Banker to be honoured with UWI’s Vice-Chancellor award

by Ron Fanfair
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Stanley Julien

For nearly six decades, the Negro Community Centre (NCC) in Montreal’s Little
Burgundy provided critical after-school and weekend programming for Black youth.
Banking executive Stanley Julien is a product of the historic centre which was set up in
1927 to serve the city’s Black community. It ceased operations in 1992 and the building
was demolished a decade ago.
“Who I am today is based on the fact that I attended that centre almost every weekend
from the time I was eight years old,” said Julien. “Though I didn’t want to go in the
beginning, my mother said I had to, and I didn’t have a choice.”
From that cultural cornerstone, he cultivated a love of learning and a strong sense of pride
in his heritage during his formative years.
The late Daisy Sweeney, the sister of Oscar Peterson who was called ‘The Maharajah of
the Keyboard’, taught Julien to play the piano. She also taught Peterson, who passed away
in 2007, and Order of Canada recipients Oliver Jones and Joe Sealy.
Mentored by elders, Julien also learned Math and African history at the NCC.
“In addition, I did tap dancing and played sports,” he said. “To go to a place every
weekend where we were learning from people that look like me was huge. We learned
about our history and culture and that grounded me in everything that I know today.”
In return, Julien taught young people English, Math and African history at the Umoja day
camps he once attended as a child.
Believing that you do things without expecting anything in return, he has little desire for
accolades. However, when the University of the West Indies Toronto Benefit Awards
Committee reached out to Julien, announcing he was the recipient of a Vice-Chancellor
Award, he made an exception.
“Having been born in Trinidad, coming to Montreal at an early age and volunteering, to
have such a renowned Caribbean institution honour me for my community service over the
years means so much,” he said. “It is probably one of the best honours that I will receive.”
Since its establishment 15 years ago, the UWI Toronto event has raised over $3 million
that has funded nearly 700 scholarships.
The staggering numbers caught Julien’s attention.
“There are so many bright young people who get stuck at a certain spot in time because
they don’t have the finances to continue their higher education journey,” he said. “To be
able to have dollars provided that will see them through school is absolutely invaluable.
This is all about making progress and leaving no one behind.”
This year’s fundraising gala takes place on April 20 at the Ritz Carlton in downtown
Julien knows the value of scholarships.
For five years until 2010, he chaired the Black Business & Professional Association’s
(BBPA) Scholarship Fund, overseeing the distribution of over $1 million in scholarships
annually to more than 150 Black students across Canada.

As head of the Special Accounts Management Unit-Canada at the Bank of Montreal, Julien
leads a team dedicated to optimizing economic returns, restructuring distressed businesses
and safeguarding and expanding assets within his purview.
His extensive banking career with BMO over almost three decades includes Regional
Vice-President of Commercial Banking, Atlantic Provinces Division and Managing
Director with responsibility for Credit Restructuring, Corporate Finance Division.
Julien also uses his influence within BMO to get financial support for community
organizations. He was able to secure a $750,000 donation from BMO for the Blackhurst
Cultural Centre (BCC).
“To me, this makes a lot of sense,” the Black Professional Network Co-Executive Sponsor
within BMO said. “I grew up in a cultural centre, so why not help support one in Toronto.”
Julien is a Founding Patron of the BCC, a non-profit centre and destination that provides
opportunities to experience the culture and history of Canadians of African and Caribbean
It is located in the Bathurst St. and Bloor St. W. neighbourhood that has been home to
many Black homeowners and businesses, including the now defunct Contrast community
newspaper, Mascoll Beauty Supply, a few barbershops and Third World Books & Crafts
which was founded in 1968 by late husband and wife, Leonard and Gwendolyn Johnston.
Critical race intersectional theorist Dr. Wesley Crichlow owned and operated A Different
Booklist for a few years before selling it 28 years ago to husband-and-wife Miguel San
Vicente and Itah Sadu. A Different Booklist Cultural Centre – The People’s Residence
transitioned to the BCC two years ago.
“I go to that bookstore whenever I can and am amazed by the work that Itah and her
husband are doing to uplift the community,” said Julien.
In 1997, he co-founded the National Association of Urban Bankers Toronto chapter that
morphed into the Canadian Association of Urban Financial Professionals and was the
second president after Kittitian-born Paget Warner who died last June.
“When I saw a Black man in finance reaching out to other Black folks in the sector who
were younger than him, I hopped on immediately,” said Julien who delivered the eulogy.
“Paget was the lead, and I was always by his side. He recognized that there were not
enough of us on Bay St. and wanted to make sure that changed.”
The first Black to manage a billion-dollar portfolio in the oil and gas sector, Warner set up
the Brandon Street Community Development Project to enhance the lives of Black
children and families and Sunrise Investment that focused on financial literacy and
intergenerational wealth knowledge.
“Paget did a lot in this community, but never got the recognition he deserved,” said Julien
who is a member of the Turnaround Management Association and the Insolvency Institute
of Canada. “When I receive any award, I bring up Paget and Pat Glouden’s name. She
reminds me of my mother who was a community person as well in Montreal’s LaSalle
Where did Julien’s interest in numbers come from?
While sitting at the dinner table at age 13, mom asked her then Grade Nine son about a
current event that was in the newspaper next to him.
“I said I don’t know, and she got very upset,” he recalled. “She said, ‘Stanley, you have to
read the newspaper everyday to know what is going on’.”
After that conversation, he started reading the paper from the back sports pages.

“The business page came after that, reporting on stock prices and I had no idea what that
gibberish was,” said Julien, who has an MBA from Dalhousie University and is a Fellow
of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. “In deciding to find out what that was, I learned
about investments. At the time, our family didn’t have a lot of money, so learning about
what makes money interested me.”
Just as the family was preparing to relocate to Canada to join mom who came in 1968 to
set the table, the family patriarch passed away in 1970. They migrated two years later.
Christeen Ross-Julien died two years after her son graduated from Concordia University
with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance.
To honour her memory, he launched a scholarship in her name in 2020 that the BBPA
administers. It is awarded to two Black first-year university/college students between the
ages of 17 and 30.
“As I got older and started to understand what she did on her own to raise eight children in
a new country, I promised to pay her back somehow after I got my first job,” Julien said.
“She passed and that was horrible. As the years went by, I knew I was going to do
something to keep her memory alive.”
Married for three decades to Karen Julien who was also born in Trinidad, the couple has
two children.

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