Founder, Executive Artistic Director of TC3 and The HopeWorks Connection, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empower youth through the performing arts, academics and relieving poverty.
Born in Oakville, Ontario, Rev. Denise’s father immigrated to Canada from Jamaica; however, her mother’s side of the family comes from Nova Scotia by way of the Black Refugee and Loyalist movements. The musical arts have held a central place in Rev. Denise’s life for as long as she can remember. Her mother was classically trained and made sure she and her siblings accessed a broad-based and eclectic variety of vocal, instrumental and theatrical training. At a young age Rev. Denise adapted children’s stories to musicals that toured local libraries and public schools.
Rev. Denise received her undergraduate degree at Tyndale Bible College & Seminary (Toronto), and her post-graduate degree from the Divinity College of McMaster University (Hamilton). In the Spring of 2001, Rev. Denise published her first children’s picture book, Music From The Sky. Described as a charming and whimsical book, Music From The Sky tells the story of a young girl and her grandfather who set out one morning to find the perfect branch for Grandpa to whittle into a flute. Rev. Denise Gillard uses an African-Canadian model of storytelling, thereby taking the universal experience of the positive relationships possible between elders and children to motivate youngsters to hold on to and work toward their dreams.
Rev. Denise conducted the choir portion of HopeWorks’ premier program, The Toronto Children’s Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company from it’s inception. In October 2009, Rev. Denise’s wrote the song “Show Me The Way To Go” which won TC3 the Covenant Award for Children’s Song of the Year from the Gospel Music Association of Canada.
Known for her gifted preaching and inspiring motivational speaking, Rev. Denise Gillard has dedicated herself to inspiring youth and the people who love them to work toward achieving their full potential in the context of faith, service and transformational living. Rev. Denise has won several distinguished awards including The African Canadian Women’s Achievement Award for Excellence in Youth & Women’s Development and The African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Religion. In 2013, she graduated from Arrow Leadership’s Executive Stream and is currently pursuing her certification in Non Profit Management (Trinity Western Institute School of Business/World Vision Canadian Programs). Her greatest achievements however, are found in the success of the youth she serves and works alongside of, “I have set my eyes firmly on the vision of youth unleashing their artistic talent and energy as a creative alternative to self-destruction. It is a privilege to support their journey toward excellence in every area of their lives.”