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Sherwin Modeste comes to Pride Toronto during a challenging time for the arts and tourism industries in Toronto
Pride Toronto has announced the appointment of Sherwin Modeste as the organization’s new executive director.
The announcement, which marks the end of an almost year-long search to find a replacement, was made official over Twitter this morning (Monday, November 30). Modeste’s tenure begins on December 1.
Modeste comes to the organization with a background in health care. He served as director of Community Health Services at Vibrant Healthcare Alliance. Before that, Modeste was employed as manager of Grants Development and Sponsorships at Toronto Community Housing, where he oversaw a $4 million budget.
His resume includes stints as National Vice-President of Diversity and as a member of the National Pink Triangle Committee for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. He has also served as a member of the Canadian Labour Congress’ Human Rights Committee.
Modeste’s advocacy in the areas of workers’ rights, including workers from racialized and marginalized communities, and work in LGBT2Q+ communities set him apart from other candidates, says Samantha Fraser, co-chair of Pride’s Board of Directors in a statement on the appointment.
“The board met with many great potential candidates for this position. In the end, Sherwin rose to the top because of the fantastic combination of his passion and empathy, work history, community knowledge, and lived experience,” says Fraser.
The statement goes on to note that Modeste arrives at Pride “during an extremely challenging time for the arts, culture, entertainment, and tourism industries.”
He also arrives at a time of uncertainty for Pride after the departure earlier this year of former executive director Olivia Nuamah.
That was announced in January following a tumultuous tenure marked by calls for Nuamah’s resignation in 2018 after the board was asked to reconsider a ban on the participation of uniformed police at Pride events.