They’re fierce, talented, and driving real change. For International Women’s Day 2018 we’re featuring 8 amazing women from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area who #PressForProgress in all they do. Today, take some time to read the stories of the women below, and join @CivicActionGTHA on Twitter in using #PressForProgress today to share what issues you’re passionate about.
Click here to see what Sevaun Palvetzian, our CEO, has to say about the work that still needs to be done to level the playing field.
Habon Ali, Urban Planner at Urban Strategies Inc.
If her name sounds familiar, you may have recently seen a spotlight on her in this piece, where Jay Pitter – a well-known placemaker – profiled six city builders who are creating inspired spaces and places for all. Currently, Habon is an Urban Planner and certified Project Management Professional. With experience across all sectors, her background has led her through a number of disciplines and you’ve likely experienced some of her work! Habon has worked on the award-winning Central Transit Corridor Community Building Strategy in the Region of Waterloo – a master plan for a downtown cultural hub in the Town of Oakville and, most recently, work for the City of Troy, NY that will address current and future community needs and planning issues. As a former DiverseCity Fellow (2009), Habon has worked collaboratively with city leaders to collectively assess and advance proposals that better integrate diverse voices into the city building process. While a Fellow, Habon co-founded Local Democracy Week – an annual event that encourages youth to actively participate in building their schools and communities. Connect with Habon here.
Lisa Charleyboy, First Nations Writer and Social Entrepreneur, and 2013-2014 DiverseCity Fellow
Lisa Charleyboy (Tsilhqot’in – Raven Clan), one of our 2013-2014 DiverseCity Fellows, is a First Nations writer and social entrepreneur who spends most of her time in Toronto. From a very young age, Lisa was inspired by writing and story-telling. Her passion took her from B.C. to Ontario, where she graduated from York University with a degree in Professional Writing. This talent of story-telling, combined with her heart which is in all things Indigenous, led her to launch her own blog. After 6 years of blogging about pop-culture with an Indigenous twist, she launched the Urban Native Magazine. A lifestyle magazine that aims to showcase success stories of Indigenous youth and inspire them. Lisa has been named by Huffington Post as one of three Aboriginal Millennials to watch, and has been published in The Guardian, CBC Arts, and THIS Magazine. She has also served as a board member for Association for the Native Development of Visual and Performing Arts (ANDVPA), the Young Indigenous Professionals, and as the VP Communications for the Aboriginal Professionals of Canada (APAC). Today, she continues to align her passions with her talents. Connect with her here.
Nandini (Nan) DasGupta, Partner and Managing Director, the Boston Consulting Group, Toronto and Board Member of the CivicAction Leadership Foundation
Nan DasGupta joined The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 1996 and today, as a Partner and Managing Director, she leads their Financial Institutions and People & Organization practices in Canada. By demonstrating a passion for change and great leadership potential, she has taken on a number of leadership roles within BCG. Including chairing their Career Development Committee in Canada, and leading their Women@BCG initiative. Beyond her work within BCG, she also acts as a catalyst for change by collaborating with public and private sectors to mobilize action on Canada’s most important issues as a core member of BCG’s Centre for Canada’s Future. Nan is also an active CivicAction Leadership Foundation Board Member, and has been involved with CivicAction’s work for a number of years. When she’s not at work or focusing on the future of our country, she enjoys playing soccer, skiing, tennis, and travelling with her husband and three children. Read more about Nan and see some of her work here.
Zabeen Hirji, Board Chair, CivicAction
As a respected leader in the corporate and community sector, Zabeen Hirji spends much of her time as an advisor in the private, public and academic sectors. Zabeen started her career at RBC as a teller. Over the span of 30 years her hard work and drive led her to the role of Chief Human Resources Officer, where she spent 10 years making a difference in the organization. When she’s not working to better the companies she supports, she’s driving change in her community. She is a long-standing champion of inclusive prosperity through investing in people and building organizations and societies where everyone can realize their potential. She has been a member of CivicAction’s Board of Directors since 2011, and as Chair of CivicAction’s Escalator initiative since 2013 she has worked to connect young people to employment opportunities. Read more about Zabeen here.
Elisha Muskat, 2016 – 2017 ELN Co-Chair, Executive Director, Peacebuilders International (Canada)
Elisha Muskat is an established leader who brings both fresh eyes and a tremendous background in social innovation and entrepreneurship to all that she does. When she’s not living her life on her bike and public transit, which gives her a unique perspective on the city, she has been most influenced by her work in social innovation. Elisha’s work in social innovation allows her to be exposed to many new ways of doing things, providing a constant reminder to move beyond the status quo. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Peacebuilders International (Canada) where she leads strategy and helps the organization achieve a greater level of scale. Most recently, Elisha was an ELN Co-chair, where she used her passion and skills to help activate a team of rising leaders to make our region better while constantly learning about the people and issues at the heart of where we live. When she’s not working to solve city-building issues, she’s excelling at solving cryptic crosswords. Learn more about her and what drives her here.
Farah Nasser, Anchor, Global TV News
From a young age, Farah Nasser has always found herself interested in news and current events. Today, she’s at the forefront of the latest news as a Global News Anchor. For nearly two decades, Farah has been bringing important stories to viewers our region. From covering the Toronto’s SARS outbreak in 2003, to the G20 Summit in 2010 and the Toronto 18 terror trials. Beyond being in the thick of breaking events, she’s also a seasoned political veteran and has covered many municipal, provincial and federal elections. When she’s not hunting down the day’s headlines, she spends her time contributing to our region. You can find it being an emcee at community events and working with the Aga Khan Foundation, an organization that provides sustainable solutions for developing countries. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the University Health Network’s Arthritis Research Foundation and hosts their Power of Movement yoga fundraiser annually. You can find her exploring the city, trying new restaurants or doing yoga! Connect with Farah here.
Hadiya Roderique, Lawyer, Freelance Journalist and Ph.D candidate
Hadiya Roderique is a lawyer, freelance journalist, podcast host of Canadaland Commons and now Ph.D candidate at the Rotman School of Management. With a passion for sharing stories and changing the world, she tapped into her journalism skills to share her personal experiences in the Globe and Mail with Black on Bay Street, a powerful piece about what it was like to be a Black lawyer in an industry that has historically lacked diversity. Hadiya’s work has been published in The Walrus, This Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and The National Post. You may have also seen her as a commentator on The National’s Sunday Talk, CTV’s Culture Shock, CBC News, and TVO’s The Agenda. She’s fascinated by workplace social networks, relationships and connection, gender and racial diversity in leadership, which is what she focused on as a researcher. When she’s not writing, building on her experience as a lawyer, or conducting new research, you can find her plating Ultimate Frisbee. With a 17 year Ultimate career, she now plays at the national level and has represented Canada at 7 World Championship events. See what she does next here.
Bianca Wylie, Head, Open Data Institute Toronto
Bianca Wylie is an open government advocate with a dual background in technology and public engagement. Currently, she is the Head of the Open Data Institute Toronto where she works to support the use of open data in public policy, civic tech, civic education, and political engagement. Bianca is also a mayor influencer on public sector technology policy through her work with Dgen Network and as the co-founder of Tech Reset Canada. Leading up to her current work, she worked in the tech sector in various capacities where she had the opportunity to go above and beyond with her tech skills and knowledge. Layering on top of her tech skills, as a facilitator at Swerhun Inc., she also supported public consultation processes with a focus on cities. In 2016 she co-founded Civic Tech Toronto, which is a diverse community of Torontonians interested in better understanding and finding solutions to civic challenges through technology, design or other means. When she’s not focusing on city-building through data and technology, she is providing opportunities for her community as a whole, one small example is her work in helping organize annual community events such as Toronto’s open data day, Go Open Data, and the Canadian Open Data Summit. Find out more about her and her work here.