2017 - Alumni with Impact Recipients
Gavin Armstrong (BComm '10)
President, CEO Lucky Iron Fish
A committed social and impact entrepreneur, Gavin Armstrong is the founder and president of Lucky Iron Fish, a social enterprise whose goal is to alleviate iron deficiency around the world using a simple health innovation. While a BComm-Marketing and Consumer Studies student at the University of Guelph, Armstrong helped UofG become members of Universities Fighting World Hunger (UFWH), an organization of universities worldwide dedicated to promote awareness of, and take action against, hunger and malnutrition. He served as the coordinator of the 6th Annual UFWH Summit, the first time that the conference had been held in Canada, and attracted more than 450 delegates, 50 speakers and raised more than $130,000 to support the conference. Armstrong is also a strong supporter for increasing educational opportunities for the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, helping to fund a solar energy program that will power the schools. He has also developed links between the University of Guelph and Universite de Nouakchott (Mauritania) to boost food production and capacity in one of the poorest regions of Africa. He currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Cambodian Canadian Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his BComm degree, Armstrong has a PhD in biomedical science from the University of Guelph.
- Awarded the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Social Entrepreneur category in 2016
- “CSR Innovator Award" from the CSR Congress, Babson Social Innovator Award
- The first Canadian to receive the William J. Clinton Award for international work against hunger
- The inaugural recipient of the international Michaelle Jean Emergency Hunger Relief Award
- Lucky Iron Fish has won multiple Cannes Lion awards including the Grand Prix and Clio Design Awards
- Received a Silver Innovation Award from the Edison Foundation
Retired Deputy Chief, Peel Regional Police
Ingrid Berkeley-Brown didn’t consider herself a role model, even though she was the highest-ranking black female police officer in Canada. As a Deputy Chief with the Peel Regional Police, she preferred to be a mentor who helped others achieve their goals, whether that was to work in law enforcement or another field.
Even before she became a police officer, she knew she wanted to help people. As the daughter of a police officer in Guyana, she came to Canada at the age of 14. “My goal was to work with youth,” she says, so she volunteered as a probation and parole community resource officer.
As a black woman in a male-dominated field, she says, “I bring a representation of policing – it’s achievable for other women and members of minority groups.” She was one of only two black female recruits in a class of approximately 300 at the Ontario Police College, but she never viewed policing in terms of gender. “I am a strong and confident person, so I knew I could do the job. It was a matter of gaining the trust and respect of the other officers.” She says she always felt she was part of the platoon.
After graduating from Seneca College, she continued to take courses for her own personal and professional development. “I always continued my studies to better myself, not just as a police officer but as a person, supervisor and manager.” As her leadership role grew, she enrolled in the MA Leadership program at U of G and graduated in 2014.
- United Achievers Club of Brampton Community Award
- Secretary of the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region
- Peel-United Cultural Partners ‘Black History Month Recognition’ Award
- The Excellence in Law Enforcement Award at the Women’s Courage Award International
- The Black Community Action Network (BCAN) ‘Service’ award
- Promoted to superintendent of Peel Regional Police in 2016, becoming the highest-ranking black female police officer in Canada
- Excellence in Law Award – African Canadian Achievement (2017)
- University of Guelph 2017 Alumni with Impact Recipient
- Promoted to Deputy Chief, Peel Regional Police in 2018 the highest-ranking black female police officer in Canada
- Woman of Courage Award – International Women Achievement Awards (2020)
- Co-chaired the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee (2018-2020)
Note: When accepting this award in 2017, Ingrid Berkeley-Brown was the Superintendent at the Peel Regional Police
Julian Brass (BComm '06)
Founder, www.notable.ca | Inspirational Keynote Speaker
After working in Silicon Valley for the startup engage.com, Julian Brass decided to move back to Canada in 2008 to start notable.ca, a website and digital brand dedicated to connecting young, professional adults with content relevant to their professional and social life.
As Brass states, Notable began as a true “bootstrapped start-up” but with perseverance and dedication has grown into one of the “most recognized online brands in the country.” Notable is now viewed as Canada’s expert on all things related to the driven millennial demographic.
Brass admits that he is outspoken about inspiring those around him to live a “notable life” – one full of personal growth, professional development, and unique experiences. In 2011, Brass created the Notable Awards, which recognizes some of Canada’s top young professionals and entrepreneurs.
Following the sale of Notable in 2017, Brass shifted his focus to becoming an inspirational keynote speaker and creator of workshops, seminars, and classes for prestigious brands, companies and initiatives such as Wanderlust Festival, lululemon, Equinox, Deloitte, PepsiCo, Kit & Ace, Microsoft, Princess Margaret Hospital, Women’s College Hospital, Schulich MBA, Rotman School of Business, University of Guelph, General Electric and more.
For more info on Julian, view his personal website: Julianbrass.com.
- Featured in a one-on-one interview with Amanda Lang on Bloomberg April 2017
- The Globe and Mail’s Toronto’s Hottest Young Entrepreneurs Under 30, 2011
- Marketing Magazine, Five Canadian Influencers Leaving a Mark on the Digital World, 2010
- IMPACT National Conference, Entrepreneur of the Year Under 30, 2010
Adam Carapella (BComm '06)
VP, Tricar Group
Adam Carapella was raised in the family business. The vice president of operations for The Tricar Group has been involved in the real estate development game his whole life. His father, Joe, started Tricar when Carapella was just a toddler. His teenage years were spent working for the family business during weekends and after school, learning the business from the ground up.
Carapella joined the Tricar team full-time after graduating with a commerce degree from the University of Guelph in 2006, and since then he has risen in the ranks, proving himself not only to his family, but to his co-workers and clients as well. Carapella’s biggest career achievement so far has been helping Tricar win the prestigious Tarion Award of Excellence Ontario High-Rise Builder of the Year three years in a row. “It was a great accomplishment to win Tarion Builder of the Year three years in a row,” he says. “We have really created a culture where everyone on the Tricar team has the homeowner’s best interest in mind.”
Tricar has an impressive portfolio that has grown to over 5000 quality homes across Southwestern Ontario including both high-rise apartment rentals and luxury condominiums.
- 2014 Ontario High-Rise Builder of the Year, Tarion Warranty Corporation
- 2015 Ontario High-Rise Builder of the Year, Tarion Warranty Corporation
- 2016 Ontario High-Rise Builder of the Year, Tarion Warranty Corporation
- 2016 Most Outstanding High Rise Building – Azure Condominiums - Ontario Home Builders Association
Dian Chaaban (BComm '08)
Investment Advisor, RBC Dominion Securities
Through her own perseverance and dedication to her clients, Dian Chaaban has quickly elevated her career at RBC. After being hired as a banking advisor in downtown Toronto, she became a national business development consultant, travelling across the country, educating advisors on best practices, ideas and tactics to grow their businesses and better serve clients. As her passion grew for helping clients achieve their financial goals, her boss suggested she would be a great fit as an investment advisor. She followed his advice and joined RBC Dominion Securities as an Investment & Wealth Advisor in 2013.
Chaaban has built a strong client base by networking, approaching clients with a long-term relationship in mind, and leveraging RBC’s resources. “I am in constant contact with our tax, estate and financial planning advising teams to bring in the right specialists to solve client challenges and provide value-added planning services beyond investment management.” This collaborative approach has been a big help in fostering relationships with her clients, from individuals and families to business owners and entrepreneurs.
Financial education, according to Chaaban, is key to her client’s success. Dian authors a weekly blog, Word on the Street, where she discusses what’s happening in the world of the financial markets, while making it a fun and educational read.
- Served as Director of the University of Guelph Alumni Association (2010-2015)
- Founder of the popular University of Guelph alumni networking event, Gryphons on Bay Street
- RBC Top Performers in 2014
- President's Club Award in 2014, 2015, 2016
- Founder of the Women of Ambition (WOA), an exclusive and strategically crafted networking group of women entrepreneurs and professionals
- Served as board member for the RBC Dominion Securities Women’s Advisory Board (2011-2014)
Christina Crowley-Arklie (BComm '09)
Press Secretary & Senior Communications Advisor, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs
Christina is proud to serve as Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of the Ontario Government. Prior to working in provincial politics, Christina was the Manager of Strategic Communications at Holstein Canada, a national non-for-profit representing 10,500 dairy farmers across Canada. In addition, Christina formerly worked for the Deputy Minister’s Office at ServiceOntario.
Christina’s passion for agriculture led her to the University of Guelph where she graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Agricultural Business. Additionally, Christina completed her Certificate in Leadership while at Guelph and has since obtained her Digital Media and Social Media Certification from Harvard University.
Christina remains an active community volunteer. She serves as a Board of Director on the University of Guelph Alumni Association (UGAA); as the Administrative Officer for the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture (CYSA) public speaking competition; continues to help College Royal at the University of Guelph as a member of the College Royal Past President’s Society; and is a founding member of the Ag Women’s Network Leadership team. Christina also pursued her passion project in TV broadcasting as host and producer of the new TV show “NextGen” with RogersTV.
A social media enthusiast and a strong believer that communication is the most fundamental skill we possess, Christina trains others on how to share their voice and use it to influence through her business and blog, ‘The Passionate Voice.’
- Named to Guelph's Top 40 Under 40 by Guelph Mercury
- Digital & Social Media Certification, Harvard University
- TV Host & Producer of Rogers TV show 'NextGen'
- Winner, Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture (CYSA) national public speaking competition
David Humphrey (BComm '11)
Director, Development Americas, FRHI Hotels & Resorts
There has been a consistent theme throughout the career of David Humphrey – the University of Guelph. Whether it was the HAFA alumni he has connected with, his international exchange to the United Arab Emirates or his HFTM Alumni Association Presidency, Humphrey values the guidance, training and opportunities his alma-matter has afforded.
During his final semester in the hotel and food administration (HAFA) program, Humphrey worked at PKF Consulting as a research consultant. PKF, owned by fellow HAFA grad David Larone, has been the training ground for many of Canada’s hotel industry leaders. After graduating Guelph, Humphrey secured a role at Westmount Hospitality Group/InnVest REIT as an Asset Management Analyst. Over the course of two and a half years at InnVest Humphrey had three roles within the company, ultimately reporting to the CEO as an Associate Asset Manager. In this role, he managed a portfolio of 15 hotels, overseeing operations and developing asset specific business plans to maximize the REITs performance.
Now as Director, Luxury Development Americas at AccorHotels (parent company of Fairmont), Humphrey is responsible for real estate management and development within his region, sourcing new management opportunities and select investment prospects that align with Accor’s strategic growth plan for the Americas. This role has enabled him to travel across North, South and Central America, working on some of the industry’s most iconic and ambitious projects in the hospitality industry.
- Named one of Ontario Hostelery Institute’s Top 30 Under 30 in 2013
- Involved in the redevelopment of the historic Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California, a $2.5B USD mixed-use development
- Acquiring the Grand Del Mar Resort, TripAdvisor’s #1 luxury resort in the United States, and flagging as a Fairmont Hotel
- Purchasing the Claremont Hotel in Berkley, California, and revitalizing the Grand Dame following completion of a $40M+ USD capital plan
- Development of a 120-room luxury resort with 40 luxury residential Villas on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, bringing jobs and commerce to a part of the island that struggles with high levels of unemployment
Adrian Niman (BComm '07)
Founder, The Food Dudes
Adrian Niman is renowned for his creative nature and dazzling palate that helps set his businesses apart amongst the competitive downtown Toronto ‘foodie’ scene. Owner of the food service company, The Food Dudes, Niman’s ability to balance the simplest elements of food allows him to create exceptional blends of flavours and textures.
Niman started The Food Dudes, based on the principles of using the highest quality ingredients, maintain superior service, and tending to all client needs. Specializing in creative and artfully prepared dishes that are made from scratch using local ingredients, The Food Dudes quickly became a much loved, go-to company of choice for some of the city’s most coveted events.
Niman’s entrepreneurial journey started in when he was 16, when mentored under chef Mark McEwan at restaurant North 44. In 2003, Niman enrolled in the Hotel and Food Administration (HAFA) major at the University of Guelph. It was his Guelph Commerce degree, which set him on the right track to launch his own business.
Since then, The Food Dudes have opened three unique restaurant-style endeavours in downtown Toronto, including Omaw, Pantry and Rasa. All three restaurants, coupled with their event catering, The Food Dudes and Niman have come a long way in crafting their own unique version of the Toronto restaurant scene.
- Best Chef in Canada, Notable Awards 2016
- 3x winner of Best New Restaurant, Toronto Life 2015
- Named one of Toronto’s 10 Best Restaurants, dine.TO 2014
- Top 30 Under 30 recipient, The Ontario Hostelry Institute, 2010
Vineet Saluja (MBA '09)
Financial Controller, Vancouver Convention Centre
Vineet Saluja is a busy man. As Financial Controller of the Vancouver Convention Centre, Saluja is responsible for the long-term financial planning of the busy downtown centre. During his leadership, the Centre has grown to $50M in annual revenue, hosting over 600 events and 750,000 delegates visiting downtown Vancouver.
Selected from candidates across North America, Saluja has over 17 years of experience in finance, accounting, hospitality and hotel operations. His credits his most recent career successes to his University of Guelph MBA degree. According to him, the program equipped him with a high-level understanding of the “complex world of tourism and hospitality finance.”
Spanning the globe, Saluja’s career in hotel operations began at the Hyatt Regency in Delhi, India. His experience has also spanned the United States and Canada, having previously worked at the JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa and the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel. Most recently, Saluja served as Senior Assistant Director of Finance and Accounting at The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, Texas.
“In the short amount of time that he has been here, Vineet has built a strong rapport with his team and other members of the organization, says Craig Lehto, General Manager of the Vancouver Convention Centre. “This coupled with his modern approach to finance make him an integral part of our leadership team.”
Note: Vineet has accepted a role as Director, Finance and Accounting, Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown
- University of Guelph MBA, 2009
- JW Marriot Leader of the Quarter Award 2010
- 5 Star Leader Award, Ritz Carlton, 2014
Marva Wisdom (MA '07)
Founder, Wisdom Consulting
Marva Wisdom is a community leader who blends her personal and professional passions to help her clients and community build on the strengths of a strong and collaborative team. A highly respected and sought after moderator, facilitator and speaker, Wisdom, through her company, Wisdom Consulting, provides clients with the tools and courage they need to facilitate meaningful growth through leadership, effective engagement, and diversity.
Since 2010, Wisdom has been director of the Black Experience Project, a research study, initiated by the Environics Institute, focusing on the contributions, successes, experiences and challenges of the Greater Toronto Area’s Black community.
She is the managing director of Canadian Black History Projects which among other initiatives, manages TD Bank’s Black History programming and founding Chair (2010-2016) of the Guelph Black Heritage Society that acquired and restored an historic British Methodist Episcopal Church, associated with the Underground Railroad of Southwestern Ontario.
Her community contributions include; member and former Board director, the Rotary Club, trustee for the MacDonald Stewart Art Centre, Board member and subsequent chair of the Guelph YM-YWCA (2004-2015) and founding chair of the Guelph Chapter - Institute for Canadian Citizenship (2007-2013) and member of her community’s Leadership Advisory Group. She has also worked as a constituency manager for the federal and provincial riding offices for a combined nine years.
Wisdom obtained her MA Leadership degree in 2007, studying the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, sociology and political science with an underlying ethical foundation.
Recognitions and career highlights:
- Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal
- YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award
- Jamaican Canadian Association’s Community Volunteer Leadership Award
- Police and Community Award of Excellence (Toronto Police Service)
- Recipient of the100 Black Women in Canada to Watch award
- Volunteer of the Year Award – Liberal Party of Canada
- Service Excellence Award - The Co-operators Insurance
- Nominated for the Ontario Good Citizen Award (2012)
- Name has been permanently engraved at Paisley Road School (Guelph, Ontario)
- Chaired the record breaking 2010 and 2011 United Way campaigns for Guelph-Wellington region, leading the team to raise nearly $5M for social services in her community