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Events listed below are coordinated by the Arts & Science Alumni Office as well as by various Arts & Science academic units.  For a list of general U of T alumni events, please see the U of T Events Calendar.

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Social Sciences b2B Speed Networking Event (2019)

September 25 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Wondering where your Social Science degree will take you? We’ve got a b2B for that!

Alumni from African Studies, Anthropology, Asian Institute, Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Criminology, East Asian Studies, Economics, Employment Relations, Geography, the School of the Environment, Ethics, Society & Law, Indigenous Studies, Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, Peace, Conflict & Justice Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Public Policy & Governance and Women and Gender Studies will come to campus to discuss their U of T education, the value of their degree, and their pursuit of successful careers with current Arts and Science students.

Each speed networking round will last 5-10 minutes. After an announcement is made by the moderator, students will be instructed to move to the next alumni station. Alumni guests will remain at their stations throughout the speed networking session. Light refreshments will be served afterwards, to give the alumni and students a chance to mingle in a less formal setting.

What you need to know:

  • Ensure you register!
  • Bring questions!
  • Arrive on time (or early).
  • Participation in the b2B program can be listed on your Co-Curricular Record (CCR) if you complete all three required steps.



Students will be divided into groups. As a group, students will converse with an alumnus for 10 to 15 minutes. Once that time has expired, the alumnus will move to the next station.


Speed Networking events allow students to:

  • connect with successful alumni, faculty members and your peers;
  • ask questions, learn from each other and feel supported as you decide on your next steps;
  • hear the stories of alumni who have successfully transitioned from their academic to professional careers.

Speed Networking events allow alumni to:

  • connect with students of their corresponding sector and fellow alumni.
  • share stories of their successful transition from degree studies to their profession.
  • answer questions from students regarding their personal career path.


Time Activity
5.30pm Alumni are invited to arrive, register and mingle ahead of students’ arrival.

Refreshments will be available throughout the evening.

6:00pm Students arrive

Welcome remarks

Alumni guest introductions by moderator

6:20pm Speed Networking session begins (10 minutes per round).

Note: The event moderator will announce the end of each speed networking round and will ask alumni to move to the next table and begin networking. Students will remain at their stations

7:20pm Speed networking session ends / closing remarks.

Informal networking session

Refreshments will be provided

8:00pm Event concludes


b2B Speed Networking attendees include students and recent graduates at various stages of their education and career, as well as Arts & Science alumni, including:

  • U of T Arts & Science Alumni currently working in the industry
  • Undergraduate students who are considering a career in the industry and want to learn how their studies will support them beyond graduation
  • Graduate students (MA, MSc, PhD) who are interested in exploring careers in the industry
  • Recent graduates who are looking to continue to develop their networks, professional skills and industry knowledge

Attending Alumni: 

  • Samim Amini, Compliance Analyst, AIG
  • Brad Bass, Coordinator, Environmental Programs, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Siliang Cui, PhD Candidate
  • Jennifer Chan, Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
  • Jana Chu, Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Transportation
  • Michael Di Febo, Registered Professional Planner, City of Vaughn
  • Shauzab Haiderali, Senior Client Success, 
  • Olinda Mazengwe, Graduate Research Assistant, OISE
  • Adam Plaxton, BA, CFP, CLU, RRC – IG Wealth Management
  • Shanon Kalra-Ramjoo, Manager, Enterprise Project and Change Management Office, City of Vaughan, Office of Transformation and Strategy
  • Usha Shanmugathasan, Teacher, Havergal College
  • Nicki Weiss, Sales Wise Academy, Founder
  • Albee Yan, Project Analyst, TD Bank Group
  • Yvanna Zakrzewski, Executive Assistant to Chief Commercial Officer, Canopy Growth Corporation

Alumni Biographies:

Samim Amini, Compliance Analyst, AIG

Samim Amini is a Compliance Analyst at AIG, a multinational insurance company with locations in over 80 countries and jurisdictions. After graduating from U of T with a degree in Criminology, Samim combined his work experience with the knowledge and skills he developed at U of T to find a career that is both challenging and rewarding.

As a Compliance Analyst, Samim’s day-to-day incorporates a wide range of skillsets, including risk management, policy analysis, stakeholder engagement, and regulatory compliance. Before starting at AIG, Samim spent 2 years as an intern for a Toronto based law firm and 2 years as an Insurance Underwriter for a leading Canadian insurance company.

Brad Bass, Coordinator, Environmental Programs, Environment and Climate Change Canada

As a student i was very involved in the life of my department and a few other clubs. These activities helped to make U of T a smaller, more personal place and also led to some interesting jobs on campus. After graduation, I pursued a Masters and PhD in Geography at Penn State with a year teaching at the University of Yaounde. I entered the government on a Visiting Fellowship and have held jobs in policy (Water Quality, Smart Growth), as a Network Manager and as an Adaption & Impacts Researcher (which was a co-location at U of T). My work has informed the development of the green roof industry and Toronto’s green roof bylaw. I am also a Status Professor with the School of the Environment (I run a student research program on campus in computer simulation) and a Director with the Foundation for Student Science and Technology.

Siliang Cui, PhD Candidate

I completed my undergraduate and master’s in the Department of Geography, University of Toronto. I am now pursuing my Ph.D. program here.  I am interested in academic research on topics related to urban air pollution and air quality measurements in Ontario, Canada.

Jennifer Chan, Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Jennifer Chan has 20 years of experience in government, advocacy and not-for-profit sectors, with a focus on cities and municipal issues. She currently works as a Senior Policy Advisor in Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, leading policy files such as the legalization of recreational cannabis and its implications for Ontario’s municipalities. Prior to this, she led consultation and stakeholder engagement on land-use planning policy for the Ontario government, and served as an aide to a Toronto City Councillor.
Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the in Anthropology, Semiotics and Sociology, and a Masters of Arts in Socio-Cultural Anthropology, both from the University of Toronto.

Jana Chu, Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Jana Chu is currently a Senor Policy Advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. She is responsible for working across the government and other stakeholders to advance key government priorities that support the improved efficiency, safety and competitiveness of Ontario’s transportation system. Her area of focus is on self-driving vehicles. She has previously worked as a Senior Policy Advisor for the Ontario Treasury Board Secretariat, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of the Attorney General and Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Leeds, a Masters in East Asian Studies and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Equity and East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto.

Michael Di Febo, Registered Professional Planner, City of Vaughn

Michael Di Febo is a Registered Professional Planner at the City of Vaughan in their Development Planning Department. He is responsible for Site Plans, Minor Variances, Consent Applications and Secondary Plans. Prior to joining the Public Sector, Michael spent four years working in a consulting environment. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, H.BA 2015 (Double Major Human and Environmental Geography, Minor Italian). Following such, he earned a Master’s in Planning and Graduate Diploma in Sustainability from York University and the Schulich School of Business.

Shauzab Haiderali, Senior Client Success, 

Graduated with double major in Sociology & French in 2015. After graduation, I worked in for a private defence contractor, and then moved to the Tech sphere where I currently work in Client Support. Over time, I have worked in a bilingual capacity in education, government, retail and banking industries. At the moment, I’m exploring options for a graduate certificate or degree program to help further my career.

Olinda Mazengwe, Graduate Research Assistant, OISE

Olinda Gold recently completed her Masters MA studies at OISE – UT in Social Justice Education (SJE). She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BA Honours (Distinction), from New College. As an undergraduate student, Olinda worked with the family Care Office at U of T helping students, staff and faculty with family related issues. She was on the Deans list as one of the most outstanding students. At OISE – UT she worked as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development. She worked on a community based research project to design an educational based intervention grounded in self-empowerment and community advocacy models for immigrant, refugee, and non status women. She is very passionate about Social Justice and Community Development issues, working with marginalized and at -risk communities in the city. She recently started a job with the City of Toronto and has worked for the Regional Municipality of Peel. As a student, Olinda came across the book, the Power of your Mind by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, which has inspired her to cultivate the right mindset, which in turn has led to academic success and an excellent life thereafter. Olinda has been invited by Valerie Okocha-Ray to start a Club called Believers Love World at the University of Toronto. This gathering brings students from different denominations and backgrounds together once a week in an effort to stir revival, encourage and teach them that with the right mindset about education, they can achieve much.

Adam Plaxton, BA, CFP, CLU, RRC – IG Wealth Management

Adam is a Certified Financial Planner with 14 years of industry experience.  He has been running a practice with IG Wealth Management in Toronto since 2009.  His areas of focus include investment management, strategic tax planning, risk management, retirement planning, pension transfer feasibility and comprehensive financial solutions to help build and preserve inter-generational family wealth.

Adam completed his Bachelor‘s degree in 2004 with a focus in Political Science and Sociology.

Shanon Kalra-Ramjoo, Manager, Enterprise Project and Change Management Office, City of Vaughan, Office of Transformation and Strategy

Shanon Kalra-Ramjoo is Manager, Enterprise Project and Change Management Office at the City of Vaughan in the Office of Transformation and Strategy. Shanon has previously held management positions at the Region of Peel in health services strategy and performance as well as Public Health leading health promotion policies and programs, talent management and strategic enabling projects. Prior to this Shanon held strategic policy positions in various ministries at the Ontario Government.

Shanon brings approximately two decades of experience in provincial and municipal levels of government. Shanon has an undergraduate degree in Public Policy and Administration from York University, Master of Public Administration from the University of Toronto and has completed an executive education program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  Shanon is currently Chair of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada’s Toronto Regional Board of Directors.

Usha Shanmugathasan, Teacher, Havergal College

Usha graduated from the University of Toronto in 2006, receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction in the areas of Women’s Studies and Equity Studies.  The following year, she received her Bachelor of Education from OISE/UofT specializing in the Primary/Junior divisions, and has since worked as a teacher for the Toronto District School Board and the Independent school system. She is passionate about the early years with a focus on early years mathematics, S.T.E.A.M and coding. She strongly believes in innovation, research and capacity building in education. Usha was part of the original Faculty that opened Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, the all-kindergarten school in the TDSB where she was the Lead Math Teacher. During her time at Fraser Mustard E.L.A. she shone a light on the importance of early years mathematics for educators, and families, and created innovative programs such as Math Studio and Expressive Arts. She designs and facilitates professional development for educators across Ontario, was on the Science Teachers Association of Ontario’s writing and presenting team for the  Kindergarten S.T.E.A.M resource, and has presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual conference. She was a former K-12 Learning Coach for the Toronto District School Board and also works with the Leacock Foundation in the capacity of Teacher, Curriculum Writer and Instructional Lead. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Education at OISE/UofT in Educational Leadership and Policy.

Nicki Weiss, Sales Wise Academy, Founder

I am the Founder and President of SalesWise and The SalesWise Academy, a training and coaching organization that helps business leaders and their teams cultivate a culture of healthy relationships, high performance, and strong results.  I started my career in sales and sales leadership, always rising to the top. After the birth of my first son, I wanted to work part time and found a job as a sales and leadership trainer.  This job paved the way for me to start and grow my own company many years later.

I graduated with distinction from U of T in 1978; received my Masters in Coaching and founded SalesWise in 2002.  We are a team of 6 serving primarily fast growth organizations.  In addition to work, I exercise daily, am the Chair of the Board for a 600 person not-for-profit organization, am an urban beekeeper, travel and kayak throughout the world, and founded a monthly bookclub that has been reading together for 30 years.


Albee Yan, Project Analyst, TD Bank Group

Albee Yan graduated from University of Toronto, University College in 2018. She double majored in Criminology & Social-Legal Studies and International Relations. Albee joined TD as a Communications Specialist after she graduated, and moved to the Project Management Associate Program as a Project Analyst this year.

Yvanna Zakrzewski, Executive Assistant to Chief Commercial Officer, Canopy Growth Corporation

Yvanna Zakrzewski is a Strategic Executive Assistant who supports the Chief Commercial Officer and the VP of International Market Expansion & Global Government Relations in continually expanding Canopy Growth Corporation’s market-leading position as the world’s largest cannabis company.

Yvanna spent eight years as an executive herself, most recently as VP of Investor Relations at TSX-listed Verde AgriTech. Having also trained in applied psychology and mindfulness, Yvanna’s combination of commercial expertise and advanced organizational behaviour acumen have positioned her to uniquely deliver on the holistic mandate of the new evolution of C-suite executive assistants.

After years of leading fast-paced Bay Street teams and interacting with hundreds of fellow executives, Yvanna knows that an empathetic, dynamic and steadfast assistant who is capable of, and confident enough to offer strategic counsel, is a staple on the teams of most high-performing C-suite executives at market-leading organizations. Yvanna has spearheaded the investor relations and regulatory activities of two capital financings resulting in raising a total of $43 million as well as contributed in successfully obtaining an environmental permit during a highly challenging geopolitical climate.

In addition to her extensive corporate experience, Yvanna volunteers as a counsellor at Canada’s National Ballet School, protecting the emotional, physical and mental well-being of young dancers as they pursue professional careers in ballet. Yvanna has lived and worked in Toronto, Barcelona and London. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Rotman Commerce at the University of Toronto.




September 25
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm