Ivan CanadaExecutive Director National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad (NCCJ)
Promoting Inclusion in the Triad
Ivan Canada is executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad (NCCJ), the region’s oldest human relations organization. For more than 80 years, NCCJ has worked to promote understanding and respect among all cultures, races and religions in the Triad through advocacy, education and dialogue.
A native of Greensboro, Ivan left to go to school at UNC Chapel Hill and later to Washington, D.C. to pursue career opportunities. He moved back to the Triad – a bit reluctantly – in the early 2000s after being laid off from his position in D.C. at the height of the tech bubble.
When Ivan returned home, he saw a city different from the one he had known growing up. “I came back at the time when the baseball stadium was going up downtown and synerG had just started,” he said. Shortly after he returned, Ivan was selected to join a group of young professionals at a summit led by acclaimed urban studies theorist Richard Florida. The goal was for this group to take Florida’s ideas about “The Creative Class” back to Greensboro to help build a more creative economy. According to Ivan, the opportunity helped him not only to shift his perspective on Greensboro, but also to get plugged into the community.
“This region is hungry to have people engaged that want to make change,” he said. “The barrier for entry to get civically involved is lower here, which helps bring in different perspectives. You don’t need to be born into ‘the right family’ to have a seat at the table.”
Ivan continued his pursuit of community justice through his role on the board of NCCJ before taking over as executive director. He points to the Anytown Youth Leadership Institute as a prime example of NCCJ’s mission in action. “Anytown is a full immersion program that provides an opportunity for high school students to live in an extremely diverse community for a week and to have discussions around how they can be change agents and allies for diversity and inclusion,” he explained. Ivan was involved in the flagship program for the Triad region, which he recalls as an amazing experience.
He has since been awarded the Triad Business Journal’s “40 Leaders Under 40 Award,” and the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s “Change Agent Award,” among other honors.
Ivan currently serves on the National Board of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN), is a community board member of the S.J. Edwards Foundation, a member of the Board of Visitors for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and has served on numerous other boards and committees over the past decade.
When he’s not pursuing social justice through his work with NCCJ and on community boards, Ivan enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching his nephew play soccer at Bryan Park, running on various trails in Greensboro’s Watershed Trail System, including the Nathaniel Greene Trail, and checking out local restaurants.
This region is hungry to have people engaged that want to make change.
Executive Director | National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad (NCCJ)