Denise Dwyer – Founder/President
Assistant Deputy Minister of Education, Leadership and Learning Environment Division
Denise’s professional life is richly characterized by the intersection throughout of three different but complementary roles: mentor, lawyer and lifelong learner. She is the founder and president of the Black Female Lawyers Network which exemplifies her commitment to seeking tangible pathways to achieving a fully inclusive and diverse legal profession.
Currently in the role of Assistant Deputy Minister of the Leadership and Learning Environment Division at the Ontario Ministry of Education, Denise is responsible for the development and implementation of policies and programs that support equity and inclusive education, leadership capacity of board administrators and educators, effective school board governance structures, parent and community engagement, teachers and the promotion of safe, accepting and healthy schools and student and staff well-being.
Previously she was the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Public Safety Training Division within the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), Denise led a transformational agenda dedicated to the modernization of police education and training. Her Division provided centralized corporate support services and was responsible for coordinating and integrating public safety training in policing, fire services and correctional services. Her portfolio also included oversight of the Ontario Police College.
Denise is a mentor and coach to many students and legal professionals. She describes it as the passion that led to her interest in education. Interestingly, her career trajectory within in the Ontario Public Service began in 1991 as Assistant Crown Attorney in the Ministry of the Attorney General and later expanded to conducting drug prosecutions for the federal Department of Justice. In 2006, she became counsel for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and three years later, was promoted to Legal Director.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics from McGill University and is a graduate of the University of Windsor Law School. Her Master’s degree in Adult Education was earned from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Nicole Myers – Vice President
Crown Counsel, Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services
As counsel for the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Nicole provides advice and representation to both ministries on a variety of matters relating to services and supports for vulnerable Ontarians. Nicole’s practice areas include litigation, privacy and access law and corporate commercial.
Prior to articling with MCSS/MCYS, Nicole was a summer student at the Office of the Children’s Lawyer where she facilitated multiple modernization projects on diversity & inclusivity, youth engagement and public education; former research assistant to David Tanovich at Windsor Law and was a Student Director of the Law Enforcement Accountability Project, leading four research teams on systemic issues relating to policing and Charter issues.
Shaneka Taylor – Treasurer
Associate, Boghosian + Allen LLP
Shaneka is an associate at Boghosian + Allen LLP where she practices in the areas of general municipal litigation and general commercial litigation, including real estate litigation. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2011. Prior to joining Boghosian + Allen LLP, Shaneka summered and articled at Aird & Berlis LLP. She is a Board Member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, Kingsway Community Life Centre and Foor for the Poor Canada. She is a past Board Member of the Young Lawyers Division of the Ontario Bar Association. Shaneka is also a licenced real estate salesperson in the Province of Ontario.
Jenelle E. Ambrose – Secretary
Associate, Dentons LLP
Jenelle Ambrose is a lawyer in the Risk Management group of the Toronto office of Dentons Canada LLP. She advises colleagues in connection with actual and potential conflicts of interest, the rules of professional conduct generally, and other matters of professional responsibility and risk management.
Before joining the risk management group, Jenelle practised in the financial services group at Dentons.
Partner, Bennett Law Chambers
Dawn Bennett is a partner in Bennett Law Chambers, P.C,. and co-owner of Mississauga Law Chambers, a members only business center designed exclusively for lawyers and licensed paralegals. Dawn practices in the area of family law. Her Family practice includes but is not limited to: Divorce; Collaborative Family Law; Family Property division; Paternity Disputes; Child Custody; Child support; Child Protection; Child Access and Visitation issues; Spousal support; Grandparents’ Rights; Separation Agreements; Providing Legal Opinions on Foreign Divorces for persons who wish to remarry in Canada, and Contested Court Proceedings.
Dawn has earned degrees in English, Business, and Law. She was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1998, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2001.
Her professional memberships include the Collaborative Family Law Practice Group, International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Christian Legal Fellowship, Peel Law Association, and the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in London, England.
Dawn has been a guest speaker at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law’s Internationally Trained Lawyer’s Program. She has also been a guest speaker on entrepreneurship at State Street Bank in Toronto.
Associate, Deloitte Canada