Spotlight on community stewards
Ci vic Action recently hosted “Metro Next: A Celebration of Civic Leaders, Civic Action” for a night to celebrate some of the brightest leaders in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
Now in its second year, the event shined a spotlight on both rising and established leaders in the community who share a passion for citybuilding and a common desire to see the GTHA reach its full potential.
Civic Action presented the Lifetime Achievement Award for Civic Leadership to Ratna Omidvar, who was praised for her commitment to civic engagement. As executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson, home to Diverse City on Board and Hire Immigrants, Ratna is an important champion for inclusion and diversity in the region. She is also the chair of Lifeline Syria, which helps sponsors welcome and support Syrian refugees. Ratna has previously been honoured with the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.
Metro Next’s Emerging Leader Award went to Salima Rawji, who as director of development at Build Toronto, combines her community interests with her real estate development expertise to collaborate and drive forward well-designed projects that support business dynamics while providing livable, animated spaces. Salima shows her commitment to community through service on the boards of the Homes First Foundation and Civic Action and has also acted as chair of the Investment Committee for RISE Asset Development. Salima has supported rising leaders as a former co-chair of the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) and former Civic Action Diverse City Fellow.
With award-winning programs and unparalleled access to the region’s most influential thinkers and doers, Civic Action’s leadership programs help to catalyze civic engagement and motivate action. These include Civic-Action’s Diverse City Fellows, a one- year “civic MBA” program for the top rising leaders in the region, and ELN, a network of 900-plus energetic and innovative emerging leaders who share a desire to grow their networks.
“The real city building magic happens when established and emerging leaders collide and collaborate,” said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO of Civic Action. “Leadership is part of Civic Action’s DNA and we believe in growing strong civic leaders for today and tomorrow.”
Bright lights in attendance included Omidvar; Beth Wilson, managing partner GTA & Canadian managing partner of community leadership, KPMG; Karen Pitre, special adviser to the premier on community hubs; Zabeen Hirji, chief human resources officer, RBC, board member, Civic Action; Hon. Mitzie Hunter, associate minister of finance, responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan; Don Tapscott, CEO, The Tapscott Group; Ken Tanenbaum, vice-chairman, Kilmer Van Nostrand Co.; and Lisa DeWilde, CEO, TVO. Metro Next sponsors included event host and partner TELUS; media partner Toronto Life; and event partners EY and IBM.
From left, Terry Cooke, president and CEO, Hamilton Community Foundation; Keanin Loomis, president and CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce; Trish Loomis, director, office of the president, Mohawk College; and Jim Commerford, president & CEO, YMCA
From left, Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction; Hon.
Mitzie Hunter, associate minister of finance, responsible for the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan; and
Rod Phillips, chair, Postmedia Network, CivicAction.
Ritesh Kotak, left, Research and Innovation Strategist, Toronto Police Service; and Don Tapscott, CEO, The Tapscott Group.