A 2016 Young Alumni Achievement Award nominee:

Nirvana Champion standing against a brick wallNirvana Champion, a graduate of the Local Economic Development program, has travelled the world pursing her goal of creating a more sustainable world. Champion parlayed her education and work experience in the public and private sector into a position as an economic development officer with the City of Toronto joining the Entrepreneurship Services team as the youngest economic development officer in the division. She was charged with authoring a five-year strategic plan to guide the work of entrepreneurship services. This strategic plan is the first of its kind for Toronto.

Getting there took a journey fueled by commitment and dedication.

Selected as the only Canadian to intern at the United Nations' Economic Cooperation and Integration division in Geneva, she helped built a Toolkit on public-private partnerships. She later worked as a senior development analyst with Canada's top economic development consulting firm Millier Dickinson Blais. And she created strategies for community change, running a one-woman economic development office in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. At the City of Toronto, she has helped foster a climate for entrepreneurial success, authoring the City's Startup Eco-System Strategy, which was unanimously approved and received immediate budget support. 

Fueled by a goal to build a community of Ontario’s next leaders, Champion's impressive impact extends beyond her accomplished professional life. She established a Young Professionals Network for the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO-YPN), and served as its first President. Under her leadership the network grew to more than 200 members, hosted numerous mentorship and networking events and has recognized rising talent through a Young Professional of the Year award.  Champion continues to be involved in the YPN and was recognized in 2012 with the EDCO President's Award.

Champions connection to the University of Waterloo deepens as her career progresses. She has participated in the Local Economic Development professional panel for the past three years, served as guest speaker in professional development courses and has contributed to the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development’s Higher ED blog