Schulich ExecEd partnership to empower municipal leaders

Schulich ExecEd/City of Ottawa Masters Certificate in Municipal Leadership group
On June 7, the City of Ottawa hosted a Celebration of Learning event recognizing the 50 Schulich ExecEd Masters Certificate in Municipal Leadership program participants for their dedication and accomplishments.

The City of Ottawa has long recognized the pivotal role of skilful leadership in achieving its vision of prosperity, sustainability and resilience. For over a decade, York University’s Schulich ExecEd has been a trusted partner, helping to equip Ottawa’s leaders with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the increasingly complex challenges of municipal leadership. This past year, Schulich ExecEd delivered an updated version of its Masters Certificate in Municipal Leadership program to 50 City of Ottawa managers.

Customized to meet the diverse needs of both new and seasoned leaders at the City of Ottawa, this 12-day learning program, which unfolded over 12 months, included three modules: Essentials of Municipal Leadership, Strategic Municipal Leadership and – the new addition – Future-proofing Municipalities.

“This program has challenged the participants to think about the type of leader they want to be – someone who encourages and develops people, who listens, who models integrity, who puts others first, and who acts with courage and care as we work together to build a truly great city,” said Wendy Stephanson, city manager. “It has also presented a wonderful opportunity for our leaders to broaden their skills and explore new and innovative ways of thinking.”

The new module epitomizes the City of Ottawa’s forward-looking vision, challenging participants to embrace complexity, leverage data, and lead through change with strategic foresight and digital acumen.

The cohort-based learning experience also provided networking and collaboration opportunities among leaders across different departments, fostering a culture of peer-to-peer learning and building collegial relationships to last beyond the program.

“The content was like a reassuring reality check,” said one participant. “Everyone is facing similar struggles and challenges, but all we have to do is redefine how we look at these and give ourselves some leeway in terms of how we define success.”

Last month, the City of Ottawa hosted a Celebration of Learning event, recognizing the 50 program participants for their dedication and accomplishments. With leaders from both the city and Schulich ExecEd in attendance, the celebration served as a testament to the transformative power of education and collaboration in shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

“In an era of unprecedented uncertainty, the need for skilled and agile leaders in the public sector has never been more apparent,” said Rami Mayer, executive director of Schulich ExecEd. “ExecEd’s Masters Certificate in Municipal Leadership program delves deep into the psychology of leadership, effective communication, cultures of innovation, political acuity and agile decision-making. Those are skills that municipal leaders of our future need to harness today to nurture their leadership strengths, and those of their teams, and deliver on their commitment to provide exceptional service to their communities.”

Through strategic partnerships like this one, municipal professionals are being empowered with the skills and knowledge necessary to continue to shape the future of the communities they serve.

Schulich partnership to help companies track climate performance

Modern city and environmental technology concept

York University’s Schulich School of Business, the top ranked school in Canada for sustainability, has joined forces with Corporate Knights, one of the world’s leading sustainable economy media and research companies, to develop one of Canada’s first climate finance indexes. The new national index will track and measure corporate spending targeted at accelerating decarbonization efforts.

Olaf Weber
Olaf Weber

The index will serve as a useful tool for companies to track and measure their climate performance against peers within their industries while also providing important information for governments formulating public policy decisions around decarbonization.

Professor Olaf Weber, the CIBC Chair in Sustainable Finance at Schulich, is spearheading the initiative on behalf of the school. According to him, the development of a climate finance index “addresses the uncertainties around what companies really do to achieve their climate goals.” Adds Weber: “An index that addresses how much companies invest to achieve their goals presents a more objective indicator than general announcements in sustainability reports.”

As part of the process of developing the index, Corporate Knights and Schulich hosted a session on June 26 involving two dozen leaders from the building, transportation and power sectors who engaged in a cross-sector approach to find ways to measure decarbonization. The session took place in the former Toronto Stock Exchange boardroom at Schulich’s Miles S. Nadal Management Centre and was moderated by public policy expert Diane Fox Carney.

Corporate Knights magazine will soon publish a synthesis report detailing Canada’s climate investment gap and will unveil the new climate finance index, with index weightings by sector to show Canada’s climate investments versus requirements. Sustainability experts from Schulich will provide in-depth analysis of the results.

Carol Hansell encourages graduands to lean into their passions

Carol Hansell

By Lindsay MacAdam, communications officer, YFile

Carol Hansell, an internationally recognized expert in corporate governance who has been a key influencer on the development of public policy for more than three decades, was awarded an honorary degree from York University during a June 21 convocation ceremony for the Schulich School of Business. A graduate of both Schulich and Osgoode Hall Law School, she is no stranger to York U.

Hansell began by telling graduands how she became a leader in her field. After deciding against a career in academia, she began working as a deal lawyer, helping clients with mergers, acquisitions, financing, buyouts and more. What helped her excel in this role, she believed, was her passion for research, writing and teaching – skills she honed through her education – and she was intentional about pursuing projects within the legal world that played to those academic strengths.

Pictured, from left to right: Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps, Carol Hansell, Chancellor Kathleen Taylor.

Early in her career, she said, a publisher saw something she had written about corporate governance – which had not yet become its own field – and approached her about turning it into a book. It took her six years and a lot of research, but it resulted in her gaining expertise in what soon became a topic of global interest, and enabling her to contribute to public policy and start her own firm.

“My point for you is I didn’t follow my passion,” Hansell said. “If I had done that, I would have become a history professor. Instead, I became a corporate lawyer – it was interesting and, frankly, the compensation was better. I leaned into my passions and was able to build a career that was satisfying for me at every level.”

Hansell highlighted a tendency among some professionals to develop strong attachments to the organizations they work for. She encouraged graduands to maintain a balanced perspective and not take business decisions personally. Instead, they should pay attention to the character of decision makers and seek out organizations with values that align with their own. “Like any other relationship you have in life,” she said, “you will be most satisfied by interacting with organizations whose values you share.”

It wouldn’t have been a business school convocation without some lessons in finance. First, Hansell reminded graduands that money is not the only important factor when settling on a career path. “Money undoubtedly unlocks a lot of possibilities in life,” she said, “but having pride and purpose in what you are doing seems to me to be a minimum requirement.”

Another consideration, she said, should be ethics. “Don’t let yourself get swept up into a logic or pattern of conduct that justifies something you know isn’t right. It sticks with you. You can’t wash it off,” she warned. “And the money won’t save you when your reputation is tainted.”

With an anecdote from her own life about her husband leaving his financially lucrative career to take a short-term dream job in politics, she suggested graduands avoid taking on more debt than they need to. Having personal finances in order and living within one’s means, she explained, can provide the freedom to pursue meaningful life experiences that might not otherwise be possible.

Hansell closed her speech by telling the future business leaders how excited she was for them and all that lies ahead in their lives. “You are going to experience change, progress and developments that we can’t even begin to imagine at this moment,” she said.

In pictures: Spring Convocation celebrates Class of 2024


Spring Convocation for York University’s Class of 2024 ran from June 7 to 21, and featured ceremonies at both the Keele and Glendon campuses.

This year’s Spring Convocation began on June 7 with a ceremony at York University’s Glendon Campus, and continued with a dozen more in the following weeks at the Keele Campus. More than 7,000 graduands received their degrees during ceremonies overseen by the 14th chancellor of York University, Kathleen Taylor.

View photos from the Class of 2024 ceremonies below:

York Spring Convocation Class of 2024

Undergraduate students receive Governor General’s Silver Medals

Governor General Silver Winners BANNER

Three undergraduate students at York University have been awarded the Governor General’s Silver Medal, which recognizes the outstanding scholastic achievements of undergraduate students in Canada.

The Governor General’s Academic Medals are considered the highest honour that can be earned by exemplary Canadian scholars throughout every level of academia. This year’s recipients are:

Vo Dinh Huy Nguyen

Vo Dinh Huy Nguyen

Nguyen is graduating from the Bachelor of Business Administration program at York University’s Schulich School of Business, specializing in accounting, with the highest grade point average among his cohort.

His time at the University has been distinguished by winning several University and national business competitions and being actively involved within the Schulich community. He served as executive for a wide range of clubs – notably as president of the Schulich Accounting Society – and as a mentor for hundreds of lower-year students.

He credits his academic success and the Governor General’s Silver Medal, in part, to his Vietnamese parents for their support across a notable geographical distance. He also welcomes the award as a testament to the sometimes challenging journey of an international student living alone in Canada.

“Balancing school, work, and extracurricular activities while navigating life independently has often been overwhelming and, at times, daunting. However, this award validates that every effort and sacrifice has been worth it. It serves as a powerful reminder that, together with the right mindset, perseverance, commitment and gratitude can lead to remarkable achievements,” Nguyen says. “It is my immense honour to be recognized as part of the legacy of excellence by the governor general of Canada.”

Nguyen is currently enrolled in the Master of Accounting program at Schulich, with the goal of obtaining his chartered professional accountant designation, and is starting a full-time job at Deloitte Toronto in September.  

Parker Grant

Parker Grant
Parker Grant

Grant is graduating from the Faculty of Health with a bachelor of science (specialized honours) in psychology.

During her time at York U, she says she fell in love with conducting research – notably, examining inequities in health and well-being, with a particular focus on substance misuse. She credits professors Kerry Kawakami, Heather Prime and Jeffrey Wardell for the mentorship that helped kindle that passion.

“I’m incredibly proud to be receiving the Governor General’s Silver Medal,” she says. “This award represents all of the hard work and late nights I’ve dedicated to my degree and serves as an inspiration to continue pursuing my studies.”

Grant will next pursue her research interests at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, where her master’s thesis will examine sex and gender differences in response to an extended period of cannabis abstinence in individuals with major depressive disorder and cannabis use disorder. She will also continue research and advocacy work with the Queer & Trans Health Collective as a research assistant for the National 2S/LGBTQIA+ Substance Use Study.

Michele Bars

Michele Bars
Michele Bars

Bars is graduating from Glendon College with a specialized bachelor’s degree in French Studies, which allowed her to pursue an interest in a wide range of topics relating to French literature, language and linguistics, as well as culture and history in French-speaking countries.

“Receiving the Governor General’s Silver Medal is an honour and is very special to me,” she says. “It not only reflects my hard work and progress in my chosen field of study but also represents my overall student experience at Glendon and the wonderful professors from whom I learned so much over the years.”

Schulich ExecEd partnership to empower future leaders

Youth leaders

York University’s Schulich ExecEd is partnering with Skills/Compétences Canada (SCC), an organization dedicated to enhancing the involvement of youth and their communities in skilled trade and technology careers, to provide leadership training for the next generation of workers.

As part of the collaboration, Schulich ExecEd served as an education sponsor for this year’s Skills Canada National Competition, a multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices, which was held in Quebec City last month. Schulich ExecEd also served as the official 2024 training partner of the Skills Canada National Alumni Committee, comprised of 13 youth leaders from across Canada who will receive critical training in the areas of strategic communications, business case development and coaching.

“We take pride in our collaboration with Skills/Compétences Canada, serving as a sponsor and the official training partner of the National Alumni Committee for 2024,” says Rami Mayer, executive director of Schulich ExecEd. “The programming provided goes beyond theoretical knowledge, focusing on cultivating leadership skills crucial for empowering the next generation of youth.”

In an effort to bridge the gap between trade expertise and business acumen, Schulich ExecEd endeavours to equip future leaders with essential business skills such as management, leadership, finance, communications, data analytics and more. Through accelerated programming, Schulich ExecEd will provide tools to help ignite an entrepreneurial spirit, cultivate a resilient workforce and empower trades professionals to achieve desired growth levels in their respective fields.

“In today’s dynamic business landscape, young professionals are faced with multifaceted challenges that demand a comprehensive skill set,” says Mayer. “Through this meaningful partnership, we aim to empower these talented youth members with the business acumen necessary to navigate the complexities of tomorrow’s job market.”

New Schulich program receives industry accreditation

Group of multicultural medical professionals

The new Master of Health Industry Administration (MHIA) program at York University’s Schulich School of Business been accredited by the Canadian College of Health Leaders, allowing graduates to work toward obtaining the Canadian health executive (CHE) designation.

Being accredited by the Canadian College of Health Leaders reflects the MHIA program’s commitment to excellence and alignment with health industry standards. It also solidifies Schulich’s position as a leading institution in health-care leadership education, providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their careers and make meaningful contributions to the industry.

Amin Mawani
Amin Mawani

“This accreditation signifies the quality and rigour of our MHIA program,” says Amin Mawani, the program director. “We’re proud to offer our graduates the opportunity to attain the valued CHE designation and further advance their careers in health-care leadership.”

After a meticulous review of the MHIA program’s curriculum, the Canadian College of Health Leaders confirmed its alignment with the Leadership for Evidence-Based Decision Making (LEADS) framework – a nationally recognized leadership development model in health care. This means Schulich’s MHIA graduates will have advanced standing in the CHE designation process.

Beyond helping health-care leaders stand out among their peers, the CHE designation includes support for lifelong learning and assistance with career advancement.

Schulich has been developing health industry leaders for the past two decades, through the health industry specialization in its Master of Business Administration program and through innovative executive development programs offered by Schulich ExecEd and the school’s new MHIA degree.

For more information, visit the Master of Health Industry Administration website.

York University partnership supports social entrepreneurship

Two hands holding black heart

A collaboration between York University’s YSpace and Schulich ExecEd, and Toronto Montessori Schools (TMS), is nurturing and supporting the next generation of changemakers. The TMS Schulich Innovation & Entrepreneurial Experience (TSE) program has been empowering high-school students since 2019 to cultivate entrepreneurial skills and a sense of social responsibility.

“We are delighted to partner with TMS and YSpace on the TSE program,” says Rami Mayer, executive director of Schulich ExecEd. “Together, we have developed a program tailored for high-school students that enhances their business and leadership skills while guiding them to build scalable solutions to real-world problems.”

Recent participants, high-school students Ayden Lee and Lucas Wei, have been awarded a prestigious Global Youth Action Fund grant of US$3,000 for a project called Crew of Care. They developed it with their teammates Evan Leung and Sheng Yang during their time in the program.

The students embarked on their social entrepreneurship journey during the TSE prototype phase, where they together conceived the idea of a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing medical inequality and fostering reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Ontario. Crew of Care’s mission was to create more inclusive health-care solutions by hosting community fundraising events and educational workshops, and collaborating with larger organizations. The team received valuable feedback and mentorship during the TSE experience in July 2023, further igniting the passion and commitment of two of its founders, Lee and Wei, who continued to pursue the project beyond the program and worked to secure financial support.

The original Crew of Care team – Ayden Lee, Lucas Wei, Evan Leung and Sheng Yang – presenting their idea during TSE 2023.

The Global Youth Action Fund, an initiative of the International Baccalaureate education program, supports youth-led projects aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The Crew of Care project stood out to the selection committee due to its potential impact, collaborative approach and commitment to social change. The awarded funding will provide vital support to Crew of Care as the organization continues to expand its reach and initiatives.

Looking ahead, the Crew of Care founders – along with executive team members Vincent Peng, Sebastian Churchill, Shabadleen Sandhu, Amber Kwong and Hussain Ladak – envision partnerships with health awareness non-governmental organizations like Water First, and aim to host city-wide fundraising events and workshops to advance their mission of enhancing health-care access for Indigenous communities.

The TMS Schulich Innovation & Entrepreneurial Experience remains committed to fostering youth-led initiatives aligned with the UN SDGs. The upcoming TSE 2024 program will focus on food security and sustainability, offering students a platform to explore various issues impacting global food systems.

“Since 2019, we have been committed to nurturing the next generation of leaders through the TSE program, cultivating entrepreneurial skills and a deep sense of social responsibility,” says Mayer. “This partnership equips the next generation with the expertise needed to make positive impacts in local communities and to emerge as visionary leaders of tomorrow.”

Financial Times ranks Schulich ExecEd among world’s top executive education providers

Schulich School of Business entrance

The Financial Times of London has ranked York University’s Schulich ExecEd among the world’s top 30 executive education providers. The result marks a significant milestone for Schulich ExecEd as it continues its upward trajectory on what is widely regarded as the world’s premier executive education ranking, climbing an average of 17 spots in four years across the Open Enrolment and Customized programs categories.

In the Financial Times’ 2024 executive education ranking, Schulich ExecEd ranked 27th in the world, its highest-ever rank in the annual survey, in Open Enrolment programs – non-degree programs open to professionals looking to expand their skills and on-the-job responsibilities. Among North American executive education providers, Schulich ExecEd ranked third in the Open Enrolment category and sixth in the Customized programs category – non-degree programs for employees from the private or public sector, commissioned by senior managers to address specific training needs. Schulich ExecEd also earned the No. 1 spot in Canada for customer satisfaction in the Customized programs category.

“We’re honoured to achieve our highest ranking to date and once again be recognized by the Financial Times,” said Rami Mayer, executive director of Schulich ExecEd. “This acknowledgment is a testament to our exceptional instructors, the talented team at Schulich ExecEd, and our dedicated clients and participants. We remain committed to delivering innovative learning experiences across all programs and are very excited for our next transformation in executive education.”

For complete details regarding the 2024 Financial Times executive education ranking, visit:

York partnership supports entrepreneurs of Italian descent


YSpace, the innovation hub at York University, and Schulich Startups, led by the Innovation Office at the Schulich School of Business, have partnered with the Canadian Italian Business & Professional Association (CIBPA) to enhance the Italia360 incubator program.

Italia360 is an eight-week, part-time program designed to nurture the entrepreneurial aspirations of first-generation Canadians, individuals with Italian heritage and newcomers to Canada. Now in its second year, this groundbreaking initiative aims to equip aspiring student entrepreneurs with essential tools to develop and market their business ideas.

David Kwok
David Kwok

“We’re excited to join forces with CIBPA and DMZ [the startup incubator at Toronto Metropolitan University] to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs through the Italia360 program,” said David Kwok, director of YSpace. “At YSpace, we’re committed to providing comprehensive support to promising entrepreneurs, and this partnership further strengthens our mission to foster innovation and entrepreneurship within diverse communities.”

Students selected to participate in Italia360 will benefit from a range of resources provided by YSpace, including joint workshops with DMZ, tailored mentorship sessions, access to the YSpace learning community and physical office space at YSpace’s Markham location. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to engage in exclusive networking events hosted by Schulich Startups and YSpace, gaining exposure to industry leaders and potential collaborators.

Giuseppina (Pina) D'Agostino
Giuseppina (Pina) D’Agostino

“As an associate professor at York U and an active member of the CIBPA community, I am so excited to see this partnership between CIBPA and YSpace come to life,” said Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Giuseppina D’Agostino, a CIBPA board member and recent winner of the CIBPA Women of the Year Award. “The Italia360 program is about training up the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs with Italian heritage and newcomers to Canada, and the new YSpace component will provide even greater support to these participants to bring their ideas to life.”

Building on the success of its inaugural year, the second edition of the Italia360 program will further elevate participants’ entrepreneurial journeys by offering additional opportunities for selected student teams, including fast-tracking to YSpace’s accelerator programs. With a focus on supporting both tech and product-based companies, Italia360 continues to pave the way for aspiring entrepreneurs to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape.

For more information about Italia360 and to apply for the program, visit the CIBPA website and the DMZ website.