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Diverse, driven, dedicated: CivicAction cultivates next generation leaders that tout collaboration as the new civic currency

TORONTO (October 5, 2015) – Today, CivicAction announced 27 of the region’s top rising leaders as the next cohort of DiverseCity Fellows. Like a “Civic MBA”, DiverseCity Fellows brings together the brightest community leaders from every sector to build them up, plug them in, and motivate them to take action on urban issues facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

The newest cohort is the most diverse set of individuals yet with fresh perspectives and an eagerness to drive action on the most pressing issues facing our region. Past Fellows have become senior executives in top performing companies, taken on senior-level government and political roles, and started their own successful businesses. The legacy of the program is building leaders in all sectors that are civic minded, collaborating to make the GTHA a better place to live and work. Why? Because they live here and should lead here.

“Collaboration is the new civic currency for leaders, but where and how that’s fostered isn’t always prioritized. CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows program brings together a cross-section of rising leaders and gives them the experiences, tools and skills to achieve new heights in new ways”, said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction.

Now in its 7th year, the DiverseCity Fellows program has once again assembled a dynamic group of talent from the business, healthcare, educational, government, and non-profit sectors across the GTHA. With collaborative training sessions, an opportunity to incubate their own city-building projects and an integrated mentorship component, each DiverseCity Fellow will be uniquely poised to contribute to the ongoing growth and success of the region. Past notable mentors include The Hon Tracy MacCharles, Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, Cam Fowler, Group Head, Canadian Personal & Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group, and Sara Diamond, President, OCAD University.

“Too rarely do we give ourselves permission to truly think big about the future of our region. DiverseCity Fellows provides that permission, allowing us to connect and collaborate with peers who are willing to share, deliberate, and defend their ideas about the GTHA’s future,” said Scott Young, 2015-16 Fellow and Senior Consultant, Groundforce Digital.

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 advancing Aboriginal 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.


Meet the 2015-16 DiverseCity Fellows

  • Anita Abraham, Executive Director, Meal Exchange
  • Jonathan Azzi, Strategy Consulting Manager, Accenture Inc.
  • Alissa Barton, Director, Employee Programs, Infrastructure Ontario
  • Vass Bednar, Associate Director, Cities, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management
  • Patrick Byam, Senior Manager, Office of the President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto
  • Tyler Ferguson, Founder, The Farm Network
  • Lisa George, Senior Consultant, CIBC
  • Gracie Goad, Manager, F+B and Training, The Drake Hotel
  • Kwesi Johnson, Sponsored Employee, United Way of Toronto and York Region
  • Ritesh Kotak, Research and Innovation Strategist, Toronto Police Service
  • Shari MacKay, Sergeant, Toronto Police Service
  • Mrinalini Menon, Manager, Enterprise Talent Sourcing Program, Royal Bank of Canada
  • Abigail Moriah, Associate Development Manager, Toronto Community Housing
  • Paul Nguyen, Founder and Producer,
  • Jay Pariseau, Senior Consultant, CIBC
  • Amanda Penrice, Special Assistant, Councillor Josh Colle
  • Irene Quarcoo, Senior Marketing Advisor, Cabinet Office, Ontario Public Service
  • Alicia Rose, Managing Director, Framework – Timeraiser
  • Pam Sethi, Consultant, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Stas Ukhanov, Community Relations and Issues Specialist, Metrolinx
  • Kevin Vuong, Program Manager, Magnet, Ryerson University
  • Georgia Whitehead, Portfolio Manager, Strategy Management Office, Trillium Health Partners
  • Enloe Wilson, Manager, Faith & Community Development, Habitat for Humanity GTA
  • Lloyd Wiredu, VP Engineering and Platforms, vConsult Services Inc.
  • Judy Wityszyn, Project Executive, IBM
  • Scott Young, Senior Consultant, Groundforce Digital
  • Dan Zaiontz, Special Projects Coordinator, Strategic Planning and Public Affairs, Seneca College


Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

About CivicAction

For over a decade, CivicAction has played the role of neutral sandbox, bringing together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle challenges facing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. CivicAction builds partnerships and takes action through campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region.To find out more information visit or follow us on Twitter @CivicActionGTHA.

About DiverseCity Fellows

CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows (the Civic MBA) is a one-year program that exposes participants to important regional issues, provides opportunities for personal leadership development and helps them grow a strong network of civic-minded peers across sectors. It also provides access to the region’s top influencers and a unique platform for community-focused action.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Harris
Director, Communications, CivicAction
416-309-4480 x 508
C: 647-267-4997