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CivicAction Drafts 25 New DiverseCity Fellows to Add to the Toronto Region’s Growing Leadership Lineup

TORONTOJan. 30, 2018 /CNW/ – In a region where nearly 50% of residents identify as a visible minority, but account for zero of the Toronto region’s mayors or regional chairs, shrinking the sidelines of the leadership playing field has never been more important. Today, the CivicAction Leadership Foundation added 25 new faces to a growing pipeline of diverse, civic-minded rising leaders as part of the 2018 cohort of DiverseCity Fellows, a program that is changing the face of leadership in our region.

This cohort of DiverseCity Fellows features individuals from a wide range of professional, cultural and community backgrounds who are on track to make meaningful and influential change in the Torontoregion. They join over 200 distinguished program alumni who are now in key leadership roles including CEOs, cabinet ministers and the heads of community organizations. The competitive program received a record number of applications this year and successful candidates were chosen based on their community involvement, capability for collaboration and professional experience.

“We’re facing increasingly difficult urban challenges that require an all hands on deck approach,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. “Having diverse voices at our decision making tables is the only way to create an inclusive region. DiverseCity Fellows, our ‘civic MBA,’ provides that recipe for success.”

The need for more leadership diversity goes beyond municipal chambers of council. A recent study by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute found that only 3.3% of Toronto’s corporate boards have visible minority representation. Women account for 23.6% of all corporate board positions.

The DiverseCity Fellows program is a one-of-a-kind, award-winning leadership and skills development opportunity that provides engaging and thought-provoking programming for Toronto region civic rockstars at no cost. Participants enter the program ready to grow their skills and looking to jump start their leadership journey. The 2018 Fellows will spend the next year engaged in growth and development opportunities as well as structured coaching and mentoring with senior leaders.

“I was immediately attracted to the DiverseCity Fellowship program due to its unique focus on empowering and amplifying the voices of individuals who may otherwise be silenced in leadership. I hope to leverage the unique skills and perspectives that I will gain from this program to enrich the region where I work, live and call home,” said Naseem Mithoowani, Lawyer, Waldman & Associates and a 2018 DiverseCity Fellow.

Hailing from the public service, arts, law, business, and non-profit worlds, these DiverseCity Fellows show the breadth and depth of talent among our region’s emerging leaders. Get to know them here.

2018 DiverseCity Fellows 

Abi Jeyaratnam, Leadership Academy Architect, Centennial College

Adil Dhalla, Executive Director, Centre for Social Innovation

Ashley Fruck-Siomos, Associate, Program Development and Employee Experience, TD Bank Group

Atrisha Lewis, Lawyer, McCarthy Tetrault LLP

Benjamin Bongolan, Coordinator, Newcomer Family Settlement Services, 519 Community Centre

Brad Bradford, Stakeholder Engagement and Special Projects, Chief Planner’s Office, City of Toronto

Camara Chambers, Executive Director, Volunteer Toronto

Daniel Tal, Director, Manifesto Community Projects

Dani Saad, Special Assistant – Policy, Office of the Premier of Ontario

Karan Gill, Management Consultant, Deloitte

Krittika Ghosh, Senior Coordinator, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Kumaran Nadesan, Senior Business Consultant, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Government of Ontario

Lana Majid, Senior Strategy Consultant, Planning and Performance Advisor, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Government of Ontario

Layla Abdulrahim-Moore, Program & Policy Advisor, City of Hamilton

Liviya Mendelsohn, Director – Accessibility and Inclusion, Miles Nadal JCC

Max Tran, Founder and Executive Director, Ink Movement

Naseem Mithoowani, Lawyer, Waldman & Associates

Owais Lightwala, Managing Director, Why Not Theatre

Rebecca Liu, Director & Head of Strategy and Business Management, Bank of Montreal

Stacy Clarke, Staff Sergeant, Learning Development and Standards Section, Toronto Police College

Subagini Sivapatham, Director, Marketing and Communications, Futurpreneur Canada

Tanya Hayles, Chief Creative Officer, Hayles Creative Elements and Founder, Black Moms Connection

Tesfai Mengesha, Executive Director – Operations, Success Beyond Limits

Tulan Ma, Senior Manager, Program Development, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Yulena Wan, Manager of Corporate Services, Hamilton Community Foundation

Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.

About CivicAction: For over a decade, CivicAction has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of the Greater Toronto Region’s toughest challenges. To find out more visit or follow @CivicActionGTHA. Building on a decade of high-impact and award-winning leadership programming, CivicAction launched the CivicAction Leadership Foundation to further elevate and catalyze our region’s leadership potential. With a focus on advancing education, the Foundation harnesses the power of diverse leaders and empowers and activates all voices to influence and shape our region. For more information visit

About CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows: CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows is one of North America’sleading urban fellows programs for rising city-builders. Now in its ninth year, with over 200 graduates, this free year-long leadership program enables Fellows to become better leaders and create change in their communities. For years CivicAction has acted as an incubator for civic leadership and city-building projects. Fellows have applied their leadership skills to high-impact city-building projects such as ALERT, a toolkit to support energy efficiency improvements in old residential high-rises; the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada, which is dedicated to recognizing indigenous leadership across Canada; and the Pan Am Path, a multi-use path to connect Toronto’s ravines for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

SOURCE CivicAction

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