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CivicAction’s New Cohort of DiverseCity Fellows is Ready to Make an Impact

October 3, 2014, Toronto – On the eve of the municipal election, 26 rising leaders have been selected to be the 2014-2015 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellows. Some people make a contribution by putting their name on a ballot. Others who may be less visible choose different, but equally important forms of civic engagement. As the region prepares for significant decisions on October 27, CivicAction is investing in new and future leaders through the Fellows program who are primed to take action and make the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) a better place to live and work.

At CivicAction, we believe that there is nothing more important to the future of our cities than preparing those who will lead them and the DiverseCity Fellows program does just that. This year’s cohort brings to the table a variety of experience in business, healthcare, educational, government, and non-profit sectors across the GTHA (see full list below).

This new group of city-builders will enhance their leadership skills through interactive sessions with some of the region’s leading influencers, getting matched with mentors to guide them, and working in teams on projects of their own design to tackle issues facing the region like public spaces, housing or youth unemployment. Past Fellows’ projects include 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.

CivicAction, with support from private sector partners like TELUS, is creating a pipeline of future civic leaders. “Our TELUS team is committed to helping the communities where we live and work become healthier and more sustainable. That means championing organizations that are working to ensure our communities are strong and ready for the future. TELUS is proud to partner with CivicAction to empower the next generation of leaders by supporting leadership development through programs like DiverseCity Fellows.” – Donna McNicol, SVP, Community Investment & Wellness Strategy, TELUS.

We are lucky to live in one of the best regions in the world, but we can always do more. The decisions made today will impact how prepared our region is for continued growth and phenomenon like extreme weather. Storms that used to occur every 40 years are now occurring every six years and we need to be ready. One of the new Fellows Mark Sam, manager at Accenture, shares his thoughts on forward looking infrastructure decisions. “As the population grows and the system is stretched, the region’s existing infrastructure is a growing concern so we need to look at new and innovative ways to build and maintain the infrastructure we need now, and into the future.”

The diversity and economic performance of the GTHA has contributed to the region’s world-class reputation, however, we are in need of new ideas to keep moving forward. “It is time to allow new leaders to step in and bring a fresh perspective to shape the region’s future,” says Rod Phillips, Chair of CivicAction. “The Fellows program serves as the perfect platform to give these rising leaders and city builders the opportunity to speak up and be heard.”

2014 – 2015 DiverseCity Fellows

  • Nouman Ahmad, Executive Director, CanLeads
  • Leen Al Zaibak, Consultant, Leen Al Zaibak Consultancy
  • Sutha Balasingham, Program Manager, The Regional Municipality of York
  • Towa Beer, Resource & Sustainability Officer, Nia Centre for the Arts
  • Nadia Berger, Senior Project Lead, Cancer Care Ontario
  • Samantha Burton, Director, Policy & Advocacy, Engineers Without Borders Canada
  • Jordy Gold, Executive Director, OpenCity Projects
  • Sarah Hashem, Director, National Client Relationship, Futurpreneur Canada
  • Mariam Hashmi, Manager, Management Consulting, KPMG LLP
  • Todd Hofley, President, Liberty Village Residents’ Association
  • Melissa Kim, Counsel, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Miriam Kramer, Manager, Government Relations, OCAD University
  • Jarret Leaman, Senior Manager, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
  • Neluka Leanage, Chairperson, Place Interactive
  • Sipo Maphangoh, Community Planner, City of Toronto, Planning Division
  • Nidhee Mathur, Treasury and Risk Manager, Armstrong Fluid Technology
  • Christopher Matthews, Business Project Manager, RBC
  • Siddharth Nanda, Manager, KPMG LLP
  • Ashley Piotrowski, Associate, Stikeman Elliott LLP
  • Matt Rempel, Associate Dean, Sheridan College
  • Jeremy Roach, Marketing Manager, BNN & CP24 & CTV News, Bell Media
  • Letecia Rose, Manager, Programs and Partnerships, Nia Centre for the Arts
  • Mark Sam, Manager, Accenture
  • Ivan Solano, PhD Candidate, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, University of Toronto/Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  • Ali Taiyeb, Manager, Digital Strategy and Business Development, Broadplay/NINtec
  • Shahil Thomas, Local Economies Developer, Metcalf Foundation

 Bios can be found here.

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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


For over 10 years, 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, and launches campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. To find out more visit

CivicAction’s DiverseCity Fellows is a one-year leadership development and network-building program that helps a diverse group of new leaders tackle some of the region’s toughest issues.