RECIPIENTS AND THEIR AWARDS
Mayor Of The City Of Brampton
The 2013 Public Service Award
Currently serving her fourth term, Her Worship Susan Fennell, Mayor of the City of Brampton, is known for her accessibility, energy, enthusiasm, and deep commitment to Brampton and its residents. First elected in 1988, Mayor Fennell served on Brampton City Council and Peel Regional Council before becoming Mayor of Brampton in 2000. As Mayor, Fennell has established herself as a "people's politician" through her open style of communication with constituents. Through her leadership and experience, Brampton has grown to become one of Canada's most diverse and dynamic municipalities.
Mayor Fennell has prided herself in getting things done and delivering results for Brampton residents. Some of her achievements include the Rose Theatre, the Brampton Soccer Centre, Cassie Campbell Community Centre and Brampton's successful bus rapid transit, Zum. One of Mayor Fennell's first priorities was to eliminate Brampton's debt. The city has remained debt free for 10 consecutive years and is currently one of only two municipalities in Ontario with a Triple-A credit rating from Standard and Poors, a further accomplishment of which she is extremely proud.
Mayor Fennell is proud of the rich diversity that thrives in Brampton. She understands that Brampton's diversity is an important asset to help attract job-creating investments to Brampton. For these reasons, Susan has embarked on economic development trade missions to China, the Philippines and to India with the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
DR. MAMDOUH SHOUKRI
President & Vice Chancellor, York University
The 2013 Education Award
MamdouhShoukri, O.Ont., PhD, FCAE, P.Eng, was appointed the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of York University on July 1, 2007. A native of Egypt, Dr. Shoukri was previously at McMaster University, where he had been Vice-President, Research & International Affairs, since 2001 and prior to that, Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.
Dr. Shoukri is a member of the Board of Directors of Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) and the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation (CMSF). He is also Chair of the Government and Community Relations Committee for the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), and a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on the Act and By-Laws for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Dr. Shoukri has been active as an advocate of post-secondary education and the role of academic institutions in economic and social development. He is a frequent public speaker on issues such as innovation, education reform, internationalization of academic institutions and diversity in the post-secondary education sector.
In 2013, Dr. Shoukri was awarded the Order of Ontario, RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award and an Arab Ambassador’s Award. He is a Senior Fellow of Massey College, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering, and his professional memberships include the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, the Canadian Nuclear Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dr. Shoukri’s scholarly interests are in thermo-fluid science and he is the author or co-author of more than 120 papers that have appeared in refereed journals and symposia.
Chairman, Canadian Race Relations Foundation
The 2013 Leadership Award
Albert Lo is the Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, (CRRF) a leading national voice for race relations in Canada, and an agent of change for the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination, with the aim to promote a more harmonious Canada. Lo has over 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors, including businesses and non-profit organizations. He has served as a Board member of Trinity Television of Winnipeg, and held several senior positions including Director of Programming, Balance as well as Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Partnership Development at NOWTV in British Columbia. He was instrumental in establishing strategic alliances supportive of cross-cultural and cross-religious dialogue through television programming and multi-ethnic forums.
A graduate of Guelph University, Lo was also a professional in the real estate industry and held a number of positions with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation from 1978 to 1997. He was a member of its Diversity Management Committee, Rotating Chair of the Employment Equity Committee, and Regional Representative for its Visible Minorities Advisory Group in British Columbia and Yukon. From 1990 to 1996, he was concurrently National President of the Advisory Group on Visible Minorities.
A champion of diversity and equity, Lo also played a major leadership role in various other organizations, notably in the areas of promoting understanding, respect and harmony, among the diverse ethno-cultural and multi-faith communities through television program production, multicultural workshops and seminars, as well as immigrant, youth and seniors support services. In recognition of his contributions to Canada, Lo received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
Chief Executive Officer, Ethnic Channels Group
The 2013 Media Award
Slava Levin is CEO and Co-founder of Ethnic Channels Group Limited, Canada’s largest distributor and broadcaster of international television. Levin is also founder of NexTV, a direct to consumer Internet television service and Nextologies, a broadcast video distribution company. He is an experienced media executive with an extensive background in broadcast media start-up, distribution and marketing.
Levin has served as Chief Operating Officer with NTV America, a major European television network in the United States; President of Operations for TVR Networks (USA) as well as President and Co-founder of International Satellite Antenna Services Ltd. Levin was also President of Levin Media Inc. which he co-founded. Levin was instrumental in obtaining 54 Category 2 Broadcast Distribution Licenses from the CRTC (Canadian Radio Telecommunications Commission) for Ethnic Channels Group Limited. His extensive ethnic media background consists of acquisitions, marketing, sales, distribution and operations.
Levin is a co-founding member and current Board Member of EBA – Ethnic Broadcaster of America. EBA is a non-profit, mutual benefit association that was formed to promote the interests of international programmers serving the North American market. Under Slava’s leadership, Ethnic Channels Group currently broadcasts and distributes 100+ services across North America. Slava continues to be a visionary, providing services that meet the diverse needs of Canada’s ethnic population, who are otherwise underserved by the market. He was born in Kiev, Ukraine, raised in Richmond Hill and graduated with a degree in architecture from Humber College. Slava currently resides in Richmond Hill with is wife Shari and his children, Josh and Ashley.
Governor At Centennial College; Chair Of William Osler Hospital And Executive Director Of Microskills
The 2013 Excellence Award
Kay Blair is the Executive Director of MicroSkills Development Centre. Applying a proactive, entrepreneurial and innovative approach, Blair has grown MicroSkills into a highly-successful community agency serving immigrants, low-income women and youth. From four employees in 1988 when Blair started, she has grown the organization to over 136 employees and a client base of over 30,000.
Blair is the current Chair of William Osler Health System’s Board of Directors and the Vice-Chair of Centennial College’s Board of Governors. She has served two terms as President of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). Blair frequently serves as a consultant to government and community groups on issues of access, equity and organizational and community development. A highly sought after speaker, She delivers presentations to governments, the corporate world and community agencies about diversity issues, newcomers, women, youth and other underprivileged groups.
In November 2008, Blair served as a member of the delegation accompanying Her Excellency The Right HonourableMichaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on her State Visit to Europe. She has received many awards including; Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100, Trailblazer Award, the YWCA Woman of Distinction, Community Leadership Award, the Premier’s Award for Community and Social Services, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) and the WXN Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 - 2011 Champions Award. Kay holds an MBA with a specialization in Leadership from Royal Roads University, and is currently an Ed.D. candidate at OISE, University of Toronto.
ROTARY CLUB OF RICHMOND HILL
The 2013 Transformation Award
The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill is one of the most vibrant clubs in the District, with a very diverse membership. The club has served the community since 1952, spearheading fundraising initiatives to fund various courses. For over 30 years, the club has been organizing their annual TV Auction covered by Rogers Television. The program has raised close to $2 million and the event has become a cornerstone of the charitable calendar in York Region. All proceeds go to local Community charities and to Rotary supported activities.
The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill participates in the Rotary Terry Fox Run, which raises close to $30,000 annually. 374 runners and volunteers from the community contribute to the success of the event. All proceeds go to Cancer Research in Canada. Over the last few years, the Rotary Club of Richmond Hill has focused on disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, basic education and literacy as well as economic and community development in Canada and internationally. The club raised over $250,000 during their African Night gala, in partnership with other clubs in Canada, to support a water project in Ghana.
The club’s president is NasirAzam, a native of Pakistan. Under Azam’s leadership, the club has successfully implemented several initiatives, including the International Night Gala. Proceeds of the gala is matched 7 times by partners. The funds support ultrasound system installation to prevent transmission of HIV and improving maternal/child health in rural Uganda. The Rotary Club of Richmond Hill Craft Beer Festival is the first festival of its kind to raise funds for charity.
Architect, Planner & Philosopher
The 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award
Douglas Cardinal is well-known for graceful architecture influenced by his Aboriginal heritage, as well as European Expressionist architecture. He has undertaken several groundbreaking projects that have produced magnificent buildings including; the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec; National Museum of the American Indian in Washington; York Region Administrative Centre in Newmarket, Ontario; and First Nations University in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Cardinal has a deep understanding of architecture as a tool to better the world. As early as the 1960’s, he began using the amazing capability of computers in order to calculate complex organic forms. By the late 1970’s, Douglas Cardinal Architect became the first architectural practice to be entirely computerized.
Cardinal has received many national and international awards, including 17 Honorary Doctorates, Gold Medals of Architecture in Canada and Russia as well as an award from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) for best sustainable village. He was also titled an Officer of the Order of Canada, one of the most prestigious awards given to a Canadian, and was awarded the declaration of being “World Master of Contemporary Architecture” by the International Association of Architects.
President, National Ethnic Press & Media Council Of Canada
The 2013 Harmony Award
Thomas S. Saras is the President of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC). With members counting more than 600 print publications, broadcast organizations and online publications, the organization provides an opportunity for its members to integrate into the Canadian media sphere. Members include newspaper, radio, television as well as online media proprietors and journalists.
Saras is also the publisher and CEO of Patrides, a 43 year old publication in Greek and English, which circulates all over North America. A well known journalist in Canada and the United States of America, he has served as a consultant with the government of Ontario and Canada. As President and CEO of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, he appeared in a special committee for telecommunications at the Senate of Canada, asking for recognition and support for members of the ethnic press of Canada.
He also negotiated with Public Works Canada and Canadian Heritage for the inclusion of ethnic publications in the various funding programs of the government of Canada. Due to his efforts, ethnic publications were included in the Aid To Publishers program. One of Saras’ most profound achievements was negotiating with the government of Ontario for the sector to be exempted from HST. He has interviewed Canadian Prime Ministers and Premiers of the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
SIR KARIM HAKIMI
Founder And President, Hakim Optical
The 2013 Innovation Award
Sir KarimHakimi is the Founder and President of Hakim Optical, a leading network of stores. Hakim Optical operates over 160 eyewear outlets, including 140 one-hour factory outlets. Karim was born in Iran and when his father died at age five, he entered the workforce to support his family. He worked as a lens maker’s apprentice, selling lenses in the bustling markets of Iran’s urban capital, Tehran, where he made 10 cents a day. Karim didn’t have the chance to go to school as a child when his father died, but at age 17, he took possession of his future and went to high school. He obtained his diploma in a mere two years and went off to join the Iranian navy.
Karim’s travels with the military brought him abroad to Germany, where he continued crafting lenses. Later in Switzerland, he began to refine his expertise through creating lenses for instruments like cameras. In 1968, Karim took a leap of faith and moved to Canada, where he opened a wholesale lens store in Toronto, selling the lenses he made in Europe. A year later, he opened his first optical store on Dundas Street in Mississauga and the rest is history. Since the 1960’s, the Hakim empire has continued to boom.
Hakim Optical offers high-end fashion. By consistently offering value, selection and excellent customer service, Sir KarimHakimi has turned a one-person operation into one of the most successful optical companies in Canada, with over 40 million pairs of eyeglasses sold to date. KarimHakimi is the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and has been inducted as a knight under The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta.
DENISE HERRERA JACKSON
CEO Of Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival
The 2013 Heritage Award
Denise Herrera Jackson is the Chief Executive Officer of Festival Management Committee, which produces the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Established about half a century ago, it is the largest street festival in North America. With attendance of one million for the parade and two million overall, it generates over $400 million into Ontario’s economy annually. Under her leadership, the festival has grown in audience participation and stakeholders have increased.
Ms. Jackson holds a degree in Journalism and a Masters degree in Environmental Studies. A founding member of Caribbean Tales, she has also served on the Programming Committee of Harbourfront Centre, helping to ensure that diversity is reflected at the centre. She has also worked as Information Technology Consultant in banking, insurance, the public sector and others. Her expertise is in test management, quality assurance, business and process analysis, information development, technical writing, virtualization, IT service and asset management, data migration, encryption and security, as well as the provision of training.
Over the years, Ms. Jackson has been involved with the production of a number of commercial theatricals in Toronto. She started playing piano at age 7, sang and competed in several music festivals and was also a member of a dance company in Trinidad. As Chief Executive for Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, her passion and commitment to fostering impact and transformation via culture and the arts has never been stronger.
President And CEO, Paystation Inc.
The 2013 Enterprise Award
ArunSrivastava is the President and CEO of Paystation Inc. The Son of a renowned National Research Council of Canada scientist with a Ph.D. from Minnesota University in the USA, young Srivastava moved with his parents to India at age three. Born in Ottawa, Canada, he obtained a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from Ahmedabad city. At 22, he was a Management Trainee at Bhilwara Group. Upon getting married, he moved back to Canada.
Srivastava persevered throughout the tough times of the 1990s, obtaining the professional Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. His first finance job was at NEC in the position of Inventory Accountant. In 1989, Srivastava joined Paymaster Cheque Writers. With an eagle’s eye, a lion’s mind and a tiger’s spirit, Srivastava rose through the ranks, becoming President of Paystation Inc. (formerly Paymaster Cheque Writers Canada), in nine short years. A confidante to the previous owner & CEO, he accorded the company prestige and influence.
Within three years as President, Mr. Srivastava turned Paystation Inc., which was bleeding red and weighed down by debt, to profitability with a handsome balance sheet. He grew the Shredder division by over 300% and introduced proprietary software. In 2011, Srivastava became CEO & the sole owner. Today, Paystation is the only Canadian company providing end to end solutions to financial institutions, with a new image-based cheque system. Paystation Inc. is a principal provider of financial institution payment solutions since 1955, as well as ‘confidentiality partner’ for governments, banks and other businesses. For his great inspiration, ArunSrivastava was named a 2013 Visionary Star by Diversity Magazine.
Grammy & Multiple Juno Award Winner
The 2013 Entertainment Award
Dan Hill is an internationally renowned author, singer and songwriter. Winner of a Grammy as co-producer of “Seduces Me” on Celine Dion’s 30 plus million-selling “Falling In to You” album, Hill has also bagged five Juno Awards and the Harold Moon Lifetime Songwriting Achievement Award. He has recorded and released multiple gold and platinum albums. His classic hits including “Sometimes When We Touch” closed in on 5 million spins in America alone and has been sung by hundreds of artists around the world.
Dan Hill’s “Can’t We Try” was #1 Billboard Adult Contemporary Record of the Year. “Never Thought That I Could Love” was also #1 Adult Contemporary record and remains in high rotation on Adult Contemporary radio stations around the world. Dan has also enjoyed consistent success as a ‘behind the scenes’ songwriter. His compositions have been recorded by various popular artists, spanning several music genres including; pop singers Celine Dion, Britney Spears, 98 Degrees, The Backstreet Boys, Rod Stewart, Jennifer Rush and Michael Bolton; R&B singers Tina Turner, George Benson, and Jeffrey Osborne and country singers Tammy Wynette, Sammy Kershaw, Mark Wills, Reba, Alan Jackson, and Lorrie Morgan.
In 2009, Dan Hill published his highly acclaimed memoir, I Am My Father’s Son. In 2011 Dan’s tour to the Philippines, where he played with Stephen Bishop and Yvonne Elliman at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, was a sold out show. Hill was featured in the book, Music from Far and Wide: Celebrating 40 Years of the Juno Awards.