Proven leader and community builder Lekan Olawoye to run for Toronto City Councillor in Ward 12

TORONTO, May 1, 2018—Lekan Olawoye, community builder and current Lead Executive of Venture Talent Development at MaRS Discovery District, announced his campaign for Ward 12: York South-Weston City Councillor today. Lekan ran in 2014 and garnered over 3000 votes. Since then he has continued to drive impact in the community.

“At every community BBQ, interaction with my neighbours, and walk outside with my kids, I am reminded that our community is built on the hard work of all those who live here,” said Olawoye. “I am running to be the Ward 12 City Councillor to make sure that this community gets what it needs to thrive and that someone at Toronto City Hall is finally working for this ward.”

Lekan’s experience spans the non-profit, private, and technology sectors. He cares deeply about building a strong community and providing opportunities to those who are continuously pushed to the sidelines. Through bringing neighbours together to make local improvements as founder of the 12 Community Alliance, and with initiatives in the Rustic neighbourhood and the Queens Drive Coop community, he has spent more than 10 years fighting for Ward 12. Lekan also served as Executive Director of For Youth Initiative (FYI), where he grew the local initiative into an organization providing programming to 1,000 local youth each year. In 2014, the federal government recognized his leadership, providing FYI with $500,000 in grants. Now, he is the Co-Chair of the Toronto Community Benefits Network, which brings more jobs to people in the city and the Ward.

“Thriving communities emerge when great leaders step up to do what is needed for the people of the community,” said Diana Luu, Ward 12 resident. “Lekan is that great leader. He stepped up to run as city councillor in 2014 and since has continued to amplify positive change in our community.”

Lekan’s achievements extend beyond the borders of Ward 12. As Lead Executive at MaRs Discovery District he connects job seekers to careers in the tech industry. Lekan knows that when people have jobs and opportunities, our communities flourish, which is why he works for groups that are underrepresented as the founder of the Black Professionals in Tech Network. He was the first-ever chair of the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities, advising on a $295 million job strategy fund and is now a member of the Telus Community Board where he plays a role in distributing over $700,000 annually to different communities.  

“Lekan has played a pivotal role in creating positive change across our city,” said John Cartwright, President of Toronto and York Region Labour Council, and Co-chair of TCBN. As a city, we must continue to take positive steps towards creating a more prosperous and sustainable future for all. Leaders like Lekan will help guide the way to a more inclusive city for everyone.”