Black History Month: Henriette Mvondo

By: The Hon. Amina Gerba

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Peace Tower and Parliament, Ottawa

Hon. Amina Gerba: Honourable senators, today, I’m wrapping up my series of statements for Black History Month 2024 with a profile of an individual whose journey and community involvement have been remarkable: Henriette Mvondo.

Henriette held a degree in mechanical engineering and taught electronics in her country of origin, Cameroon. She worked up the courage to leave it all behind and come to our country with her husband to give her children a better future.

When Henriette arrived in Montreal in 2004, her credentials weren’t recognized. She had to start from square one and work in factories to survive. Despite numerous challenges, she never gave up. She worked at many different jobs before going back to school and eventually getting hired as a financial planner at Royal Bank of Canada.

Her position gives her the opportunity to help immigrants navigate the Canadian banking system, and she does so with passion.

In 2017, building on her experience and driven by her desire to help others, Henriette founded Bienvenue à l’immigrant, BAI, an organization that provides services to newcomers ranging from settlement to professional training and psychosocial support. BAI’s very innovative approach involves personalized support based on immigrants’ needs and cultural origins.

Henriette is a deeply involved, well-known and recognized resident of LaSalle. She works not only with the African-Canadian community in all its diversity, but also with the Greek, Italian and Chinese communities. Henriette is considered a valuable bridge between all cultures. For that very reason, LaSalle named her its intercultural harmony week ambassador in 2022. In 2023, the Royal Bank of Canada bestowed upon her its 2023 RBC Global Citizen Award. Congratulations, Henriette.

Colleagues, the various presentations delivered in this chamber in February have undoubtedly convinced you that Black excellence is a heritage that we need to acknowledge and celebrate not only in February, but every day.

Thank you.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

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