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CivicAction’s New Rising Leaders Tackle Jobs and Economy

DiverseCity Fellows Program welcomes 2013-14 cohort

Toronto, October 2, 2013 – CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows program, a one-year leadership experience for city-builders, has selected its new cohort of 27 rising leaders from business, government, and community organizations from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (see full list below).

This year’s Fellows program of learning and incubating projects will focus on jobs and economic opportunities, which builds on one of CivicAction’s three priorities (accelerating regional transportation, enhancing the region’s economic performance, and fostering inclusion and resilience). Fellows will meet with the region’s leading influencers and visionaries, participate in interactive sessions, get paired with mentors, and work in teams to develop city-building projects related to this theme.

“The future of work is a critical issue for our rising leaders,” says John Tory, Chair of CivicAction and co-chair of the DiverseCity initiative. “Their companies, their families, and their communities will be affected first-hand by decisions made today, and our Fellows program gives them a platform to influence these decisions.”

Bringing together diverse perspectives on our economic future: The Fellows’ diverse leadership experiences inform their views on jobs and economic opportunities. One of the new 2013-14 DiverseCity Fellows, Sal Rabbani, Senior Partner, Consulting, at the Business Development Bank of Canada, sees enormous potential in supporting a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. “We’re making good progress on several fronts, but we have to keep building on the momentum so that we can continue to foster greater opportunities for our knowledge-based companies, help them grow and succeed and most importantly, keep top talent here at home.”

Meredith Cochrane sees economic inclusion as the top priority. As the Executive Director of A-Way Express Courier, a company that employs people with lived experience of mental health issues, Meredith estimates that unemployment amongst this population ranges from 70% to 90% due to continued stigmatization. Through the Fellows program, she hopes to raise the profile of this issue and potential solutions – both within mainstream organizations and social enterprises such as A-Way.

According to Michael Bosompra, Innovation Manager at Procter & Gamble, part of the solution to our economic challenges can be found in corporate social responsibility. He hopes to develop his expertise on the role of business in city-building by tapping into CivicAction’s collective leadership model. “My perspective is that businesses have an increased role to play going forward, and I want to be at the forefront of this shift in thinking.”

Part of a growing legacy: The Fellows join CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), a group of more than 700 rising leaders including 100 Fellows alumni. These leaders will converge at the fifth annual elnstudio on November 2nd, focused on jobs and economic opportunities.

CivicAction’s 2013-14 DiverseCity Fellows

  • Ramtin Attar, Principal Research Scientist, Autodesk
  • Maya Bhullar, Research Coordinator, Service Employees International Union
  • Sarah Blackstock, Director of Advocacy & Communications, YWCA Toronto
  • Michael Bosompra, Innovation Manager, Procter & Gamble
  • Humberto Carolo, Director of Programs, White Ribbon Campaign
  • Federico Cartin-Arteaga, Supervisor, Strategic Planning, Region of Peel – Human Services
  • Lisa Charleyboy, Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Urban Native Magazine
  • Tawanda Chirenda, Acting National Program Manager, Institute for Canadian Citizenship
  • Meredith Cochrane, Executive Director, A-Way Express Courier
  • Robyn Connelly, Manager, Community Programs & Stakeholder Relations, Toronto Pearson
  • Kelly Jackson, Director, Strategic Planning and Public Affairs, Seneca College
  • Jamil Jivani, Manager & Project Associate, Innovation Expedition
  • Arthur Kong, Executive Director & Co-Founder, ProudPolitics Canada
  • Sonika Lal, Senior Policy Specialist , Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Ruby Latif, Vice President- Diversity and Events, Pathway Group
  • Gave Lindo, Deputy Director, Business & Rights, CBC Television
  • Lori Lucier, Senior Consultant, Health System Integration and Design, Toronto Central LHIN
  • Jessie Ma, Business Development Advisor, Hydro One
  • Gary Miedema, Chief Historian and Associate Director, Heritage Toronto
  • Erika Nikolai, Senior Manager, Development and Planning, Evergreen
  • Larissa Parriag, Toronto Regional Manager, Frontier College
  • Neil Price, Senior Manager, Youth Education Programs, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
  • Sal Rabbani, Senior Partner, Consulting, Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Gabe Sawhney, Consultant, Urban+Digital
  • Reena Tandon, Coordinator, Curricular Service Learning, Ryerson University
  • Simon Trevarthen, Director, Ministry Project Management and Process Improvement Office, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Luanne Winchiu, Manager, Accenture

Additional quotes and interviews are available on request. To learn more about this year’s DiverseCity Fellows and the program, please visit

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About CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows
DiverseCity Fellows is a one-year leadership development program for city-builders who are committed to exercising collective leadership to create solutions to complex urban challenges. DiverseCity Fellows is a program run by CivicAction as part of its Emerging Leaders Network, which helps inform and facilitate dialogue among emerging leaders and offers support to groups working collaboratively on challenges facing the region.

DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project is an initiative of Maytree and CivicAction, funded in part by the government of Ontario. With its practical initiatives, the project is changing the face of our region's leadership. Learn more at

About CivicAction
For the past 10 years, the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (CivicAction) has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of our region’s toughest social, economic, and environmental challenges. CivicAction sets a non-partisan agenda, builds strategic partnerships with organizations, and launches campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. For more information, visit:, @CivicActionGTA

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Clancy Zeifman
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