INSPIRE Awards Board of Directors

Antoine Elhashem, President & Board Chair
Karie Johnston, Vice-President
Lucy G’ala, Board Member

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INSPIRE Awards Team Bios

Antoine Elhashem

Antoine Elhashem

President & Board Chair

Antoine Elhashem, founder and president of INSPIRE Awards, had a simple idea, or more of a question: "Why don’t we do more to celebrate those who are doing amazing and inspiring work in our LGBTQ2S+ community?" From that, INSPIRE Awards was born.

Antoine has spent the last 30 years in LGBTQ2S+ media working with all the major historical local LGBTQ2S+ publications, has volunteered with numerous organizations. He is currently the publisher of some of the leading LGBTQ2S+ media platforms and host of a popular local talk show. He is incredibly passionate about community, representation, inclusion and diversity, celebrating, and lifting up people.

Karie Johnston

Karie Johnston


Karie Johnston has lived and worked in Toronto since 1986. She is a retired nurse having worked in the burn unit at the Wellesley Hospital. She is currently an osteopath and a financial services professional with WFG Canada.

Karie has been actively involved in the LGBTQ2S+ community in many capacities. She is a member of Rainbow Toastmasters, a former executive member of the Toronto Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, an avid player in the community Pool Bar League, has hosted several dances at the 519, and is an ardent supporter of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Karie loves to sail, ski, ride motorcycles, camp, and enjoys live music.

Karie has been a Board Member of INSPIRE Awards since 2017.

Lucy G’ala

Lucy G’ala

Board Member

Lucy G’ala is a Dominican born of Taino origin, a New Yorker and Torontonian. She is a mother, immigrant-youth mentor, published Architect, global traveler, queer Latinx woman, feminist, and a trailblazer changing the Architecture industry’s landscape and its perceptions.

In 2000, she was the Youngest Woman Developer in New York. Lucy founded cleanearthdesign in 2007, an interdisciplinary, sustainable Architect Led-Design Built Studio. Her designs and collaborations can be found in NYC, Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Sedona, London ON, and Toronto.

She is passionate about her Latin heritage, LGBTQ2S+ Community, Human Rights Activism, Marriage Equality, Child Education, Woman Rights, the environment and being gentle with all living things. She is a firm believer in diversity, inclusion and kindness.

Lucy moved to Canada in 2005 following her heart. Toronto welcomed her and her love. Being able to get married to a woman and have her amazing daughter Luna is one of her greatest gifts. She feels honoured to be part of the outstanding INSPIRE Awards does to celebrate, acknowledge, and give back to our amazing resilient, passionate community that works so hard to make much progress.

Pauline Blackwood

Pauline Blackwood

Nominations & Procedures Committee

Pauline has been an Audio Technician for over 20 years. During that time, she has been involved in community events such as Pride Toronto, International Women’s Day, Bricks and Glitter, Toronto Freedom School, The Music Gallery and Girls Rock Camp Toronto, providing Audio / Video support.

She has experience organizing and training crews to do AV for conferences and meetings in hotels and meeting rooms plus doing sound for local bands and special events. Pauline also enjoys playing bass in Toronto’s #1 Motown/R&B band, Backtrack.

She is always looking for opportunities to celebrate diversity and inclusion. Being a member of the Nomination Committee for INSPIRE Awards 2020 provides this.

INSPIRE Awards Mailing Address


1691 Pickering Pkwy, Unit 205
Pickering ON L1V 5L9 Canada
Office: 416.926.9588