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Black History Month: Susan Henry


Black History Month is a time to recognize Black contributions and people we admire. For Boann, we need look no further than our own team for Black leadership we look up to. We want to share with you some thoughts from the minds who influence us, in their own words.


Susan Henry

Susan Henry is Director of Community Impact and Financial Inclusion at Alterna and a member of Boann’s Investment Committee.

In honour of Black History Month, Susan shared her reflections with us on advancing equity for Black communities in Canada through impact investing and beyond.

The views presented here are her own.

How has your experience as a Black woman influenced your approach to impact investing?

As a Black woman, my approach to impact investing is informed by the importance of intersectionality. My approach is also about the centering of justice, access, inclusion, diversity, decolonization, and equity.

Championing these areas, particularly in the investment landscape, often means providing a lens of understanding that financial and economic systems at times need to be challenged to ensure the structural imbalances get closer to moving to the middle to address the inequities in our society.

How would you like to see Boann support Black leadership and success through its work?

It is often very difficult for some individuals with the hierarchy and power within organizations to understand the real or lived experience of others, even though they may have good intentions to do so. I often feel it is part of an inherent difference.

Boann has a fiduciary obligation to place capital into our economy that will make our society a better place, particularly ensuring the investments are centered around social equity and inclusion, to make sure they are reaching and supporting underrepresented groups. To accomplish this, Boann needs to guarantee that values and principles are actioned through policy and practice to ensure that Black communities are not left behind.

What would you recommend everyone learn something about to better understand the Black experience in Canada? (This can be a person, place, event, book recommendation, etc.)

A variety of books that highlight the Black experience in Canada are listed below but if you have to choose only one, please go with the Right Within by Minda Harts. It is a realization of what it is like being at the table and being the only Black person in the room.  As a Black woman who has been in corporate Canada for almost 40 years, this book resonated with me, often being the only Black person at the table for many years and understanding and coping with the loneliness of that feeling.

Other Great Books

  • The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal by Afua Cooper

  • Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada by Natasha L. Henry

  • In the Black: My Life by B. Denham Jolly

  • Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times by Graham Reynolds and Wanda Robson

  • The Black Social Economy in the Americas by Caroline Shenaz Hossein

  • The Banker Ladies by Caroline Shenaz Hossein


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