Five leaders to be honoured with 2007 Bryden Alumni Awards

York University will celebrate the leadership and achievements of five alumni at the annual Bryden Alumni Awards dinner, taking place tonight at The Design Exchange.

Those being honoured are:

  • Paul Alofs, president & CEO, The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation;
  • Karen Kraft Sloan, environmentalist, founder of EcoNexus and special adviser to York’s vice-president research & innovation;
  • Maxwell Gotlieb, partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP;
  • Charmaine Courtis, executive director, Student Services & International Relations, Schulich School of Business; and
  • Jennifer Corriero, co-founder & executive director, Taking IT Global.

"These five York graduates are leaders who have distinguished themselves in politics, education, business and non-profit organizations. Through their work, they have had a profound impact on people’s lives locally, nationally and globally,” said York’s executive director of alumni & advancement services, Naguib Gouda (MBA ’84). “Their success embodies what it means to be a York graduate and reminds us that our alumni are making a difference in the world.”

There are five categories of Bryden Alumni Awards, each of which honours a distinct set of achievements and contributions.

Redefine the Possible: For leadership and successes which are innovative, unconventional and daring, embodying York’s theme “redefine the possible”.

Paul Alofs (MBA ’83) has experienced groundbreaking success in business and his leadership in nonprofit organizations embody York’s philosophy to  "redefine the possible". After serving as the president of HMV Music Stores, president of BMG Music, general manager of North American Disney Stores, and president of Strategic Business Units of, Alofs left the corporate world to become a key leader in the Canadian non-profit sector. He is currently president and CEO of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, and has served as the board Chair of Covenant House. Alofs has received many awards, including Music Industry Executive of the Year, Innovative Retailer of the Year and was named one of Canada’s “Top 40 under 40”.

Pinnacle Achievement: Recognizing true distinction in professional life or in any field of endeavour.

Karen Kraft Sloan (MES ’90) is one of Canada’s most passionate environmentalists whose outstanding work, as a Liberal Member of Parliament and as Canada’s ambassador for the environment, has shaped national policy and inspired Canadians. She served two terms as parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Environment and was vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Environment & Sustainable Development for seven years. Kraft Sloan played an important role in former prime minister Jean Chretien’s decision to sign the Kyoto Accord. Kraft Sloan organized the 1999 and 2000 Eco-Summits and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Sierra Club of Canada 2000 Eco-Olympics. She is a special adviser to York’s vice-president research & innovation.

Outstanding Contribution: Dedication to the advancement of the University through exceptional service, commitment and contributions.

Maxwell Gotlieb (BA ’72, LLB ’75, LLM ’97) is a proud three-time York graduate and highly respected senior lawyer whose financial and volunteer contributions to York go beyond the exceptional. He is a member of the York University Foundation Board of Directors who exceeded all expectations by co-chairing the Brazilian Ball Carnival Event with his wife Heather, generating not only $2 million in funding for York’s Accolade Project, but also immeasurable recognition for the University and for the Faculty of Fine Arts. Gotlieb is a partner with Toronto’s Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and former faculty member of Osgoode Hall Law School, where he taught for 11 years.

Local Hero: A York alumnus and employee of the University who has gone beyond the call of duty.

Charmaine Courtis (BA ’72) is an alumna who has shown remarkable skill and dedication at York University, earning the lasting praise and respect of students, faculty, staff and alumni. Upon graduation, Courtis joined York in 1972 and is currently the executive director of student services and international relations at the Schulich School of Business. Unfettered by convention and traditional expectations, she has shown exceptional leadership in improving the student experience by restructuring financial aid, and enhancing the school’s diversity and international reach, going far beyond her official duties. She has influenced the lives of close to 20,000 Schulich graduates, the majority of whom know her by name.

One-to-Watch: For remarkable professional and community accomplishments early in his or her career.

Jennifer Corriero (BA ’03, MES ’06) is an innovative leader who has forged her own unique path to success as the co-founder and executive director of Taking IT Global, one of the world’s most successful online international development organizations for youth. She has worked as a consultant and adviser on youth strategy for organizations such as Microsoft, Nike, Pollution Probe and the Ontario Science Centre, among others. Corriero’s many awards include Wired Young Woman of the Year, the World Economic Forum’s Global Leader of Tomorrow and Youth Global Leader awards, Coverage magazine’s Shaper of the Future Award and McGill University’s Management Achievement Award. She was also featured on the cover of the October 2007 issue of YorkU magazine.

About the Bryden Awards

The awards are named after the late Bruce Bryden (BA ’64), founder of the York University Alumni Association (YUAA) and the first alumni Chair of the York University Board of Governors. Bryden helped launch the York University Development Corporation. A passionate member of the community for nearly 30 years, Bryden’s inspiring commitment, vision and contributions helped shape York into the vibrant and innovative University that it is today.