Michelle DiEmanuele (BA ’87, Political Science) was appointed Ontario’s Secretary of the Cabinet, Head of the Public Service and Clerk of the Executive Council in June, 2021. She is currently on leave from her position as President and CEO of Trillium Health Partners. Among her many accolades, Michelle has been recognized in Hall of Fame of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, as a Top 40 under 40, and has received the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Order of Ontario.
Elizabeth Kerr (BA’ 87, Spanish) recently become a Chef after completing the two-year program and receiving her Diploma in Cookery at the Stratford Chefs School (‘where the best chefs train’). Currently, Elizabeth is studying hard to prepare for her Red Seal exam and can be found working at The Common in Stratford.
Cheryl Smith (BA ’88, Economics) was recently inducted into the inaugural Grocery Business Magazine 2021 Hall of Fame. Cheryl, CEO of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, has over 30 years of leadership experience in consumer packaged goods. Prior to joining DFO, she held several executive positions at Lactalis Canada as well as a variety of marketing roles at Rogers Media and Unilever. She serves on numerous industry and charitable boards. In 2012, she was named to Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards, and in 2019, received the Golden Pencil award. Cheryl also has a Masters of Applied Science from the Faculty of Engineering (MASc ’90, Management Sciences).
Ahsan Tayyab (MA ’85, Economics) retired from the Asian Development Bank in December 2020 after being associated with the organization for over 26 years. With 11 years at ADB field offices in Sri Lanka and Pakistan, Ahsan’s experience included developing and managing projects, primarily in agriculture and rural development in South Asia, South East Asia and Central West Regions. Earlier in his career Ahsan worked with the United Nations and was responsible for a range of rural development initiatives in Pakistan, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Currently Ahsan is enjoying his time volunteering and hopes to travel in the near future.
Robert Borras (BA’97 French, MA’95 Political Science BA’92 Honours Political Science and Spanish) graduated from Queen’s University with a Ph.D. in Political Studies in the Fall of 2020. During his studies, he completed his dissertation The Island on the Hill: A Kingdonian Analysis of Congressional Decision-Making on the Puerto Rican Question. Currently, he is seeking work as a lecturer in Comparative Politics of Developing Nations in a 125 km radius from Waterloo.
Bettianne Hedges (BA ’90, Philosophy) published her first novel, Practise of Her Profession in 2020. Along with her love of writing, Bettianne is also a Facilitator with the Real Estate Education Program at Humber College and a Real Estate Broker.
Nancy Bird (BA ‘92, English) An experienced senior leader with over 20 years of experience working for non-profit organizations, Nancy was promoted to VP, Strategy and Business Development at United Way Waterloo Region Communities earlier this year. With this position, Nancy will continue to help the United Way Waterloo Region Communities grow so that those in need can have better health, education, and financial stability. Nancy has also received a master's degree in Leadership from the University of Guelph.
Jane Sillberg (BA ’93, Psychology) After graduating from Waterloo, Jane joined Canada Trust (now TD Canada Trust) in London, ON, where she spent 17 years in nine different positions. Jane subsequently went on to start her own consulting business, working for mostly large organizations doing management assessments, conflict resolution and a variety of training before returning to corporate life as VP of Human Resources and earning her Masters in Business Management online. Jane also had the opportunity to work internationally with Intuit in the UK, and most recently as Global VP of HR IBI Group. Jane is now happily retired, and enjoys spending time with her family (which includes 12 grandchildren).
Veronica Smith (BA ’97, Social Development Studies) was recently elected as Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation’s new Chief. Chief Veronica “Cha-Cha” Smith, who served five terms as band councillor from 2007 to 2017, easily won the seven-person race, well ahead of her next closest challenger. Since graduation Veronica has worked in Indigenous Child Protection, most recently served as Child Welfare Advisor for the Independent First Nations. One of Veronica’s top priorities, will be to help determine Saugeen Ojibway Nation’s next steps regarding its title claim to parts of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay waterbeds within the Nation's traditional territory.
Melanie Will (BA ‘99 Social Development Studies) recently became the new Director of Organizational and Human Development at the University of Waterloo after gaining 20 years of experience working in various roles, including being the Director of Talent and Organizational Development at Wilfrid Laurier University. Melanie has also received a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa, a Master of Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and is a Certified Professional Facilitator.
Carolyn Huizinga Mills (BA ’00, Psychology) is the author of the recently released novel The Good Son (Cormorant Books, 2021). Carolyn has also written a picture book, The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2017) which was a 2018 OLA Blue Spruce Honour Book. In addition to writing, Carolyn teaches grade 7 at Laurentian Senior Public in Kitchener where one of her goals is to inspire her students to find and develop their own voices.
Muneeba Omar (BA ’05, Political Science) has been appointed as Director of Inclusive Growth programming at the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario. In her new role, she is responsible for the delivery of entrepreneurship programs and supports to diverse groups, and advancing economic development through the lens of inclusivity.
Emily Schooley (BA ’07, Drama) award-winning actor and emerging filmmaker, was recently selected to be part of the Banff Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media. Emily’s company, Laughing Cat Productions, specializes in creating media content that authentically portrays diverse characters in compelling leading roles. Her last two short films — Psyche, and Life and the Art of Lying — were both recognized with festival awards, with the latter now available to watch on a number of video-on-demand sites. To help support Emily's work, and get insider updates on new film and television projects in development, join her community on Patreon.
David Tubbs (BA ’08, History) joined ApplyBoard as Director of Marketing Communications in March 2021. The Kitchener-Waterloo based company, which supports students as they apply to higher education institutions was recently valued at over $4 billion CAD, with its workforce doubling in the last year. David is excited to build and lead the Marketing Communications team in this tremendous growth. Prior to ApplyBoard, David was the Associate Director in Executive Communications at the University of Waterloo.
Landon Jennings (BA ’17, Legal Studies, Sociology & Business, MA ’19, Sociology) After her last position at St. Paul’s University College as the Advancement Alumni Relations Coordinator, Landon has recently become the Senior Coordinator of Leadership Gifts at St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation. Here, and along with her more than five years of experience working with non-profits and post-secondary institutions, she can continue using her expertise in fundraising to help residents in and around the Waterloo Region.
Lisa Moore (BA ’13, Political Science and Business) After building out the HR function at Intellijoint Surgical Inc. for nearly four years, Lisa joined Faire as the HR Business Partner Lead and first Canadian HR hire earlier this year. Faire is an online wholesale marketplace that connects communities to independent local businesses across North America. In Canada, Faire will be opening a new office in Waterloo at 85 Willis Way (the former Shopify space) as well as an office in downtown Toronto. Lisa’s expertise includes HR Strategy, Culture, Leadership Development, and Performance Management.
Sulamita Romanchik, (MA ’19, Global Governance) recently became a Senior Policy Officer in the Human Rights and Indigenous Affairs Policy Office at Global Affairs Canada. She will be working on Canada’s engagement with the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as covering human rights files in Latin America. Sulamita was previously a Policy Analyst at Global Affairs Canada and worked as an intern at the United Nations.
Meg Vander Woude (MA ’13, English Rhetoric and Communication Design) published her first knitting pattern book. Show Your Floats: A Digest for Adventurous Sock Knitters brings stipes and geometric shapes together in a new way. The collection is written with easy-to-follow instructions and tutorials that will empower new sock knitters to master the craft. Advanced sock knitters will discover something new with four unexpected stitch patterns meant for adventurous colourplay.
Lana Dadson (Splettstoesser) (BA’ 21, Political Science and Business) was a recent recipient of the CCAE TD Insurance Melloche Monnex Fellowship in Advancement.During her fellowship, Lana will continue to work with the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment and Development Advancement teams to further develop her expertise in fundraising for higher-education. Previously, through one of her co-operative education placements, Lana became a Development & Communications volunteer for Maya Traditions Foundation where she helped raise over $55,000 to support Maya women in Guatemala. Lana is celebrating the one-year anniversary of her pandemic wedding on August 21.
Share your news. We invite all Arts alumni to submit a class note with any personal or professional updates (in about 75 words), which we will be happy to include in a future issue of Arts & Letters.