New Crew of City Builders Step Up to Make Their Mark

TORONTO, Jan. 19, 2012 /CNW/ - Twenty-eight rising leaders have been selected as the new cohort of DiverseCity Fellows. Fellows is a one-year leadership development and network-building program that aims to harness the potential of a diverse cross-section of leaders so that they can address the challenges that lie ahead for the greater Toronto region.

This year's group comes from the business, arts, health, non-profit and government sectors across the Toronto region and many hail from across Canada and around the world. While they were selected for their track records, over the course of the year, the Fellows will enhance skills critical to developing their leadership and will make connections to decision-makers and other rising city-builders. Ultimately, they will collaborate to jumpstart initiatives of their own design that will tackle an issue facing the city. "This is a group to watch," says John Tory, Co-Chair of DiverseCity. "They're bringing solutions and new perspectives to the increasingly complex issues facing our city region."

When asked what they would like to see change in the city region, their responses are as diverse as the Fellows themselves. What emerges across geography, cultural backgrounds and professions, however, is the importance of collaboration. One 2012 Fellow, Noreen Javed, Manager of Stakeholder Relations at Purolator Inc., sees opportunities for businesses to work together to better the city region. "We should encourage businesses to harness their scale and intellectual capital to collaborate with each other to effect measurable social change."

2012 DiverseCity Fellows

JENNIFER ARANGO, Administrative Coordinator, Toronto Women's City Alliance

JONATHAN ASMIS, Business Analyst, Accenture, Inc.

JACKELINE BARRAGAN, Community Health Program Manager, Black Creek Community Health Centre

ORLANDO BOWEN, Executive Director, One Voice One Team

PEDRO CABEZAS, Project Manager, Casa Maiz Cultural Centre

BRENT CHAMBERLAIN, Executive Director, Pride at Work Canada


JOE HENRY, Manager - Accessible Learning and Student Development, Sheridan College

NOREEN JAVED, Manager, Stakeholder Relations, Purolator Inc.

SEEMA JETHALAL, Managing Director - Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre, Artscape

AHMAD KTAECH, Managing Director, K & Co.

OKEIMA LAWRENCE, Manager, Community Investment, United Way Toronto

MARIAH LEVIN, Senior Consultant, KPMG LLP

JABARI LINDSAY, Project Manager, City of Toronto

AGAPI MAVRIDIS, Executive Assistant and Senior Policy Advisor, Ministry of the Attorney General, Ontario Public Service

CAITLIN McCLUNG, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Premier

JAMES GEN MEERS, Director of Programming/Co-Founder, Salon Camden Centre for Urban Dialogue

WILLIAM MENDES, Community Revitalization Consultant, Toronto Community Housing

TANZEEL MERCHANT, Manager, Growth Planning and Analysis, Ontario Growth Secretariat

RYAN PATERSON, Creative Director/Co-Founder, Manifesto Community Projects & Hightop Studio

SALIM RACHID, Chair, Conversations & Roundtables Committee, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs

MELANIE A. REDMAN, Executive Director, Project Canoe

DIANA SALDANHA, Medical Sales Representative, AstraZeneca Canada

VIVEK SARMA, Manager, Corporate Development (Mergers & Acquisitions), Livingston International

KELLIE SAURIOL, Regional Vice President, RBC Royal Bank

RUTH JEAN SILVER, Independent Designer

ROMY THOMAS, Financial Analyst & Project Coordinator, Mount Sinai Hospital

LEONARDO ZUNIGA, Community Worker, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office

Additional quotes on ideas for change in the Toronto region available on request.  To learn more about the program and for Fellows profiles, please visit

About DiverseCity Fellows: DiverseCity Fellows is part of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project and is one of nine initiatives designed to diversify the Toronto region's leadership landscape.  Co-chaired by John Tory and Ratna Omidvar, DiverseCity is a joint initiative of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance and Maytree, funded in part by the Government of Ontario. DiverseCity Fellows also receives support from the Laidlaw Foundation and other sponsors. To learn more, visit

About CivicAction: CivicAction is a multi-sectoral coalition of thousands of civic leaders committed to acting collectively to tackle tough issues and big opportunities facing the Toronto region. CivicAction's Greater Toronto Summits bring leaders from all walks of life together to assess the region's strengths and challenges and to identify priority areas and opportunities for attention. In the periods between Summits, CivicAction takes a role in incubating innovative initiatives designed to galvanize action in these priority areas. To learn more, visit

About Maytree: Established in 1982, Maytree promotes equity and prosperity through its policy insights, grants and programs. The organization has gained recognition for its expertise in developing, testing and implementing programs and policy solutions related to immigration, integration and diversity.

SOURCE CivicAction

For further information:

Media Contacts:
Rebecca Geller, Communications and Events Officer, CivicAction
T: (416) 309-4480 x509 (work)
T: (416) 992-4966 (cell) 

Tina Edan, Maytree
T: (416) 944-2627 x245


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