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Barnes, Sylvia (MBA Schulich)
Earlier this year, Sylvia joined the board of directors of Teekay LNG Partners, one of the world’s largest marine energy transportation, storage and production companies. She is currently a principal and owner of Tanda Resources LLC, a privately held oil and gas investment and consulting company.
Benayon, Charles (BA Health)
In 2003, Charles founded Aspiria Corp., a Canadian company offering employee and student assistance programs in the form of mental health counselling. Active in his community, Charles donates his time by volunteering at Toronto East General Hospital and co-chairing Tourette Canada’s annual charity golf tournament.
Exton-Parder, Trish (BA Mass Communications)
A summer job in the community relations department at the Calgary Zoo inspired Trish to fall in love with media relations, focusing on creating stories about conservation. After graduation, she landed a permanent job at the zoo, which led to a rewarding 34-year career with the organization. She retired in January.
Presement, Brian (BA Hons. Political Science)
Recently, Brian was appointed chief executive officer of Duncan Park, a Toronto-based minerals exploration corporation. He is president and CEO of Unite Communications Corporation and, before that, vice-president business development of telecom company VOXX.
Grates, Toni (BA Theatre)
Following graduation, Toni founded the Travelling Stage, an arts education company working in partnership with Mirvish Productions and providing students and teachers with an opportunity to participate in dance, drama and music workshops alongside established performing artists and instructors. Presently, it services 36 school boards across Ontario and Manitoba.
Di Marco, Liana (MA Environmental Studies)
A multimedia artist, writer, teacher and musician, Liana creates work around themes of survival, free speech, justice, faith and hope. In 2019, she published her first book, Beyond Pain: Livin’ La Vita, a collection of poetry, art and short stories.
Forte, Mieka (BA Health)
A certified yoga instructor, Mieka incorporates yoga philosophy with her clients and teaches happiness workshops. Recently, she published her first book, The Many Sides of Happy, about her own stories and happiness strategies. Mieka lives in Ontario and is happily married with two energetic sons.
Scrimger, Mary-Margaret (BA English)
Mary-Margaret worked in the publishing and finance fields before receiving training in circus arts, a hobby that turned into a career. Today, 11 years later, she spends many days hanging in the air as a trapeze specialist. With Anandam Dancetheatre, Mary-Margaret performed in Glaciology and Cascades, large-scale works presented at Nuit Blanche Toronto in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Akinwekomi, Tosin (BAS)
Over the past decade, Tosin has led transformational initiatives in the financial services and non-profit sectors. Currently, as director of change management for RBC’s internal audit transformation, he is looking to reshape the future of auditing. Outside of work, Tosin is the co-founder of Beam Inc., a non-profit that, from 2008 to 2016, rebuilt two schools in Nigeria and provided school supplies for 3,000-plus underprivileged children.
Liu, Vincent (iBBA Schulich)
Working in accounting and advisory roles for the early part of his career, Vincent joined RBC’s corporate development team in 2012. As an early member of RBC Ventures, in 2017 he co-founded Butter, a web app that tracks and manages paid online subscription services (including Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Prime) while paying cash rewards.
Mudimu, Rufaro (BA Hons. International Development Studies)
While attending York, Rufaro worked at both the Centre for Student Success and the International Students’ Association at York, experience that led to a career in the non-profit social enterprise industries in Canada and South Africa. In 2019, Africa’s leading media and public relations agency, Avance Media, named her one of the 100 Most Influential Young South Africans in the Social Enterprise and Philanthropy category.
Singh, Lilly (BA Health ’10)
Earlier this year on the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” it was announced that Lilly would be replacing Carson Daly as the host of NBC’s late-night talk show. With the launch this fall of “A Little Late with Lilly Singh,” the Toronto-raised comic and YouTube star is the only female hosting a late-night talk show on one of the four major U.S. television networks.
Ambrosino, Pascal (BBA Schulich)
After more than five years of working in corporate Canada, Pascal moved to Rwanda and co-founded two social enterprises: FinanceYOU, launched in 2017, which provides consulting services and customized training programs to finance teams in both non-profit and for-profit organizations; and the African Accounting Academy, launched in 2018, which develops the next generation of accountants in the region.
Kohli, Neha (BBA Schulich)
The founder of her own tax consulting practice, Neha divides her time between being a chartered professional accountant and a comedian. A graduate of the Second City’s Conservatory program, she received the organization’s 2018 Diversity Fellowship, awarded to the 15 brightest new voices in comedy. Neha currently teaches for the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and is a program designer and facilitator for the Artscape Daniels Launchpad.
Obeng, Augustine (BA Hons. Criminology, BEd)
After leaving York, Augustine landed a teaching job with the Toronto District School Board in 2015. The following year, he published Changing Lanes: The First XXV, an ebook based on his work with youth from the Jane-Finch community where he grew up. In 2016, Augustine was accepted into the Master of Social Work program at the University of Toronto, where he won the Ghanaian-Canadian Social Service Award. Today, he works with Unison Health & Community Services in North York, Ont.
Rizzi, Deryn (MA Disaster & Emergency Management)
Deryn is the new chief of the Vaughan Fire & Rescue Service and the first woman to hold that role. She joined the service in 2001 as a firefighter and was promoted rapidly through the ranks, rising to acting captain and eventually captain. An aide-de-camp to Ontario’s lieutenant-governor, Deryn is currently completing a PhD in gender, feminist and women’s studies at York University.
Mirenzi, Vincent-Philip (BA English ’14)
From 2015 to 2018, Vincent-Philip helmed NFL Canada’s social media channels and provided on-site coverage of Super Bowls 50, LI and LII. As well, he helped execute The Great Canadian Handoff, a groundbreaking program celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary in which NFL players and personnel with Canadian ties handed the Canadian flag off to one another when their teams played during the 2017-18 season.
Pratt, Dan (BA Hons. Political Science)
For the past two years, Dan has been hiking long-distance trails around the world. Recently, he successfully hiked the 2,000-kilometre Peace Trail between Jordan and Israel. His next adventure will take him from Canada to Mexico, travelling 4,989 kilometres along the Continental Divide Trail.
Durward, Luke (BA Health)
At York, Luke won the 2013 university-wide “This Is My Time” vision contest after writing an essay in which he forecasted that by 2023, as CEO of a fitness and nutrition company, he would make Canada the leader in reversing the growing number of obesity and type 2 diabetes cases. Today, as an entrepreneur and owner of the Village Gym Vaughan, Luke is making good on that goal by encouraging others to live a healthy lifestyle.
Willey, Kim (LLM Osgoode)
Kim is a corporate mergers and acquisitions lawyer with 15-plus years of experience advising boards of directors and senior executives. She currently advises as a senior corporate counsel at ASW Law Limited and teaches business associations at the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria. Kim completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge and her thesis, “Stock Market Short-Termism: Law, Regulation, and Reform,” is scheduled to be published as a book this fall.
Ng, Peggy (Professor, BA ’80, MA ’83)
An accomplished statistician, Peggy joined the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at York University in 1996. A past president of the Southern Ontario Regional Association of the Statistical Society of Canada, she leaves behind a rich legacy of research in the areas of patient safety and modelling of health statistics, in addition to countless papers on qualitative inquiries concerning environmental health and quality of life in oncology. Peggy passed away at the age of 64 on May 4.
Tait, Terence J. (LLB Osgoode ’66)
After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School, Terry served as corporate counsel for Goodyear Tire Canada. In 1968, he moved to Kingston, Ont., entering a partnership with James Herrington. Upon his retirement from law in 2003, he focused on managing his real estate holdings and giving his time generously, undertaking leadership roles in several organizations and boards. He died peacefully at Providence Care Hospital at the age of 77 on June 1.
d'Augerot-Arend, Sylvie (Professor Emerita, BA ’72, MA ’74, PhD ’82)
A graduate of York University, Sylvie joined the Glendon Department of Political Science where, in 1994, she was awarded a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada strategic grant to study the presence and activities of francophone women in the Greater Toronto Area. A beloved teacher, colleague, researcher and author whose academic career was at Glendon until her retirement in 2002, Sylvie was born into a distinguished French aristocratic family that has one ancestor’s name on her mother’s side engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. She passed away in Toronto on April 8.