2016 Recipients

Ron Suter
Humber College

Program of Study: Marketing
Graduating Year: 1981
Job Title: Executive Vice-President
Place of Employment: NBCUniversal Television & New Media Distribution Canada; Universal Studios Canada Inc.

Ron Suter is known as a visionary trailblazer in his industry, playing a key role in redrawing the Canadian Television Landscape map. As EVP of NBCUniversal Television & New Media Distribution Canada, and Universal Studios Canada Inc., he works with the biggest players in the Canadian entertainment industry. A mainstay in an industry that is constantly evolving, his ability to adapt quickly and navigate an ever-changing landscape has helped NBCUniversal remain an industry leader, while maintaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Under his leadership, NBCUniversal has doubled its sales volume over the last decade.

Community Services
Kelly Crawford
Canadore College

Program of Study: Human Resources Management Certificate/Business Management Post-Diploma Certificate; Interactive Multimedia Post-Diploma; Television and Video Production Diploma
Graduating Year: 2001; 2000; 1999
Job Title: Vice-Principal / Education Team Lead
Place of Employment: Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute

A passionate educator, Kelly Crawford of M’Chigeeng First Nation is committed to eliminating cultural barriers by sharing knowledge and strengthening relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people, provincewide. Drawing on keen research skills, her expertise in communications and an innate ability to inspire others, she has become well-known and highly respected for her work in community engagement, cross-cultural training and First Nation treaty education. She recently authored the Ontario curriculum-linked teacher’s guide for the Grades 1 to 8 resource kit, We Are All Treaty People, and has since developed additional resources for integrating indigenous knowledge and teachings in the classroom.

Creative Arts and Design
Farzana Wahidy
Loyalist College

Program of Study: Photojournalism
Graduating Year: 2009
Job Title: Freelance photojournalist

Farzana Wahidy was born in Afghanistan when women’s education was prohibited and photography was a crime. She secretly attended school and when the Taliban was defeated, she continued her education and completed high school. Her journey led her to the photojournalism program. She worked as the first female Afghan photojournalist for several international wire service agencies. She has won various awards and returned to Afghanistan to capture the struggles of women, ensuring their stories are told. She is a courageous, passionate and gifted individual, recording the stories of women and training other journalists to do this important storytelling work.

Health Sciences
Dianne Martin
Georgian College

Program of Study: Nursing
Graduating Year: 1998
Job Title: Executive Director
Place of Employment: Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario

Dianne Martin is a career nurse, executive leader and champion of the nursing profession in Ontario. She is also a dynamic, skilled professional and effective relationship-builder among nurses. She is a passionate advocate for collaborative, patient-centred care and healthy, respectful work environments. She works to remove barriers to the full scope of practice for all healthcare professionals. Known for her innovative and visionary approach to improving policies and procedures, she also describes herself as a lifelong learner. She speaks regularly at conferences and in her “spare time” guides and advises nursing students through classroom visits from across Ontario and Canada.

Recent Graduate
Aylan Couchie
Georgian College

Program of Study: Art and Design Fundamentals; Fine Arts – Advanced
Graduating Year: 2012; 2015
Job Title: Visual Artist, Community Organizer, Aspiring Writer

Aylan Couchie is an Anishinaabe artist motivated by a passion for bringing awareness of First Nations issues to a broader audience through her work in both public art and in the gallery. Her work serves as an educational reconciliation platform, covering such plights as missing and murdered indigenous women, residential school legacies and the transformation of First Nations ways of life and realities. She influences the arts’ curriculum by sitting on a number of committees and has received many awards, scholarships and commendations acknowledging the high caliber of her work and its impact on the community.

Chris Gower
Fanshawe College

Program of Study: Construction Engineering Technology (Management)
Graduating Year: 1992
Job Title: Chief Operating Officer, Buildings
Place of Employment: PCL Constructors Inc.

The simple joy of swinging a hammer eventually led Chris Gower, a construction engineering technology graduate, to receive the 2009 Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award. In 1995, he began building an impressive 20-year career with PCL Construction, the largest contractor in Canada. By 2001, he was overseeing PCL’s operations in Saskatchewan. Beginning in 2011, under his leadership, the company’s Toronto operations grew from $350 million to $1.8 billion in revenue. In November 2015, he transferred to PCL’s Edmonton office to become chief operating officer – buildings where he is responsible for 4,550 employees and $5.2 billion worth of work.