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Moving Forward Webinars

In 2020, the LA&PS Dean's Office launched new webinar series titled Moving Forward, creating an opportunity for engagement within the LA&PS community. This virtual series of lunchtime talks allows our alumni, students, donors, retirees, faculty and staff to connect and explore how people and organizations are navigating the future with strength, determination and skills needed to overcome unprecedented barriers and create a positive change.

The series explores:

  • How organizations are adapting in order to move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic
  • How communities and organizations are moving forward on issues of equity and social justice
  • How students can move forward in their career goals, through the advice and wisdom of alumni who are graduates of the same program

Each webinar features either a one-on-one interview or a panel discussion with high-level decision makers from various fields, offering unique insights gained through first-hand experiences. All are welcome to attend and participate.

Upcoming Events

No regrets: How my Liberal Arts degree Set me up for Success

Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm 

Liberal Arts programs teach skills employers are looking for. They prepare you to think critically and help you express yourself well, among many other benefits. Come hear leaders from business and the community—each of whom studied in a Liberal Arts subject area at York. They will explain why the humanities and social sciences are essential building blocks of a great career, and how they also contribute to a richer life. Our panelists will share insights about their own career paths, and they’ll take questions and give advice that will help you in yours! Our Panelists: 

  • Alessandro Colarossi, BA, Philosophy ‘13
    Customer Success Manager, Channel Partners and Agencies at Google
  • Angela Lawrence, BA, English and Mass Communications ‘87
    Chief Culture Officer at Gusto 54 Restaurant Group
  • Ayesha Shah, BA, Public Policy Management ‘07, Psychology '10
    Founder & Managing Director at C-Potential
  • Domenic Di Paola, BA, Political Science ‘93
    Global Head, Risk & Control at TD Securities

 Hosted by Sean Kheraj, Vice Dean and Associate Dean, Programs. Includes Q&A session. 

Panelist Biographies

Alessandro Colarossi, BA, Philosophy 2013
Customer Success Manager, Channel Partners and Agencies at Google

Alessandro Colarossi is an accomplished IT professional, having spent over a decade in virtually every facet of tech, from support and web design to cartoon animation and game development.

Alessandro is currently employed as a Customer Success Manager at Google. He has a diploma in Systems Analysis from Sheridan College and a philosophy degree from York University with a concentration in AI. Alessandro is a frequent contributor in Philosophy Now Magazine and has been published in York University's philosophical review. He also co-authored a book entitled Becoming Artificial (

In his spare time, Alessandro enjoys spending time outdoors with his family or playing drums in one of his many jazz bands. 

Domenic Di Paola, BA, Political Science 1993
Global Head, Risk & Control at TD Securities

Domenic Di Paola is an accomplished leader of sales, service and operation of global businesses, who brings both organizational breadth and industry knowledge to every role. He has a proven ability to impact and influence across broad audiences, drive change forward by identifying and gaining synergies where possible.

As his professional career continues to evolve, Domenic remains steadfast in his belief that both continuous education and fostering teamwork are the keys to success.

He is committed to building positive environments both within his organization and the industry at large.

Ayesha Shah, BA, Public Policy Management 2007, Psychology 2010
Founder & Managing Director at C-Potential

Ayesha Shah is an artist and an entrepreneur. As an author, keynote speaker, poet and business leader, she focuses on people, culture, inclusion, mindset and change management. She tells stories of human experiences, inspired by her own life and those of the remarkable souls she encounters along the way. She believes that every person has a unique purpose and meaningful contribution to make in this world, regardless of their background, status, orientation or culture. Ayesha is a catalyst for empowering audiences to find the transformation they seek to live the life they truly want.

Ayesha studied public policy, business, and philosophy at York and Queen's University. She dreams of a kinder, more equal world, where everyone contributes with wholehearted authenticity. With her voice and her heart, she is a force for the good, empowering humans everywhere.

Philosophical, anthropological, sociological, political, economic and emotional lens to exploring themes of love, loss, healing, gratitude, travel, work-life, relationships, and nature.

Through Keynote Speaking, Training and Workshops, Ayesha takes pride in creating educational experiences enabling individuals and organizations achieve their grandest goals. Everyone has it within themselves to live their vision and contribute meaningfully; they just need guidance to find it within themselves.

Angela Lawrence, BA, English and Mass Communications 1987
Chief Culture Officer at Gusto 54 Restaurant Group

As a former magazine editor and marketing executive, Angela Lawrence is a creative leader with a proven track record of innovation in publishing, advertising and brand strategy. Working for companies like Transcontinental Media, Redwood Branded Content and Yew & Bamboo, she managed teams for clients like Home Depot, Kraft Foods and President’s Choice Financial.

More recently Angela has taken her skills to the restaurant and hospitality industry. In addition to her responsibilities as Chief Culture Officer at Gusto 54 Restaurant Group where she is responsible for the employee experience, Angela is the  Co-Founder and Brand Director of Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, a concept that celebrates her Jamaican heritage. Angela's passion for Jamaican culture can also be seen with Cook Like A Jamaican, the popular cooking blog and YouTube channel she founded with her mother.

Angela holds an Honours BA in English and Mass Communications from York University.

Host: Sean Kheraj, Vice Dean and Associate Dean, Programs, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

Vice Dean and Associate Dean Sean Kheraj was previously an associate professor of Canadian and environmental history in the Department of History, at York University. He is also director and editor-in chief of the Network in Canadian History and Environment where he hosts and produces Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast. His current research looks at the social and environmental consequences of the development and operation of oil pipelines in Canada. 

His publications include: Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History (2014), as well as numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Professor Kheraj is a regular contributor to and The Otter~La loutre. As Associate Dean for Programs, he oversees academic programming in our 21 departments and schools in LA&PS. He is responsible for course planning, curriculum development, cyclical program reviews, experiential education, and undergraduate recruitment and retention.

Group photo of headshots of a group of colleagues.

How our alumni are strengthening Black Communities

Date: Thursday, February 8, 2022
Time: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Join us for a talk with York graduates who are active in various initiatives addressing anti-Black racism and contributing positively to Black communities, families, and students.  Hosted by Michele Johnson, Associate Dean, Students.  Includes Q&A session.

Thriving with my English Degree

Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Hear from graduates of York’s Department of English who are currently in leadership roles as they share their career journeys with you.  Join us as we discuss their path to success and receive valuable advice. Hosted by Lily M. Cho, Associate Dean, Global & Community Engagement. Includes Q&A Session. 

Women in Leadership

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2022
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Featuring women graduates from York who are currently in leadership roles as they share their career journeys with you. This webinar will talk about what inspires these women leaders, how they have overcome obstacles along their career paths, and more. Join us as we discuss their path to success and hear valuable advice and insights.   Hosted by Lily M. Cho, Associate Dean, Global & Community Engagement. Includes Q&A Session.

Past Events

Careers in Disaster and Emergency Management | Dec. 1, 2021 

Tune in to Moving Forward: Careers in Disaster and Emergency Management webinar to see Faculty of LA&PS alumni Ben PantinDeryn RizziJoe GaglianoNicole Poulin, talk about their journey from graduation to their current roles and their involvement and responses to events such as Northeastern blackout of 2003 and earthquake in Haiti.  If you are interested in the field of Disaster and Emergency Management, some great advice and tips were given throughout this webinar.  

The event was hosted by Eric Kennedy, Associate Professor, School of Administrative Studies.  Watch on YouTube.    

Moving Forward with Pam Westman, President, Nelvana | Nov. 18, 2021 

A very special thank you to our alumna, Pam Westman, who talked about her career journey from attending York part-time to becoming a President of Nelvana, a leading Canadian children’s entertainment company responsible for shows such as The Hardy Boys, Esme & Roy and Peppa Pig. Pam is an experienced leader who has navigated through technological upheavals, social change, and other challenges. Watch the interview and be inspired by Pam’s story of adaptation, resilience, and success, and what it means to be a woman now in an entertainment industry.  

Hosted by Associate Dean, Global & Community Engagement, Lily Cho. Watch on YouTube

Evolution of In-Person Sport | Nov. 4, 2021

During this lively discussion with our featured York Alumni from the world of sports, we talked about this year’s Olympics and evolution of in-person sport going forward.


  • Brandie Wilkerson, 2020 Olympian, Volleyball Canada
  • Breagha Carr-Harris, Manager, Fan Service at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
  • Jim Kozak, SVP, MediaCom Sports & Entertainment
  • Josh Epstein, Head, Corporate Sponsorship at BMO Financial Group
  • Terri Mattucci, Director, Digital and Commercial Content, Global Partnerships at MLSE

The event was hosted by Associate Dean, Students, Michele Johnson. Watch on Youtube.

Being a first-generation student: What it means to be first in your family to go to university | Oct. 5, 2021

We talked with York alumni who were the first in their family to go to university. We discussed how they mapped out this uncharted territory, the challenges they faced and how they overcame them, the resources that supported them in their pursuit of their university degree, and what a difference their degree has ultimately made in their life and career. Watch on YouTube.


  • Nick Moumos, Associate Vice President, Product Development at Canada Life
  • Rochelle Ford, Founder, CEO, and Career & Well-being Coach for Professional Moms at Queen Success by Rochelle
  • Sujata Berry, Temp Project Lead at CBC
  • Tom Doulos, Vice President, Customer Experience at Endy Canada Inc.
  • Toni-Lynn Raponi, Associate Vice President, Corporate & Public Affairs at TD

Moving Forward with Melissa Grelo, Co-Host of CTV’s THE SOCIAL | March 25, 2021

This lunchtime webinar featured Melissa Grelo, co-host of CTV’s The Social. Grelo talks about her career journey, which began as a freshly minted York University graduate and has led her into diverse experiences as a prominent media professional at the forefront of the many issues facing Canada and the world in recent years. Watch on YouTube.


  • Melissa Grelo, Co-Host of CTV's THE SOCIAL at Bell Media

Women in Leadership | March 8, 2021

During this webinar, we heard about the career journeys of women graduates from York University's Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies who are currently in leadership roles. Watch on YouTube.


  • Carolyn Clark, Hospitality Human Resources Executive (Retired)
  • Diane Flanagan, Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Communication at Intact Financial Corporation
  • Erin Elofson, Head of Canada, Australia and New Zealand at Pinterest
  • Laura Cannone, Co-Founder and CEO at The GG Media Group & Glama Gal Kids Spa Franchise
  • Nimi Nanji-Simard, Founder & Chief Scraf Lover at Niminimi Designs Inc
  • Tina Powell, Board Director and Marketing & Communications Co-Chair at Zonta Club of Oakville

How we tackled COVID: Discount Car & Truck Rentals | Feb. 25, 2021

In this Moving Forward lunchtime talk, York alumni Jay Singer explains how he led Discount Car & Truck Rentals through the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Watch of YouTube.


  • Jay Singer, President at Twelve Strings Consulting & Ex-President and CEO at Discover Car & Truck Rentals

How York alumni are advancing initiatives in Black communities | Feb. 9, 2021

In this session of the Moving Forward series, we heard from graduates from the Faculty of LA&PS who are currently involved in various initiatives addressing anti-Black racism. Watch on YouTube.


  • Ahmed Ismail, Vice President at Wellington Management
  • Danielle Dowdy, Advisor, Strategic Policy & Stakeholder Relations at Toronto Police Services Board
  • Joan Jenkinson, Executive Director at Black Screen Office
  • Marlon Reid, Community General Manager at CIBC
  • Nadine Spencer, CEO at BrandEQ Group

My English degree: what a great decision! | Feb. 4, 2021

During this Moving Forward webinar, we heard from graduates of York’s Department of English who are currently in leadership roles as they shared their career journeys with us. Watch on YouTube.


  • Kirsten Manley-Casimir, Acting Legal Director, Indigenous Justice Division at the Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Lena Azzou, Chief of Staff at Metrolinx
  • Mike Pavkovic, Vice President - Payments and Trade Operations at RBC
  • Tamer Ibrahim, Youth Collective Impact Manager at Laidlaw Foundation

How Entrepreneurs Overcome Adversity | Jan. 28, 2021

This lunchtime webinar brought together five successful entrepreneurs who have graduated from York University. Hosted by Sean Kheraj, Associate Dean, Programs at LA&PS the alumni discussed their entrepreneurship journey and provided valuable insights on overcoming adversities and finding mentors to help up-and-coming entrepreneurs grow. Watch on YouTube.


  • Anil Taneja, Managing Director at Palm Holdings
  • Matt Golden, Founder and Managing Partner at Golden Ventures
  • Noora Sharrab, Co-Founder and CEO at Sitti Social Enterprise
  • Richard Reiner, Founding Partner at CC Stratus Capital
  • Sharon Zohar, CEO/Founder at The Big Push

My Economics degree: what a great decision! | Dec. 8, 2020

Sean Kheraj, Associate Dean, Programs, chatted with five successful grads of York’s Department of Economics and explored their path to success. The panelists discussed their career journey and provided valuable insight on career paths and key skills required to have a successful career. Watch on YouTube.


  • Barry Kadoch, Vice President, Corporate Planning and Budgeting at SmartCentres REIT
  • Jeff Hindle, Senior Principal and Vice President - Data and Services at Mastercard
  • Kashmera Self, Associate Vice President, Strategy & Emergin Solutions Delivery at Interac Corp.
  • Leonard Meloff, Chairman and President at Renza Holdings Ltd.
  • Will Ramjass, Director and Assistant General Counsel at McDonald's Canada

How we’re tackling COVID: Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking | Nov. 24, 2020

Lily Cho, Associate Dean, Global & Community Engagement, LA&PS, chatted with three York alumnae who are an integral part of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. This webinar discussed the impact of COVID on the operations of the Centre and how the Centre is adjusting to new risks and opportunities. Watch on YouTube.


  • Margot Franssen, Founder and Co-Chair at The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking
  • Julia Drydyk, Executive Director at The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking
  • Ashley Franssen-Tingley, Director of Stakeholder Relations at The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking

My History degree: what a great decision! | Nov. 5, 2020

Sean Kheraj, Associate Dean, Programs, chatted with successful grads of York’s Department of History and explored their career paths and received some great insights on how they reached where they are today. Watch on YouTube.


  • Kristen Buckley, Associate Vice President, Government Partnerships & Service Programs at Kids Help Phone
  • Karen Carter, Co-Founder and Director at BAND Gallery
  • Frank Cianciulli, Chairman & CEO at The Wish Group
  • Tanya Rocca, Senior Counsel at Ontario Power Generation

Women in Leadership | Oct. 13, 2020

We have made strides in improved equity, but there’s still work to do. What are the frontiers of practice that promote women’s leadership? Professor Lily Cho, Associate Dean, Global & Community Engagement, hosts a panel of exceptional LA&PS alumnae who share their experiences as women leaders in 2020. Watch on YouTube.


  • Terri Ellis, RSM Canada Alliance Leader at RSM Canada
  • Jane Evans, Managing Director, Organization Effectiveness at BMO Financial Group
  • Janet Hawkins, President and CEO at Opterus Inc.
  • Anika Holder, Vice-President and Director, Human Resources at Penguin Random House Canada Limited
  • Sandeep Tatla, Vice-President, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility at PointClickCare

How we’re tackling COVID: Cineplex | Sept. 24, 2020

Cait O’Donovan (MA, Communication & Culture), VP, Digital Commerce at Cineplex and Sean Kheraj (LA&PS Associate Dean, Programs) chat about the innovation it’s taken to adapt to COVID. Watch on YouTube.


  • Cait O'Donovan, Vice President, Digital Commerce for Cineplex Entertainment