RECIPIENTS OF THE 2015 TRANSFORMATION AWARDS
INNOVATION AWARD | Steve Gupta
President & CEO, Easton's Group of Hotels
Steve Gupta is the founder of Easton Group of companies. With over 15 hotels, the flagship hotel properties of Easton's Group
include the industry's most renowned brands like Marriott, Hilton and Starwood in increasingly diverse locations. Since 2004,
Gupta has built a new hotel every year. His 47 storey Condo project; "Dundas Square Gardens" gained him the recognition of
Top High-Rise Builder in the Greater Toronto Area by RealNet Market report in 2014. This iconic residential Toronto landmark
was also recognized by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) with the Gold Award for best Architectural design of
A High-Rise in North America.
LEADERSHIP AWARD | Kevin Graff
President & CEO, Graff Retail
Kevin Graff is the President and CEO of Graff Retail. Founded in 1988, it works with retailers to increase their revenue
through improved staff performance. For over 27 years, Graff Retail has worked with clients like Costco Wholesale,
Rogers Wireless, Staples, Roots, Sony, Home Hardware, Bauer Corporation, Canada Post, Hudson's Bay, Loblaws Supermarkets,
Shoppers Drug Mart, Carter's OshKosh and hundreds of others. He has spoken globally at conferences in Moscow, India, Singapore,
Copenhagen, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. As well, Graff has served as instructor at the International Leadership
Development Program (ILDP) of the Wholesale and Retail Education & Training Authority of South Africa.
HERITAGE AWARD | Christine Williams
Vice President, Scotiabank
With a career spanning over 38 years with Scotiabank, Christine Williams is a seasoned and highly accomplished executive,
who combines incisive strategic leadership talents with a proven ability to build and develop high performance teams.
Passionately participating in a gamut of community organizations and charities, Christine has held directorship
roles in organizations such as PACE Canada, The Scarborough Hospital Foundation, The Scarborough Chamber of Commerce,
The College Compensation and Appointments Council and chair of Tropicana Community Services.
ENTERPRISE AWARD | Jeremy Diamond
Founder & Partner, Diamond & Diamond Lawyers
Jeremy Diamond is a Lawyer, Founder and Partner at Diamond & Diamond Personal Injury Lawyers, Ontario's fastest growing personal
injury firm. In the past two years, the firm has added 11 offices across the province of Ontario, answering the call for tough
advocacy for injured plaintiffs. Diamond obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree from York University in 1995 with a special
interest in psychology. In 2001, he received his Juris Doctoris at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and also attended Osgoode
Hall Law School. He was called to the bar in Florida in 2002 and in Ontario in 2008.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD | Scott Haldane
President & CEO, YMCA Canada
Scott Haldane is President and Chief Executive Officer of YMCA Canada, which represents 50 YMCAs and YMCAs-YWCAs in Canada
that involve over 2 million people annually. He has an extensive 38-year history with the YMCA. His first contact with the
YMCA was in 1969 in his hometown of Montreal, as a part-time summer swimming instructor. In the decades following,
he has held a variety of senior management positions including Executive Director of the West Island branch in Montreal;
National Director of Employment Initiatives with YMCA Canada; President and CEO of the YMCA of Hamilton and Burlington;
as well as President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
HARMONY AWARD | Rahul K. Bhardwaj
President & CEO, Toronto Community Foundation
In his role as President & CEO of the Toronto Community Foundation, Rahul Bhardwaj has been working to engage philanthropy
to improve the quality of life in Toronto for many years. Formerly a corporate lawyer with a leading Canadian law firm,
he was also Vice President of the Toronto 2008 Olympic Bid. As part of the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Fiscal review panel in 2008,
Bhardwaj was involved in identifying efficiencies for the City of Toronto. A year later, the Province of Ontario appointed
him to the Board of Metrolinx, an organization developing and implementing an overall transit strategy for the Greater
Toronto and Hamilton Area.
PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE AWARD | William Onuwa
Senior Vice President & Head of Insurance Risk Management, RBC
Dr. William Onuwa is Senior Vice President at Royal Bank of Canada and is the Global Head of Wealth & Insurance Risk Management
at the bank. He serves on the executive team responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for these two businesses.
He is also an active Board Member and Director of various subsidiaries of RBC Insurance. Prior to Joining Royal Bank in 2007,
Onuwa worked with General Electric (USA) as the European General Manager, Asset Management in England. He has also held various
other executive leadership positions in the USA for GE. Onuwa's career, which started in England, has seen him hold a variety
of senior executive leadership positions in the Caribbean, USA, and UK financial services industry.
PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD | Albert Wong
Citizenship & Immigration Judge and ADC to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Appointed Citizenship Judge in June 2014, Albert Wong was a Lieutenant Commander in the Canadian Armed Forces,
where he served the nation with distinction for over thirty-five years. He had various public affairs positions
with the military across Canada; with the United Nations in Eritrea and Ethiopia; with multinational military headquartered
in Copenhagen, Denmark; and in Afghanistan, where he was a Strategic Communications Advisor regarding human capacity development.
He is currently serving as the Chief Aide-de-Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and was awarded the Vice-Regal
commendation in 2014.
MEDIA AWARD | Paritosh Mehta
Director, Independent Productions, OMNI Television
Paritosh Mehta joined OMNI Television, a division of Rogers Media and one of Canada's largest integrated media organizations
in December 1998. As Director of Independent Production Development, Mehta is responsible for creating and sourcing original
content for television and digital platforms, ensuring compliance with OMNI's licensing commitments, coaching and mentoring
independent producers, managing the overall budget and the contract management function for independent productions.
During his time at OMNI, Mehta has commissioned award-winning documentaries, scripted programming and reality productions.
DEVELOPMENT AWARD | Safia Ahmed
Executive Director, Rexdale Community Health Centre
Safia Ahmed is the Executive Director of Rexdale Community Health Centre, an organization that provides a range of medical,
dental, physical and mental health services, community programs and advocacy for individuals and families. Prior to this work,
she was the Director of Primary Health Care at Parkdale Community Health Centre, District Officer with Ombudsman Ontario
and Manager of Finance at Nellie's Shelter for Women and Children. Ahmed also worked with The United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) as a Programme Officer.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD | Ricky Veerappan
Inspector, York Regional Police
Inspector Ricky Veerappan of York Regional Police has volunteered hundreds of hours to York Regional Police's Adopt
a Mission Jamaican Project, Missionaries Of The Poor orphanage in Kingston, Jamaica and supported countless community
organizations and events. He has led fundraisers, food, toy and clothing drives to provide the necessities of life to children
in the orphanage. Veerappan received YMCA Peace medallions in 2013. He received the highest honour of the year for building
peace in the community and inspiring the lives of others.
ENTERTAINMENT AWARD | Millie Knapp
President & CEO, Knapp Media
Over the last 20 years, Millie Knapp has gained and offered tremendous experience in media as a publisher, feature writer,
photographer and managing editor, delivering business and publishing expertise to Indigenous communities and businesses across
Canada and beyond. She has cultivated an international business and community network, served as a Panel and Advisory Board Member
for arts and entertainment programs as well as community groups. In high demand as a public speaker, Knapp has lectured about media,
publishing, the Native women's experience and as an entrepreneur.