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York University Alumni Board

Working together to build the future

The York University Alumni Board (YUAB) consults with the University’s president and University Advancement on a range of issues, ideas and plans. We provide strategic advice, counsel, philanthropic engagement and network-building to enhance York’s reputation, encourage giving, and increase student engagement.

“Here at York, we have a global network of engaged, enthusiastic alumni. And as some of our most valuable community members, we want them to participate in and help shape our future.”

Julie Lafford, Assistant Vice President, Alumni Engagement

Current YUAB Members

The YUAB has up to eighteen members with diverse backgrounds and careers. Members have two-year terms, and we meet up to four times per year and participate in subcommittees.

Stachen Lett-Frederick

Stachen Lett-Frederick

YUAB, Member

Recipient of several awards including one of Canada’s Top 100 Powerful Women by Women’s Executive Network and Top 10 Women of Worth by L’Oreal Canada, Stachen has over 20 years of experience in the field of community and program  development internationally and in Canada (Ottawa, Greater Toronto Region including Peel Region). She is the Founder of BrAIDS for AIDS, a not for profit organization to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in the African ,Caribbean and Black Communities in Canada and internationally through a culturally relevant practice of hair braiding. Additionally, She is the current Executive Director of Weston Frontlines Centre, a youth charity in one of the poorest ridings in Toronto that she has grown from the verge of closing to a million dollar organization. 

She is a Professor at Sheridan College as well as CEO/Founder of a consultancy firm called Lett’s Consult Community that specializes in grant writing, fundraising, business development and strategy particularly for nonprofits and small businesses and with government bodies on developing community development and partnership plans. She holds a BSc, BSW and an MBA.

Rana Nasrazadani

Rana Nasrazadani (BA ’20, MPPAL ’22)

Rana Nasrazadani is an award-winning advocate, educator, public speaker, and policy analyst. Her work focuses on the intersections of accessibility, human rights, and education in Canada. 

Informed by her lived experience navigating interlocking systems of oppression, Rana uses her passion for accessibility and equity to drive her comprehensive strength-based approach to disability rights advocacy. Through this work, she challenges ableism, advances accessibility, and emphasizes the importance of having lived experiences and knowledge at the center of decision-making processes. 

She has been featured in The Toronto Star, CBC, and is a sought-after public speaker, who has spoken at numerous advocacy events across Ontario. 

Rana was a member of Ontario's Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) Education Standards Development Committee, which led the development of recommendations aimed at creating a province-wide standard for accessibility in Ontario’s education system, as required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. 

During her time at York, she championed accessibility work on campus, and worked on several projects regarding the university's accessibility initiatives, including advising architects on accessible design for the York University Markham Campus. 

Rana holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Human Rights and Equity Studies and a Master of Public Policy, Administration and Law from York University. 

In 2021, Rana was named one of York University’s inaugural Top 30 Alumni Under 30. She currently works as a Policy Analyst in the Ontario Public Service. 

Sham Madhok

Sham Madhok (BComm ’89)

Chair

Sham Madhok (BCom ’89) is an experienced board director, global executive, and sustainability advocate. She is a member of the York University Board of Governors and a past board member of North York General Hospital and Canadian Hearing Services.


Sham was the National Risk Management Partner at PwC for the Deals business in Canada and the Caribbean, an expansive role that included valuations, corporate finance, transaction and business recovery services, capital projects and infrastructure, value creation and forensics. Prior to her risk role, she established and led PwC’s Federal Government Capital Projects practice, led the Ontario Infrastructure and the National Healthcare Infrastructure practices. 

A pioneer in the financing and delivery of award-winning infrastructure projects, Sham has successfully structured commercial and financial arrangements valued at more than $40 billion. She is a graduate of the Women’s Leadership Program at Harvard Business School and Cornell University’s Climate Change Leadership program. 

Sham is a Certified Director and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. In 2017, she was selected as a Diversity50 Candidate by the Canadian Board Diversity Council. In 2022, Ms. Madhok was honoured as a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA, FCA), the highest honour bestowed on a CPA. 

Ali Badruddin

Ali Badruddin (BBA ’09)

Co-Chair, Networks Committee

After serving for four years on the Networks Committee, the YUAB is pleased to welcome Ali Badruddin as a board member.

Ali brings a wealth of experience in student engagement and strategic planning. Since 2015, he has worked as a Management Consultant with StrategyCorp. Prior to this, Ali was an entrepreneur who built his own independent consulting practice. His projects included working with C-level executives in the financial, travel, and public sector; assisting them with developing global strategy, business model transformation, and company-wide cost reduction. Ali graduated from York in 2009 with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business, where he served as Vice President of the Student Government, board member of the Faculty Council, and founder of Schulich’s premier student think tank.

Jonathan Clodman

Jonathan Clodman (BEd ’19, BA ’19, MEd ’20)

Member, Nominations and Governance Committee

Jonathan Clodman is an Elementary Teacher in the Toronto District School Board. His work in support of children/youth and education extends through a variety of classroom, camp, postsecondary, and community-based experiences.

An alumnus of York’s Psychology and Education programs, Jonathan was a proud President’s Ambassador, Health Ambassador, Student Senator, and President of the Faculty of Education Students’ Association. He was awarded the Cornerstone Leadership in Action Award and the Faculty of Education Award for Community Work. Jonathan continued his time at York completing a Master of Education, during which he served on the Faculty of Education Council and governance committees.

Since then, Jonathan has been included in York's Top 30 Alumni Under 30 and the Ontario Public School Boards' Association's Above and Beyond campaign, in recognition of outstanding early career achievement as well as impactful volunteerism during the COVID-19 pandemic. He maintains his connection to York today by hosting teacher candidates on practicum in his classroom, speaking to future students and future alumni at panels/events, and through his work on the YUAB.
Sarah Devika Sumnauth

Sarah Devika Sumnauth (BES ’11)

Chair, Scholarships & Awards Committee

Sarah Devika Sumnauth began her career working in eco-friendly retail, while finishing up her degree at the Faculty of Environmental studies. She gradually built her skills as a Buyer for one of North America’s largest organic grocers, Whole Foods Market.  From there, she leaped into the world of entrepreneurialism and kickstarted her cosmetics brand Urban Minerals, a line of vegan and cruelty-free mineral cosmetics, built for diverse skin tones.  She has gladly lent her knowledge and skills to the York University community, as a workshop facilitator for the Change Your World summit, speaker at the FEUC Dean’s Brunch and volunteer with students in the TASTE program – Take a Student to Eat.

Sarah has built her brand Urban Minerals up into an award-winning platform, having won North America’s Best Cruelty-Free Business award and Best Vegan Lipstick, and she partners with local women’s shelter, Sistering Drop-in, to create gift sets for women in need.  She also partners with Toronto Community Housing in their entrepreneurship program B3 Be Build Brand as a co-facilitator, helping to breathe life into new businesses and teach about sustainability and social enterprise.  In her most recent role, Sarah has branched out to work with a Canadian Sales Agency and Distributor as a Sustainability Manager, where she is excited to build a thriving eco-friendly sales model from the ground up.

Chinedu Ezemenari

Chinedu Ezemenari (BA ’05)

Co-Chair, Networks Committee

Chinedu Ezemenari is a staffing industry professional, and entrepreneur. He works with small, medium and large companies, within various industrial and corporate verticals, to assist with their human capital management and talent acquisition. He’s also the founder and managing director of CE CLOTHIER, a luxury fashion label based in Toronto. His designs have been featured in GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and US Weekly. He is a past award winner of the “Best Canadian Men’s wear Designer” at the African Fashion Industry Awards. As well, he is a former recipient of the “Black Designers of Canada Award of Excellence." 

Chinedu credits many of the enriching life experiences he’s had, to being a York U grad. While at York U, he was a member of the York Lions Football Team, the YFS (York Federation of Students), and YUBSA (York University Black Students Alliance). Most importantly, he met his wife and life partner at York U, and today, they are proud parents to three beautiful daughters. 

Dennis Garces

Dennis Garces (BA ’92)

Co-Chair, Networks Committee; Member, Nominations & Governance Committee

Dennis is a serial entrepreneur, having been involved in a number of start-ups and has been a part of several successful public and private acquisitions. He has held numerous leadership roles over the past three decades. As a senior executive in the entertainment industry at PolyGram, Universal, Sony Music and BMG Music US and Somerset Group Global, Dennis has played pivotal roles in a multitude of global artists and was involved with brands as Much Music’s MuchDance and Big Shiny Tunes as well as MTV Party-To-Go, American Idol and the Grammy Awards music series. 

Until most recently, Dennis has spent his time as a Strategic Advisor to a number of US, Canadian and European publicly traded and private companies.  He has recently joined Deltec Bank & Trust, headquartered in the Bahamas as Executive Director, Corporate & Institutional Banking working with global entrepreneurs in a wide array of industries as technology, entertainment, esg and crypto currency. 

Dennis supports the entrepreneurial spirit through his work with Upper Canada College’s, Common Ties Mentorship program, as well as his role as a mentor for several start-ups through Futurepreneur, a non-profit organization helping Canadians become business owners with loan financing, mentoring and business resources as well as a mentor with The Forum Mentor Program, supported by Scotiabank, a mentorship program to support Female Entrepreneurs. 

Dennis holds an Honors BA in Creative Writing/English Lit with a minor in Economics and Psychology from York University. 

Ali Bashar

Ali Bashar

Member, Student Representative

Ali is a third-year honours Biology student at York University. Ali has served on several committees including the Committee on Examinations and Academic standards (CEAS) for the Faculty of Science and University Tribunal (UT). He has also held a variety of positions in student clubs including Bethune College Council, Biology Society, Chemistry Society, and Canadian Cancer Society. As a firm believer in the student voice, Ali excels in his roles by facilitating communication with the student body. He has previously worked with professionals on a variety of projects at the University of Toronto, North York General Hospital, and the University of Pittsburgh. On his time off, you may find him volunteering with the local food bank or learning a new hobby. 

Ivan Ho

Ivan Ho (BASc ’07)

Member, Mentorship Advisor

As a Strategic Partner Manager at Google, Ivan carries 14 years of digital marketing, advertising sales & partnerships experiences across Asia and in Canada. He's passionate about technologies and innovations which are the key motivators for him to pursue a career in driving digital transformation for his business partners. He strongly believes having an empathic and consultative approach to business partnerships is the key to succeed in the tech industry.

Outside of work, Ivan has a strong passion in career coaching. He has been a designated mentor, regular panel speaker and guest lecturer at various universities in Hong Kong and Toronto since 2016. Ivan shares digital trends, innovations and tech companies' culture, helping students who are interested in pursuing a career in the tech sector to navigate their academic and career paths to reach their professional and life goals.

Ross McMillan

Ross McMillan (BA ’01)

Vice-Chair, York University Alumni Board; Chair, Nominations and Governance Committee

Ross is a proud York alumnus, currently the Director, Student Success & Services at St. Lawrence College. Ross has dedicated his professional life to supporting student engagement and success, in his previous role as the Executive Director of Student Community & Leadership Development at York he led one of Canada’s largest central student affairs units building award-winning programs impacting thousands of students. Ross continues to serve as a Fellow of McLaughlin College and as a mentor to new student affairs professionals. In recognition of his dedication to York and the transformative impact co-curricular experiences have, Ross has endowed an annual club of the year award. 

In recognition of his work, Ross has received numerous university and professional association awards.

Abdullah Merei

Abdullah Merei (BASC ’09, MBA ’15)

Member, Scholarships and Awards Committee

Currently serving as Senior Director, Engineering at Evertz Microsystems Ltd., Merei is leading the design, development, marketing and full deployment of industry-changing products and solutions for major broadcasting/media networks around the world.

Abdullah earned his degree in Computer Engineering from the Lassonde School of Engineering in 2009, graduating first in his class with distinction, and his MBA at the Schulich School of Business in 2015. His long list of accomplishments include: receiving the Allen Berg Award in 2007 and 2008, and being awarded a gold medal from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. Merei was also the recipient of the inaugural Alumnus of the Year at the annual Lassonde Awards in 2015 and the 2017 One to Watch York University Bryden Award.

In his spare time, Merei seizes the opportunity to remain active and engaged. He is a mentor and role model to a number of Lassonde undergraduate students and also volunteers by mentoring start-ups in the technology industry.

Paul Nguyen

Paul Nguyen (BA ’04)

Member, Networks Committee

Paul Nguyen is an award-winning activist and filmmaker from Toronto's Jane-Finch area. In 2004, he created Jane-Finch.com to change negative stereotypes about his community. 

He is a public speaker and media commentator on race, crime, and youth issues. 

Paul is a recipient of the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism, William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, Heritage Toronto Award, Canadian Ethnic Media Association Award, National Ethnic Press Award, Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and Canada's Volunteer Awards.

In 2012, Paul was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Prime Minister and Governor General at Rideau Hall for 'fighting stereotypes and acting as a role model and mentor for at-risk youth'. The Governor General awarded Paul with the Meritorious Service Medal in 2015 and Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers in 2017. He is recognized among Noteworthy Canadians of Asian heritage by the Government of Canada for valuable contributions made by Canadians of Asian heritage.

Taline Apelian-Sutor

Taline Apelian-Sutor

Member, Student Representative; Scholarships & Awards Committee

Taline Apelian-Sutor is a passionate second-year Biology student pursuing her degree with the Faculty of Science. Committed to serving her community through volunteer involvement, Taline actively seeks leadership opportunities at York University. A few of her endeavours include engaging in undergraduate research, supporting new students as a Peer Mentor, and advocating for her peers as a member of the Science Student Caucus and Faculty of Science Executive Committee. She also works to bridge the gap between students and university leadership as a President’s Ambassador. Outside of school, Taline operates a French tutoring business and finds great fulfillment in helping her students strengthen skills and gain confidence in their second language. She can also be found playing volleyball at York, practicing the piano, hiking, swimming, and exploring the outdoors.

 

Daniel Steinfeld

Daniel Steinfeld (BBA ’04)

Member, Senate

The ex-chief financial officer and vice president of sales for the Toronto Argonauts Football Club, Steinfeld currently operates Grasp Consulting, a strategic consulting firm dealing with business expansions and modeling projects spanning three continents. Steinfeld is a chartered accountant and has made a career out of relationship building and using a unique background to serve clients and colleagues at the highest level. Steinfeld is also a licensed realtor and is practices real estate in the Greater Toronto Area.

Outside of his professional life, Steinfeld mentors young professionals, speaks at conferences and teaches in several business settings. In addition to his role on the YUAA Board, Steinfeld sits as a senator on York University’s Senate. He also advises several university organizations on budgeting, responsible management and sponsorship.

Daniel lives in Woodbridge, Ontario, and is married as well as father to four future York alumni.

Kailey Vokes

Kailey Vokes (BA ’11)

Member, Scholarships and Awards Committee

Kailey is a strategic public policy leader and trusted executive advisor with over a decade of combined experience in government and the financial services industry.

Prior to joining StrategyCorp, Kailey was Director of Policy, Major Projects to Ontario Premier Doug Ford where she played a central role in shaping provincial planning policy, the provincial transportation network, and the delivery of major infrastructure. In the Ford government, she also served in senior roles with the Ministers of Transportation and Finance. Among other accomplishments, she led the development of significant reforms to Ontario’s heavily regulated auto insurance system, oversaw the establishment of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, and crafted legislation to build infrastructure faster.

Before joining the Ontario government, Kailey worked in public affairs for a major insurance provider and held political roles in the Government of Canada. She also has deep roots in the Ontario PC Party and with the federal Conservatives, having managed local campaigns and helped organize province-wide conventions.

Kailey holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science and a Bilingual Certificate in Public Administration and Public Policy from Glendon College at York University, as well as a Master's degree in Political Management from Carleton University.

Drew Green

Drew Green (BA ’97)

Member, Nominations & Governance Committee

Drew Green is President and Chief Executive Officer of INDOCHINO, growing the brand by over 600% between 2015- 2022, delivering nine figures in revenue in 2018, currently with 86 showrooms across North America and operations globally. Mr. Green has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, US Retailer of the Year, Innovator of the Year, along with other awards during his career.

Through his family office DREWGREEN.CA INC., Mr. Green has become a mentor to dozens of Canadian entrepreneurs, becoming a founder, chairman, and/ or a shareholder in dozens of private and public companies that drive innovation and growth, including Riverdale Rentals, Pineapple Financial, Apollo Insurance, Parvis Invest, OR Collective, Yourika, Cloudrep AI and Between Co., a company founded by York University alumni. Drew served as a Director at The Scarborough Hospital Foundation for many years, and has established the Drew Green Thunderbird Award at the University of British Columbia and The Drew Green Lions Award at York University, providing student-athletes at both institutions with scholarships.