By Gerald V. Paul
With the theme Excellence – The Journey to Success, it came as no coincidence that Mark Beckles is the recipient of the Black Business and Professional Association Harry Jerome Award (Professional Excellence).
Beckles, who leads more than 500 licensed insurance advisors to 750,000 RBC Insurance clients across Canada, has over 25 years experience in financial services including executive leadership roles in the banking, risk management and non-profit sectors.
A community stalwart and advisory board member of the Canadian Multicultural LEAD Organization, Beckles was presented with the award by the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) Harry Jerome Awards Saturday at Metro Convention Centre.
Beckles, who served as regional vice-president, retail banking, with responsibility for North Mississauga, where he had responsibility for a portfolio in excess of $5.4B, was showered with praises.
In a statement, RBC said it is proud to sponsor the Harry Jerome Awards, recognizing and honouring excellence in African-Canadian achievement. “This year we’re doubly proud as we congratulate all the award recipients, including our own Mark Beckles, head, Insurance Advice Centre and winner of the Business Excellence Award.”
The other Harry Jerome Award recipients are Edmond Nankam Dzokoue, Scott Mullin, Kareena Elliston, Toronto Police Deputy Chief Rudolph Andrew Crawford, Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, Nneka Elliott, Dr. Carrol Althea, Cory Joseph, Gerry McNeilly, Archie Alleyne, Masaiujiri, Jelani Smith, Tamar Huggins and Wendy Jones.
Beckles was also congratulated by Gary Anandasangaree, an internationally recognized human rights lawyer and community builder and who advocates for education and justice.
Anandasangaree – whose mother served in Trinidad and Tobago and is the principal lawyer at Gary Anandasangaree and Associates – and Kim Mason, regional president, Greater Toronto RBC Royal Bank, noted that the awards are named for Harry Jerome, who excelled whether winning Olympic bronze, Commonwealth gold or earning the Order of Canada
The legacy of Jerome has made an indelible mark on Canada’s heritage, they pointed out.
Anandasangaree, who has been the recipient of several awards, including the TREB Award, Golden Jubilee and the Henry Marshall Tory Award for Service and most recently from the South Asian Bar Association, commended the BBPA for a presentation of “excellence in their journey to success.”
Pauline Christian, president of the BBPA, told the honourees that “our communities will be even stronger, our entrepreneurs even better equipped for corporate success and our young people even more engaged and inspired to pursue higher education and excellence.
“Thank you does not cover how much you have done and how your support has touched and will touch.”