The Board of Directors

Terms of Reference

The Board of Directors is responsible for guiding the strategic agenda of the BBI in meeting its responsibilities for “a vibrant Black presence within the Nova Scotia Business Community.”

The primary function of the Board is to determine (governing) policies with respect to the organization. That includes administration and operation of the BBI, and ensuring BBI business affairs are conducted in accordance with good governance practices.

The Board is responsible for the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as well as the determination of the terms and conditions of employment of the CEO. The BBI’s CEO is responsible for the general management and direction of the BBI including policies, programs, and services of the BBI, the business affairs of the BBI, and other matters that may be delegated to the CEO by the Board.

The Board, through its own processes such as meetings, committees, and thorough drafting of governing policies, “steers and guides the strategic directions and approves the priorities and objectives set by the initiative.”

The Board evaluates the performance of the BBI and its stated objectives by setting the governing policies and strategic planning. While policies may originate from within the organization, it is the Board that has the ultimate power to adopt and require adherence to Board (governing) policies. Strategies for implementation of the policy, i.e. the way that policies are translated into action, are the responsibility of the professional staff of the BBI.

The 2014 – 2016 Board of Directors

Cynthia Dorrington, Chair
Vale & Associates, Halifax
Eleanor Beaton, Vice Chair
Eleanor Beaton & Co., Windsor
Yemi Akindoju, Treasurer
Scotia Bank, Halifax
Deborah Windsor
Retired, Halifax
Charles Sheppard
Victoria Regional School Board, Sydney
Elizabeth Cooke-Sumbu
CANSA, Amherst
Paul Pettipas
CEO, Nova Scotia Home Builders Association, Halifax
Burtley Francis
Stewart McKelvey, Halifax
Rustum Southwell
Ex-Officio, Black Business Initiative, CEO
Ross Simmonds
Dreamr, Halifax
April Howe
Knights Bridge Robertson Surrette, Halifax
Mathew Johnson
Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, Halifax
Margo Hampden
Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Halifax
Sandra Watts-Wilson
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Halifax
Dale Proud 
Nova Scotia Business Incorporated (NSBI)


Executive Committee

  1. Cassandra Dorrington (Chair)
  2. Paul Walter (Vice Chair)
  3. David Eisnor
  4. Joe Parris
  5. Rustum Southwell (CEO/Ex-Officio)
  6. Donna Colley-Howe (Executive Secretary/Recorder)

Audit and Risk Committee:

  1. Yemi Akindoju  (Chair)
  2. Cynthia Dorrington
  3. April Howe
  4. Paul Pettipas
  5. Joe Parris
  6. Don Cherry
  7. Greg Nazaire
  8. Frank Belanger (BBI Controller)

 BBI Site Committee

  1. Paul Pettipas (Chair)
  2. Cynthia Dorrington
  3. Rustum Southwell (CEO/Ex-Officio)
  4. Eleanor Beaton
  5. Ross Simmonds

HR and Governance Committee:

  1. Deborah Windsor (Chair)
  2. Cynthia Dorrington
  3. Rustum Southwell (CEO/Ex-Officio)
  4. Charles Sheppard
  5. Burtley Francis
  6. Jocelyn Dorrington
  7. Sylvia Parris
  8. Shirley Levering

Loan Committee

  1. Charles Sheppard (Chair)
  2. Cynthia Dorrington
  3. Rustum Southwell (CEO/Ex-Officio)
  4. Yemi Akindoju
  5. Ross Simmonds
  6. Liz Cooke-Sumbu
  7. Shirley Robinson-Levering
  8. Frank Belanger (Controller/ Staff Resource)


Other BBI Boards

As part of the BBI’s sustainable composite business model, Black Business Consulting, the Black Business Community Investment Fund Ltd., and Business is Jammin’ have been organized with their own individual Boards of Directors that oversee the objectives and operations of each group.

BBC/ADEPA Construction Services
Board of Directors:

  1. Paul Walter (Chair)
  2. Rustum Southwell (Vice-Chair)
  3. Don Cherry (Interim)
  4. Carlo Simmons
  5. Milton Williams
  6. Gordon Tynes
  7. Bill Scott
  8. Mary Kilfoil
  9. Issmat Al-Akhali

Black Business Community Investment Fund
Board of Directors:

  1. David Eisnor (Chair)
  2. Tom Boyd (Vice Chair)
  3. Sylvia Parris (Secretary)
  4. Greg Nazaire (Treasurer)
  5. Pemberton Cyrus
  6. Greg Browning
  7. Paul Walter
  8. Joseph Parris
  9. Rustum Southwell
  10. Marc Paris
  11. Njabulo Nkala (RBDM/Recorder)


Business is Jammin’
Board of Directors:

  1. Joseph Parris (Chair)
  2. Rustum Southwell (Vice-Chair)
  3. Jocelyn Dorrington
  4. Bruce Johnson
  5. Keisha Jefferies
  6. Terry Dixon
  7. Samantha Parris
  8. Tracey Thomas
  9. Syd Collymore
  10. Paul Rukidi (Manager, Fund Development)