Later this week, York University will celebrate the leadership and achievements of five outstanding alumni at the annual Bryden Alumni Awards dinner.
This year’s recipients are:
- Janice Fukakusa, chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, Royal Bank of Canada
- Guy Burry, chairman and chief executive officer, WhiteHat Inc. & owner of Tenth Power Group
- Carolyn Acker, founder of Pathways Canada;
- Dave Smith, director, management information, York University (retired); and
- Karen D. Foss, Canadian foreign service officer, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
“The Bryden recipients are so inspiring. These five York graduates are leaders who have truly distinguished themselves in business, politics, education and the non-profit world. Through their work, they have had a profound impact on people’s lives here in Toronto, nationally, and around the world,” says James Allan, executive director of York’s Community and Alumni Relations Office.
There are five categories of Bryden Alumni Awards, each of which honours a distinct set of achievements and contributions.
Pinnacle Achievement: Recognizing true distinction in professional life or in any field of endeavour
Janice Fukakusa (MBA ’79), RBC’s chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, has broken down barriers for women in business by making a name for herself in the financial and non-profit sectors. As a chartered professional accountant and business valuator, she was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. In 2007, she was inducted into Canada’s Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame and in 2013, she was named one of 25 “Most Powerful Women in Banking” by American Banker Magazine.
Outstanding Contribution: Dedication to the advancement of the University through exceptional service, commitment and contributions
As York’s ultimate ambassador for the past 30 years, Guy Burry (BA ’82) has contributed to the University in a multitude of ways − as a tireless volunteer, a passionate fundraiser and a philanthropist. A driving force behind the Chair’s Cup Golf Tournament since its inception, Burry helped the University raise more than $5 million for graduate scholarships. Along with his family, Burry’s prolific support over several decades has impacted students and researchers in dozens of programs and areas across York. He currently divides his time among his duties as a member of York’s Board of Governors, several corporate boards, his asset-consulting practice and Chair and CEO of WhiteHat Inc., a Toronto-based IT security and business solutions firm.
Redefine the Possible: For leadership and successes which are innovative, unconventional and daring, embodying York’s theme “redefine the possible”
Carolyn Acker, CM (BAS ’87) was the founding CEO of Pathways to Education Canada, a public foundation dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education. Acker began her professional career in the nursing and health-care industry. She used the experience gained from serving Toronto’s disadvantaged to drive her entrepreneurial spirit. Today, Acker is bringing her expertise, passion and decades-long reputation for social improvement to other worthy causes as a management consultant in innovative social impact solutions.
Local Hero: A York alumnus and employee of the University who has gone beyond the call of duty
Dave Smith (BSc ’70, MBA ’72) has enjoyed more than 45 years of history with York. As a student, Smith excelled in athletics, competing as a varsity runner and winning five provincial and two national cross-country titles. Upon graduation, he remained with the York community, volunteering both as the University’s cross-country coach and head coach of the track and field team. Smith shared his unrivaled passion and competitive spirit, creating ‘York Open’, an indoor track meet that has been held for 42 years. He also co-directed the annual Corporate Challenge Indoor Track and Field Meet, raising scholarship funds for York students. Smith began his working career at York in 1972 as the sports seminars coordinator and went on to play a leading role as the University’s director of management information. He is now retired and living in Aurora, Ont. with his wife, Donna.
One-to-Watch: For remarkable professional and community accomplishments early in his or her career
Karen Foss (BA ’01), a Canadian foreign service officer, is the coordinator of international critical incidents at the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. With an undergraduate education in international studies from York’s Glendon Campus and a passion for creating change at a global level, Foss joined the foreign service in 2002. Since then, she has served as Canada’s deputy political director at the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and opened Canada House in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, among other things. In Ottawa, she has covered files on fragile states, security sector reform, civilian policing, multilateralism, the Americas, Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Asia.
About the Bryden Awards
Sponsored by TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, the awards are named after the late Bruce Bryden (BA ’64), founder of the York University Alumni Association 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 it is today.