s family has been involved in education, politics, and governance as civil servants and first responders for over 50 years. She brings insights on the gaps in education as a post secondary educator, Queens Park Legislative Assembly Financial Literacy PAC Member and Ontario Hospital Association Governance Certified professional.
Having started her life in two of the most notorious communities battling stigma, Michelle has learned the significant impact of inclusion, access, and leadership.
As former President of the Durham Family Court Clinic, Michelle has been a presence and inspiration for many, walking in the foot steps of her father; a Jubilee Award Recipient of Civil Rights Activism, who introduced her to passion Social Justice and one Nelson Mandela at Toronto’s Queen’s Park.
Ms. Francis’ commitment to fairness afforded her recognition as Top 100 Accomplished Canadian Black Women to Watch 2020, an award recognized by its signatory Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine, former Ontario Fairness Commissioner and ex-Liberal MP and Minister. She was also recognized as a Pickering Sustainability Advocate by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
As a TD SIFE Judge & Queen’s Park Blue Ribbon PAC member, Michelle has supported youth Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems Incubation, both here in Durham and Internationally.
Executive Board Position, Peer Coaching & Youth Mentorship Roles:
• Durham Family Court Clinic, President & Chairwomen
• Law Society of Ontario, Faculty Crisis Peer
• Scarborough Health Network, Patient Family Advisor
• Havergal College, Governor
• University of Toronto, Faculty Interprofessional Education
• City of Pickering Cultural Advisory Committee
• City of Pickering Inaugural Anti-Black Racism Task Force Founding Member & Business Lead
• Town of Markham Cultural Diversity Committee
• Durham Habitat for Humanity, Vice President
• Fora [Formerly Girls on Boards - Girls 2.0], Mentos
• DiverCity On Board, Mentor
• Futurepreneur, Mentor
Michelle has been recognized and awarded for her community engagement in Sustainability by attaining Energy Efficiency Proclamation and awarded recognition by Ontario Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell for her work with community Youth in Trades and application of Health Equity in the launch of her initiative Living Green Community Gardens.
Relevant: Areas of Academic Expertise, Certification & Designations
• Human Resources Certified Professional & Leadership Professional
• Cross Cultural Counselling
• Adult Education & Training, Certified • Governance* • Heath Equity**
- *Ontario Hospital Association
**Ontario College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario
Relevant: Domestic & International Speaking & Presentation
• Law Society, Mental Health Summit 2021/2022
• Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion 2022
• Canadian Medical Hall of Fame 2022
• International Network of Business Incubation Association, International Conference on Business Incubation 2019
Relevant: Collegial Facilitation & Faculty Experience
• University of Toronto
• Law Society of Ontario
• Toronto Region Real Estate Board
• Durham College
• Seneca College
Relevant: Political Experience
• Deputy Returning Officer - DRO Elections Ontario Polls
• Supervisory Deputy Returning Officer - SDRO Elections Ontario Polls
• MPP Member’s Bill - Lobbyist LSO Contingency Fees
• Queen’s Park - PAC Blue Ribbon Financial Literacy Political Action Committee member
- Relevant: Associations
• Women’s Chamber of Commerce • Toronto Board of Trade • BNI Corporate Pledge
Thank you for taking the time to share the lighter more intimate side of ME and my first foster Autism dog - Jinx, who has career transitioned as my therapeutic dog in the community - schools and court.
Have a great life!
Michelle & Jinx
Learn Even More About.Me/MichelleFrancis
P.S. Join myself and running mates at our #Unscripted Community Q & A on Saturday October 8th at 12 & 4pm Register on our About.ME page and bring your questions.
Michelle's LiteratureView Michelle's Literature
Find Michelle Leong Francis's Campaign Office Here...
Eliminating Barriers to Student Success!
This is done through identifying The Assignment:
1. Ensuring overall Well Being through equitable environments that support mental health, achievement in safe spaces.
Professional Observations: Concerns On The Rise
1. Safety 2. Mental Health 3. Low Critical Thinking Aptitude 4. School Resource Limitations
1. Crisis & Therapeutic Intervention 3. Mediation 4. Health Equity 5. Business & Political Acumen
Campaign Office Hours
Monday - 12-4
Tuesday - 11-7
Wednesday - 9-9
Thursday - 11-7
Friday - 10-6
Saturday - 11-7
Sunday - 12-4
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