Connect, Engage & Build Community
Consultant, Mentor and Mother of Twins
Gracia Dyer Jalea is an award-winning change leader, founder, and mother of twins. She co-founded the Toronto Ward Museum in 2015 and served as its Founding Executive Director in the organization's first few years. She is skilled in big-picture thinking, fundraising, corporate communications, program development, and stakeholder and community engagement.
As a self-professed jill of all trades, she makes possible the impossible and is able to take a concept and grow it into a movement.
Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly to build bridges between people from different regions, backgrounds, disciplines, and practices, helping them to understand their interconnectedness while inspiring others to do the same.
"For those seeking equity and hungering for leadership roles I say:
Know your worth.
Speak up and advocate for more opportunities for yourself and for others.
And in the absence of opportunity do not be afraid to create opportunity for yourself."
- Gracia Dyer Jalea, Ontario Museum Association Awards, 2018
“Gracia Dyer Jalea is a visionary. Her project, the Toronto Ward Museum, started with a dream: to make space for the stories and experiences of many marginalized communities and individuals. Many projects start with dreams, but Gracia's work opened doors for diverse youth, forged connections between activists, academics, community members and artists, and challenged (actually, took by storm!) the heritage and museum sector. She made a mark, she struggled, she fought on behalf of many people, whom she put first, and she did this with compassion and utmost professionalism. “
- Irina D. Mihalache, Assistant Professor, Museum Studies, University of Toronto
"Gracia is an exemplary leader; she is visionary, creative, passionate, and inspiring. An engaging community organizer, a tireless advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, and a bold game-changer, Gracia is well recognized for her tremendous contributions to the preservation of immigrant histories, cultures and heritages through her groundbreaking leadership work with the Toronto Ward Museum. She has demonstrated incredible ability to lead, influence, and inspire others through community-based learning, collaboration, and empowerment. Her leadership has mobilized meaningful and impactful collaborations and innovations among numerous communities. She is truly a leader modelling the way.”
- Dr. Zhixi C. Zhuang, MCIP, RPP, Associate Professor
School of Urban & Regional
Toronto Metropolitan University
“Gracia Dyer Jalea is a visionary thinker and implementer of innovative initiatives within the culture and heritage sector. Her ideas and approach challenge the status quo and are profoundly outside of the box while still being engaging and meaningful. She is strongly committed to equity and collaboration and I have seen her successfully bring together diverse communities and support emerging leaders. She has been incredibly resourceful and effective in putting place systems to support her team while leveraging support to maintain the ongoing health and sustainability of programs that she has been pivotal in implementing.”
- Anjuli Solanki, Director of Community Programs,
“Gracia is a multifaceted, passionate, and nuanced leader. Throughout my time on the Toronto Ward Museum's Programming Committee, Gracia has cultivated a warm, supportive working relationship with me and others in order to meet our goals and co-create possible futures. Her commitment to the values that guide her work is commendable and it is a true joy to work together in any capacity.”