MISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 1, 2014 /CNW/ - This past weekend, CivicAction gathered close to 150 rising leaders from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to generate fresh, innovative solutions to urban health issues at the sixth annual ELNstudio. Held at University of Toronto Mississauga, the day focused on shaping our urban health and culminated in a dynamic session where emerging leaders presented ideas for new city-building projects. The ideas generated on Saturday will have a chance to advance to a pitch panel event in April 2015, ELNshowcase, where teams will compete to win prizes that will help bring their project to life.
"If we want the region to succeed, we must foster the creative ideas of our emerging leaders. These are the leaders of tomorrow, and after seeing what they can accomplish in just one day, I know we are in good hands," said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction.
CivicAction gathered senior thought leaders to inform the discussion with Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Medical Director of Underserved Populations and Access & Transitions at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), setting the tone for the day as keynote speaker. Dr. McKenzie, an international expert on the social causes of mental illness and the development of effective, equitable health systems, spoke about the importance of preserving and building our region's "mental capital" and why we need to address inequality to do so.
Emerging leaders from every sector – private, public, not-for-profit, labour, and academia – then rolled up their sleeves to develop solutions related to affordable housing, mental health, physical fitness and public space. Their ideas included creating drop-off locations so kids could join supervised walks to school and be more active, an app for people with accessibility concerns to report barriers like broken elevators, and introducing incentives that would build neighbourhood support for new affordable housing developments.
Mayor John Tory made a surprise appearance at ELNstudio, shared some words of wisdom with the group and answered their questions. "I look forward as the next Mayor of Toronto to working with our future leaders to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. As one of the founding leaders and former Chair of CivicAction, I know and understand the creative desires of young professionals, and I look forward to promoting Toronto as a hub for technology and innovation," said Tory.
To date, CivicAction's Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) has helped rising leaders develop more than a dozen high-impact city-building projects by supporting them through the incubation, development, and investment stages. These projects include Toronto Homecoming, an initiative that helps talented Torontonians living abroad to return home, and the Pan Am Path, a multi-use path to connect Toronto's ravines for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.
"ELNstudio is about giving rising leaders a platform to have their voices heard. ELN members bring unique and creative solutions to the table and I'm excited to see where the ideas generated today will go," said Nathaniel Lowbeer-Lewis, ELNstudio Co-Chair.
Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.
About ELN: CivicAction's ELN is a diverse network of more than 900 emerging civic leaders committed to advancing the GTHA. CivicAction's ELNstudio is an annual event that brings together over 150 rising leaders working in different sectors across the GTHA to collaborate and incubate innovative city-building projects to tackle the region's most pressing challenges. Now in its 6th year, CivicAction's ELNstudio has a track record of success. Follow ELN @elnonline or join the conversation with #ELNstudio14.
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 civicaction.ca.
For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact: Sarah Harris, Director, Communications, [email protected], T (416) 309-4480 x 508, M (647) 267-4997