Lekan Olawoye is a passionate city-builder. In his current role as the lead executive, Talent Development, MaRS Discovery District, Lekan supports a team of leaders that are equipping workers and job seekers with the skills needed to thrive in the future of work. At the same time, he is driving critical conversations in the sector on the importance of fostering an inclusive economy.
Lekan has a proven track record of transformational leadership that builds for scale, motivates employees, and drives sustainable growth. In his time as the executive director of the For Youth Initiative (FYI), he grew the agency into an impactful organization that now provides programming to 1,000 at-risk youth each year. At FYI, Lekan developed relationships with new government funders and donors to quadruple the organizational budget.
Lekan is a trusted strategic advisor and board member to a variety of governmental and local organizations. He currently serves on the TELUS Community Board and co-chairs the board of the Toronto Community Benefits Network. He was previously the inaugural chair of Ontario’s Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities in 2014, and a member of Ontario’s Income Security Reform Working Group in 2017. Most recently, Lekan founded the Black Professionals in Tech Network.
His grounded and informed insights make him a sought-after speaker and panelist, and his perspectives have been published by The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and TechCrunch, among others. He is also an adjunct lecturer at York University’s School of Social Work.
Lekan holds a bachelor of social work from Ryerson University and a masters in social work, specializing in non-profit management.