Senior Ontario public servant receives a York award

York alumnus Derek Lett (BA Spec. Hons. ’91) has been awarded the 2009 Alumni Recognition Award by York’s School of Public Policy & Administration. The award recognizes Lett for his contributions to public policy and management, and for his role as a mentor to students and new professionals.

The award was presented to Lett by Professor Joanne Magee, director of York’s School of Public Policy & Administration, in front of graduate students enrolled in the Master of Public Policy, Administration & Law Program during a lunch on Oct. 24. 

Left: Derek Lett

Following his studies at York, Lett completed further graduate studies in public policy and administration and started his career in the Ontario Public Service. Over the past 17 years, he has held a variety of positions, including leadership roles in policy development and program delivery in the Ministries of Transportation, the Attorney General, and Public Infrastructure Renewal.

Currently, he is director of Diversity Program Design & Delivery with the Ontario Public Service Diversity Office, where he plays a key leadership role in shaping strategy to create a diverse and inclusive workplace that is reflective of Ontario’s rich and varied population.

After receiving his award, Lett delivered a special lecture to students and faculty, as well as colleagues from the Ontario Public Service. In it, he outlined how and why diversity has recently become a core value of public and private sector organizations. He explained how embedding diversity and inclusion in all the activities of the Ontario government results in better policies, more relevant programs and improved legislation.

Throughout his career, Lett has remained active within York’s Organization of Public Policy & Administration Alumni (OPPAA), and has been a mentor to dozens of York University students through their studies and entry into the workplace. Since 2006, he has been the president of the OPPAA.

Lett was nominated for the award by Fausto Natarelli (BA Spec. Hons. ’84), who was the recipient of the award last year. See YFileApril 22, 2008