The 2019 Alumni Awards honour proud graduates whose passion, creativity and courage are transforming the world. Join us as we celebrate remarkable alumni, including a leader in green building and sustainable development, an educator on medical cannabis, an expert in information security analysis and the first female deputy governor of the Bank of Canada.
Faculty of Arts
Dianne Carmichael (BA ’06): Alumni Achievement Award
When Dianne Carmichael’s Dad was diagnosed with cancer, she decided to leave her role as Chairperson & CEO of a publicly traded investment firm to focus on helping Canadians by empowering those touched by profound illness.
Working with two Harvard professors, Carmichael helped create a telemedicine platform that connected patients with the top 2% of medical experts worldwide. Today, more than 6 million Canadian and 40 million international patients have access, changing diagnoses 22% of the time and modifying treatment 61%. The company went on to be sold for $500 million.
Most recently as President and Head of Strategy and M&A at McKesson, a Fortune 5 healthcare company, she brought investment and systematic change to Canadian health care. Prior to that, Carmichael was President, UHN Solutions at UHN, Canada’s leading group of research hospitals, and Managing Director, MaRS Health and Innovation.
Carmichael is currently the Chief Advisor for the HealthTech division for the Council of Canadian Innovators, where she brings the voices of Canadian tech CEOs to government and policy makers, and continues to make a difference for patients by helping health-tech companies bring high impact innovations to scale globally through her company, Carmichael Global Partners.
She serves on numerous healthcare boards, including Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital, PatientsCanada, CAPCH, Centre for Regenerative Medicine & W.I.N. She was awarded Canada’s Most Powerful Women by WXN and Canadian Women Transforming Health Care.
Marc Hall (BA ’09): Young Alumni Award
After graduating from Waterloo, Hall received his MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London in the UK – one of the top programs in the world for neuroscience.
Hall now works as a Research Associate for the University of Calgary’s Nursing Research Office where he mentors, trains, and assists faculty, students, and staff on how to do research, especially project coordination, data collection, ethics, and analysis. He is a co-author on multiple publications and presentations. He was awarded the 2017 Faculty of Nursing Above and Beyond Award and the 2017 Outstanding Team Award.
Hall continues to make significant contributions as an activist and storyteller for LGBTQ+ rights. Since 2002, when he won a court injunction against his high school board in Oshawa for the right to take his boyfriend to prom, his story has been made into a documentary (2002), a made-for-TV movie (2004), and most recently been adapted into the musical The Louder We Get. The musical has seen much success with workshops at Sheridan College (2014), New York City’s Festival of New Musicals (2016), and Other Palace in London (2018), and opened at Theatre Calgary for a 28-show run in January 2020. As a result, Hall continues to travel across Canada to share his experiences in high schools and universities, inspiring a new generation of students in the country.
School of Accounting and Finance
Akash Kapoor (BAFM ’14, MAcc ’14): Young Alumni Award
Akash Kapoor is currently pursuing his MBA at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, Illinois, majoring in Strategy and Technology Management. Previously, Kapoor was a Manager at Strategy&, specializing in corporate and customer strategies and digital transformations for clients in the telecommunications, media, and technology sectors. Prior to Strategy&, Kapoor helped launch and scale a risk analytics platform for PwC Canada’s audit practice and was recognized as an innovative leader. He was the recipient of the PwC Google Innovation Award and has presented to large audiences at several technology and analytics keynotes at PwC. Kapoor graduated Summa Cum Laude from the BAFM and MAcc program from the University of Waterloo in 2014 and was the National CPA Gold Medalist on the 2014 Uniform Final Evaluation.
Outside of work, Kapoor launched Canada’s first and only CPA exam preparation iOS, Android, and web platform in partnership with PASS consultancy (https://www.passyourcpa.ca/app/). He has also continued to engage with his alma mater as Lecturer in 2017 and more recently as the developer of a first-year accounting course for an online degree program. Kapoor aspires to continually engage, inspire, and imagine the unimagined as he takes on exciting endeavors in his professional journey.
Michelle Lam (BA ’01, MAcc ’01): Alumni Achievement Award
Michelle Lam founded True&Co in 2012 and successfully sold the direct-to-consumer digital intimate apparel brand to PVH Corp., the parent company of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, in 2017. The company was started in her living room, creating the very first intimate apparel Fit Quiz together with a group of women and 500 bras that she bought on her personal credit card. Since launching, more than 7 million women have taken the quiz, sharing over 200 million data points about her body, her life and her tastes. True&Co compiles this feedback and through the help of the community, drives personalized marketing and consumer-centric product design.
As a result of her consumer-driven work, Lam was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People, and was honored by the National Retail Federation as part of “The List of People Shaping Retail's Future.”
Previously, Lam was the first female investor at Bain Capital Ventures, where she invested in deals like LinkedIn and worked on companies like online pioneer Rent The Runway. She had previous stints at Microsoft Corporate Strategy, Boston Consulting Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Michael F. Garvey (BA ’69): Lifetime Achievement Award
After graduating in 1969 from the University of Waterloo, Mike Garvey joined Price Waterhouse in Toronto. In July 2006, he retired as an Audit Partner. From 1976 to 1978, he was assigned to the International Firm’s Continuing Education Task Force, based in London, England. Commencing in 1984, he chaired the Canadian Firm’s National Continuing Education Committee until 1990. From 1995 to 2005, he developed and managed the Firm’s practice in Cuba.
Throughout his career, he volunteered his time to a number of organizations, including chairing the Boards of The Donwood Institute, the University of Waterloo, The Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences, the Friends of Ontario Universities and Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services. He has chaired many audit committees since 1983, including three public companies during the past ten years.
Garvey obtained his ICD.D designation in 2007. He serves as Executive Chairman and CEO of Kelvin Thermal Energy Inc. and is a Consulting Partner with Ortus Strategies (formerly FGI Europe AG).
Calvin Choi (BA ’01): International Alumni Achievement Award
Calvin Choi is the Chairman and CEO of AMTD Group, and the Founder and Chairman of AMTD Foundation. He is a seasoned banker with over 20 years of experience in investment banking, international capital markets, and professional auditing sectors. In 2019, Choi was named “Asia FinTech Leader” by the Singapore Fintech Association. In 2017, Choi was selected as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum. He was also selected by the Institutional Investor magazine as one of the global ‘‘Fintech Finance 35’’ in 2016.
Choi currently serves as the chairman and CEO of AMTD international (NYSE.HKIB). He also serves as a board director of Bank of Qingdao Co., Ltd. (SEHK: 3866 and SZSE: 002948) and the director of ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), which was founded by World Bank, Monetary Authority of Singapore, and ASEAN Bankers Association. Choi is also appointed as the Vice Chairman of Greater Bay Area Homeland Youth Community Foundation, Honourable President of Hong Kong Army Cadets Association, and Vice President of Hong Kong Federation of Professions.
Choi is the Founder and Chairman of “Regional Banks+ Strategic Cooperation Alliance”, an association which was initiated by Choi, with a number of leading Hong Kong-listed regional banks of China as members, including Bank of Qingdao, Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank, Jiangxi Bank and Zhongyuan Bank; and the Founder and Chairman of “Greater Bay Young Entrepreneurs Association,” an organisation comprising a group of leading and innovative enterprises in the Greater Bay Area.
Before joining AMTD Group, Choi was formerly a Managing Director at the Investment Banking Division and a member of the Global Family Office Committee of UBS Asia. He also served as the China Chief Specialist, Asia Strategic Alliance under the Corporate and Investment Banking Division of Citigroup.
Choi is currently a certified bank auditor and a certified public accountant in the United States.
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
Grace Tang (BSc ’15): Young Alumni Award
Grace Tang is a recent Health Studies graduate who has continued her education by completing a Master’s of Science degree in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. Her master’s research focused on identifying the association of metformin, a common medication for diabetes, with the breast cancer incidence and mortality. She is currently a doctoral student at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto with a research focus on pediatric oncology at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is also employed at St. Michael’s Hospital in the Hematology-Oncology Clinical Research Group where she manages and supports various projects ranging from quality improvement initiatives to clinical trials.
Over the course of her academic career, Tang has been recognized for her achievements, receiving prestigious awards such as the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology and the Ashbaugh Graduate Scholarship from McMaster University. She has also received the Faculty of Health Sciences Graduate Programs Outstanding Achievement award.
Tang is passionate about advancing health research to provide better patient care and practices. In recognition of her research in oncology and mentorship to Waterloo students, Tang is the recipient of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences 2019 Young Alumni Award.
Sandra Olney (PhD ’82): Alumni Achievement Award
Kinesiology alumnus Sandra Olney has made significant and lasting contributions to the field of rehabilitation therapy. Olney is a Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. With former degrees from McGill and Queen’s, Olney completed her PhD in Biomechanics in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo in 1982. Her research studied the biomechanics of physical movement and rehabilitation, with a particular focus on normal and abnormal gait.
At Queen’s University, Olney has worked in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy as a Professor, Director of the School, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, and is now a Professor Emeritus. She has made essential contributions to the development and implementation of rehabilitation programs around the world through her involvement with the International Centre for the Advancement of Community-Based Rehabilitation.
Olney’s global-facing work on integrating research into improving health outcomes in developing nations resulted in her receiving an Honorary Doctor of Medicine from Rigas Stradina Universitate in Latvia.
At the University of Waterloo, Olney has contributed to a number of initiatives on campus in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. She is committed to the support of education and nurturing new talent.
Faculty of Engineering
Joseph M. Natale (BASc ’87): Alumni Achievement Medal, Professional Achievement
Joe Natale has been described as an exemplary chief executive and business leader who has earned a well-deserved reputation as a results-driven, customer-first leader. Since graduating from our electrical engineering program in 1987, he’s had an extremely successful career leading a number of Canada’s top business management and telecommunication companies, including Telus where he worked for 14 years. For the past two years, Natale has been President and CEO of Rogers Communications.
At Rogers, Natale heads a team of 26,000 and oversees the company’s corporate strategy, operations and financial performance. During the past two years, he has implemented a long-term vision, purpose and strategy, which have resulted in a six per cent increase in revenue.
Natale has become known as one of corporate Canada’s most passionate advocates for the customer. He is driven to do what is right – whether it is for the customer or the people who serve the customer.
Natale places high importance on creating a high-performing environment to drive business performance. His belief in a culture of inclusion, collaboration, transparency and accountability is reflected in Roger’s global best-in-class employee engagement of an impressive 85 per cent.
Outside of work, Natale is also a leader in the community. He believes strongly in giving back where you live and work.
Natale is a highly valued member of the Board of Trustees for Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, CivicAction Leadership Foundation and has had leadership roles with the United Way Cabinet.
He not only walks the talk in terms of his own community impact but he also makes the civic engagement of others possible.
Since joining Rogers, he has expanded its social responsibility program to include a national volunteer and national giving initiative for all employees. From the corner office, to the boardroom, to his personal passions, Natale is committed to positively impacting Canadian business and communities.
Nikolaos Aroutzidis (BASc ’89, MASc ’93): Alumni Achievement Medal, Community Service
Nick Aroutzidis exemplifies what hard work and commitment can accomplish both at work and in the community. After graduating with a degree in applied mathematics from what was then the University of Western Ontario, Aroutzidis came to Waterloo Engineering where he completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in civil engineering, focusing on structural engineering.
In 1994, he founded NA Engineering Associates Inc., a consulting engineering firm with offices in Stratford, London, and Kincardine. Aroutzidis is managing partner of the firm which provides engineering services to the nuclear power industry throughout Ontario. This past July, NA Engineering was acquired by Westinghouse Electric Company.
In Stratford and surrounding area, Aroutzidis is known for his engineering skills and knowledge as well as for his philanthropic leadership and commitment to making the world around him a better place to live.
Here are just a few examples of the numerous ways he’s given back to his community.
For over 20 years, Aroutzidis has been a member of the Stratford Rotary Club and has served as its president. He is a recipient of the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship Award, one of the highest honours Rotary can bestow upon a person.
Aroutzidis’s engineering background and, most importantly, vision, were instrumental in creating the Rotary Respite House, a residential home in Stratford that provides respite care for children with developmental delays or who are medically fragile. Parents can arrange for a stay for their children, giving them some much-needed time to recharge. Aroutzidis continues to be the chair of this outstanding project. Besides volunteering with his local Rotary Club, Aroutzidis donates his time to the Stratford Junior B Hockey Team, the Huron-Perth Lakers Hockey Association and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. Over the years, Aroutzidis has provided financial support to Stratford General Hospital through strong fundraising efforts.
NA Engineering Associates made a donation of $125,000 over five years towards a new MRI machine and provided a generous gift to name a new pediatric room. Supporting youth is another of Aroutzidis’s passions. His firm provides scholarships to high schools in Stratford as well as to engineering students at the University of Waterloo and Western University. And recently, he made a sizeable commitment towards the establishment of the Institute for Hellenistic Studies at the University of Waterloo.
Brian Courtney (BASc ’97), Aman Thind (BASc ’04): Team Alumni Achievement Medal
Brian Courtney and Aman Thind have been called the dynamic duo who have developed world-class imaging devices to assist cardiologists in delivering better health care. The two co-founders of Conavi Medical are both alumni of our computer engineering program – Brian graduated in 1997 and Aman in 2004.
Courtney went on from Waterloo to complete a master’s in electrical engineering and a medical degree at Stanford University, where he co-founded two medical device companies. Today, he is an interventional cardiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
After graduating from Waterloo Engineering, Thind completed his doctorate in medical biophysics at the University of Toronto with a focus on ultrasound as both an imaging and as a therapeutic modality.
Eight years ago, Courtney and Thind teamed up to start Toronto-based Conavi Medical. Early on in their partnership, Courtney and Thind discovered they worked well together identifying solutions to complex problems with true clinical impact. With Courtney as Chief Executive Officer and Thind as Chief Technology Officer, they have built a company that develops revolutionary minimally invasive imaging devices to provide better patient care.
Their company has developed two systems, Novasight Hybrid and Foresight ICE, designed to improve image guidance and visualization during cardiovascular procedures. Both systems collect high-resolution imaging data to be used by cardiologists, including Brian, to deliver personalized treatment. Between Courtney and Thind, they have over 50 scientific publications and more than 60 patents. Together, they have built a highly successful company that currently employs over 100 people and has vastly improved the quality of treatment of cardiology patients around the world.
Martin Basiri (MASc ’13): Young Alumni Achievement Medal
After completing his undergraduate degree in electrical and electronics engineering in Iran, Martin Basiri chose to come to Waterloo Engineering for his master’s degree in mechatronics engineering.
While he was still a graduate student, Basiri was faced with the challenge of bringing his twin younger brothers Meti and Massi to Canada to attend school. Despite being already in the country himself, Basiri was told by student recruiters in his native Iran that it would be impossible for his brothers to study in Canada. Not only did Basiri successfully prove them all wrong and arrange for his brothers to attend college in Ontario, but he became aware of the challenges millions of people encounter when attempting to enrol in postsecondary institutions abroad.
His brothers’ experience as well as his own in applying to study in Canada inspired him to launch ApplyBoard a few years after he graduated from Waterloo Engineering in 2013. The company, led by Basiri and his twin brothers, now assists tens of thousands of students through the application processes required by schools and governments.
ApplyBoard essentially offers a way for students around the world to find and apply to universities, colleges, and high schools in Canada and the United States. By using artificial intelligence algorithms, students are matched to the programs they are most qualified for based on their academic background, desired course of study, and financial means. The platform also makes it easier for prospective students to submit additional documents as well as obtain required visas. ApplyBoard reviews and processes each application, sending only complete and qualified ones to its partner schools.
ApplyBoard has grown quickly since its founding in 2015 and now employs over 250 in Kitchener, throughout Ontario, and abroad. Basiri and his brothers’ belief that “Education is a right, not a privilege,” fuels their mission to make education accessible to students across the globe.
Faculty of Environment
Thomas Mueller (MA ’92): Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
Thomas Mueller, who studied Regional Planning and Resource Development, is the President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), a national not-for-profit organization advancing green building and sustainable community development in Canada since 2002. In 2018, he was appointed as CEO of Green Business Certification Inc. Canada.
Widely respected as a leading authority in green buildings in Canada and globally. Mueller chaired the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) B.C. steering committee responsible for the first adaptation of the LEED green building rating systems outside the United States, and the first green building program in Canada at Metro Vancouver. For his green building work, Mueller has received numerous awards; most recently, he became a recipient of Canada’s 2015 Clean50 Award and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
A proud Waterloo alumnus, Mueller served as co-chair of the Environment 3 Green Building Committee and has been an advisor to the Dean of Environment for more than 10 years.
Jennifer Martin (MDP ’14): Young Alumni Inspiration Award
Jennifer Martin, who studied Development Practice, is the Executive Director of Home Free, a registered Canadian charity working to transform the lives of children in orphanages by keeping families together, making families through reunification and foster care, and building communities where every child can thrive.
Since founding Home Free in 2012, Martin has helped thousands of children in Uganda and countless others worldwide by influencing positive systemic change and supporting the global movement toward a family care model that enhances child development, upholds children's rights, and creates healthier societies.
A further testament to her compassionate nature and commitment to making a positive impact, Martin is a public health nurse who works in Indigenous communities in Nunavut and British Columbia. She also volunteers with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization as a Group Leader for the Refugee Family Sponsorship program.
Neil M. Smiley (BES ’84): Friend of the Faculty Award
Neil M. Smiley, who studied Urban & Regional Planning, is a loyal champion of the School of Planning and a key member of the University of Waterloo Planning Alumni of Toronto (UWPAT).
Smiley has developed a successful complex real estate, planning and development laws practice at Fasken, where he is partner. Since 1999, he has been an active member of UWPAT, a non-profit organization that hosts one of the largest ‘must attend’ annual industry dinners of the year. As trusted counsel, he assisted with regularizing UWPAT’s organizational structure, with its Federal reporting requirements and with its compliance with not-for-profit legislation. In addition to serving as emcee for the annual dinner, Smiley hosts an annual “Planning Lunch” at Faskens, where the School of Planning receives prominence through the participation of UWPAT members and our Professors. With Smiley’s support, UWPAT has funded more than 30 Planner in Residence positions and nearly 140 student scholarships over its history.
Sheryl Kennedy (BES ’76): Friend of the Faculty Award
Sheryl Kennedy, who studied Urban & Regional Planning at Waterloo and holds a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University, is chair and former CEO of Promontory Financial Group Canada, an IBM Company, a leading strategy, risk management, and regulatory compliance consulting firm for the financial services industry, and vice chair of the Canadian Public Accountability Board, the regulator of audit quality for publicly traded companies.
Early in her career, Kennedy served as an executive in the Energy and Finance departments of the Government of Canada. She then joined the Bank of Canada as its first female deputy governor and, while there, chaired the G10 governors Markets Committee, the first Canadian to chair any committee at the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland.
Kennedy has made a valued contribution to the University of Waterloo as a member of the Board of Governors. She was the lead alumni advisor and seed donor to the Faculty’s Global Citizen Internships, a robust and unique experiential learning program that supports Environment students working for the program’s nonprofit partners.
Faculty of Mathematics
Eldon Sprickerhoff (BMath '91): J.W. Graham Medal in Computing & Innovation
In 2001, Eldon Sprickerhoff co-founded eSentire in recognition of the incipient yet rapidly growing demand for a more proactive approach to preventing and investigating information security breaches, now formally defined as Managed Detection and Response. As eSentire's Chief Innovation Officer, he helps to set the future vision and direction for security technology within the company, defining operational security best practices, and overseeing the security posture on behalf of the company’s 650+ clients. Holding several security industry certifications and with over twenty-five years of tactical experience, he is acknowledged as a subject matter expert in information security analysis. In 2019, Sprickerhoff was awarded the J.W. Graham Medal in Computing & Innovation from the Faculty of Mathematics.
Faculty of Science
Joseph Bondy-Denomy (BSc ’08): Young Alumni Award
Joseph Bondy-Denomy was born and raised in London, Ontario, and started his transformative experience at the University of Waterloo in 2003. Bondy-Denomy graduated from the Biology program in 2008, spending co-op terms in labs at Western and McGill. From there, Bondy-Denomy began his PhD in Alan Davidson’s lab at the University of Toronto in 2008, graduating in 2014. As a PhD student, Bondy-Denomy studied viruses that infect and kill bacteria, trying to understand how these two natural enemies battle each other. Bondy-Denomy discovered the first examples of proteins made by these viruses that inhibit the CRISPR-Cas bacterial immune system. He then started his own research group at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2015 and is currently an Assistant Professor. The Bondy-Denomy lab continues to investigate CRISPR-Cas immunity, with implications in therapeutics for human genetic and infectious disease, as well as our basic understanding the microbial world.
As well, Bondy-Denomy is Scientific Advisory Board Member of SNIPR Biome and Excision BioTherapies and has expanded his research activities to the private sector as co-founder of and Scientific Advisor to Acrigen Biosciences.
Fiona Brinkman (BSc ’90): Distinguished Alumni Award
Fiona Brinkman is a Distinguished Professor in Bioinformatics and Genomics at Simon Fraser University, most known for R&D of widely used computer software that aids more integrative analyses of microbe and human genomics data. Brinkman currently leads integration of diverse data for the National CHILD Study – the largest birth cohort of its kind profiling healthy children in Canada. She co-leads development of the IRIDA.ca platform, which is now used as the primary platform for Canada’s Public Health Agency to track infectious disease outbreaks using combined epidemiological/lab/genomics data. She co-ordinates two large consortiums involving over 15 countries, enabling better genomic data sharing in an ethical framework. Earlier, Brinkman was the first to phylogenetically root the Tree of Life using a duplication within a gene. She has a strong interest in developing more preventative, sustainable approaches for disease control, and also in bioinformatics education and mentoring young scientists. She is on several committees and boards, including chairing the European Nucleotide Archive Scientific Advisory Board. Her awards include a TR100 award from MIT, Thompson Reuters “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds,” Canada’s Who’s Who, Canada’s Top 100 Women, and most recently became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Diana Wang-Martin (BSc ’01): Contribution to Science Award
A successful teacher, mentor and champion for the sciences, Diana Wang-Martin shares her passion for chemistry, STEM, and the “Four Cs” of learning: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. She partners with educators from elementary to post-secondary levels and with community leaders to design and implement opportunities for students to build their Four Cs skills.
In addition to teaching the sciences, Wang-Martin advises and leads the Glenforest STEM team and STEM outreach events such as youth STEM conferences. She is involved in many other educational initiatives, such as the Nahani STEAM mentorship program, which she founded, where high school students mentor and promote STEAM to elementary students. Wang-Martin instills a joy of science and the STEM disciplines in young people. Her inspiration impacts and inspires students to pursue STEM careers and prepares them to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Wang-Martin received the Peel District School Board’s Award of Excellence in Education in 2016, the Ontario Secondary School Teacher Federation Teacher Recognition Award in 2017, and the Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence in 2017 and 2018.
School of Optometry
Kathy Dumbleton (PhD ’13): Alumni of Honour Award
Kathy Dumbleton is an Associate Clinical Professor at the School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley, and an Independent Clinical Research Scientist and Consultant. She completed her optometry training at the University of Wales in Cardiff and at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London in 1985, and subsequently completed her MSc in Physiological Optics (1988) and PhD in Vision Science (2013) at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She is a Fellow and Diplomate of the Cornea, Contact Lens and Refractive Technologies (CCLRT) Section of the American Academy of Optometry and a Fellow of the British Contact Lens Association.
Margaret Hansen-des Groseilliers (OD ’65), Roland des Groseilliers (OD ’65): Alumni of Honour Awards
Margaret Hansen-des Groseilliers and Roland des Groseilliers are icons in Canadian optometry. Between them, they have served in almost every leadership position within the profession.
Hansen-des Groseilliers and des Groseilliers were classmates and graduated from the College of Optometry of Ontario in 1965. They went on to practice from 1967 to 2011 at the Ottawa Optometric Clinic.
They have each served as Past-President of the Ottawa Society of Optometrists, of which des Groseilliers is a founding member. Both are Past-Presidents of the CAO (Hansen-des Groseilliers served as the first woman in the role) and both have held leadership roles within COETF. Des Groseilliers is a Past-President of the Ontario Association of Optometrists (OAO) and the World Council of Optometry.
Joshua Smith (OD ’13): Young Alumni of Honour Award
Joshua Smith completed his Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Waterloo in 2013 after completing a Master’s degree at the University of Calgary in 2008 and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Mount Allison University in 2005.
He has been in private practice in eastern Ontario since 2013, primarily in the rural township of Alexandria. He has a special interest in visual neurorehabilitation, particularly in cases of stroke. He is a staff consultant at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria, working with the hospital’s stroke rehabilitation unit.
School of Pharmacy
Michael Kani (BSc ’07, MSc ’09, BScPhm ’14): Alumni Achievement Award
Michael Kani is a community pharmacist who is owner of Michael’s Pharmacy in Saskatoon and co-owner of Langham Pharmacy in Langham, Saskatchewan. He’s also a consultant to the Community Pharmacy Professionals Advancing Safety in Saskatchewan program and the Medical Advisor for ZYUS Life Sciences.
Kani’s professional career has had a profound impact on patients and fellow health-care providers. In his community, he’s advocated passionately for expanded scope of practice, providing services like point-of-care testing, pharmacogenomics, and pet medicine, which are readily embraced by his patients.
Early in his career, Kani realized that few health-care providers were talking to patients about medical cannabis. There was a need in his community so he established consultation and referral services. The service was a hit with patients, many of whom had questions and were interested in evidence-based answers from an expert. Since then Kani spearheaded the education of the health-care community on medical cannabis in pharmacy. He’s a regularly featured speaker at health-care conferences on the topic and is the author of Canada’s first accredited program for medical cannabis.
Kani was recently recognized nationally by the Canadian Pharmacists Association with their New Practitioner of the Year Award.
Conrad Grebel University College
John Neufeld (BA ’96): Distinguished Alumni Service Award
John Neufeld, who majored in Social Development Studies, engaged at Conrad Grebel University College in the mid ’90s as an associate student, living off campus but taking part in student leadership, chapels, and courses at the College. As a student, Neufeld noted that he had a strong desire to “study how I can relate and help other people in need.”
Since 2009, Neufeld has served as the executive director of House of Friendship – a multi-service organization focused on housing, addictions treatment, food security, and community development in Kitchener. Prior to serving there, Neufeld experienced the rewards of working with foster children and youth at Bridgeway Family Homes.
A thoughtful networker, Neufeld has connected with supporters for the mission of House of Friendship, and has also helped to create a collaborative environment in Waterloo Region where organizations work together to address challenging issues. “Shelter Care,” for example, is a new initiative that will integrate health care and housing issues for people living on the city’s streets.
Neufeld represents the value of service to those in need in the community. His desire is to inspire others to a life of engagement and service.
St. Jerome's University
Paul do Forno (BMath ’95): Fr. Norm Choate, C.R., Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award
Paul do Forno graduated from St. Jerome’s University in 1995. During his time at St. Jerome’s, do Forno lived in residence and was an active member in student life activities, participating in the Entrepreneur Club and the Computer Science Club, as well as being a member of the Varsity Soccer Club.
Building on the experience he gained during his co-op placements in University, do Forno entered the technology sector and established himself as one of the leading ecommerce and digital experts in the United States. Now a Managing Director at Deloitte Digital, do Forno has more than 25 years of experience in strategy, technology, and digital transformation. He has led some of the world’s largest and most innovative e-commerce initiatives with brands including Hyatt Hotels, Foot Locker, and Target.
do Forno also volunteers as a member of the Associate Membership Council of the National Retail Federation, and as Treasurer and Chair of the Technology Committee at the Portuguese American Leadership Council (PALCUS). More recently, do Forno joined the board of directors of Columbus Catholic Social Services, an agency that provides services to vulnerable seniors and families, and offers a holistic approach aimed at alleviating the cycle of poverty.
Do Forno’s professional achievements as a leader in the field of eCommerce, together with his involvement in volunteer organizations, marks his commitment to leadership and volunteerism in the community.
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji (BA ’12): Sr. Leon White, SSND, Distinguished Graduate Award
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, affectionately known as “E,” is an entrepreneur who is passionate about collaborating with local talent and capital to build a strong future within Africa. In 2012, Aboyeji graduated from St. Jerome’s University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours Legal Studies, and a minor in International Studies.
Just two years after graduating, Aboyeji co-founded Andela, an African-based company that invests in and helps identify software developers in emerging markets. As Africa’s largest engineering organization, with over 1,000 software engineers, Andela received investment from Mark Zuckerberg and Google Ventures.
In 2016, Aboyeji co-founded and became CEO of Flutterwave, a business that builds payments technology and infrastructure, connecting Africa to the global economy. He led the company to become one of the all-time fastest growing payments technology businesses, processing over $2 billion with more than 50 million transactions. Flutterwave also attracted significant investment from experienced players in the global payments arena, including Mastercard.
Having stepped down as CEO of Flutterwave in 2018, Aboyeji now heads Street Capital, where he spends time helping founders, philanthropists, and investors from around the world understand how to build fast growing and impactful technology businesses in Africa.
In recognition of his success, Forbes listed Aboyeji on their Top 30 Under 30 for Enterprise Technology in 2018. That same year, Aboyeji was recognized as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
Renison University College
Asnake Meshesha Dabala (BA ’13, BSW ’14): Distinguished Alumnus Award
Asnake Dabala began his time at Renison University College in 2011, shortly after coming to Canada from Ethiopia as a refugee with his family. He graduated as Valedictorian with a Social Development Studies degree in 2013, followed by a Bachelor of Social Work in 2014, both from Renison. Dabala went on to complete his Master of Social Work degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2015. In addition to his studies, he worked as a Residential Support Worker, Community Support Coordinator, Peer Support Group Facilitator, and Teaching Assistant. Dabala has been working with the YWCA of Waterloo in supportive housing since his arrival in Canada, and is now the Programming Coordinator. He also sits on the Board of Directors for The Working Centre. His contributions to Renison and to the community are recognized by this award, which we are pleased to present to Dabala as part of Renison’s 60th Anniversary Gala Celebration.
St. Paul’s University College
Rod Barr (BA ’69): Distinguished Alumni Award
In recognition of an exemplary career, dedication to profession and service to St. Paul’s community
Rod Barr is a retired Chartered Professional Accountant, who had a distinguished career with Deloitte. Barr held many positions with the firm in Toronto, Hamilton, New York, Vancouver, London and Wilton, Connecticut, and served as the firm’s National Securities Partner from 1996 until his retirement in 2008. Barr was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1988 in recognition of his extensive contributions to his profession – something that less than 3% of accounts achieve. He was a member of the Institute’s Council from 1999 until 2006, and served as its Chair from 2004-2006.
In 2009, Barr was appointed as President and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and helped lead the unification of various accounting professional bodies under one designation the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA). He has also served as a member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC, as member of the Board of Governors of the BC School of Accountancy, as Chair of the Inter-provincial Education Group, and as member and Chair of the CICA Board of Examiners.
Barr is a dedicated volunteer and generous supporter of St. Paul’s and the University of Waterloo. He served multiple terms with the St. Paul’s Board of Governors, including one term as Chair, and has developed a Family Entrance Scholarship with the School of Accounting and Finance. Barr was recognized by the Faculty of Arts with the Alumni Achievement Award in 2007 and received an Alumni Award from the School of Accounting and Finance in 2014.
Winnie Lam (BASc ’00): Distinguished Alumni Award
In recognition of an exemplary career, dedication to sustainability and service to community
Winnie Lam graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2000 with a degree in systems design engineering minoring in management science.
Lam has held several roles at Google where she has now worked for over 15 years. In her current role as Director of Energy, Google Cloud, Lam is responsible for strategy, product offerings and strategic relationships with customers in the energy industry. She helps companies transform their businesses through big data analytics, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
On her LinkedIn page Lam states that her mission is to make positive, step changes for the environment and animals. She is a member of the National Council Advisory group for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and partnered with WWF to co-found the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, uniting Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many other tech companies to ban online sales of elephant ivory and endangered animal products. She and has been running an annual fundraiser at Google for several years which has raised millions of dollars for WWF, the Humane Society, Guide Dogs for the blind and other charities.
Lam’s leadership has been recognized by her employer several times as recipient of Google’s Founder’s Award and a three time recipient of Google’s Executive Management Group Award. In addition to her volunteer contributions to WWF, Lam has served as a volunteer with Stanford University, the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Obama for America campaign.
Currently, Lam is pursuing a Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate at Johns Hopkins University.
Prosithyrith (Richard) Yim (BASc ’16, MBET ’17): Young Alumni Award
In recognition of commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial success
Prosithyrith (Richard) Yim grew up in Cambodia where children are warned at a young age to watch out for landmines. When he moved to Canada at the age of 13, he discovered the freedom of living without fear of where he stepped. His childhood experiences made the pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree from Waterloo a natural choice because before he was old enough to drive, he knew he wanted to build a machine that could rid the world of landmines.
Even as a first-year student, Yim began discussing his goal with classmates but it wasn’t until he joined St. Paul’s GreenHouse in the fall term of 2015 that he took the entrepreneurship plunge. With his co-founder Christian Lee, Yim began developing a prototype and a business which they called Landmine Boys (since renamed Demine Robotics). Their goal was to create a cost-effective robot to remove landmines, that was repairable, easy to manufacture, and could be used by NGO’s.
Yim and his team gained national prominence by winning several student awards and competitions before graduating in 2016. Demine Robotics continues to operate in both Canada and Cambodia and recently completed a $50,000 Kickstarter campaign to complete testing and bring their current model, Jevit, to market by 2020.
Yim completed the MBET program in 2017 and was named to Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 in 2018.
Rachel Thompson (BSc ’15): Distinguished Alumni Award
In recognition of commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial success
Rachel Thompson turned a big idea into an award-winning social profit business. As she was nearing the completion of her science degree in Applied Health Studies she entered the 2015 Big Ideas Challenge and won a term in St. Paul’s GreenHouse.
While she was with GreenHouse, Thompson launched a social venture called Marlena Books (a portmanteau of her grandmothers’ given names, Marilyn and Helena). Because of her own families’ experience, Thompson had recognized a gap and intended to find an innovative solution to help adults with dementia get more enjoyment and cognitive stimulation from leisure reading.
Four years later, Thompson and Marlena Books have raised over $300,000 in cash and in-kind support by winning multiple pitch competitions including Velocity’s $25K and the 2018 AGE-WELL National Impact Challenge.
Today, Thompson leads a growing social venture which researches and publishes books and other adaptive leisure reading materials for dementia patients. Marlena books feature mature content modified to meet the needs of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia and are sold in bulk to long-term care facilities across Canada and directly to customers via their website and app.
Thompson’s story garners widespread media attention and she uses that platform to promote the value of the GreenHouse social impact incubator. Thompson was recognized by her faculty with the 2018 Young Alumni Award for Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo.