Dillon M

AFM Student

Dillon's Undergraduate Experience at SAF

In the future, I want to help scale a start-up that combats issues surrounding healthcare, education, or climate change.

Dillon M., AFM Student

Additional Stories and Work

What the Trash? - A Mindset Change | Dillon Mendes | TEDxUW (Video)

Arts student founds social entrepreneurship venture PickWaste (Highlight)

Student’s social venture empowers everyone to reduce waste (2018 story)

University of Waterloo crowned Regional Second Runner Ups at Enactus Regional Competitions! (2018 highlight)

Student Venture Fund (SVF) Analyst (Winter 2021)

Questions with Dillon (Video)

Sustainability Part 1 (Video)

Sustainability Part 2 (Video)

Customize your SAF experience (Video)

Summary (Video)

Dillon's Linkedin profile


The co-op program at UWaterloo allows for students to work in a few different roles and fields throughout their university career, and Dillon didn’t waste this opportunity. For his first and second co-op terms Dillion worked for one of the ‘big four’ accounting firms, Deloitte Canada, as a Risk Advisory Analyst.

“I worked on several projects with the Sustainability and Social Impact team, including ESG [environmental, social, corporate governance] benchmarking (financial services, computer software, and automotive sectors), data analysis and visualization, and created a sustainability strategy for increasing stakeholder engagement.”

For Dillon's third co-op term he wanted to try something completely new and different and landed a role with DarwinAI as a Growth and Strategy Analyst. Dillon's role with DarwinAI had him leveraging sales software to attain leads with C-Suite executives from Fortune 500 companies, and assisting with ad hoc tasks such as actively seeking out funding opportunities.


Extracurricular activities that a UW student participates in don't necessarily have to be related to accounting, instead, an extracurricular can be a way to build character and other key qualities. Dillion founded PickWaste while still a high school student. “Four years ago, I noticed an absurd amount of litter while walking home from school, and made a commitment to voluntarily organize community cleanups to pick it up. The small action of cleaning the community grew into a national movement called PickWaste (featured on CBC, CTV, and CityNews). This initiative exposed me to the world of social impact and entrepreneurship. I now have the opportunity to speak across North America to students about student leadership and community impact.” To date, the team managed by Dillion has over 400 volunteers, has completed over 210 community cleanups in 3 cities across Canada, and has filled over 2100 bags of litter.

Career Goals

Dillon has two goals in mind, one during university and one long-term goal. His goal within the SAF community consists of taking advantage of opportunities such as joining the Student Venture Fund ($1MM fund focused on early-stage investments), as well as participating in numerous case competitions to develop a deeper understanding of what the entrepreneurial landscape looks like, from the outside looking in.

Working at a tech start-up during his fourth co-op term has helped Dillon understand what the start-up culture is actually like from an internal perspective of a rapidly growing organization. Understanding this culture has helped Dillon pave the way for his future goals. “In the future, I want to help scale a start-up that combats issues surrounding healthcare, education, or climate change.” Dillion is already making an impact on the world by founding PickWaste, and he will continue on that path going forward.

Lessons Learned

Overcoming stress can often be challenging but reaching out to others for support may be helpful in the process. This is the most important lesson that Alba has learned during her undergraduate journey. To Alba, seeking advice from mentors is a crucial part of her experience as an undergraduate student. Whether it be her colleagues, her managers, upper-year students or professional mentors, she can always learn something from them.

Alba reminds us about the importance of being proactive during our undergraduate years and that there are individuals who are willing to support students along the way. “Mentors can help provide an objective view to the challenges you’re encountering, since they may have also faced and overcome similar challenges."