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KEYNOTE: Navigating Leadership & Resiliency with York's Top 30 Changemakers Under 30

Profile photo of Isabella Akaliza

Isabella Akaliza

Isabella Akaliza (BA '20) is the founder of FreeThePeriod Rwanda, an initiative that campaigns for increased accessibility to period products and the ending of period poverty. She is a multilingual, results- driven communication specialist with a track record of leading successful national public health campaigns. In December 2019, she successfully campaigned for the tax exemption of period products in Rwanda, in a bid to make them more affordable. Today, she uses her skills at developing and maintaining effective internal and external stakeholder relations to campaign for more eco-friendly solutions to ending period poverty. Her hope is that one day, all period products will be free, and that period poverty will be something of the past with one less barrier to gender equality.  Isabella is a graduate of the communications studies program in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Profile picture of Prakash Amarasooriya

Prakash Amarasooriya

Prakash Amarasooriya (BSC '15) works at TD as the manager of Scorecard Operations, and has been featured in the media for the financial literacy campaign he initiated with the Toronto Youth Cabinet. Prakash created a proposal to have financial literacy incorporated into the Ontario Grade 10 Career Studies course, as well as a petition to gather support from the public. He continues to promote financial literacy across Canada as a member of the board of directors and the chair of the programs committee for the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE). Prakash has also expanded his activities to support the arts and entertainment industry in Canada, currently serving on the board of directors for Crow's Theatre and volunteering with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His passion for volunteerism has been recognized as the recipient of both the Volunteer Toronto Award and the Canada Volunteer Award. He is also a published neuroscience researcher. 

Profile picture of Nicole Doray

Nicole Doray

Nicole Doray (IBA '17, MES '19) is a dedicated social impact specialist and environmental champion who brings cross-disciplinary experience to her work supporting Canada’s low-carbon and socially-inclusive economic transition. Working across the public and private sector, she supports leaders navigating complex challenges, leveraging business and academia as forces for good. At the Academy for Sustainable Innovation, she shapes innovative education programs with academic partners across Canada including at York University, the University of Waterloo, and l’Université de Montréal, among others. Simultaneously, she helps industry partners build organizational resilience while driving innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability. Currently, Nicole is also pursuing advancements in climate science, policy, and community resilience as a senior researcher at ASI International. Her 2020 report, Leveraging Technology for a Healthy Planet, informed the equitable integration of emergent technologies such as AI, blockchain, and big data for environmental and social benefit.  

Profile picture of Matthew Ravida

Matthew Ravida

Matthew Ravida (BCOM '18) works as an events officer with BMO Without Barriers - an enterprise resource group for employees with both visible and non-visible disabilities. He is also a national ambassador for Kids Help Phone where he has created a physical presence within Toronto and surrounding areas through multiple media outlets such as CBC Toronto and Global News. Matthew is a partner with a not-for-profit mental health hub known as the Ramblr Project, dedicated to creating a community for people to share, connect and learn about their mental health. He also serves as the co-host of the podcast Mind Sweep, a Ramblr Project initiative. The podcast aims to highlight guests that have experienced any mental illness related struggles and provide individuals with resources to attain better mental health practices. Matthew was the recipient of BMO’s 2019 Annual Best of BMO Award for his efforts within the mental health/illness space at BMO and within his communities.


Rina Pugliese

Becoming YU Onboarding

Rina Pugliese

Rina Pugliese is the Program Coordinator for the Becoming YU program and works at the Career Centre at York University. She obtained her Honours BA, majoring in Physical Education at York, then went on to complete her Bachelor of Education at the University of Western Ontario. After graduating she went on to teach high school in both Japan and New Zealand. Rina played competitive rugby while in New Zealand and even played professionally for one season in Italy. She also competed in Sport Fighting (a combination of martial arts) and began playing competitive roller derby while in New Zealand; a pastime that she continues to enjoy today. She returned to Toronto in 2010 and began working at York University in 2015, where she decided that she wanted to return to her education roots to play a role in student success. In her free time Rina loves being active, staying fit, hanging out with her 8-year old son and spending time with her friends and family.

Inclusive Leadership (Foundational)

Lisa Brown

As Education and Communication Advisors at REI, we provide professional development services, and consultative supports to the York community, specifically related to human rights topics. We strive to uphold the rights of every York community member to live, work and play free from the experiences of discrimination, marginalization, and harassment, based on the Ontario Human Rights Code Grounds of Protection. Our training workshops are designed to explore human rights paradigms and principles, while giving participants an opportunity to examine and apply practical approaches to address arising concerns.

A group of six students outside the Life Sciences building on Keele Campus
Profile photos of Jude Kelley and Valentina De Leon

Virtual Student Mental Health 101

Jude Kelley (they/them) and Valentina De Leon

Our team of peer health educators provide health education and resources to the York student community. Peers educate students about services and resources in a fun and engaging manner through active programming and community engagement. They also organize events and programming and create awareness around various health initiatives related to the needs within the student life cycle. Through a holistic approach peers promote positive health behaviours and lifestyle choices to support physical and mental wellness as well as academic success. Our peers work from a harm reduction and anti-oppression standpoint on both Keele and Glendon campuses. Our programming topics include: Alcohol and Other Drugs, Mental Health, Nutrition and Sexual Health.

Time Management

Daniel Loduca

Daniel is going into the fourth year of his BBA degree at Schulich and has worked at Learning Skills Services for two academic years as a Workshop Peer. Throughout these two years at LSS, he has learned so much about the many workshop topics that the department offers to students. Daniel is honoured to take part in PLC this year by facilitating an online Time Management workshop specifically created for peer leaders with a focus on prioritization. These time management strategies helped Daniel balance a particularly busy school year last year when he was a full-time student, part-time worker (at LSS!) and held a position in Schulich's student council. He's hoping he is able to impart some of this knowledge on you and help you better understand the skill of balancing responsibilities.

Daniel Loduca - TIme Management
Urshian Khalid - Ethical Leadership & Professionalism

Ethical Leadership & Professionalism

Urshian Khalid

Urshian Khalid is the Student Leadership & Development Coordinator under the Division of Students at York University. She completed her Specialized Honours in Kinesiology & Health Sciences, and Bachelors of Education from York University in 2015. After becoming certified with the Ontario College of Teachers, Urshian went on to complete her Masters in Education, with an additional graduate diploma in Urban Environments. During her time as a student leader, she served as Team Captain of the Varsity Wrestling program at York, Residence Life Senior Don, Student Health Ambassador and president of multiple student clubs. At the core of Urshian’s professional portfolio is a deep commitment to student success. Urshian is a strong advocate for mental health, healthy, acting living, and practicing meditation for overall mind, body & spirit wellness. In her free time, Urshian loves CrossFit, traveling, practicing yoga & dabbles in various martial arts.

Top Tips for Great Service Delivery

David Ip Yam and Amanda Sartori

David Ip Yam is a higher education professional and leadership educator. At York he serves as Project Director, Student Service Excellence with the Division of Students. Timely fact: His favourite purchase during the pandemic was a laptop stand. Good bye neck pain!

Amanda Sartori is the Project Coordinator fo Student Advising and Service Excellence. Amanda comes to this role with a background in building student experience and leadership development programs. Timely fact: Amanda recently dug up her flute and is now learning to play pieces from Adele and the Harry Potter soundtrack.

David Ip Yam and Amanda Sartoria - Top Tips for Great Service Delivery


A group of six students outside the Life Sciences building on Keele Campus

Inclusive Leadership (Advanced)

Lisa Brown

As Education and Communication Advisors at REI, we provide professional development services, and consultative supports to the York community, specifically related to human rights topics. We strive to uphold the rights of every York community member to live, work and play free from the experiences of discrimination, marginalization, and harassment, based on the Ontario Human Rights Code Grounds of Protection. Our training workshops are designed to explore human rights paradigms and principles, while giving participants an opportunity to examine and apply practical approaches to address arising concerns.

Social Location & How it Impacts Your Role as a Peer Leader

Warsan Hagi-Yusuf, Nida Kiani, Ijaabo Mohamed & Miles Obile

From being appointed by the RCMP to represent Ontario on their National Advisory Committee, to being a keynote speaker at University of Toronto Global Ideas Institute, and working alongside Facebook in changing their policies to combat online hate, Warsan is dedicated to advocacy, activism, and policy. She is most proud of being the founder of a grassroots nonprofit initiative that helps youth transition from highschool to post secondary education. She has been successful in this initiative and has filmed a documentary series with Social and Development Canada to showcase her efforts in her community. Warsan is an alumni in the Social work program. She was heavily involved in the York University community and has previously worked as peer enrolment assistant at LAPS advising.

Miles is an active member within the York community and in the past year she carried positions as a Peer Academic Leader, Peer Enrolment Assistant, Executive member for the Social Work Students Association, and sat as a Student Representative on different committees. Miles’ work also extends outside of the York community as she has facilitated youth-focused discussions, canvassed for grassroots organizations, participated in fundraisers for charities, and volunteered with basketball organizations. Miles is passionate about community-based activism and advocacy, as well as policy. Her passion can be seen in her participation in Model Parliament, United Nations Development Training, and her constant efforts to stay involved in the different communities she belongs to. Milesgrounds her work in a critical lens emphasizing the importance of balancing expertise, recognizing systemic and systematic barriers, and reflexivity of positionality.

Nida Kiani is an alumni of the Social Work program. She is passionate about teaching and advocating for children’s and disability rights. This passion is reflected in her ongoing commitment to teaching children with autism at Brampton Caledon Community Living and facilitating youth workshops that touch upon bullying, racism, and violence. She also volunteered as a research assistant for Autism Canada to collect data for the Search and Rescue for Autism Program.

Ijaabo is a Black Muslim woman, also an alumni of the Direct-Entry Social Work program at York University. She is passionate about youth education and community development, and is an active member within her Toronto Community Housing neighbourhood. Ijaabo has volunteered with the Student Experience Design Team at York University, helping to innovate student services at the Keele campus through conducting interviews and participating in design-thinking focus groups. She is excited to be utilizing her critical thinking skills and knowledge of anti-racist frameworks in this Peer Leadership training conference.

Profile pictures of Warsan Miles Nida Ijaabo
Cindy and Raven - Presentation Skills

Presentation Skills

Cindy Nguyen & Raven Lovering

Raven is a fourth year English and Concurrent Education student at York University who has been working with LearningSkills Services for three years. Her favourite workshop is Time Management, and she is passionate about student engagement and access to education.

Cindy is a graduating fourth year student in Biomedical Science at York University. She has worked with Learning SkillsServices for three years and is currently the Learning Skills Peer with a Math Focus. She enjoys researching strategies for math and science problem solving with her role in LSS and about wild bee microbiomes for her independent research project.

How to Manage a Team in an Online World

Jedd Kenedy, Muhammad Ahsan & Rosie Giannon

Jedd is a third year Philosophy major and Political Science minor. He has been involved with the McLaughlin College PeerMentors Network for two years now. In his first year with the network, he was a Peer Leader, providing support andcampus resources to incoming first year students while being involved in the process of event planning and eventexecution with the network’s leadership team. In his second year with the network, Jedd began working as theCoordinator where he is responsible for managing and collaborating with the central leadership team on various eventsand programming. While the shift online has changed the way the network operates, Jedd and his team has adapted tothe new landscape and continues to deliver fun events and vital services to students through online platforms. Duringthis training session on how to manage a team in an online world, Jedd hopes to teach students how to stay engaged andconnected as well as how to overcome obstacles through creative and innovative thinking.

Muhammad is a fourth year Political Science student who has been involved with the Peer Mentor Network for threeyears. He has also worked around McLaughlin College and helped with arranging numerous events. In his second year,Muhammad became a Peer Mentor after he joined the Peer Mentor Network, he worked with first year LAPS students tohelp them with their academic and social lives. Muhammad continued this work in his third year, and also got involvedwith event coordination and organization at McLaughlin College. Now, Muhammad is a Peer Leader, he still helps a groupof first year students but also overlooks a cohort of Peer Mentors and assists them with their tasks as well.

Rosie is a third year Law & Society student, minoring in Art History. She has been involved with the McLaughlin CollegePeer Mentors Network for two years now. In her first year with the network, she volunteered as a Peer Mentor, providingfirst-year Law & Society students with information on how to access academic resources, engage in college activities andmaintain their emotional well-being while in university. In her second year with the network, Rosie began working as aPeer Leader where she continues to guide a group of first-year students, in addition to overseeing an awesome group ofvolunteer Peer Mentors and playing a more active role in event planning, administration and innovating the network’sstructure. During this training session on how to manage a team in an online world, Rosie hopes to teach students howto encourage group participation using apps that facilitate communication, including Slack.

Jedd Muhammad and Rosie - How to Manage a Team in an Online World