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CivicAction Appoints Leslie Woo as New CEO

TORONTO, ON. July 23, 2020 — CivicAction’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Leslie Woo as the organization’s next CEO, effective September 1, 2020. Leslie is a respected leader with over 25 years of experience building sustainable communities and shaping urban growth in Canada’s fastest growing urban region, greater Toronto. She has been at Metrolinx for the last 12 years, most recently as the Chief Planning Officer. Leslie’s experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, and as a planner, architect and community activator, will help advance CivicAction’s mission to boost civic engagement and build better cities.

“The Board of Directors could not be more pleased. Leslie’s tri-sector leadership experience, passion for the region and commitment to inclusion is particularly important to CivicAction at this point in time as we support COVID-19 recovery and rebuild efforts to help create a region that works for all,” said Zabeen Hirji, Chair of CivicAction.

A premier civic engagement organization, CivicAction convenes established and rising leaders from all sectors, backgrounds and experiences to catalyze actions and impactful solutions to address pressing challenges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and beyond.

“I am humbled to take on the leadership of CivicAction and energized by the opportunity to amplify diverse voices passionate about building a better future,” said Leslie Woo, incoming CEO. “I am committed, to work with CivcAction’s terrific team, to drive bold action, cultivate inclusion and harness the collective wisdom of emerging and established leaders.”

An accomplished leader, Leslie was named One of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the 2017 by WXN, Spacing Toronto’s Transit Changemaker in 2016 and Canada’s Women’s Infrastructure Network’s 2015 Outstanding Leader. Founder of, Leslie uses her voice and platform to amplify and celebrate other women city builders.

Leslie takes over as CEO from Tamara Balan who has been Interim CEO since Sevaun Palvetzian the former CEO moved on to another leadership opportunity in February 2020.

“On behalf of the Board, we are grateful for Tamara’s outstanding leadership and the entire team’s commitment during this challenging time as we pivoted to respond to COVID-19 and began the work to help rebuild our region,” said Hirji.


For more information, please contact:

Sarah Harris
VP, Partnerships and Engagement, CivicAction
C: 416-827-4542

Our thanks to Cision for sponsoring this announcement.

About CivicAction: Complex challenges need an all-hands-on deck approach, and collective impact is what CivicAction does best. A leading not-for-profit in Canada, we have nearly two decades of experience working to boost civic engagement and build better cities by creating and implementing effective solutions to the most pressing challenges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and beyond. 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 deliver world-class programs that inspire, educate and build inclusive civic leadership. The Foundation harnesses the power of diverse leaders and empowers and activates all voices to influence and shape our region. For more information visit


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