Adefioye, Adebola Taiwo
Bachelor of Child Development, 2021
Early Childhood Education, 2018
Founder, Afro Women and Youth Foundation
For the last decade, Adebola Adefioye has dedicated her career to improving the lives of women and girls in Africa and Canada. As a newcomer to Canada, her family experienced racial discrimination, which inspired her to create the Afro Women and Youth Foundation. Today, the foundation continues to provide regular training, coaching programs and mentorship opportunities to build the confidence of African women, youth and girls. In 2020, she was named a finalist for the Women of Inspiration Awards and she won the Black Community Leadership Award at United Way Greater Toronto.
Creative Advertising, 2002
VP, Client Advice and Management, Head of Learning and Culture, Initiative
Ishma Alexander-Huet is an award-winning marketing and advertising executive with Toronto-based Initiative, a global communications agency. Displaying strong leadership and creativity, she has assumed progressively more senior positions. Today, she leads a team of 47 media professionals that supports major brands like RBC, Wendy’s Restaurants and Lego Canada. Passionate about advancing the success of Black Canadians pursuing careers in marketing and advertising, she leads the Initiative Culture Club and sits on the boards of People of Colour in Advertising and Marketing and the Code Black Communicator Network.
Electrical Engineering Technician, 2001
Computer Engineering Technology, 2001
Scientific Manager, Kernel
A prolific inventor with over 26 published patents and patent applications, Jamu Alford is an award-winning researcher and scientist, creating non-invasive technology to measure human brain activity. His groundbreaking work propels humanity forward into a new era of neuroscience. From humble beginnings on a Prince Edward County farm, the homeschooled math prodigy taught himself computer programming, leading to post-secondary pursuits in electronic and computer engineering in college and physics in university. He is a respected scientific manager on the cutting-edge of biotechnology at Kernel, where his boundless curiosity and perseverance helps him to develop solutions to society’s most difficult scientific questions.
Almanzor Dumlao, Leandro
George Brown College
Visual Arts Fundamentals, 2000
CEO and President, Perceptible Group Inc.
Digital marketing specialist Leandro Dumlao is CEO and president of Perceptible Group Inc., providing innovative strategies for Fortune 500 companies and startups alike. An entrepreneur at heart, he is co-founder of the popular “,” featuring interviews with Canadian entrepreneurs. Prior to Perceptible, he worked with Intuit, where his performance leading global teams and driving triple-digit growth earned him the company’s Game Changer Award four times in less than seven years. A lifelong boxer, he gave a TEDX talk on the parallels between boxing and leadership.
Graphic Design, 2017
Co-founder and CEO, Oat Canada
Eloise Ambursley's young career proves there is no set script for the entrepreneur. Each story is unique. A graduate of graphic design, the road ahead may have appeared predictable. Instead, a course in entrepreneurship set her on a path to work with startup leaders and dreamers. She then became one, too. Weeks before the pandemic swept the world, she launched Oat Canada, a sugar-free oat milk product. With her primary market of cafes shuttered and the prospects bleak, she determinedly drew on her creative skills, drive, curiosity and ideals to find another way forward. And with that initiative she has succeeded.
Interactive Multimedia, 2005
President and Co-founder, Secret Location
Ryan Andal is a virtual reality pioneer. He is the president and co-founder of Secret Location, a Canadian leader in immersive content for gaming, children’s learning and virtual reality experiences for traditional media outlets. Since 2008, Secret Location has been nominated for 250 awards and has won two Emmys (including the first ever awarded for a virtual reality production), the inaugural Peabody-Facebook Futures of Media Award and three Webbys. In 2016 and 2019, he successfully shepherded Secret Location through two major acquisitions, cementing the studio’s place in creating content for global audiences.
Business - Entrepreneurship program, 2016
Founder and Speaker/Presenter, Your Mental Health Ally
Jonathan Andrews is a youth mental health champion and award-winning speaker. He has combined his lived experiences with clinical depression and anxiety with skills obtained through his business and entrepreneurship education, creating a business for social good. He’s the founder of Your Mental Health Ally and Project Circle Up and has delivered over 100 presentations in the last five years to tens of thousands of youth around the world, helping to expand the conversation and reduce the stigmas associated with mental health. His podcast, Project Circle Up, ranks on Listen Notes as one of the top 10 per cent of shows around the world.
Diagnostic Cardiac Sonography Certificate, 2002
Pediatric Cardiac Sonographer, Your Kids Heart
Carlos Barrios has a lengthy resume as a cardiac sonographer, clinical manager, educator and clinical instructor working in hospitals, educational institutions and the private health-care industry. He has made many contributions to his field as an educator and a researcher, including his dedication to training sonographers, students, doctors and nurses around the world to improve cardiac diagnostics abroad and help internationally trained health-care professionals earn their sonography licence in Canada.
Internet and Electronic Commerce, 1998
Digital Engagement Value Stream Leader, Assistant Vice-President, Manulife Bank of Canada
Janine Barry is an award-winning fin-tech leader who has been instrumental in bringing Manulife Bank of Canada to the forefront of digital banking. The current assistant vice-president of digital engagement at Manulife Bank, she leads the team responsible for creating digital solutions to improve the bank's services. She has played a key role in driving the organization's agile delivery transformation, pioneering and championing human-centred design that helped moved the bank to new direct-to-customer digital capabilities. Under her leadership, the bank launched its 4.8-star-rated mobile app, an AI-driven chatbot and social channels.
Basiri, Massi and Meti
Massi – Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, ApplyBoard
Fitness and Health Promotion, 2014
Meti – Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, ApplyBoard
Business - Marketing, 2014
Massi and Meti Basiri are on a mission to educate the world. In 2015, they co-founded ApplyBoard, now the world’s largest online platform for international student recruitment and one of the fastest growing technology companies in Canada. They have helped more than 200,000 students study at 1,500 educational institutions across North America, the U.K. and Australia, including 21 Ontario colleges. In 2019, Forbes named the Massi brothers to three different Top 30 Under 30 lists.
Law and Security Administration, 1985
Director of Emergency Services/Fire Chief Belleville Fire and Emergency Services
'Be open to change' is the governing principle of Monique Belair's professional life. In her three-decade career with fire protection services, she's worked in all areas, from suppression services to the provincial fire marshal's office. Communications and political acuity are her strengths. Rising through the ranks, she's a role model and advocates for empowering young women to choose careers in fire services.
Business Administration - Marketing Coop, 2003
Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Director, Information Technology and Geomatics Services, National Capital Commission of Canada
As CIO of the National Capital Commission, Wanito Bernadin oversees information technology for the largest property owner in Ottawa. His oversight includes heritage buildings, agricultural facilities, infrastructure like bridges and parklands and the six official residences. With more than 15 years of strategic planning, information technology and relationship management experience, his expertise increases organizational competencies. He has a reputation as an outstanding communicator and often speaks publicly at conferences and workshops. His people skills are rare and exceptional. He has formed lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with partners, customers and competitors and always negotiates for positive outcomes.
Early Childhood Education, 2007
Autism and Behavioural Science, 2008
Manager, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care
Tamara Bernard, manager at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and owner of Tamara, is an award-winning storyteller, advocate and educator from Kiasheke Zaaging Anishinaabek. She focuses on social justice for Indigenous Peoples, building pathways to learning for Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences and acts as a catalyst for change. She has been instrumental in contributing to critical provincial anti-violence strategies and Indigenous education frameworks. Her research, dedicated to her great-grandmother and cousin, was the first in Canada to be published by an academic Indigenous person who was a family member of one of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
St. Clair College
Tradigital Animation, 2006
Technical Art Director, Baron Championship Rings
“We The North.” Will Bigelow captured this moment in Canadian sports history through his design of the Toronto Raptors’ signature 2019 NBA Championship ring, described as one of the most monumental championship rings in sports history. “It’s a love letter to Toronto,” he says of the ring that received attention and praise across North America for its iconic design, which included a diamond-encrusted outline of the city on its base. He is Baron Championship Rings’ technical art director, overseeing the concept and design of pieces created for Baron’s highest profile clients.
Human Resources Management, 2006
President and CEO, Viewpoint Leadership
A learning architect, award-winning entrepreneur, author, speaker, humanitarian and CEO of Viewpoint Leadership, Rumeet Billan focuses on what she would describe as social capital - the idea of becoming our best selves. Renowned for her motivating and informative speaking engagements, she helps businesses and organizations draw upon the potential of their teams. She has been instrumental in building three schools in Kenya, Sierra Leone and Ecuador.
Pharma. Reg Affairs & Quality Assurance, Certificate, 2010
CEO and Co-founder, CannDelta Inc.
Dr. Sherry Boodram, the CEO and co-founder of CannDelta Inc., is one of few women of visible minority at the executive level in Canada's emerging cannabis industry. Through CannDelta, she helps cannabis businesses navigate complex regulations and bring their products and services to market. In three years, the number of staff employed by CannDelta has increased to 20 from two, with offices in Ontario and British Columbia. Prior to CannDelta, she spent nine years with the Canadian government, including Health Canada's medical cannabis program. An executive in a new industry, she is setting an example for young women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.
Social Service Worker, Native Specialization, 2018
Family Services Clinician, Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services
Jonathan Boyer-Nolan is a proud Anishnaabe from the Mississauga First Nation whose roles in Indigenous advocacy through the development of holistic and culturally informed policy-making led to his involvement on a multitude of regional and provincial working groups, volunteer boards and non-profit organizations. Through his work as a family services clinician and through his own consulting practice, his advocacy and policy work within Ontario's education and labour systems continue to open doors for Indigenous learners and workers across the province by working to resolve systemic issues.
Recreation and Leisure Services, 2014
Chief Operating Officer and Director of Player Development, Next Generation Hky & Fitness Inc.
At just 30 years of age, Evan Brownrigg has enjoyed an exceptional level of professional success and made an impact on the sport of hockey. As the chief operating officer and director of player development with Next Generation Hky, he designs, develops and delivers accessible, elite-level training programs for thousands of young athletes each year. His commitment to excellence has earned him multiple awards, exclusive certifications, top-ranking skills coaching positions and national championship titles at the junior, varsity and pro levels.
St. Lawrence College
Medical Laboratory Technology, 1997
Senior Director, Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network
Christine Bruce leads with both her head and her heart. She is a ‘how to handle COVID’ thought leader who led her team to be the first hospital in Ontario to test for COVID and the first in the province to test saliva. She is an innovator in her field, the first to adopt new technology and opportunities while staying committed to her teams and ensuring welcoming, integrated workplaces. She is a champion and active voice for the medical laboratory testing sector, shaping practises across the country and ensuring laboratory professionals are well represented in the health-care sector.
The News Photographers Association of Canada’s 2020 Photojournalist of the Year, Darren Calabrese bravely tells our nation’s most pressing and painful stories from the Atlantic Canadian perspective. From intimate portraits of his own family’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic to unflinching portrayals of the aftermath of the April 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia, his photographs can be seen in major publications like Maclean’s magazine and the Globe and Mail, giving voice to the Atlantic Canadian experience.
Water Quality Technician, 2013
Senior Operator/Mechanic, Ontario Clean Water Agency
Ellen Campbell's passion for clean water has inspired her incredible career. She is a senior operator and mechanic with the Ontario Clean Water Agency and member of the agency’s executive leadership committee, as well as the marketing manager for the Ontario Association of Sewage Industry Services. Outside of work, she has sat on the Walkerton Clean Water Centre’s board of directors and is the founder of Rain It In, a national non-profit and annual competition that challenges post-secondary students to create innovative solutions to mitigate the impacts of intense rainfall events and floods.
Mechanical Engineering Technician, Tool and Die, 1975
Senior Vice-President, Corporate Marketing and Design, Global Furniture Group
Mark Campbell is the senior vice-president of corporate marketing and design for Global Furniture Group, one of Canada’s largest manufacturers and distributors of workplace, education and health-care furnishings. With over 3,500 employees globally, he oversees the direction of new product development, branding and communication strategies for the corporation. As a practising designer, he has been awarded and published internationally including in Graphis, ID Magazine and AZURE. He was an associate professor and taught for 35 years at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University. He was recognized by the Government of Canada as a National Design Council Scholar.
Bachelors of Nursing, 2017
Critical Care Nurse, Solutions Travel Nursing
Erica Chisholm is a registered nurse who has dedicated her career to going where the need is greatest. She laid the foundation of this career while attending college, driving the development of a clinic in rural Zambia, Africa, with her Enactus team. She remains involved with the clinic to this day. Following her graduation, she became a critical care nurse, then pivoted to public health during the pandemic. She is always prepared to enter high-pressure situations where the impact of her health-care skills and training can be most markedly felt.
George Brown College
Cook Apprenticeship Basic, 1986
Chef and Owner, Cirillo’s Culinary Academy
Twice named Toronto’s Chef of the Year, chef John Cirillo runs Cirillo’s Culinary Academy, a state-of-the-art kitchen facility. The company is a favourite for group cooking classes and team-building events by corporations like RBC, CIBC, Bell and Rogers. He opened his academy in 2008 after a successful career as the executive chef for the Hilton chain of hotels. He joined Hilton as an apprentice at the age of 17 and worked in England and Switzerland. In 2004, he led the Ontario team to gold and silver medals at the Culinary Olympics in Germany.
St. Lawrence College
Visual and Creative Arts - Fine Arts, 1985
Photographer and Owner, Bernard Clark Photographer
Capturing a subject’s true likeness and understanding who they are – known as “sitter’s psychology” – is the essence of photography. And Tragically Hip guitarist Rob Baker says photographer Bernard Clark is a natural. “It is a mysterious and elusive quality for virtually all photographers, but it just seems to come naturally to Bernard, as if it were in his artistic DNA,” Baker says. That DNA has fuelled a 35-year career, capturing the essences of former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Margaret Atwood and The Tragically Hip. Add to that a Juno Award, two books, solo and group exhibitions – his work captures the range of the human experience.
Business Administration - Finance, 2016
Senior Analyst, Multi Unit Underwriting, CMHC
Carl Clergé pushed forward with an ambitious objective to raise enough funds to ensure an endowed bursary for a Black student at his alma mater. It was a goal he quickly reached through advocacy and community outreach. He rallied his network and raised $15,000 in four months, an amazing feat for a recent graduate in his twenties. Motivated by both his mother's hard work to provide him a sound education after she immigrated in 1989 and the Black Lives Matter movement, he is making a difference in the lives of students today and for generations to come.
Business Administration - Accounting, 1981
Senior Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
After 33 years, Fred Clifford retired from his role as a senior partner with Ernst & Young LLP. He is a qualified chartered accountant, a certified public accountant and a certified financial planner. During his career, he focused on employee success and promoting a welcoming environment. He demonstrates community commitment, serving as the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation’s board chair and chair of the hospital’s board of governors.
George Brown College
Fashion Techniques and Design, 2015
Owner, Diana Coatsworth Design
In March 2020, at the start of the global pandemic, Toronto fashion designer Diana Coatsworth mobilized an army of 3,700 volunteers to sew desperately needed PPE for health-care workers. Over the coming months, The Sewing Army sewed more than 120,000 masks, surgical caps and isolation gowns. Her own fashion business, Diana Coatsworth Design, was also dramatically impacted by the pandemic. With no demand for her signature custom event wear and upscale casual, she switched to creating one-of-a-kind casual wear from pre-loved and eco-conscious fabrics. Prior to designing, she was a professional actor, singer, dancer and choreographer for over 25 years.
George Brown College
Social Service Worker, 2018
Founder and Safe Space Specialist, Safepod
Stephanie Cole is passionate about safe spaces. She believes being comfortable in your workplace and living without fear should be the standard for all work environments. That’s why she created SafePod, a consulting and training enterprise where she’s working with businesses to end gender-based violence and harassment, particularly in the hospitality industry. As a member of the LGBTQ community, a female and as a visible minority, she says she was particularly susceptible to sexual harassment working as a bartender while attending college. She says she founded SafePod so others don’t have to experience what she did to pay their rent or buy groceries.
Business Administration - Accounting, 1985
President, 360 Visibility Inc.
As a certified public accountant, certified general accountant and a certified management consultant, Lynn Cooke has achieved extensive career success working in the male-dominated technology sector. She is the president of 360 Visibility Inc., which was founded on a vision of providing technology solutions to mid-sized companies while offering the big company service that clients expect. She was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs (W100) by Profit magazine (now Canadian Business magazine) for six years. Ranking Canada's top women entrepreneurs by the annual revenue of their firms, the PROFIT W100 profiles the country's most successful female business owners.
Electrical Apprenticeship, Industrial Electrician, 2011
Research and Innovation Technologist, Georgian College
Andrew Cywink grew up in Elliot Lake and is a member of the Whitefish River First Nation. He is a faculty member with Georgian College’s electrical engineering technology and apprenticeship program and a research and innovation technologist at the Alectra Centre for Research, Innovation and Commercialization. He’s a certified 442A electrician with a certificate of apprenticeship and a master electrician licence. He is also registered as a certified engineering technologist. He volunteers as vice-president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Urban Native Wigwam Project and he is on the board of directors for the Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe.
Davis Miller, Stefanie
Mental Health Advocate, stefaniespeaks.com
A college essay about post-traumatic stress disorder set the stage for Stefanie Miller Davis’s career as a mental health advocate who is breaking down the stigma and making it OK for first responders to say they are struggling. Credited with being “at the vanguard” of a culture shift among first responders, she founded a first responder peer support group, adapted and led mental readiness programming in her paramedic service and affected about 5,000 first responders and their families as a motivational speaker. She is also a contributing author of two bestselling books and a 13-year volunteer with the Tema Foundation for mental health.
Industrial Technology, Environment Engineering Technology, 1991
Founder, LIFT Leadership
Randy Dewey is a global CEO that has built eight companies across four countries in his career. In 2013, he entered the technology industry as the vice-chair of Baylin Technologies and ascended to the position of president and CEO in 2015. In that role, he led the diversification of the company and propelled Baylin Technologies to the forefront of 5G, positioning the company to be an integral supplier of antenna technology that will make 5G connectivity possible. Additionally, he moved Baylin into satellite and military communications and invested in significant technology upgrades that will bring advanced connectivity.
Di Menna, Flora
St. Clair College
Interior Design, 1980
President and Principal Designer, FDM Designs
During Flora Di Menna's 33 years of practicing interior design, thinking outside the box and taking risks have resulted in many new opportunities. Her philosophy is this: every failed experience is one step closer to success. "We shouldn’t be afraid to fail big or dream big." That's exactly what she did when she established her interior design business, FDM Designs, in 1987. Since then, the Toronto-based firm has garnered numerous international and Canadian awards for excellence in design for luxury residences, model homes, sales offices, high rises and corporate headquarters.
Registered Nursing, 1993
Director of Health Service, Occupational Health and Wellness, University Health Network (UHN)
Tamara Dus is a registered nurse and the director of health service, occupational health and wellness for the University Health Network (UHN). She leads UHN’s COVID-19 employee response, addressing front-line worker burn-out and stress from the pandemic. She also co-leads the provincial pilot vaccination rollout to support Ontario's immunization strategy for vaccine clinics. She was instrumental in establishing the first COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Ontario and administered the first five doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the province in December 2020. She has been recognized as the Most Influential Woman in Emergency and Critical Care Solutions in Ontario by Acquisition International.
International Business Management, 1993
Founder and CEO, Ross Emerson Ltd.
A global executive coach and consultant, Ross Emerson, uses a unique approach to help board directors, C-Suite executives/teams and senior leaders achieve sustainable strategic transformation and meet their business goals. He also provides senior executive coaching and consulting services through the LHHP International Center for Executive Options EMEA hub in London, U.K. And he coaches senior executives in the Kellogg-Schulich EMBA program. When coaching, Emerson applies a systems-psychodynamic approach that combines psychoanalysis, organizational design and systems and complexity theory.
Law & Security Administration - Police Education, 1984
Deputy Chief of Police, Peterborough Police Service
A member of the Peterborough Police Service with 35 years' experience, Deputy Chief Tim Farquharson is a leader, community builder and advocate for marginalized communities. With a passion for opioid response reforms and community-first strategies, he has supported the proposal for a consumption and treatment services site and the creation of the Peterborough Drug Strategy. He was recognized as a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Services, a highly prestigious award presented by the Governor General of Canada. The award honoured his role in creating the Peterborough Drug Strategy Task Force and his tireless support for the most vulnerable in his community.
St. Lawrence College
Computer Programmer Analyst, 2008
Founder and Director, Immutable Data
An emerging tech talent recognized internationally, Fernando Ferrer is making a name for himself as a big data architect with nerves of steel. He develops businesses across sectors and consults with companies worldwide, while still finding time to mentor young talent. Marrying extraordinary technical skills with a collaborative nature and business mindset, he works with organizations like the U.S. army, Amazon and the U.S. Olympic Committee to develop technological solutions including health-care platforms, sports analytics programs and fin-tech. He was also a founding member of a successful health-care analytics company acquired by a multibillion-dollar conglomerate.
General Arts & Science, 2021
Consultant, People Minded Business
Nicole Flynn is many things: a photographer, a college graduate, a consultant with People Minded Business, a youth accessibility leader, a self-advocate and so much more. But in all things she brings to the table a passion for inclusion and equity that is resolute, empathetic and awe-inspiring. As a recipient of the Canada 150 Award in recognition of extraordinary service to community, her mission is to bring awareness to the needs of people with disabilities, to empower others to be self-advocates and to challenge the expectations placed on her as a person with Down syndrome.
Culinary Management (Co-op), 2003
Executive Chef, W Hotel Nashville
Aaron Foster took a shine to cooking as a young man working in his mother’s restaurant. His parents instilled in him the values of humility and loyalty and he has carried them into a prestigious career as the executive chef for luxury hotels worldwide. An exceptional capacity for training, as well as respect for his team, has won him the friendship and praise of his staff. He is currently the executive chef at the new W Hotel in Nashville.
Fitness and health promotion, 2018
Owner/Operator/Director, The KLUB Community Wellness Centre
“Koach” Katrina Francella’s career has already had a profound impact on the Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual youth in the community. In a few short years, the KLUB community centre has been transformed from an inclusive fitness centre for women and 2SLGBTQ+ to a non-profit community centre and a hub for BIPOC, newcomers, those affected by mental illness and substance use, those with intellectual and physical disabilities and any others experiencing systemic oppression. She delivers workshops, appearances by keynote speakers, mental health chats and community outreach with a focus on delivering an inclusive safe space for fitness, wellness and events.
Practical Nursing, 1987
Regional Director, Providence Care
Laurie French has dedicated 30 years of outstanding service to Ontario’s health-care community, beginning her career as a nurse before implementing her planning and operations skills as a key member at the South East LHIN. In the summer of 2021, as the regional director with Providence Care Hospital, she will lead a new model of patient-centred care for Kingston and the surrounding area, overseeing the opening of a new 64-bed transitional care centre. In her spare time, she has earned multiple degrees, raised a family and advocates for education, serving as president of the Canadian School Board Association.
City Manager, City of Thunder Bay
Norm Gale – or “Norm from Thunder Bay” as he is sometimes known– made a career of always being ready for the next opportunity. After a distinguished military career, volunteer with St. John’s Ambulance and his work as a part-time paramedic, he attended college to get his paramedic diploma. From there, his career skyrocketed. Within 14 years, he climbed the ranks to become chief of superior EMS, president of the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs and is now the city manager for the City of Thunder Bay – the highest non-elected municipal position in the province.
Social Service Worker, 2009
Actor, Marla Mann Agency
Nadia George is an award-winning Mi’kmaw-Canadian actress, media personality, therapist and public speaker based in Toronto. Her work focuses on uplifting young voices and addressing stigma around contemporary Indigenous identity and her volunteerism includes roles as a national ambassador, adviser and BIPOC committee member for several national organizations. She can be seen in numerous films and television series, including “History Erased,” “Along the Water’s Edge” and “Uncolonize.” Her portrayal of Jolene in the award-winning film, “Her Water Drum,” earned her the distinguished Award of Achievement in Acting for a Leading Role at the Los Angeles Skins Film Festival.
Environmental Biology Technologist, 1987
President and CEO, Metro Testing + Engineering
A lifelong commitment to innovation and process improvement led Robert Gilbert to introduce numerous new technologies, methodologies and automations that have been widely adopted across analytical service industries. He has also helped shape contaminants legislation in British Columbia as a member of the province's technical advisory committee for environmental regulations. In his most recent roles, he has repeatedly achieved industry-leading financial performance and staff and customer retention for regions under his leadership, despite industry downturns and corporate restructuring.
Advanced Baking & Pastry Arts, 2018
Culinary Management, 2017
Chef and entrepreneur, Indigenesis
Tamara Green is an entrepreneur who founded Indigenesis, a personal chef company that provides Indigenous ingredient-based catering inspired by the Great Lakes region and surrounding Indigenous nations. She prepares items with historical ingredients used prior to Canada’s colonization, avoiding the flora, fauna and animals that were introduced to the area by settlers. Through Indigenesis, as well as her participation in local events like Ontario Culture Days, she provides opportunities to learn history through food while honouring Indigenous culture and cuisine. Her recipes have been published online and in print and featured in the fall 2020 edition of Grapevine magazine.
Electrician - Construction and Maintenance Apprenticeship, 2010
President, Buzzbolt Electric Limited
Manvir Grewal is the owner and president at Buzzbolt Electric Limited. With proper training and ambition behind him, the idea of owning his own business was never in doubt. From an early start as an apprentice to becoming one of the youngest people to successfully gain a master electrician licence in Ontario, he has always displayed a determination to extend his reach and expand the possibilities of his profession.
Plumbing Apprentice, 2013
President, Guest Plumbing and Heating
Daniel Guest launched his business just two years after graduating from an apprenticeship plumbing program. Before he was even 30 years old, he built it into an impressive operation that goes well beyond what one might expect of a plumbing and heating company. He puts a premium on community involvement, tackling social issues and giving back. He has made it his mission to be the largest philanthropist in his community and that commitment is in his company’s vision statement. He has won a number of business awards and hosts a podcast where he talks to local athletes, professionals and entrepreneurs.
Journalism Broadcast, 2016
Social Media Specialist, Ontario HIV Treatment Network
Muluba Habanyama is an HIV-AIDS activist and an inspiration to youth looking to college education as a means of improving their personal and professional lives. At college, she found the courage to break her silence about living with HIV. She uses national and international platforms to talk about issues that affect people living with HIV and is an ambassador for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. She has served as honorary chair of the 2015 Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life in Peel and received a Black Women Moving Forward Award for advocacy.
St. Lawrence College
Behavioural Science Technology Diploma, 2000
Addiction Treatment and Prevention Worker, 2000
Founder and CEO, Robyne HD Inc.
An award-winning psychology and education instructor, author, researcher, international speaker and philanthropist, Robyne Hanley-Dafoe motivates people to become “resiliency rock stars,” offering practical strategies to cultivate resiliency and move through life’s inevitable challenges. Using her own struggles and challenges to fuel her life’s work, she has harnessed her gifts as an educational leader to make an everyday impact on people’s lives around the world. Named Canada’s Most Requested Speaker in 2020, she has been a highly sought-after expert during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, she published her first book, “Calm Within the Storm: A Pathway to Everyday Resiliency.”
George Brown College
Graphic Design, 2018
Founder, Creative Director, UNSGND
Just three years out of college, Dymika Harte is already a successful entrepreneur. She runs UNSGND, an all-female creative agency that provides branding, design and printing for small businesses, especially those that are female-driven. UNSGND recently partnered with Wilfred Laurier University to provide branding and mentoring to women entrepreneurs. She is also the co-founder of Clutch App, an Uber-like application for driving schools and students to book driving lessons and classes, scheduled to launch in 2021. Passionate about mentoring others, she created a youth business fund for new entrepreneurs and produced a workshop to help young people called Be the Brand.
Founder and CEO, Love Your Life to Death
Yvonne Heath enjoyed a successful 27-year career as a registered nurse working in emergency, intensive care, chemotherapy, palliative care and hospice care. While interacting with patients and families, she observed their reluctance to talk about, plan and prepare for grief, death and dying. This was the catalyst for change and at age 50, she embarked on a new career path as an award-winning author and the founder of the #IJustShowedUp movement.
Tool and Die Maker, 2000
Certificate of Apprenticeship, 2000
Director of Apprenticeship and Training, Magna International Inc.
As the director of apprenticeship and training at Magna International Inc., Steve Henry oversees training for the company’s apprentices across North America, ensuring they fuel Magna’s ongoing success and are ready to meet future challenges. He develops training programs that prepare apprentices for the shop floor and encourages them to grow in their careers. A passionate advocate for a career in the trades, he shares his success story with high school and college students. He also gives back to industry, sitting on government and college-level committees to ensure skilled trades education keeps pace with Ontario’s rapidly evolving manufacturing needs.
Business Administration Marketing Diploma, 2016
Business Marketing Diploma, 2015
Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Visitor Queue
Nick Hollinger is CEO and co-founder of Visitor Queue and of a stealth startup in the automotive original equipment manufacturer market. He bootstrapped and launched both business-to-business technology companies less than three years after graduating from a business administration marketing program in 2016. To-date, Visitor Queue has helped more than 10,000 companies worldwide generate over 10 million sales leads. In 2018, he received a ‘Twenty in their 20s’ award from Business London magazine. After increasing revenues 650 per cent in its second full year in business, Visitor Queue was recognized in Latka magazine’s 2019 global list of ‘10 Fastest Growing Software-as-a-Service’ companies.
Electrical Apprentice, 2002
President, BOS Innovations
Since Ben Huigenbos became president at BOS Innovations in 2008, the company has grown to 125 from 15 employees, increased annual revenues to $37 million from $2 million and shifted its focus to developing and offering engineered-to-order products for factory automation. Huigenbos is committed to developing young apprenticeship talent. BOS Innovations received the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters’ Ivey Academy Manufacturer of the Year Award (2019) for its contribution to developing youth in manufacturing. And from 2018 to 2020, the company landed on Canadian Business magazine’s growth list, which identifies the most innovative and successful businesses in the country.
CEO, Canopy Media
As CEO of Canopy Media and COO of Jentü Technologies, Kai Hulshof has found success through community-first entrepreneurialism. His innate business acumen is matched by compelling content creation skills. He supports small and medium-size businesses by elevating their digital marketing, expanding their clientele and protecting their digital properties through cybersecurity. These tools have been invaluable for supporting and sustaining local main street businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also gives back to others through Mudtown Records, a music and arts promotion company, or through business mentorship at the South Georgian Bay Enterprise Centre.
Aviation-Flight Technology, 2005
First Officer, WestJet
An internationally recognized Elsie Award-winning airline pilot, crash site investigator and women in aviation advocate, Stacey Jackson has made a career out of her passion for flying and the study of human factors as they pertain to the aviation industry. Whether flying UN evacuation missions, starting her own consulting firm or chartering the Upper Canada chapter of Women in Aviation International, she earns the highest accolades for her industry and brings passion for the development and support of her peers to every aspect of her career.
Jardine, Whitney Karina
Diploma, Welding Engineering Technology, 2016
Diploma, Welding Engineering Technician, 2014
Corporate Welding Engineer, The NARMCO Group
Whitney Karina Jardine’s drive for excellence began as a teenaged national competitive swimmer. She continues to pursue excellence with the same vigour in her late twenties. Receiving an OACETT (Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists) fellow designation is exceedingly rare for someone of her age and for a female in a non-traditional field. She's committed to removing barriers for women in her sector and shaping the future of engineering technology, inspiring others through her leadership and advocacy. She continues to invest in the future through OACETT and by serving as an ambassador and adviser with her alma maters.
Broadcast Television, 2003
CEO and Founder, She's4Sports
The CEO of She's4Sports, Ainka Jess is changing the landscape of sports media by ensuring diverse women in sport are represented. Founded in 2016, She's4Sports is the first speakers-series of its kind in Toronto and currently has a network of more than 5,000 women and men who come together via events and social media. Her contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion in sports was recognized when she earned the WXN Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award and was named one of 150 Black women who made a difference in the CBC's HERstory in Black project.
Legal Office Administration, 1990
Fire/Life Safety Education Officer, City of Brampton
Michelle John provides invaluable community services to the city of Brampton as the fire and life safety education officer. She goes above and beyond her job requirements to reach out to Brampton's diverse community to ensure their safety. She organizes information sessions in public places such as malls and community centres and visits schools, seniors’ homes and residences to create awareness about fire safety. She is held in high regard by her supervisors and colleagues for her work to help the community. She is a role model for women and visible minorities who aspire to similar leadership positions.
Jokinen Waghorn, Gail
Business Administration Accounting - 3 y, 1987
Business Administration Accounting - 2 yr, 1988
Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Services, The MICs Group of Health Services
Gail Waghorn advanced into senior management within three years of graduating with a business administration accounting diploma and hasn't looked back. Over a 30-year career, she has led initiatives to create financial stability and efficiencies in the health-care sector. She also sets the standard for lifelong learning, completing her masters in public administration degree in 2019 and a degree in health administration while serving as CFO at the MICs Group of Health Services, comprised of three hospitals and their associated long-term care facilities in Matheson, Iroquois Falls and Cochrane.
St. Clair College
Sign Language Interpreter, 1991
Sign Language Communicator, 1990
Executive Director, Children First in Essex County
As the executive director for Children First in Essex County, Lori Kempe strives to make a difference in the lives of children and pursues a vision in which they are healthy, safe and able to achieve their goals. She obtained two diplomas in sign language communication and interpretation, following up with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. For her, it’s always been about advocating for the most vulnerable members of society. Hearing the stories of children and their families has helped to motivate her and teaches her valuable lessons that help guide her to this day.
President and CEO, Founder, CEMATRIX Corporation
Jeff Kendrick's rise to prominence in the concrete industry is marked by resilience, hard work and determination. After the exceptionally lean startup of his Calgary company, CEMATRIX, in 1999, he took the company public six years later and enjoyed skyrocketing sales as his concrete product gained acceptance. Then the global financial crisis of 2008 hit, devastating Alberta’s oil and gas industry and CEMATRIX’s prime market. He shifted his focus to infrastructure markets, concentrated on product innovation, forged a strategic partnership with the world’s largest cement company, acquired two major competitors, and has grown CEMATRIX to become North America’s largest cellular concrete manufacturer.
Electronics Engineering Technology, 1981
Chief Operating Officer (COO), Incuvers Inc.
From circuit designer to global sales leader to serial tech entrepreneur, Mark Kershey’s 38-year career was driven by a single passion: to deliver products that solve real and difficult problems. He’s consulted for more than 70 new ventures and raised more than $15 million in seed capital for North American technology startups, including the Ottawa company that later pioneered the first made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test. He was an outspoken champion of innovation, college education and women in engineering. He inspired thousands and personally mentored hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs before passing away at the height of his career in October 2019.
Industrial Mechanical Millwright, 2016
Industrial Mechanical Millwright - Apprentice Program, 2020
Maintenance Millwright, Domtar Inc.
Julia Kocis is making significant contributions as a millwright and is paving the road for women exploring careers in the trades. She is the first female millwright to earn Canada’s prestigious Red Seal certification at Domtar’s Dryden Mill, where she is involved in important work preventing unscheduled downtime that could result in lost production and revenue. Her supervisors say she is committed, pays great attention to detail and can truly be relied upon to get the job done. She regularly participates in skills-based workshops where she uses her passion to advocate for women to explore careers in the trades.
General Arts and Science, 2004
Founder and CEO, Child Welfare PAC Canada
After a tough start growing up in foster care and dropping out of high school, Jane Kovarikova found her way to post-secondary and has devoted her professional life to improving outcomes for foster kids ever since. In 2017, she founded the Child Welfare PAC Canada, a national charity that creates systemic changes that empower youth to succeed after foster care. Currently, she serves as board chair of the Simcoe-Muskoka Family Connexions, a regional child protection agency, and is on the Ontario Premier's Council for Equality of Opportunity. She’s a PhD candidate and lecturer at Western University in the department of political science.
Business Accounting, 2003
Owner and Director, Signature Financial, Self-Employed
Nadia Kukkee is a serial entrepreneur who embodies the quintessential businesswoman. She takes a different approach to business, seeing money as a tool instead of a goal. Through her bookkeeping business, Signature Financial, she teaches clients how to make money work for them. She also helps clients’ vertical integration of other businesses to help them succeed, including a courier company and a business training firm. She continues to branch out with the launch of Narrow Gate Foods, specializing in fermented foods. It’s part of her holistic philosophy that business should be for the benefit of people, not vice-versa.
Manufacturing Engineering Technician, 2016
Manufacturing Engineering Technology, 2016
Fashion Design, 1984
President, Lac-Mac Limited
Shelley Lamb-White is president of Lac-Mac, North America’s leading manufacturer of reusable technical textile PPE products for health care and industry. She holds two patents for an award-winning reusable surgical gown and has worked with raw material manufacturers to develop technical-barrier textiles for PPE products. During the pandemic, she worked with Canadian emergency medical manufacturers to identify 25 manufacturers that could retool to produce reusable isolation gowns, then provided patterns, raw material specifications and production process assistance. The first female executive in Lac-Mac’s 100-year-old history, she is a mentor and advocate for increased participation and the advancement of women in manufacturing.
Television Broadcasting, 1990
Chef, Host and Author, RICARDO Media
There can be few more readily recognized brands in Canada’s competitive food scene than Ricardo’s. Ricardo’s name is now seen in a magazine, retail stores, restaurants, a website, food products and an online boutique. The name has graced thousands of cooking shows for French and English-speaking audiences. In excess of 700,000 copies of 12 French and seven English cookbooks have sold under the Ricardo brand, which also commands an enormous online following. Ricardocuisine.com has attracted more than 5.4 million unique visitors and the company has more than 855,000 fans on social media, including viewers of Larrivée’s new vlog and the debut of the brand on TikTok in 2021.
Registered Nurse, 1983
Principal and CEO, Leavey Consulting, Inc.
Jo-Ann Elizabeth Leavey is a licensed registered psychologist, licensed registered nurse practitioner and educator who provides a cross-section of expertise in the health-care space. As the principal of Leavey Consulting, Inc., she is a clinician, advocate, researcher and virtual health expert who provides local and global community development strategies for resource-challenged regions. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of law from Western University, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and Sovereign Medal, and as a virtual health specialist is helping to bring virtual access to health for all.
Automotive Service Technician, 2007
Regional Service Manager - East Canada, Tesla
Dustin Leitch was the first Tesla service technician in Canada, Hong Kong and China. As the Asia Pacific regional service manager, he built the electric car company’s service operations from the ground up, leading a 250-member team across 14 service centres. Upon returning to Canada in 2016, he reimagined Tesla’s mobile service model, building a fleet of technicians and custom-designed and outfitted vehicles that were ready to take on any service challenge in customers’ driveways from Winnipeg to Halifax.
Vice-President Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive, Queensway Carleton Hospital
Leah Levesque is the vice-president of patient care and chief nursing executive at the Queensway Carleton Hospital. She provides professional leadership to over 1,400 nurses and other regulated health professionals across the organization and oversees seven hospital units, including the emergency department and intensive care unit. Her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic has been crucial to her region’s ability to handle rising cases and stress on hospitals. She worked collaboratively with community partners on the development of several groundbreaking initiatives, including setting up a 56-bed in-patient transitional care unit and the implementation of a COVID-19 care and assessment centre.
Computer Engineering Technology, 1995
Vice-President of Growth, Shopify
Adventure and challenge has been characteristic of Luc Levesque’s career. One of the most successful Canadian technology executives in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area, he has worked for a number of big names, including TripAdvisor and Facebook, and has most recently joined the online commerce giant, Shopify. His biggest accomplishment has been developing the Facebook Messenger kids platform, which has several million users around the world. His skill as an entrepreneur has not gone unnoticed. He’s been the subject of articles in the New York Times, Business Insider, the Globe and Mail and The Wall Street Journal.
Power Engineering Technician, 2014
Human Resources Management/Personal Administration, 2009
CEO, Top Shelf Canada
Joshua Lines is the CEO of Top Shelf Canada, a producer of premium hot sauce products. As the entrepreneur behind a startup, he has almost single-handedly developed and grown his business and his efforts have paid off. His international award-winning hot sauce, Front Street Heat, is in more than 350 big box stores across Canada. He is now signed with a major Canadian distributor that will bring his products to even more markets. Just as importantly, he has found a way to give back to Canadians through a partnership with the United Way.
St. Lawrence College
Visual and Creative Arts - Fine Arts, 2017
Digital Marketing Specialist, Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity
An outdoor enthusiast, sought-after digital marketing specialist and dedicated volunteer, Clayton MacKinnon has translated his creative arts education and personal experiences into an early career full of passion, commitment, creativity and social justice. He weaves entrepreneurial ventures with volunteer positions, supports marginalized communities, promotes tourism and local pride and lends his talent in support of fellow artists and social justice champions. Through his “Paddle Ontario Project,” started while he was in college, he has travelled 4,877km across Ontario, raising awareness of the province’s splendid landscape with his hand-painted canoe and his Mini Cooper.
Social Service Worker (Honours), 1990
Program Manager, Ontario Works, County of Dufferin
Christine Madden's career in social services became forever intertwined with the opioid crisis when her younger sister, Shelley, died of an accidental drug overdose in 2004. She has dedicated her entire life as an Ontario Works manager to finding opportunities to implement awareness campaigns focusing on stigmas related to mental illness, addictions and substance abuse. She shares the accounts of her family's tragedy in media interviews, participates in awareness campaigns, makes presentations and is involved in boards and committees addressing the opioid crisis. By sharing her story, she helps education professionals and offers hope for those suffering with addiction.
Graphic Design, 1998
Digital Artist, Self Employed
A digital artist and musician whose work has been described as Tim Burton meets Alice Cooper in The Twilight Zone, Vincent Marcone blends the traditional art of printmaking with computer graphics to create mixed-media portraits, album covers, music videos and online worlds. His uniquely whimsical and haunting aesthetic has earned him two Emmys, a Juno, and a Cannes Film Festival nomination, along with accolades from David Bowie, Guillermo Del Toro and Clive Barker. While continuing to craft new stories through art, he is building a community of local artists and making art accessible to the public through a novel city partnership.
Social Service Worker, 2013
President and CEO, Okpik Consulting
Crystal Martin-Lapenskie has traveled around the world, working directly with Indigenous leaders, elected officials and like-minded individuals to highlight the most pressing social justice issues facing Inuit youth. A voice for Inuit communities, she has taken on leadership positions in economic development areas while also supporting not-for-profit organizations and starting her own consulting business.
She has consulted with every level of government and notable corporations to further the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation report, which have become her playbook as she brings attention to the issues facing young people in Canada’s North.
Heavy Equipment Technician Diploma, 1983
Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic Apprenticeship Certificate, 1986
Dean, School of Transportation, Centennial College
Alan McClelland has been a visionary leader and catalyst for change in the transportation industry for almost four decades. He has dedicated his career to advancing excellence in transportation. In his current role as dean of the school of transportation, he plays a pivotal role in the doubling of domestic enrolment, tripling of international enrolment and initiating innovative and progressive new programming. This will build a robust industry for today and ensure its success for the future. Under his leadership, students graduate from Canada’s largest on-site transportation training facility with the skills, experience and expertise required to meet the diverse needs of the transportation industry.
Broadcasting - Television and Communications Media, 2002
Managing Assignment Editor, Citytv News, Toronto
Nicole McCormick is a successful journalist and an advocate for Indigenous Peoples who has overcome much in her life. She is from Six Nations of the Grand River in Ohsweken, Ontario, and is a member of the Mohawk Nation, Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is managing assignment editor at Citytv News and Breakfast Television and also serves as chair to the Indigenous Peoples’ Network at Rogers Communications. It was her time in college that inspired her to weave her Indigenous identity into her professional life and to give her people a voice through her journalism, advocacy and mentorship.
Electromechanical Engineering Technology, 1988
Founder, President and CEO, Chairman of the Board, Memex Inc
David McPhail is a 30-year veteran of smart manufacturing. In a field built upon revolutionary transformations, he not only keeps pace with rapid change, he sets it. A graduate of an electromechanical engineering technology program, his reputation as an industry trailblazer is confirmed by his numerous awards and prominent roles and is supported by the sheer number of thought leadership pieces published over the years. He combines entrepreneurial ambition, an expansive skill set and an ongoing commitment to create not only the most efficient, data-driven manufacturing systems but to design them in a way that ensures accessibility for manufacturers of all sizes.
St. Clair College
Business Marketing, 2003
Actor and Comedian, Self-employed
Dave Merheje is an actor and stand-up comedian who quickly transferred the marketing skills he learned in college to the entertainment business. He won a Juno Award in 2019 for comedy album of the year, Good Friend Bad Grammar, one of the most original stand-up acts on the comedy scene today. He has been recognized for several comedy awards and has made appearances on “Match Game” on the Comedy Network, MTV Live and on CBC-TV. Over the past year, he has joined various artists and comedians to raise money for organizations that contribute to relief efforts in Beirut, Lebanon.
Automotive Service Technician, 2000
Director of After-sales and Porsche Fixed Operations Manager for Porsche Centres, Pfaff Automotive Partners
As the director of after-sales and the Porsche fixed operations manager for Porsche Centres at Pfaff Automotive Partners, Robert Morrison is widely recognized as a leading vehicle technician and fixed operations professional. In 2010, he was inducted into the Volvo Technical Hall of Fame in Sweden after winning the Volvo North American Skills Competition, one of the world’s top competitions for automotive service experts. He has worked for leading luxury vehicle brands, written extensively for industry publications and taught apprentice technicians at Centennial College.
St. Clair College
General Machinist, 2019
CNC Precision Metal Cutting, 2017
Machinist, Harbour Technologies
From a refugee camp to the national stage, Elizabeth Moses has become a force in the skilled trades. As a mentor to young women across Canada, she shares her inspiring story to help others overcome their barriers. She graduated in 2019 as a general machinist and is working on obtaining her Red Seal, the highest certification in a trade. She is an ambassador for a number of groups that promote women in the trades and also finds time to be a volunteer with the Canadian Mental Health Association, helping to lift the stigma on mental health.
General Arts & Science: English Language Studies, 2017
Co-founder, Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
Saifullah Muhammad is a Rohingya youth activist and unstoppable force for change in Myanmar. Since immigrating to Canada from a Bangladeshi refugee camp, he co-founded the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative, organized a 10,000-strong Queen’s Park demonstration and testified before a Senate committee on the Rohingya crisis. He addressed Canada’s House of Commons, the European parliament and the UN General Assembly and consulted directly with Bob Rae, Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar. He is co-leading a research project with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. His pioneering local partnerships are helping improve the education and lives of Rohingya Canadians.
Paramedic Program, 2001
Practical Nursing Program, 1996
Commander of Quality Assurance and Professional Development, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board
Seamus Murphy has invested over 25 years in health care at varying levels in the north, moving the sector forward with his can-do attitude and deep care for patients. This includes lobbying for distribution of Naloxone kits to overdosing patients and creating regulatory change across Ontario. His nursing care, paramedic service, quality assurance work, support of professional development, volunteer firefighting, and other activities has led to transformative change in the industry. He's a lifelong learner, having recently received a University of Waterloo certificate in supervision.
Advanced Crisis Intervention and Counselling, 2002
Social Service Worker, 1990
CEO, Punjabi Community Health Services
Baldev Mutta is the CEO of Punjabi Community Health Services, an accredited charitable not-for-profit organization that is making a significant impact, serving and empowering marginalized and oppressed families and individuals. With affiliates across Canada, the organization’s success and Mutta’s standing as an industry leader stem from Mutta’s knowledge and ability to identify needs, address gaps and determine culturally relevant solutions. He also shares his wisdom with like-minded organizations. His work has garnered several activist, community and excellence awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Naponse, Lisa Marie
Native Education – Community and Social Development, 2004
Aanjichigewin Health Educator/Promoter, Maamwesying North Shore Community Services
Lisa Marie Naponse is an Aanjichigewin health educator and promotor from Atikameksheng Anishinawbek First Nation. Her Anishinabe name is Odemin Kwe, meaning “Strawberry Woman,” and in her culture the strawberry is known as the “heart berry,” nourishing the body, mind and spirit and connecting emotions. Her work incorporates Indigenous language and culture into programming. It focuses on normalizing physical activity and strengthening factors that improve Indigenous People’s resiliency by improving overall quality of life. She’s an active community leader and volunteer, and award-winning singer/songwriter and she has captured multiple medals at the North American Indigenous Games.
Industrial Microbiology Biological Technician, 2000
Owner/President, Lumar Food Safety Services Ltd.
Nadia Narine has over two decades of experience in various food quality assurance and technical roles. She has worked within a variety of food manufacturing facilities, as well as in retail and in industries that include bakery, confectionery and dairy. She is a certified consultant, auditor and trainer. She is currently the owner and president of Lumar Food Safety Services Ltd.
Nguyen Dietrich, Bella
Civil Engineering Technology, 2009
Architectural Technician, 2009
European Sustainability Program Manager, Amazon
Bella Nguyen Dietrich has an impressive academic and professional resume. She is the European sustainability program manager at Amazon, where she is heading up efforts to achieve net-zero carbon efficiency by 2040. Prior to that, she headed a multimillion-dollar research portfolio at an engineering consultancy. She has also taken part in engineering and construction research around the world that has led to publication and two patents.
Ambulance and Emergency Care Paramedic, 1991
Director, Emergency Services and Chief, Paramedic Service, County of Renfrew
Michael Nolan has been taking care of others since he graduated. His career has sent him far afield, professionally and personally, earned him recognition and allowed to him contribute to the profession through his leadership, advocacy and the application of innovative technology. In 2004, he became the chief of the paramedic service for the County of Renfrew and has continually pushed the boundary of what paramedicine offers, moving beyond the traditional response-based 911 service to one that provides diverse services throughout the community.
Marine Technology - Navigation Program, 1997
Marine Pilot, Great Lakes Pilotage Authority
Capt. Seann O’Donoughue is currently a marine pilot with the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority and a marine simulation instructor with the Centre for Marine Training and Research, where he uses highly technical equipment to simulate the dynamic behaviour of a vessel and its systems in a simulated maritime environment. Using marine simulation technology, he’s trained cadets on how to safely navigate waters around the world and to successfully manage some of the harshest environments imaginable. He’s the past grand president (North America) of the International Shipmasters’ Association (ISMA), and current president of the ISMA Georgian Bay Huronia Lodge 15.
George Brown College
Marketing Management – Financial Services, 2007
Vice-President, Customer Experience Strategy and Design, Ontario Lotter and Gaming Corporation
David Offierski is passionate about technology and its role in our personal and professional lives. He’s made a career out of helping businesses transform their digital profile to deliver exceptional customer service. As the vice-president of OLG’s customer experience strategy, he and his team are transforming OLG’s digital presence and creating new online gaming entertainment. His achievements also include starting Clip Mobile, Canada’s first location-based mobile coupon app, in 2009. He also owns Grand Trunk Trading Company, selling restored vintage maps online.
Environmental Technician, 2019
Spray Technician, Bartram Woodlands Ltd.
Curtis Onaczyszyn says his program tackled both technical and field work but also environmental policy and regulation. He has put that knowledge to good use in his work and his volunteering since graduating. “I really feel that I was well prepared for everything I face. We did a lot of field work and a capstone project that prepared me for the project reports I do now. I understand the full process and I have confidence in everything I learned.”
Sports and Entertainment Administration, 1983
Instructor and Consultant, Communications Training for Public Safety, 10-8 Communications
Judy Pal is a sought-after consultant who has worked for international police agencies in Canada, Chile and Trinidad. She has also held numerous communications and administration leadership roles across police organizations in North America. She is credited with retooling the image of the largest police department in Atlantic Canada and has conducted image and media training for more than 200 commanders with the NYPD and thousands of law enforcement professionals. She is also a regular contributing trainer at FBI regional command colleges across the U.S. and has taught and spoken at events across North America, Australia, Uruguay and the Philippines.
Sports Injury Management, 2000
Company Athletic Therapist, National Ballet of Canada
Paul T. Papoutsakis is a leading athletic therapist who has used his college education to alleviate physical suffering in others while at the same time adding prestige to the profession with his exceptional work. He has earned the appreciation of world-renowned ballet performers by helping them overcome injuries and achieve success. He has contributed to the advancement of athletic therapy by serving on committees and outreach initiatives. He continues to give back to the profession by supporting and mentoring college students of athletic therapy through an internship he created at the National Ballet of Canada.
St. Lawrence College
Welding and Fabrication Technician, 2016
Welder Apprenticeship Level 3, 2015
Welder Apprenticeship Level 2, 2015
Welder Apprenticeship Level 1, 2014
Melissa Phelan is a highly skilled welder and robotics weld programmer who has become a vocal advocate for women entering the welding industry and the trades in general. Recognized as a woman to watch in the trades, she is both a talented welder and technician and a leading voice within the Canadian manufacturing sector. Using social media and online forums as a force for positive change, she uses her skills and experience to encourage, inform and inspire the next generation of women in the trades.
St. Clair College
Personal Support Worker, 1999
Fund development mental health promotion, Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex County
Empathy is one of the greatest attributes a personal support worker (PSW) can have and it's something Anita Riccio-Spagnuolo developed as a child battling cancer. Diagnosed at age 11, she endured three years of aggressive chemotherapy and three months of radiation, as well as three surgeries. She always had a positive attitude throughout her cancer journey, which has carried over into her career. She has worked as a PSW, taught PSW students and now works for the Canadian Mental Health Association. She is a town councillor and is involved in volunteering with many worthy charities.
Enactus Program Coordinator, Lambton College
Megan Rizzo is an Enactus program coordinator and a firm believer in the power entrepreneurship has to change lives. In her role, she has helped entrepreneurs launch businesses in her local area, across Canada and even all the way in Zambia, Africa, where she helped farmers improve their business model to maximize their revenue. In 2021, she is focusing on a collaborative agricultural and entrepreneurial project with First Nations communities, developing food security solutions and laying the foundation to launch two new industries and the related business, employment and educational opportunities that accompany those industries.
St. Lawrence College
Fashion Merchandising, 1987
Founder and Partner, Robarts Spaces
Named one of the 100 most influential design professionals in China by Architectural Digest, Karyn Robarts has a head for business, a heart for children and an eye for beauty. In addition to the more than 1,000 projects her architectural and design firm has managed from its headquarters in China, she has shown an extraordinary commitment to education. She has established five schools - four Montessori and one for orphans with disabilities - and was the creator of a children's character education program delivered to 100,000 preschoolers in more than 300 schools in China.
Vice-President, Strategy, Leo Burnett
Ryan Roberts is a lifelong learner who has challenged himself and tackled new frontiers during a successful and varied career in advertising. He is vice-president of strategy at Leo Burnett, bringing a big-picture view to reinventing brands and launching new products. He has worked at ad agencies, banks and law firms and he’s led award-winning campaigns in a broad range of sectors, including automotive, food and beverage and financial services. His time in college inspired a love of learning that has defined his career so far and armed him with the skills to immediately make his mark in his field.
Business Marketing, 1986
President, Slaight Music
Derrick Ross is the president of Slaight Music, an incubator that develops budding Canadian musicians and supports the Canadian music community through various initiatives. Over his 35-year career, he has worked in all aspects of the music sector. He was a drummer with the Juno-nominated band, The Spoons, before moving to the marketing side of the music business, working in promotion, marketing and artist representation. He’s represented internationally renowned Canadian artists such as Tom Cochrane and Carley Rae Jepsen and has worked with a string of success stories including Coldplay, Kardinall Offishall, Nickelback and Keith Urban.
Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship, Culinary, 2011
Owner and Executive Chef, Rare Restaurant
Tyler Scott is the owner and executive chef of Rare Restaurant in Peterborough. In a time where the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry, he and his team at Rare have defied the odds. He found success by pivoting the restaurant's take-out offerings, creating a ready-to-eat freezer meal program and reimagining a parking lot into a whimsical European "back lot" patio. His dedication to local ingredients and creating a hyper-local menu is setting Rare apart while building a collaborative community in the region.
Craft and Design - Fabrics, 1980
Founder, Creative Matters
Carol Sebert is the founder of Creative Matters — an internationally renowned designer and creator of custom fair-trade floor and wall coverings. The company’s creations grace upscale retail stores, hotels, corporate offices and residences in more than 40 countries. Its style-setting retail clients include Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and more. She is at the forefront of the company’s commitment to socially responsible business, selecting only mills that meet the highest ethical and environmental standards. In 2017, she was named an honorary ambassador by NGO Label Step for her tireless commitment to promoting fair trade practices in the carpet industry.
George Brown College
Dental Hygiene, 1999
Mass Vaccination Program Co-lead, Region of Peel
As co-lead for Peel Region’s mass vaccination program, Paul Sharma was charged with the responsibility of vaccinating 1.5 million people during the global pandemic. Deployed from his position as the region’s director of chronic disease and injury prevention, he oversaw the hiring of almost 2,000 personnel and the establishment of multiple clinics. With his region designated as a hot spot in the province, Peel’s clinics delivered 170,000 vaccines in seven days under his watch. He started his career as a dental hygienist and is now a passionate advocate for what he calls “putting the mouth back in the body,” making oral health part of the mainstream health-care system.
Business Accounting, 1995
Business Administration Accounting, 1995
Vice-President, and Chief Financial Officer, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital
Tonya Sheldon, vice-president of corporate services and CFO for St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, has led several high-impact initiatives. Her focus on reducing overtime rates led to changes in practices that brought St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital’s incidence of overtime well below the provincial average. This has led to cumulative savings of about $750,000 since 2010. In 2007, she was seconded to successfully lead an IT implementation project that standardized financials systems for nine hospitals in southwestern Ontario. During the pandemic, she led the procurement of personal protective equipment and developed screening processes and safety protocols that continue to result in no COVID transmissions at the hospital.
Journalism Broadcast (Collaborative), 2006
Senior Foreign Correspondent, Washington, CBC News
Katie Simpson, senior foreign correspondent for CBC News in Washington, has had a rich broadcast career that started with an AM radio job while she was still in college. After moving to television, she spent six years covering national political news in Ottawa for CTV and then CBC-TV. She views journalism as a public service – to be a witness to history, hold elected representatives to account and provide viewers with facts. Her portfolio includes coverage of Canadian and American federal elections, Black Lives Matter protests in Washington and the Capitol Hill insurrection in 2021.
Ambulance & Emergency Care, 1992
Chief of Niagara Emergency Medical Services, Director of Emergency Services Division, Niagara Region
Kevin Smith has almost three decades of experience in emergency services. He currently leads an organization of over 450 people serving the Niagara Region, a population of over 425,000 residents and over 13 million visitors per year. The best description of his leadership is transformative, as evidenced by the shift in the provision of emergency medical services to a first-of-its-kind mobile integrated health model. He has led the evolution of emergency services through interdisciplinary integration and research-based validation. This unique approach has been featured in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association and he is now a sought-after speaker at global conferences.
Child Care Worker, 1981
Executive Director, Interval House of Hamilton
Nancy Smith’s professional and volunteer contributions have had a major impact on social services that protect women and children in Ontario. She is executive director of Interval House of Hamilton, an emergency shelter for women and children who have experienced abuse, violence or human trafficking. For more than 38 years, she has held senior management and leadership roles in the not-for-profit sector, focusing on program and policy development and serving as a tireless advocate for the vulnerable.
Law Enforcement, 1995
National Director, Strategic Accounts, GardaWorld
An award-winning leader with nearly three decades in the security industry, Sean Sportun focuses on preventing crime through community building and engagement, rather than enforcement. Working as the security manager for Circle K Stores, Central Canada division, he pioneered a new culture and created a philosophy of crime prevention through community engagement. His unique programs, Positive Ticketing and StreetArt, reduced company loss while enhancing employee safety and overall community safety. His work resulted in store robberies declining by 68 per cent over a 12-year period. He has volunteered with Crime Stoppers for 20 years and is currently the national director of strategic accounts at GardaWorld.
Broadcasting - Radio, Television and Film, 2012
Drag Queen and Television Personality, Self-employed
As a Canadian television personality and drag queen, Mark Suknanan knows what it's like to be out front—to pave the way for others. As his alter-ego, Priyanka, he won the premiere season of Canada's Drag Race in 2020. He also is the first Indo-Caribbean to win the title in the worldwide broadcast franchise. Previously a YTV host on The Next Star and The Zone, he went by the nickname, Suki. Determined and optimistic, he's honoured to be a role model as a successful gay, brown man.
Graphic Design Program, 2008
Partner and Creative Director, Studio123
Nico Taus is a registered graphic designer, partner and creative director at Studio123. He lives and breathes entrepreneurship, starting his first design agency at age 20. He believes in the power of good design to solve complex issues, help companies and organizations communicate better and to help support social causes. His engagement in the design and arts community is demonstrated by his volunteerism, commitment to future designers and passion for giving back. He continues to educate himself, buying less, sharing more, lowering his carbon footprint and creating positive change in his community.
Music (Voice), 2003
Dione Taylor is an award-winning singer-songwriter from Regina, with a 'Prairie Blues' sound comprised of Roots, Blues, Gospel and Americana. Successfully releasing four albums, her latest project, "Spirits in the Water," received nominations for two Independent Blues Awards, three Maple Blues Awards and Blues Album of the Year to mark the JUNOS’ 50th anniversary event. She has performed for presidents, royalty and music icons. Her expressive songs share lived experiences, history and perspectives of racial inequality, women's rights, perseverance, freedom and injustice. She serves as a mentor to young artists, conveying the message to stay true to yourself.
Staff Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news and working to a deadline. Journalism is his calling. While at school, his interest in social justice issues led him to report on food bank use in southern Ontario and student mental health on post-secondary campuses—an award-winning investigation. He graduated at the top of his class in 2017 and landed a position at the Winnipeg Free Press. Within a year, he was a staff reporter working on special investigative projects. A story he broke about Patrik Mathews, a Canadian Armed Forces reservist and neo-Nazi recruiter, put him in the national and international spotlight.
Environmental Visual Communication, 2018
Conservation Photographer and Filmmaker, Self Employed
Ryan Tidman is a conservation photojournalist, videographer, filmmaker and biologist who is passionate about storytelling through photography. He has worked with world-renowned photographers Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier for their ocean conservation non-profit, SeaLegacy, where he photographed whale sharks in Mexico and navigated through untouched islands pursuing rain wolves. With a large online presence, including over 30,000 Instagram followers, his photography and film work has focused on highlighting environmental issues and the conservation efforts needed to restore the planet for future generations. He is currently a freelance photographer and filmmaker, working on projects with Netflix, Disney+ and National Geographic.
Honours Arts - Fashion Arts, 1979
Senior Retail Strategist, Self-employed
Lora Tisi calls herself a “possibility girl.” She loves a blank sheet of paper and building things. Her career as an international senior retail strategist spans four decades. She has proven capabilities in strategic planning, global best practices and leadership to guide dynamic implementation and increase stakeholder value. As a mentor, her focus is on startups, female entrepreneurs and growing Indigenous brands. The most beautiful expression of her legacy is as a board member on the Indigenous Advanced Education Skills Council.
Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training, 2019
Firefighter, Markham Fire and Emergency Services
A 2020 recipient of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, Wing Tse is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health and leveraging the power of entrepreneurism, volunteerism and philanthropy to change lives. With a goal for a career supporting the mental health of first responders, he completed a diploma in pre-service firefighter education and training and is currently studying toward a degree in psychology. He also actively serves as a firefighter with Markham Fire and Emergency Services. Additionally, he is the co-founder and chief operating officer of the clothing company, [s]mileage, which supports mental health initiatives.
Cook Apprentice, 2007
Co-owner and Chef, North & Navy and Cantina Gia
Adam Vettorel is the owner and chef of North & Navy and Cantina Gia. North & Navy has led the Ottawa restaurant industry by recreating itself and adapting due to the pandemic. It has been heavily featured in the local news media since the advent of COVID-19. Vettorel has also launched a podcast – At the Pass with Adam Vettorel – where he talks with prominent chefs in the Ottawa restaurant scene. He is a graduate of the cook apprenticeship program and honed his craft working under many notable chefs. North & Navy has been named one of Ottawa magazine’s Top 10 Restaurants.
General Business – Accounting, 1983
President and CEO, St. Lawrence College
Glenn Vollebregt is a dynamic, high-performing senior executive with a passion for lifelong learning and more than 29 years of experience in large, multi-stakeholder public and private sector environments including post-secondary institutions. He is currently the President and CEO at St. Lawrence College, where he brings an extensive level of strategic, operational and transformative leadership experience. Vollebregt led the most successful fundraising campaign in the college’s history and he led its largest expansion project. St. Lawrence College has experienced significant growth in student enrolment under his leadership.
Business Administration, 1983
Police Foundations, 1985
Fire Chief, City of Quinte West
Fire Chief John Whelan has dedicated more than 30 years of service to his community as a police officer, a volunteer firefighter and as a fire chief for the City of Quinte West. Always prepared to put his life on the line at a moment’s notice, he has received the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery and the Fire Service Exemplary Medal from the Government of Canada. As a model of empathetic leadership for 130 firefighters across seven fire stations, he actively advocates for stronger mental health and wellness supports for emergency service workers.
Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 2012
Nursing Officer, Captain, Canadian Armed Forces
Serving as a nursing officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, Capt. Mathew Wilson has participated in multiple peacekeeping missions globally since graduating from the collaborative bachelor of science in nursing program in 2012. Capt. Wilson has served in international peacekeeping missions as part of an aeromedical evacuation team in Mali and Canadian Armed Forces stabilization efforts in Iraq. He was also deployed with Canadian Armed Forces operations domestically and abroad, providing essential critical nursing care to sensitive populations in need due to emergency situations.
Travel Counsellor, 1997
Chief Marketing Officer and Managing Partner, Ottawa Special Events
Michael Wood’s professional experiences started in the music industry as a touring musician. Retiring from playing professionally in 2007, he moved on to operate a music management and marketing company, co-founded an AI communication company, wrote a bestselling music business book and co-founded Ottawa Special Events, a one-stop-shop for event production rentals. He has also become a leading voice for small business in the National Capital Region. He has led a delegation of business owners via round tables with ministers both provincially and federally. To date, Wood has helped connect over 50,000 people to ministers, MPs and MPPs.
Sport Management, 1996
Senior director and general manager, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE)
Wright is a seasoned sports marketing professional and a leader at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), one of the world’s premier sports and entertainment organizations. Her current portfolio includes operations of all MLSE's facilities including Scotiabank Arena, BMO Field, Coca-Cola Coliseum and more. In 2018, she was presented with an MVP Award for leading the building conversion of the Air Canada Centre to Scotiabank Arena. Most recently, she was recognized by Sports Business Journal as one of 14 women overseeing every aspect of their facilities among the 144 stadiums and arenas from seven U.S. and Canadian team sports leagues.
Career Development Pracitioner, 2004
Founder and Chief Encouragement Officer, The Wright Career Solution
As the chief encouragement officer of The Wright Career Solution, Daisy Wright has helped about 1,000 clients change their jobs, careers and lives. A certified career development practitioner, she has shared her personal story of immigration and career transition at hundreds of presentations, workshops and seminars across Ontario. She is the author of three books, including a bestselling, first-of-its-kind resource for internationally educated professionals. She is also a former career adviser for CBC Radio Canada International’s “The Link.” Through her Let’s GROW Project, she has helped more than 100 women set career goals and gather the skills and courage to achieve them.
Executive Vice President, Interim Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Nursing Executive, London Health Sciences Centre
As chief nursing executive at a large academic hospital and as an adjunct clinical professor in the faculty of health sciences at Western University, Carol Young-Ritchie champions innovative approaches to nursing, supports development of nurse leaders and helps improve quality outcomes for patients and communities. Her published research is well respected in the health-care field. She successfully co-led the hospital’s pandemic incident response team and is a member of the Ontario Critical Care COVID Command Centre. In 2020, she was inducted as a fellow in the Canadian Academy of Nursing, Canada’s highest honour for nursing leaders.
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