Candies Kotchapaw, Changemaker

Toronto, Canada

“In my twenties, I learned about Canada’s Young Diplomats program where delegates get the opportunity to travel the world and engage with foreign policy stakeholders. I applied for the program while still in university but because of low income and no qualifying extra-curricular activities, as is the stereotypical reality of Black youth, I was ineligible to participate. My intersectional identity as a Black woman stereotypically marginalized is what led me to create Developing Young Leaders of Tomorrow (DYLOTT), a career-focused leadership incubator geared towards changing the socio-economic trajectory of Black youth and young professionals. I created DYLOTT in 2016 after graduating from York University’s Master of Social Work program. In this program of over 20 students, I was the only Black student interested in learning how public policy development specifically impacts Black communities. Through DYLOTT, I work to drive sustainably positive social change for Black youth - from girl-empowering and mentoring programs to “Model United Nations” program where participants are trained to diplomatically negotiate the rights, values and perspectives represented by their peers in the global community. Fast Forward to 2017, after fundraising to present my research on “The Black Experience of Precarious Work in Social Services” in London, UK, I learned about the Global Diplomatic Forum’s Young Diplomats program. I researched the organization and learned that they host a policy and leadership forum for young leaders twice a year. I applied and was accepted as a delegate at the Young Diplomats Forum in Riga, Latvia in 2017. I’m determined to see more Black youth invited to and participate in such privileged spaces. As a result of my work at DYLOTT, I received many awards including being named to the Top 25 Women of Influence 2020, Top 21 New Founders to Watch 2020 by Future of Good and Top 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women. Change starts with each one of us doing our part to impact the lives of others.” Candies Kotchapaw, Changemaker & Executive Director of DYLOTT

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