As a network of rising leaders actively plugged into civic issues, we know it can be difficult to practice social distancing (especially for those extroverts among us). At a time when we’re being called to step up and stay home, organizations and individuals are coming forward with innovative initiatives and resources to help us manage […]
Everyone has a story to tell...
Stories help us to connect, to inspire, to understand. On this page, we share the stories of people in our network who have taught us, entertained us, been a champion for diverse civic leadership, and who have galvanized us to think differently. Be prepared to be inspired.
Why leadership matters
For over 10 years, we’ve brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle big challenges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Region, let them tell you why leadership really matters, and what we can do when we open doors and minds for the young, emerging and under-represented leaders in our communities.
Authentic leadership is diverse leadership – everyone has a voice in shaping our collective future.
The Honourable Ratna OmidvarC.M., O.Ont., Senator, Senate of Canada, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University
Growing the pipeline for leadership starts with developing tomorrow’s civic leaders today. Our society needs transformational leaders who understand the diversity of our communities’ needs and are ready to inspire trust and confidence, empower others, and have the passion to drive lasting change.
Beth WilsonCEO, Dentons Canada
Tomorrow’s leaders will need to be creative thinkers, lifelong learners, and entrepreneurial spirits. They’ll need to be willing to listen to all views, but be fearless about deciding to act. And it’s our job today to help grow these leaders.
Tim HockeyChair, CivicAction Leadership Foundation; CivicAction Board of Directors; President, TD Ameritrade
We must have all hands on deck to pursue real collaboration, build broader and deeper confidence, and mobilize all of the resources we need to build a great city. Tomorrow’s leaders will need not just the ability, but also the desire to collaborate.
His Worship John ToryMayor, City of Toronto
The true leaders of tomorrow will be those who know how to gather the best ideas for city-building from around the globe and adapt them for a park in Parkdale, a hospital in Hamilton, or a transit strategy for the region.
Rupert DuchesneFormer Group Chief Executive, Aimia
Spotlight on our Members
The Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) brings together diverse, energetic and motivated city-builders from across our region, each with a unique story to tell about where they came from, what they’re passionate about, and where they want to go next. Check back often – new profiles are added regularly.
Debora Jesus is a 2020-21 ELN Communications Lead and the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Ryerson University’s Legal Innovation Zone. Learn more about Debora here. On January 23rd, the Economic Club of Canada launched an event series on the future of work and the new economy. The forum opened with Future Skills: A Conversation with […]
Meet Debora Jesus. Debora is one of the 2020-21 ELN Communications Leads and the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Ryerson University’s Legal Innovation Zone. Debora was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and moved to Canada in 2015, where she completed a Master of Arts in Communication and New Media at McMaster University. Prior to her […]
Connecting with Community A profile on 2013-14 DiverseCity Fellow Ruby Latif. It’s rare to find someone who harnesses the power of connecting with community as masterfully as Ruby Latif—the driving force behind meaningful community relations for some of Ontario’s most high profile political campaigns. Ruby started engaging with her community from a young age. While […]
CivicAction is thrilled to welcome Rebecca to the team as our new Program Manager for the Emerging Leaders Network. Warm, engaging, and with an awesome toolkit of skills, Rebecca most recently worked with Apathy is Boring where she coordinated the Toronto RISE project and led groups of youth in becoming more civically and democratically engaged. […]
2018-20 ELN Communications Lead Alyssa Lai is a permanent resident in Canada. While she can’t vote in Canadian elections, she enjoys being a fly on the wall as she observes and follows election and current affairs news. Alyssa is fascinated by the discourse around various social, economic, and political issues and shares her thoughts regularly […]
How does your workplace make #MindsMatter? With Mental Illness Awareness Week, World Mental Health Day and Healthy Workplace Month all taking place in October, there’s never bene a better time to ask. That’s why all month long CivicAction’s MindsMatter initiative will be sharing stories from organizations and companies of all sizes are taking to foster […]
ELN executive committee member Meryam Al-waadh is passionate about improving healthcare systems through the implementation of digital solutions. She’s a leader who believes in the power of volunteering, currently both with the ELN Executive Committee and with GEM (Girls E-Mentorship), a charitable organization that offers a mentorship program for high school girls. In her spare […]
Changing the world one show at a time A profile on 2011 DiverseCity Fellow Ravi Jain. If all of the world is a stage, then why not use a stage to change the world? Ravi Jain, 2011 DiverseCity Fellow and Artistic and General Director of Why Not Theatre, aims to do exactly that—harness the power […]
As June, also known as National Indigenous History Month, comes to an end, we recognize that our reconciliation journey needs to continue all year round. Building a truly equitable region starts with understanding the history of the region and the peoples who have called this land home for thousands of years and working towards an […]
Building the future of workers A profile on 2011 DiverseCity Fellow Alumna Jenn Miller. The future of work can bring up sometimes scary images of robots replacing humans everywhere we turn. Concerned with how these changes will impact our cities and communities, organizations across the region are trying to come to terms with how to […]
ELN Executive Committee member Marchael Cunanan spends his days working as an Accountant at Pivotal, a tech software company. Passionate about building up the next generation of leaders, Marchael has worked on youth engagement and civic involvement with Peel Children and Youth Initiative, Western University Student Success, and the ELN. When he’s not looking at […]
Coding Inclusion A profile on 2015-2016 DiverseCity Fellow Alumnus Ritesh Kotak. For Ritesh Kotak, the DiverseCity Fellows program changed the course of his career. When he joined the Fellows program in 2015, Ritesh was a Research and Innovation Strategist at the Toronto Police Service, working on the incorporation of technologies and cyber security in the […]
Cheryll Case is the founding principal of CP Planning, a ground breaking urban planning firm that digs deep into addressing the urban conditions that affect access to housing, work, and play. She specializes in designing for inclusive conversations that build relationships between various industries within the non-profit, private, and public sectors. To facilitate conversation, she […]
Countering Hate A profile on 2018 DiverseCity Fellow Alumna Naseem Mithoowani. Naseem Mithoowani has never been one to sit on the sidelines and be a spectator to hate. Yet changing attitudes is not easy—something Naseem, an immigration and refugee lawyer and 2018 DiverseCity Fellow, learned first-hand. In 2006, Naseem and a group of fellow law […]
2019 DiverseCity Fellow Mike Brooks provides expert advice to decision makers on supporting positive development for children and youth across Ontario as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Mike helped catalyze efforts to move the needle on education and employment outcomes for youth through the Collective Impact […]
2019 DiverseCity Fellow Janelle Hinds combined her experience in technology with her passion for youth civic engagement to create Helping Hands—a platform that helps youth volunteer and get civically engaged while building career skills. As someone with a passion for helping young people become more civically engaged, Janelle uses Twitter as platform of choice to […]
They’re bold. They’re driven. They’re talented. And they’re relentless. This Black History Month, meet 9 inspiring leaders from the ELN network who are driving real change in their communities and in our region as a whole. Brandon Hay Brandon Hay is the founder of the Black Daddies Club, where since 2007 he has engaged over […]
ELN Communications Lead Sean Mackay is a digital marketing and communications professional working in Toronto’s real estate industry. Sean works as Managing Director at Livabl, an online publication covering stories that help home-buyers better understand real estate market trends. In his spare time, Sean is a mentor with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), […]
ELN executive committee member. Event management guru. Proud Hamiltonian. Sarah Wardrope is one of The Hammer’s best. When she’s not strategizing and executing key corporate and digital communication projects at Hamilton Health Sciences, Sarah is finding ways to bring together her fellow rising leaders; most recently, she served as co-chair of HIVEX, an annual conference […]
Fresh on the heels of October as Islamic Heritage Month, our ELN spotlight for November features Shazlin Rahman, a prominent advocate in the Muslim community. As a communications professional, Shazlin approaches all of her work from an equity-based, inclusive lens. Currently she works as the Stakeholder Engagement Specialist at Inspirit Foundation, is lending a hand […]
Meet Jesse Darling, one of our fearless ELN co-chairs. As Manager of Policy Innovation Platform at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, she works to designs initiatives that bring human insights into policy development and service design. When not at work, you can also spot Jesse volunteering, picking up a stack of holds from the […]
Meet Dilya Niezova, a passionate city builder who works to strengthen the connections between our region and its residents. In her day to day, Dilya supports Torontonians on social assistance as a City of Toronto employee and is concerned with the ways that poverty and inequality impact people’s lives. In her spare time, you might catch […]
Meet Alyssa Lai. Alyssa was born in Malaysia but now calls Hamilton her second home. Since arriving to Canada in 2008, she’s worked and volunteered for more than 10 nonprofits and continues to sit on numerous boards. A former DiverseCity Fellow and current ELN communications lead, Alyssa wields her public relations background as a tool to […]