Future of Good is excited to present the 2019 list of 21 Young Impact Leaders.
We launched this because while Canada was recently announced to be the top country to be a social entrepreneur by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, social change also needs to come from inside existing organizations.
These ‘intrapreneurs’ are creating and leading ground-breaking initiatives that matter to the next decade of social impact. Just like entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs are daring, creative, and have a vision for change. They mobilize their fellow employees, while also meeting their organizations’ mission.
Featuring leaders aged 20-39 within non-profits, governments, foundations, businesses, and academia, who are doing game-changing work in responsible technologies, Indigenous entrepreneurship, women’s rights, Truth and Reconciliation, next generation giving, and more, the list includes some well-known faces but we also spotlight those quietly leading change through their perspectives, expertise, voice, and action.
These 21 Young Impact Leaders are ones to watch, who will continue to transform tech, cities, inclusion, work, policy, and philanthropy for the 21st century.
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Aneil Gokhale (He/Him)
Director of Philanthropy, Toronto Foundation
Engaging the next generation of philanthropists
Aneil spearheaded the successful creation and launch of Vision 2020, a new program developed to attract and inspire the next generation of philanthropists. The program has successfully engaged a cohort of 115 millennials and gen-xers in a “Philanthropic MBA” that provides a learning journey and enables them all to create permanent endowments to support city building philanthropy.
Becky Kilabuk (She/Her)
Youth Programs Coordinator, Qikiqtani Inuit Association
Empowering youth in the Arctic
Becky oversees the development and implementation of numerous innovative cultural programs for youth across the Baffin region of Nunavut, sharing personal stories of struggle, teaching cultural activities like throat singing and teaching cultural leadership programs to inspire the next generation of Inuit youth. She was raised speaking Inuktitut, and plays a meaningful role in helping to promote and preserve Inuit language and culture, and protect Inuit rights and values.
Caroline Lin (She/Her)
CFO, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation
Advancing research in social sciences and humanities
As a visible minority CFO woman in a male dominated field, Caroline is a trailblazer in concluding innovative partnerships. Her efforts successfully led to the Foundation's first academic partnership with Fulbright Canada, announced in November 2019. This unique partnership will support advanced research in the Social Sciences and Humanities while offering audacious doctoral students the opportunity to develop skills as engaged leaders with meaningful impact in their institutions and communities.
Cassandra Nagy (She/Her)
Senior Advisor on Responsible Artificial Intelligence, Government of Canada
Paving the way for responsible technology for all
Cassandra is passionate about safeguarding and promoting Canada’s leadership position in Responsible AI internationally. She advises on the future of AI in Canada working on key issues around ethics, rules, and privacy. Cassandra has always been driven by work that has tangible impact on the communities she aims to serve.
David Donovan (He/Him)
Lead, Policy and Innovative Finance, Privy Council Office, Government of Canada
Accelerating outcomes finance
Dave is one of the most dynamic, disciplined, and innovative policy minds inside the Government of Canada. The key policy architect behind Impact Canada, Dave conceptualized and implemented a new, whole-of-government approach to use outcomes-based methodologies (challenges, pay-for-success funding, behavioural insights) to achieve results for Canadians.
Iitoomsao’kaasii (Diandra Jae Bruised Head) (She/Her)
Kainai Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy
Embedding traditional knowledge into climate change policy
Iitoomsao’kaasii (DJ) tackles climate change professionally for the Kainai Tribe, Blackfoot Confederacy. She innovates every day linking water, bison, education, and language with politics and traditional ecological knowledge to engage in social innovation. She inspires many by the way she acts to create opportunities from the systemic gaps and divisive politics to bridge communities.
Jace Meyer (She/Her)
Lead for Indigenous Entrepreneurs, Shopify
Championing Indigenous entrepreneurship
Jace is championing a rise in Indigenous entrepreneurship and has convinced Shopify, the world's fastest growing SaaS company to respond to TRC #92. She's championing reconciliation at the systemic level. What few know is that Jace started by focusing inward and decolonizing herself. Her ability to lead this change internally at Shopify while experiencing massive personal growth has been inspirational to witness.
Janie Janvier (She/Her)
Coordinator, Saint-Léonard Neighborhood Collective Impact Initiative
Mobilizing citizens to improve neighbourhoods
The Saint-Léonard neighbourhood is tackling four major priorities: newcomer employment, youth education, family housing, and active and safe transportation. Janie has led the coordination of the neighbourhood collective impact project to advance solutions. Her leadership is inspiring because she believes that helping citizens to get their voice heard and supporting community organizations efforts to improve their neighbourhood takes time but leads to significant transformations.
JP Bervoets (He/Him)
Vice President, Community Foundations of Canada
Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals in Canada
For the past decade, JP has worked to foster collaboration across sectors to strengthen community and promote sustainable development. He has utilized goal #17 of the SDG's to bring complex, multi-sector relationships to bear, including catalyzing the development of Alliance 2030, a pan-Canadian network to connect and amplify Canadian leadership on the SDGs.
Khairunnisa (Inda) Intiar (She/Her)
Practicing solutions journalism
An immigrant originally from Indonesia, Inda is a reporter for digital business publication Huddle.Today writing about immigration, workforce, and diverse entrepreneurs in New Brunswick. Having lived her life across eight countries, she’s passionate about building bridges between people, sustainable economic development, education and social welfare.
Kiana Alexander (She/Her)
COO, Raven Institute
Co-creating spaces of belonging
A proud Métis Iskwew and a storyteller, Kiana leads RavenSPEAK at the Raven Institute, a learning space, speaker showcase event, and Indigenous Speakers Hub. The program trains Indigenous youth with the skills needed to lead, connects them to mentors, and showcases their leadership. She is relentless in her commitment to Indigenous youth.
Kris Kelly-Frere (He/Him)
Senior Innovation Designer, Vivo for Healthier Generations
Making communities more playful
Kris leads Vivo’s Play Project – a social innovation project to make our community more playful. He masterfully holds space to build solutions in real-time with the community and supports others towards this path. His peers shared that he helps everyone expand their learning and development and keep them focused on the future horizon while advancing the everyday.
Maggie Burton (She/Her)
Municipal Councillor, City of St. John’s
Shifting urban planning in the pursuit of social, economic, and environmental justice
Maggie is the youngest municipal councillor in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She uses her platform to shift dominant narratives at the local, regional, and national levels around emergent issues of importance to youth. Whether the topic is social innovation, the future of work, urban planning—she inspires greater public participation in policy development.
Paige Reeves (She/Her)
Senior Leader of Research and Social Innovation, Skills Society
Advancing disability rights through research
Paige is conducting research on patterns of supporting belonging of people with disabilities. As a member of the Skills Society team, her work and research centre around supporting people with developmental disabilities to lead rich, meaningful, and inclusive lives. Paige has worked in the disability space for over 10 years and is proud to lead two community building initiatives: RootEd. Edmonton and the CommuniTEA Infusion Project.
Pamela Uppal (She/Her)
Project Lead, A Decent Work Approach, Ontario Nonprofit Network
Strengthening women's work in the nonprofit sector
Pamela leads the Decent Work For Women initiative with the Ontario Nonprofit Network exploring women's experiences of working in the nonprofit sector. This is not just a job for her, she lives and breathes this work and is making life better for women in the social sector. Pamela has been engaging on three fronts for social change: frontline work, research initiatives, and policy dialogues.
Paul Taylor (He/Him)
Executive Director, FoodShare Toronto
Making way for food as a fundamental human right
Growing up black, gay, and on welfare in downtown Toronto, Paul has inspired a deep commitment to fighting for a more just society. He is the executive director of FoodShare Toronto, Canada’s largest food justice organization. At the age of 25, he was the executive director of one of Canada's largest homeless youth shelters.
Poya Kherghehpoush (He/Him)
Director of Transformation Strategy and Innovation, United Way Centraide Canada
Transforming organizational models for the future
Poya is passionate about creating impact and value. He drives change through a focus on data and building a performance culture, modeling and coaching leaders on operating model transformation. Through Poya’s leadership we have industry leading performance tools and are at the forefront of operating model transformation in the non-profit sector in Canada.
Scott Stirrett (He/Him)
CEO, Venture for Canada
Building youth entrepreneurial skills
Scott accelerates the growth of Canadian youth and startups through offering immersive learning opportunities. In 2019, VFC supported 350 youth to accelerate their careers and develop entrepreneurial skills with funders including the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, The RBC Foundation, TD Bank, and The McConnell Foundation.
Tristan Smyth (They/them)
Director of Finance, Strategy & Impact, Canadian Roots Exchange
Empowering Truth, Reconciliation, and Healing
Tristan is leading the operational scale-up of Canadian Roots Exchange from a grassroots organization to the largest Indigenous youth-led charity in Canada. Rapid exponential growth is rare and complex in the charitable sector, so it is inspiring to watch Tristan mobilize and empower staff and think so many moves ahead, ensuring that the growth is impactful and sustainable.
Wariri Muhungi (She/Her)
Manager of Global Programs, Equality Fund
Supporting women’s rights around the world
Wariri has designed and developed a scouting strategy to identify emergent women’s rights groups who are driving innovation in some of the most challenging contexts. At the Equality Fund, she has curated a roster of grantees that are artists, lawyers, athletes, educators, survivors, and leaders. They are sex workers, trans folk, Indigenous rights activists, human rights defenders, young women and girls, refugees and displaced women. Every day she works in service of them.
Yasmine Mohamed (She/Her)
Director, Canoo, Institute for Canadian Citizenship
Enriching new Canadians through art and culture
Yasmine is the leader and visionary behind Canoo, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship's (ICC) mobile app that offers new Canadian citizens free admission to more than 1,400 cultural places across Canada during their first year of citizenship. Under Yasmine's leadership, the ICC was able to turn an existing cultural program with aging infrastructure into a transformative digital platform that engages and supports tens of thousands of new Canadians across the country.