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Leading the way: CivicAction Celebrates Emerging Civic Leaders and Presents Ratna Omidvar with a Lifetime Achievement Award

TORONTO (February 24, 2016) – Last night at MetroNext: A Celebration of Civic Leaders, CivicAction rolled out the civic red carpet for the boldest and brightest leaders in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Now in its second year, the event shined a spotlight on extraordinary rising and established leaders in our community who share a passion for city-building and a common desire to see our region reach its full potential.

“The real city building magic happens when established and emerging leaders collide and collaborate,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of CivicAction. “Leadership is part of CivicAction’s DNA and we believe in growing strong civic leaders for today and tomorrow.”

CivicAction presented the second Lifetime Achievement Award for Civic Leadership to Ratna Omidvar, who was praised for her commitment to civic engagement. As Executive Director of the Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson, home to DiverseCity onBoard and Hire Immigrants, Ratna is an important champion for inclusion and diversity in the region. She is also the chair of Lifeline Syria, which helps sponsors welcome and support Syrian refugees as they become members of our communities. Ratna has previously been honoured with the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

“Authentic leadership is diverse leadership,” said Omidvar. “We must embrace and celebrate the power of our region’s diverse voices to shape our collective future and CivicAction’s work is helping to do that.”

MetroNext’s Emerging Leader Award went to Salima Rawji who as Director of Development at Build Toronto combines her community interests with her real estate development expertise to collaborate and drive forward well-designed projects that support business dynamics while providing livable, animated spaces. Salima shows her commitment to community through service on the boards of the Homes First Foundation and CivicAction and has also acted as chair of the Investment Committee for RISE Asset Development. Salima has supported rising leaders as a former Co-Chair of the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) and former CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow.

“Great city regions like the GTHA are a product of the richness of its people, diversity of their individual perspectives and strong leadership,” said Rawji. “I am proud to accept this award and work with an organization like CivicAction that promotes diverse collaboration and collective leadership, driving innovation that benefits us all.”

With award-winning programs and unparalleled access to the region’s most influential thinkers and doers, CivicAction’s leadership programs help to catalyze civic engagement and motivate action. These include CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows, a one-year “civic MBA” program for the top rising leaders in the region, and our ELN, a network of 900+ energetic and innovative emerging leaders who share a desire to grow their networks and drive collective impact. The ELN is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2016 with a series of new events and member opportunities throughout the year.

MetroNext would not be possible without the generous support of our Event Host and Partner TELUS, our Media Partner Toronto Life, and our Event Partners EY and IBM.

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Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Sarah Harris

Director, Communications
T (416) 309-4480 x 508
M (647) 267-4997

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 some of our region’s toughest challenges. CivicAction sets a non-partisan agenda, builds strategic partnerships, and launches campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. To find out more visit or follow us on twitter at @CivicActionGTHA.

About CivicAction’s Leadership Programs: CivicAction offers a suite of high-impact programs designed to help emerging leaders develop their networks, grow their minds, and transform their communities. The Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) brings together more than 900 emerging civic leaders committed to advancing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The ELN harnesses the power of this emerging talent to create a connected, collaborative region and catalyzes action in the form of high impact, city-building projects. CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows is one of North America’s leading urban fellows programs for rising city-builders. Now in its 7th year, with over 150 graduates, this free year-long leadership program enables Fellows to become better leaders and create change in their communities. Follow ELN @elnonline for updates and join our leadership conversation at #livehereleadhere.


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