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Tonya Williams

(Ontario)

Tonya Williams is a two time Emmy nominated and two time NAACP Image winner, actress and producer she is also the Founder and Executive Director of Reelworld Screen Institute, Reelworld Film Festival, Access Reelworld and Reelworld Foundation.  Reelworld, now in its 21st year, is the preeminent organization creating access, advancing opportunities and professional development for Canadian Black, Indigenous, Asian, South Asian and People of Colour in the screen based industry.  Reelworld also launched Access Reelworld,  the most comprehensive national database for racially diverse creatives, crew and production staff.  

 

Born in London, England to Jamaican parents, Tonya started her career in 1977 in Toronto and worked on a number of Canadian shows, Polka Dot Door, Street Legal, Seeing Things, Welcome to my World, Check It Out before moving to Los Angeles in 1987.  From 1990-2009 Tonya was known for her starring role as Dr. Olivia Barber-Hasting-Winters on the daytime drama The Young and the Restless.  The international recognition from that show allowed Tonya the ability to launch Reelworld. 

 

She has received an ACTRA Award of Excellence, WIFT Crystal Award, Harry Jerome Award and others.  She currently sits on the Telefilm Inclusion & Diversity Group and the Canadian Media Fund Black Industry Leaders Group, Ontario Creates Advisory Committee, Canadian Creative Industries Coalitions Group, on the board of The Black Academy as well as one of the co-founders and board of directors of the Black Screen Office, all with the goal of creating more access and diversity in the Canadian entertainment industry above and below the line. 

 

Tonya splits her time between Los Angeles and Toronto.