York alumna to champion respect at Ontario Soccer Summit

soccer ball on field

York University women’s soccer coach and former Lions star player Farkhunda Muhtaj takes the stage at the 2024 edition of the Ontario Soccer Summit, where – as a celebrated advocate for social justice – she will emphasize the critical need for promoting respect in sport within Canada’s soccer community.

A two-time York graduate who holds degrees from the Faculty of Education and the University’s kinesiology program, she is one of 600 delegates expected to attend the summit, a gathering of coaches, staff, administrators and stakeholders from across Canada’s soccer community, taking place on the Keele Campus from Feb. 23 to 25.

Farkhunda Muhtaj 
(Credit: Mike Ford for York U Magazine)
Farkhunda Muhtaj
(photo credit: Mike Ford for The York University Magazine)

As a keynote speaker, Muhtaj will draw from her experiences within Ontario’s soccer system and her journey as an Afghan-Canadian professional soccer player. Muhtaj gained international recognition when, in 2021, she defied the Taliban by successfully relocating Afghanistan’s junior soccer team outside the country to safeguard its female players and their ability to play.

In her talk, the 26-year-old former midfielder will highlight the transformative influence of sports, particularly in marginalized communities. She will also present the documentary about the Afghan team’s story, We Are Ayenda, to underscore the resilience of the Afghan youth women’s national team and the power of soccer in shaping lives.

“I’ll discuss strategies for creating inclusive environments, prioritizing player safety and combatting bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination. Soccer has empowered me to give back to my communities as a global active citizen, and I believe it’s imperative to offer others similarly enriching experiences,” she says.

Named a York University Top 30 Under 30 in 2022 for her active dedication to social justice through sport, Muhtaj will also stress the urgency of rebuilding trust within the soccer community just as Canada is getting ready to host 13 of the 104 games at the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with seven in Vancouver and six in Toronto.

Her ongoing role as a mentor and role model for aspiring soccer players, particularly those from under-represented backgrounds, underscores her commitment to nurturing talent and diversity within Canadian soccer.

Through partnerships with soccer organizations, government agencies and community groups such as the Scarborough Simbas – a Toronto-based soccer program for refugees and other newcomers to Canada – Muhtaj aims to promote inclusivity and growth within the sport. She does so as well through Respect in Sport, a program within the Respect Group, which educates youth leaders, coaches, officials and others on how to approach bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

“As an Afghan-Canadian professional soccer player, the director of culture and conscience at the Respect Group and the co-founder of Scarborough Simbas, I am uniquely positioned to contribute to the development of soccer in Canada,” she says, “ensuring it is truly inclusive and growing the game.”

Muhtaj’s ongoing advocacy for policy changes within Canadian soccer governing bodies also aims to guarantee that diversity, equity and inclusion remain top priorities at all levels of the sport. By actively participating in policy discussions and decision-making processes, Muhtaj continues to shape the future of soccer in Canada. She believes the need for comprehensive, long-term plans to foster a culture of respect and integrity within the sport is important.

“In light of significant milestones in Canadian soccer, such as the establishment of a women’s professional league and the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2026, there’s an urgent need for unity within the sports community,” she says. “It’s crucial to safeguard our children, keeping them engaged in sport for a lifetime.”

York entrepreneurs recognized by award, prime minister

BEA Demo Day image BANNER

York University alumni Yemi Ifegbuyi (BA ’10) and Zainab Williams (BA ’07) are among the top three Black entrepreneurs named the winners of a startup pitch competition hosted by the Black Entrepreneurship Alliance (BEA) founded by the Black Creek Community Health Centre in partnership with York University’s YSpace.

The competition, the inaugural BEA Investment Bootcamp Demo Day, is the final assignment of a four-month program run in partnership with YSpace for early-stage and capital-ready, Black-led startups.

The Investment Bootcamp program is aimed at supporting Black-led tech startups with training, mentorship and fundraising insights to secure early capital. With a community-driven approach, the program offers curated content and resources to support entrepreneurs through educational workshops, one-on-one coaching and peer founder circles, which provides a safe and open space for founders to connect and receive support.

The nine startup finalists in the BEA Investment Bootcamp program
The nine startup finalists in the BEA Investment Bootcamp program.

Applicants to the competition were narrowed down from the 17 Black entrepreneurs who participated in the program to nine finalists who pitched their businesses to a live audience at an event on Feb. 1 celebrating Black excellence.

The Demo Day event, which also marked the start of Black History Month, was attended by a number of government officials, including Filomena Tassi, the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Judy Sgro, member of Parliament for Humber River – Black Creek, was also in attendance and was impressed by the entrepreneurs. “Witnessing the dedication and leadership of these young entrepreneurs has not only inspired me, but it reaffirms my belief in the incredible potential of our community’s future leaders,” she says.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with first place winner Yemi Ifegbuyi
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who met finalists at a special event before the awards were announced, with first-place winner Yemi Ifegbuyi.

First-place winner Ifegbuyi will receive $5,000 toward his business, Cozii Technologies, an artificial intelligence-driven property management platform tailored to multi-unit landlords. Ifegbuyi immigrated from Nigeria about 15 years ago and received his degree in international development and urban studies at York as well as a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation. As a founder known for his entrepreneurial drive, Ifegbuyi is excited for the future as his business continues to grow.

“This fund will be channelled into our sales and marketing endeavours, with the goal of reaching and serving more small- and medium-scale rental property owners and managers,” he says. “It’s not just a cash prize. It’s an investment in Cozii Technologies’ vision to revolutionize the way we approach property management.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with second place winner Zainab Williams
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with second-place winner Zainab Williams.

Second-place winner Williams, the founder of Fundevolve Inc., a pioneering platform dedicated to empowering women in their financial journey, will receive $3,000 to further her company. Williams developed her passion for business while studying business administration and management at York. Born out of an investment gone wrong, Williams became an independent financial planner and was determined to empower individuals to make the right financial decisions. Her business is quickly building momentum as she works to further develop the web-based platform and equip women with the tools to take control of their financials.

“We plan to use the prize winnings for testing before launching our platform,” says Williams. “This investment in security ensures not only our project’s safety but also our users’ trust.”

Both Ifegbuyi and Williams cite the boot camp’s collaborative spirit as a contributor to their startup’s success. “Participating in the program has been a transformative journey,” says Ifegbuyi. “The unwavering support and mentorship we received are catalysts for long-term growth.”

Special guest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also attended a private event – where York President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton was also present – held before the awards to meet the finalists and learn more about their businesses.

“Meeting Justin Trudeau was a great honour and opportunity,” says Ifegbuyi. “It symbolized the recognition of our hard work and the federal government commitment to supporting the Black entrepreneurial community. It’s a reminder that our efforts are making an impact, and it inspires us to continue pushing boundaries and striving for excellence in everything we do.”

Both BEA and YSpace offer several innovative programs and events for entrepreneurs at all stages, including curated programming dedicated to under-represented groups like Black entrepreneurs and women founders.

To learn more about this partnership, visit BEA’s website at YSpace.

Workshop explores relationship between art and anthropology

Audra Townsend art on display at gallery

Art exhibits can serve as powerful forms of public anthropology, putting on display an individual’s creative exploration of what it means to be human. As part of its Anthropology Beyond the Academy series, the York University Department of Anthropology’s Winter 2024 event will demonstrate just that by featuring the work of abstract and mixed-media artist Audra Townsend, a York alumna.

Audra Townsend
Audra Townsend

Titled Art & Anthropology, the Feb. 9 event will showcase Townsend’s artwork in the Vari Hall Rotunda from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by a workshop from 3 to 4 p.m. where Townsend will discuss her professional path and her work in exploring humanity through art. All are welcome to attend.

Townsend is a British-born, Jamaican Canadian artist based in Toronto, who believes art is a manifestation of our curiosity about the material world and an essential part of what it means to be human. A former Ontario public servant, she is a trained sociocultural anthropologist who currently works as a data privacy consultant.

“Anthropologists use art to explore the essence of lived experiences, enabling a more immersive and emotive engagement with the subject of their studies,” explains Othon Alexandrakis, Chair of York’s Department of Anthropology. “By integrating visual storytelling into their research, anthropologists enhance the accessibility and impact of their narratives, fostering cross-cultural empathy and promoting a deeper appreciation for the richness of human diversity.”

When Townsend examines the relationship between art and the human experience, she borrows from intuitive and tactile art forms. Her work is characterized by a dense network of criss-crossing and squiggly lines separating rectangles of multiple shapes made of different materials, earthy and celestial colours, and textures of sand and stone, among others.

“We are excited to welcome Audra back to the department for this exciting workshop,” says Alexandrakis. “Audra’s art is extraordinary. We invite the York University community to come meet Audra, hear about her journey, and learn about art and anthropology.”

To register for the workshop, visit Winter Workshop: Art & Anthropology w/ Audra Townsend. For more information about Townsend’s art, visit her website.

Faculty of Health helps students take their learning global

airplane landing at dusk banner

The world, as the saying goes, is a classroom, and a special award from the Faculty of Health is making it easier for students to access it. The Global Health Travel Award provides students with funding to help cover travel and accommodation expenses, empowering them to pursue global learning opportunities that can make an impact on their academic and career paths.

The Global Health Travel Award is among several opportunities the Faculty of Health extends to support its students looking to pursue global learning, and it ties to the University’s larger active efforts to reduce financial barriers to international experiences for students, encouraging the development of global citizenship, interpersonal skills, adaptability and more.

The award is given to Faculty of Health undergraduate students who want to complete a global health project as part of a single-term (11-week) international placement that meets the requirement of their academic program.

During the Winter 2024 term, nine students will be able to travel to countries such as Jordan, Ghana, Kenya, Denmark, Germany and Belize thanks to the award. They will gain experiences echoing those of the following current and past students from the Global Health Promotion & Disease Prevention program within York’s School of Global Health whose journeys illustrate the impact the international opportunity and award can have.

Autumn Langford, current student

Langford, who will be graduating following the completion of her practicum, recently won the travel award to journey to Kenya to focus on HIV prevention, particularly among adolescent girls. There, she’ll observe and seek to understand how Kenyan communities address health issues, acknowledging the unique differences from handling HIV in Toronto.

Langford credits the bursary for being pivotal to the opportunity because she is juggling part-time work to cover her other expenses. Without it, her Kenya plans might have faced a financial roadblock. It covered essential needs and unforeseen expenses, such as mandatory immunization for global travel, ensuring her health and safety during the stay.

Daniel Ramlogan, alumnus

Ramlogan saw his academic journey at York culminate with a global health practicum in the Middle East. With the $5,000 of support from the award, he was able to travel to Amman, Jordan, to pursue a placement with the Jordan Health Aid Society International.

The relief from financial concerns, which he describes as a significant weight lifted off his shoulders, allowed Ramlogan to fully engage in the cultural and learning experience. In the process, his passion for research and program development were sparked, resulting in two successful projects: workshops on gender-based violence and sexual health in Amman, and a grant for the Za’atari refugee camp’s medical facilities. Recognized by the Jordanian government and donors, Ramlogan’s contributions continue to positively impact lives, even after his departure.

Mahilet Girma, alumna

The funding Girma received from his award allowed her to travel to Brazil to pursue an opportunity to work with MSF (Doctors Without Borders). There, she played a key role in crafting a training module for community health workers, and she emerged from the experience more confident and with more polished social and professional skills. Her journey wasn’t just an academic and professional, though – it ignited personal growth.

To learn more about awards issued, visit the Global Learning website.

Nominations open for York University Alumni Awards

York University Alumni Awards banner

Each year, the York University Alumni Awards celebrate outstanding alumni who have achieved the extraordinary and made remarkable contributions to the University and the broader community. Nominations for award recipients are being accepted until Tuesday, Feb. 20, and the Alumni Awards ceremony to honour them will be held in the fall.

Nominations are open for the following awards:

  • Outstanding Contribution: an alum who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of York and its students through exceptional service, commitment and/or philanthropic contributions.
  • Outstanding Achievement: an alum who has achieved distinction in their field and whose integrity and ability inspire alumni, faculty, staff and students.
  • Tentanda Via: an alum who has demonstrated innovative, unconventional and daring leadership and success, reflecting the University’s motto, “The way must be tried.”
  • One to Watch: an alum who has made a significant impact in their field and/or community within 15 years of a bachelor’s degree or 10 years of a professional/graduate degree.

Past recipients included a wide range of people contributing to society in their professional field.

Do you know a remarkable individual deserving of an Alumni Award? Complete the nomination form.

For questions about the nomination process, contact Nicole Light, senior alumni engagement officer, at nlight@yorku.ca. For more information about the Alumni Awards, visit the Alumni Awards page and YouTube channel. Looking for some inspiration? Check out the 2023 Alumni Award recipients.

Pioneering York physicist honoured with memorial fund

formulas on blackboard banner

York University science alumni Itay and Mina Yavin have donated $200,000 to the Department of Physics & Astronomy in honour of late Professor Helen Freedhoff, a pioneering theoretical physicist, to create a memorial fund supporting students in the department.

Itay Yavin
Itay Yavin, the York alumn whose gift donation led to the creation of the Helen Freedhoff Memorial Fund. To his left is an image of Helen Freedhoff.

The gift will create the the Helen Freedhoff Memorial Fund, with a focus on supporting student mentorship and research at the undergraduate level. Specifically, it will further enable research in the lab of Professor Anantharaman Kumarakrishnan’s Atomic Physics Research Group.

It will also establish the Helen Freedhoff First Year Award for select entering domestic and international undergraduate students admitted into the Department of Physics & Astronomy with high academic achievement and a passion for science.

“We are thrilled to give back to York University, where we spent formative years, and to collaborate with the Faculty of Science to memorialize Professor Freedhoff’s life and work,” said Itay Yavin, who was personally mentored and supervised by Freedhoff. “We hope the funds will foster excellence in students’ research at the physics and astronomy department. We are excited that the funds will also support the lab of Professor Kumarakrishnan, whose devotion to students’ research and development over the past two decades truly exemplifies Professor Freedhoff’s legacy.”  

When she joined York University in 1967, Freedhoff was the first woman physics faculty member on a Canadian University campus. She worked to develop a new theory to describe novel physical phenomena in strongly coupled light-plus-atom systems. Her research focused on the areas of co-operative atomic effects, intense field resonance fluorescence and two-photon transitions. These remain important contributions to the field today.

The donation was celebrated on Monday, Jan. 15 with a plaque-unveiling ceremony and a dedication of the Helen Freedhoff Meeting Room in the Petrie Science & Engineering Building. The ceremony was attended by Freedhoff’s family, the donors and their family, members of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and other science community members. The ceremony was followed by a tour of Kumarakrishnan’s lab.

“It’s so wonderful to see this relationship come full circle, where the student and mentee is now giving back so much to our Faculty, just as his mentor did,” said Rui Wang, dean, Faculty of Science. “I’m so pleased that Professor Freedhoff’s legacy – her important research contributions, her trailblazing career as a woman physicist, and her attention to and care for her students – has been memorialized with this donation that will benefit so many science students, current and future. This donation exemplifies the spirit of the Faculty of Science, working collaboratively and solving challenges head on in innovative ways that will benefit our community and beyond.”

Roll out the red carpet: York alum’s film premieres at festival

moving matter yellow banner

Moving Matter, a short film co-created by actor, director and York University alumnus Beau Han Bridge, will see its world premiere at the Dance on Camera Festival at the Film at Lincoln Center venue in New York City.

Beau Han Bridge
Beau Han Bridge

Five years ago, Bridge, who holds a master of fine arts in film production from York, was visiting New York City and decided to see a movie premiere – followed by a director Q-and-A – at the Film at Lincoln Center, one of the foremost cinematic institutions in the world. “The experience stuck with me in a way that I really admired and cherished,” says Bridge. As a filmmaker himself, his mind drifted to what-ifs, imagining if a movie of his might ever end up at the Lincoln Center. “I never saw myself premiering any work of my own there,” Bridge recalls thinking at the time.

He was – happily – wrong.

Moving Matter, a 12-minute short film that Bridge co-created, shot, edited, sound designed and directed, will receive a world premiere at the Lincoln Center in February as part of the Dance on Camera Festival, the longest running dance film festival in the world that celebrates choreographic storytelling in cinema.

The short film is a product of a unique interdisciplinary collaborative project with two movement artists and educators, Rob Kitsos and Meagan Woods from Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts. The conceptual goal of the project was to explore a form of dance choreography and costume design influenced by materials – not as objects, but as a kind of collaborator. As described in an academic article published in the journal Theatre, Dance and Performance Training to provide a template for others to pursue material-led artistic projects, “In a challenge to normative structures where costumery operates ‘in service’ of dance, the textile designs for Moving Matter do not support the complete autonomy and freedom of moving humans; the wearables have striking characteristics of their own that limit what the human body can do.”

Still from Moving Matter short film
A moment from Bridge’s short film, Moving Matter.

The project began with a study of old kitchen flooring about to be discarded and – with artists from the world of dance and costume design – explored ways that raw materials like linoleum, wool and plastic could be integrated into garments and choreography. “I was drawn to the idea of how we could harness compositional ideas from non-human material and translate it into choreographic works,” says Bridge, who hopes audiences who see his, Kitsos and Woods’ film will share that interest. “I also hope viewers appreciate and see our efforts in attempting to give the materials an equal voice and consider them equal collaborators in the creative process.”

The short film is the latest in Bridge’s body of work, which has included films screened at international film festivals, as well as acting performances in numerous theatre productions. This latest accomplishment, however, is something special, he says. “A film premiere at Lincoln Center means the world to me, as I honestly could not have imagined ever having a work premiering there in my life,” Bridge says. “To have Moving Matter be the first original work that brings me so close to it is quite surreal … I honestly owe it all to my co-collaborators, Rob Kitsos and Meagan Woods. If it wasn’t for them bringing me into this very exciting and beautiful process back in February 2023, and introducing me to new ways of filmmaking through interdisciplinary collaboration, then I wouldn’t be here.”

You can see the trailer for Moving Matter here:

York-affiliated changemakers appointed to Order of Ontario

Order of Ontario medal (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Four individuals with affiliations to York University have been invested with the province’s highest honour, the Order of Ontario, for their efforts in shaping the province for the better.

The four were among 25 new appointments announced by Edith Dumont, Ontario lieutenant-governor and chancellor of the Order of Ontario. Appointments recognize innovators and leaders from diverse fields whose work has played a role in building a stronger province, country and world.

“As chancellor of the Order of Ontario, it is my privilege to congratulate the Order’s appointees for 2023. These Ontarians have demonstrated the highest levels of merit, excellence and dedication in their respective disciplines, and they have made significant impacts here at home and around the world,” said Dumont. “Our province gratefully acknowledges their remarkable contributions, which inspire us all to be leaders and changemakers.”

The 2024 appointees with York affiliations are:

David Collenette, alumnus, faculty, donor

Collenette, current Chair of the NATO Association of Canada, served as a Canadian member of Parliament and cabinet minister under three prime ministers. Among his achievements, he helped bring former Warsaw Pact nations into NATO, changed federal policy toward racial equality and diversity, and led Canada’s security response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in the U.S. He has contributed countless hours to numerous not-for-profit projects, including in the arts, and served as Chair of the NATO Association of Canada. Collenette has also served on several Glendon Campus committees and has been a York U Alumni Award recipient.

Michael Latner, alumnus

The executive Chair of rental housing provider Shiplake Properties, one of the province’s most successful family-owned companies, Latner has contributed significantly to Ontario’s social and economic prosperity through business and philanthropy. Latner made transformational investments in local business, innovation and job creation through Shiplake, as well as though past leadership of Dynacare Laboratories in the 1980s and while playing an instrumental role in developing the Fallsview Casino in the 1990s. In the process, his efforts have helped Ontario become a beacon of excellence in health care, medical science, education and the arts.

Dwayne Morgan, alumnus

Founder of production company Up From The Roots, Morgan has been a pioneer in Canadian spoken-word poetry. His company has helped produce numerous opportunities for other racialized artists. He lobbied the League of Canadian Poets to include performance poets, produced North America’s two largest spoken-word events and has performed globally.

Gervan Fearon, former faculty, donor

Currently president of George Brown College, Fearon has also served in the past as the president and vice-chancellor at Brock University and Brandon University. A veteran educator with a vision for equity, inclusion and community empowerment, Fearon leads efforts to provide transformative education opportunities that benefit learners, industry and the greater community. His influential contributions to the white paper “Towards a Vision for the Black Community” pioneered ideas for positive change.

For more information about the Order of Ontario program, visit ontario.ca/page/order-ontario.

Four York community members invested into Order of Canada

Order of canada medal laid out on black background

Four individuals with connections to York University are among the 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada, announced in December 2023 by the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada.

The York-affiliated and newly appointed individuals include one officer (O.C.) and three members (C.M.) joining the Order of Canada, one of the highest civilian honours in the country. Appointments recognize people whose services, compassion and innovations have shaped society and communities throughout Canada.

Officer

Wenona Giles, professor emerita, donor
Giles, who is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and 2023 York University Research Leader Award recipient, was appointed for her significant contributions to refugee and migration studies, and for her efforts to increase access to higher education among those living in refugee camps

Members

Patricia Sybil Pritchard Fraser, alumna, donor
Fraser, a retired artistic director of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre (now the Dance Arts Institute), was appointed for her lasting contributions to Canadian contemporary dance as an artist, dancer, educator and artistic director.

Flavio Volpe, alumnus
Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association, was appointed for advancing Canada’s automotive and technology industries on an international scale as a leading policy expert in national trade and industry competition.

Sara Joy Angel, affiliated faculty
Angel, a former journalist and now executive director and publisher at the Art Canada Institute, was appointed for her significant contributions to Canadian art history as a visual arts journalist and founder of the Art Canada Institute, which makes Canadian art history accessible online.

For more information about the Order of Canada program, visit gg.ca/en/honours/canadian-honours/order-canada.


Addendum: The original version of this YFile post omitted a fifth York-affiliated individual to be invested in the Order of Canada as an officer. They are:

Zainub Verjee, alumna, affiliated Fellow
Verjee, executive director of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, was appointed for advancing representation and equitable policy legislation within Canada’s arts and culture sectors as a leading artist, administrator and critic. Verjee is a former graduate student of York’s interdisciplinary studies program, as well as a McLaughlin College Fellow at the University.

York alumni-founded startup breathes new air into industry 

(Left to right) Blade Air founders Aedan Fida, Giancarlo Sessa and Joe Fida

By Diana Senwasane, student and community engagement coordinator, YSpace and VPRI 

Since its inception five years ago, YSpace – York University’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub – has supported hundreds of startups from ideation to incubation to scale. One such startup venture is Blade Air, which is quickly establishing itself as a national leader in the air filtration industry.   

Founded by two York alumni from the Schulich School of Business, Giancarlo Sessa (BBA’19) and Aedan Fida (BBA’19), along with his brother Joseph Fida, Blade Air was recently named the fifth-fastest-growing company in Canada for 2023 by the Globe and Mail

(Left to right) Blade Air founders Aedan Fida, Giancarlo Sessa and Joe Fida
Left to right: Blade Air founders Aedan Fida, Giancarlo Sessa and Joe Fida.

The trio is also celebrating one of their other latest achievements from earlier this year: the acquisition of CleanAir.ai, a Toronto-based startup that specializes in electromagnetic HVAC filters.  

The move will enhance Blade Air Smart IAQ Platform, the company’s innovative software for indoor air quality (IAQ) solutions.  

“With this strategic acquisition, Blade Air has access to patents and technology that will fast-track the next generation of its Blade Air Smart IAQ Platform,” says Sessa, chief revenue officer. “This enables businesses, real estate groups and facility managers to access critical, real-time data regarding their indoor air quality while reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions and lowering operational costs.” 

So far, Blade Air has implemented air quality solutions in over 540-million cubic feet of building spaces across North America, including for government, educational boards, hospitals and commercial enterprises. The list continues to grow as more spaces prioritize indoor air quality after the COVID-19 pandemic.   

A Blade Air HEPA Air purifier, the portable air quality solution for commercial spaces
A Blade Air HEPA Air Purifier, the portable air quality solution for commercial spaces.

Sessa says the company’s success is due in part to the support they received early on from YSpace, which provides access to mentors, testing equipment, and connections with funders and key resources.  

“YSpace was extremely supportive in providing us with the resources we needed to succeed, including great advisors, tools for making our business processes more efficient and an always cheerful and supportive network,” he says.  

The company has also prioritized sustainability, working to reduce its carbon footprint using zero-waste technology. They also created the world’s first zero-waste carbon filters.  

This commitment to innovate and be leaders in their industry stems from Sessa and Fida’s days at York.  

“Attending York University not only gave us the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the world of business, but we also found the inspiration to dream bigger and the network to make those dreams a reality,” Sessa says. “York empowered us to turn our vision into a thriving venture, and for that we are forever grateful.” 

To learn more about Blade Air, visit bladeair.com.