CEO and President
Canadian Women’s Foundation
Paulette Senior has devoted her life and career to breaking down systemic barriers and building up diverse women and girls. Her personal experience immigrating to Canada from Jamaica as a young girl ignited her interest in social justice and helped make her the dynamic, grounded leader she is today.
Paulette’s career began in social services in some of Toronto’s most underserved neighbourhoods. She witnessed the need for systemic change and learned the power of putting the voices of women and equity-seeking communities first. She became known for her excellence in shelter, employment, and housing service provision, as well as for her intersectional approach to advocacy. She has earned numerous awards and has become one of the most respected women leaders in Canada.
In 2016, Paulette joined the Canadian Women’s Foundation as President and CEO after a decade serving as CEO of YWCA Canada. She is a sought-after thought-leader on numerous issues including gender equity and gender-based violence; women’s poverty and the wage gap; girls’ empowerment; and leadership. Her focus at the Foundation is to bolster an inclusive national movement for all women, girls, and communities across Canada.
“The premise of the Foundation when it was created was to transform the lives of women and to support the underpinning of a women’s movement in Canada. Being able to lead the next iteration of that is an incredible opportunity.” – Paulette Senior
Professional and volunteer background
Paulette has worked with all levels of government and civil society to address issues including poverty, housing, gender-based violence, immigration, and social justice. She has led, managed, and operated shelters, employment programs, and housing programs at organizations such as Yellow Brick House, YWCA Toronto, Macaulay Child Development Centre, Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre, and Central Neighbourhood House. She is former Chair of the Board at Women’s College Hospital and currently sits on the Boards of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and the global Women’s Funding Network.
Education and awards
Paulette graduated from York University with a double honours BA in psychology and urban studies. Over the course of her career, she has won several awards including: the African Canadian Achievement Award, the AfroGlobal Leadership Award, the Black Women Civic Engagement Award, the Black Business and Professional Association’s Harry Jerome Trailblazer Award and the MicroSkills Margot Franssen Leadership Award.