Shaping the future of the Creative Communities

Denise Herrera Jackson


Chief Executive Officer, Festival Management Committee, Toronto Carribean Carnival

Denise Herrera Jackson has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Festival Management Committee which produces the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival, formerly and still fondly called Caribana. It is the largest summer festival of Caribbean culture and traditions in Canada. She held this position from 2010 to 2018. She is currently Chief of Public Affairs and is working on several new and exciting initiatives, including the heritage of the festival which was first presented in 1967 and a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage designation for the festival.

 Denise currently serves as a board member of Tourism Toronto and Festival & Events Ontario, an association devoted to the growth and stability of the festival and event industry in Ontario. She is a founding board member of Caribbean Tales, a multi-media and film company which produces the annual Caribbean Tales Film Festival in Toronto.  In addition, she serves as a member of the Programming Committee at Harbourfront Centre. She has been a director of the Caribbean-Canadian Literary Expo, an exposition of Caribbean Canadian writers (local, regional, international). She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BA Hons in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Resource Management from York University. Denise is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of her private consulting company.

 Denise supports and participates in several community initiatives such as the annual Walk with Excellence, collaboratively organized by Educational Attainment West, Success Beyond Limits, the Toronto District School Board and the York Centre for Education and Community, honoring the graduating students from the Jane and Finch community in their achievements for higher education. In this event, where graduating students from this community walk to York University in their parade of excellence, volunteers from the Festival Management Committee provide their services as parade marshals and other services for the event. This meaningful and successful initiative is now being emulated in other areas of the City of Toronto as well as in Ottawa.

 During her tenure as the CEO of the Festival Management Committee, the festival has received several awards including one of the Top 100 Festivals in Ontario since 2012 to 2018, the BizBash Award in 2017 and 2018 for the Top 5 Festival Events in Canada and the University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor Award in 2014. In 2013, Denise received the Heritage Award at the Diversity Awards event presented by Silvertrust Media and the Transformation Institute for Leadership and Innovation.

Program - Session A
11:15 am - 12:15 pm

Partnering Outside the Box: TATI Project Case Study (Panel)
with Iris Nemani, Christopher Sonnemann, Julie Whelan and Peter Lyman