David Peck (BA ’02 Philosophy) is an innovative social entrepreneur heading up SoChange — a groundbreaking organization that works alongside members of the non-governmental community in areas such as fundraising, activism and capacity building. Peck believes strongly in the Socratic notion that the unexamined life is not worth living. "We need to remain open, to embrace, to include, to challenge our current assumptions and to think about the way we treat others and the environment," he says. David hosts a new online podcast called Face2Face and his first book Real Change Is Incremental was published in 2014.
Derek Lett (BA ’91 Public Policy & Administration) has held a variety of leadership positions in policy development and program delivery in a number of provincial ministries, including the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal. Currently, he is the Executive Director, Conflict of Interest Commissioner of Ontario, Treasury Board Secretariat. He is a past president of York's Organization of Public Policy & Administration Alumni. He has helped to increase the profile of York graduates within government and been a mentor to students through their internship courses.
What's the similarity between captaining a merchant marine ship and managing a high school class? "More than one would imagine," says Religious Studies graduate Daraius M. Bharucha (BA ’05). "In both cases you get to navigate new and sometimes uncharted waters, as well as experience stimulating challenges and exciting adventures." Teaching has always been a passion for Bharucha who, in his mid-30s, decided to leave his full-time job and pursue his life-long dream. He graduated having won several prestigious awards, including a Governor General of Canada's Silver Medal and a Millennium Scholarship.
Marion Howell (BAS ’96) is a Leadership Development Coach and Organization Development Consultant with The Iris Group. She specializes in applying Complex Adaptive Systems Theory to personal and organizational growth and adaption. “It is gratifying to support people who are making a difference in complex systems. All too often very capable professionals confuse the role of leadership and management and struggle with their inability to have the impact they desire. It is exciting to watch people thrive as they apply new learning and insight, and optimize their ability to meet their objectives. ” says Howell.
"To live a life of service, learning, creativity and courageous choices," is Dolores Montavez-Ruz’s (BA ’97) personal mission statement. A sociology graduate and a graduate of the Certificate in Refugee Studies and Certificate in Anti-Racist Research and Practice, Montavez-Ruz carries out her mission by teaching, mentoring and creating opportunities for personal and professional growth for women and underprivileged social groups. She currently works in Training and Professional Development at the YWCA Toronto.
Anees Tobaccowala (BA ’08 Information Technology) has been working for over 7 years in IT Strategy/Project Management, for a real estate company in Houston, Texas. He recently completed his MBA in 2013 and is currently working at Accenture as a Management Consultant in the Change Management area. He focuses in the Energy industry in Houston, Tx. He credits his experience at York in helping him to succeed in his career: “York is on the cutting edge of excellence in innovative education. Students are given all the tools necessary to excel in the real world. When I graduated, I felt confident and thoroughly prepared to succeed in my career and in life."
Nicole Phillips (BA ’06, MA ’14) is helping work towards an end to violence against women. Using the skills she gained in the Social Work program, she is raising awareness and lending her expertise to victims of sexual abuse. Phillips worked at Athena's Sexual Assault Counselling and Advocacy Centre. She completed her fourth-year practicum at the centre and secured a job as a crisis counsellor a few months later. "I love how I [could] continue to work full-time while earning a master's degree," Phillips says. "I also really appreciate that I [could] pursue additional studies in the area that I am interested in, while gaining new skills that I can apply immediately to my current position."
Rabya Mya Imtiaz graduated with a BAS (’08) in Marketing and a Certificate in Human Resources Management. She is currently a Retail Business Manager at Suncor Energy. "What a combination: Marketing and HR, Employers were floored when they heard I was able to pursue both fields through my degree," notes Imtiaz. "I appreciate that students are given the opportunity to build expertise in diverse areas at York, giving them the competitive advantage to truly succeed in today's job market."
"Studying at York was one of the most challenging and fruitful endeavors of my life," says
Arijit Bhattacharya (BA ’08 Economics). "The professors were engaging and really involved in educating and training us for the real world. The courses were designed to bring out the best in us. After graduating, I found that a multitude of opportunities and a wide array of doors have opened. I find comfort in knowing that my education at York has prepared me for what lies ahead." Bhattacharya is currently working at Metrolinx as a Procurement Instructor.
Fausto Natarelli (BA ’84) was the first ever recipient of the School of Public Policy & Administration's Alumni Recognition Award. The award recognized him for the contributions he has made to public policy and for his role as a mentor to students and new professionals. Following his studies at York in 1984, Natarelli joined the Ontario Ministry of Transportation where he has held a variety of positions, including leadership roles in policy, strategic and business planning, communications and issues management. Fausto is a 2014 recipient of the Amethyst Award, the highest honour granted in the Ontario Public Service for leadership, innovation and public service. Natarelli is currently the Director of the Hurontario-Main LRT Project for Metrolinx.