Keynote Address: Wesley Hall (E/SI)
April 24, 2023 | 1:45 pm - 2:45 pm
As the chairman and founder of WeShall Investments Inc, a private equity firm with a diverse portfolio of companies predominantly supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs, Wes Hall comes from humble beginnings in rural Jamaica. He grew up in a plantation worker’s shack as one of several children supported by his grandmother. Despite these challenges, his grandmother instilled in him the value of hard work, ambition, and industriousness. In 1985, Wes immigrated to Canada, where he set about to become the businessman you see today. Dressed daily in a suit, Wes started as a mail clerk at a leading law firm in Toronto. His curiosity, intelligence, and ability to spot opportunities allowed him to turn a $100K loan from the bank to start his first business, Kingsdale Advisors, into becoming the most preeminent shareholder advisory firm in Canada.
Wes’ expertise was invaluable on the complicated dispute between Toronto-based Goldcorp and Nevada-based Glamis Gold from 2004 to 2006, Xstrata PLC’s USD 18-billion takeover of Falconbridge in 2006, and the $19-billion merger between Suncor and Petro-Canada in 2009.
A staunch philanthropist, Wes is deeply committed to community upliftment. He is the founder of the ambitious and highly successful BlackNorth Initiative designed to help end systemic anti-Black racism in Canada. He has instructed Black Entrepreneurship & Leadership at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, a first-of-its-kind course in North America. Wes is the vice-chair of the Board of Governors at Huron University College, a member of the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, and sits on the board of directors for SickKids Foundation, TIFF, and Pathways to Education Canada. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Canadian Business Leader of 2022. Wes has received Honorary Doctorates from Queens University, Toronto Metropolitan University, the University of Ottawa, and the University of the West Indies. He also received the Medal of Distinction from Huron University in 2022.
Wes’ other accomplishments include penning a bestselling memoir, “No Bootstraps When You’re Barefoot”. He launched a podcast in partnership with the Toronto Star, “Between Us with Wes Hall”, and is also on the hit CBC series, “Dragons’ Den.”