YQG Talks Hands Out First Grant

The third edition of Windsor's version of TED Talks is dishing out its first grant to a local group.

YQG Talks held its latest session at the Walkerville Theatre on Tuesday.

Founder, Cierra Bray, announced a $1,500 cheque for Windsor-based Boost Innovations.

The group is looking to help people start new social enterprises and community projects.

Bray says she started YQG Talks in April with the idea of showcasing the talent and activity in the city.

"Maybe they didn't know about a certain business or maybe they didn't know about a mover and a shaker that was doing amazing things in the community," says Bray. "I've had people message me and say, 'I networked with someone who was a speaker, she came into my business, I started a conversation with her and she actually got me a job somewhere because she had connections.'"

Bray hopes YQG Talks can show the best side of Windsor.

"So many people say negative things about this city or they say there's nothing to do here or they don't know their community very well," says Bray. "So, I really want people to understand there is a lot to do here, we do have incredible human beings working very, very hard in our community and that needs to be showcased."

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YQG Talks founder, Cierra Bray, (right) and speaker Natasha Feghali (left) pictured outside of the Walkerville Theatre in Windsor on August 22, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Windsor's Natasha Feghali is one of the speakers featured in the event held in Walkerville.

The award winning educator has traveled to far flung parts of the world to teach English in addition to writing and speaking engagements. She has spent time in France, Oman, Dubai and most recently finishing a two-year spell in Kuwait.

Feghali points to her upbringing in the city as a springboard for her success.

"Growing up in Windsor, being a very multicultural city and now welcoming over 900 families, if you tap into that multicultural channel the doors of the world are open — the world is your oyster."

Feghali is back in Windsor and working at the public school board to help newcomers as an ESL coach.

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The Walkerville Theatre in Windsor on August 22, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Feghali says she knew in high school travel would be part of her future — but she needed a little guidance from her parents first.

"If I'm really honest, I wanted to be a hairdresser and my parents had a big talk with me; they sat me down and they said, 'We'd really like you to explore your language abilities,'" says Feghali. "I went into education and I actually think it was my life calling now."

She stresses Windsor is a great base for people looking to branch out and create new things.

"An open mind will take you anywhere and if you keep it open, Windsor will welcome you with open arms and continue to promote and accept what you're bringing back," says Feghali.

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YQG Talks founder Cierra Bray opens the series' third event, held at the Walkerville Theatre, on August 22, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Bray thinks YQG Talks can be the beginning of a conversation to uncover new ventures needed in the city.

She expects that conversation to not only be at the speaker events — but online.

"You cruise through my posts, you'll see me constantly posting things that I love about Windsor and asking questions, like, 'What do you not like about Windsor and let's have a discussion and create a solution to that problem,'" says Bray.

Bray runs CGAL Media and a portion of the profits from YQG Talks supports the grants handed out to local groups and entrepreneurs.