Michael Allen has led United Way East Ontario for more than 20 years, growing the organization’s influence and impact as a champion of social justice, with the City of Ottawa as a key benefactor of this work.
Under Mr. Allen’s guidance, United Way has organized and advocated for local seniors’ wellbeing, early childhood development, employment equity, ending youth homelessness, and supporting youth struggling with addiction – for which he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by the late Mauril Bélanger, MP for Ottawa-Vanier.
Mr. Allen has also personally committed to countless community endeavours such as taking a lead on the Council of Partners for Success By 6; being a community champion for the provincial government’s investment in Early Years Centres; as a member of the Board of Directors for Crime Prevention Ottawa; a member of the Council of the Mayor’s Integrated Drug and Addiction Strategy; and Chair of Ontario’s AffordAbility Fund Trust addressing energy affordability.
Mr. Allen has also been a community leader as the city faced some of our toughest challenges: the Syrian refugee crisis, the opioid crisis, the tornadoes in 2018, and the floods of 2019.
Most recently, as the President and CEO of United Way East Ontario, Mr. Allen led the Community Response Table (CRT), a coalition of 100+ participants and 80 subject matter experts who worked together to deliver more than 60 rapid response solutions to support people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CRT has met more than 20 times since 2020, and its impact was recognized throughout our city, including being publicly acknowledged by the Prime Minister of Canada.
Sadaf Ebrahim is a proud Pakistani-Canadian and currently serving the community as President of the Canada-Pakistan Association (National Capital Region).
Ms. Ebrahim has been working hard in organizing social events, managing various awareness programs and volunteering her time to engage with people of all backgrounds to improve the socio-economic dimension of the community.
Sadaf Ebrahim started a movement called GREEN HELP to address climate change and empower newly immigrant women by providing them part-time jobs making cloth shopping bags.
Sadaf Ebrahim has also been appointed as a Pakistan Girls Education Ambassador. Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education (PAGE) acts as a platform for stakeholders, donors, policymakers, and practitioners to come together and address the gender gap in education in Pakistan and devise solutions to overcome the broader socio-economic challenges faced by the girls.
Sadaf Ebrahim uses every available platform to raise awareness about various community issues and to organize fundraising campaigns. She has successfully raised funds for organizations like the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, Multi Faith Housing Initiative Ottawa, Cure Women & Children in Bangladesh who are in dire need of medical treatment, and CHEO Foundation.
Ms. Ebrahim also serves as an active member of the community and has been recognized for her efforts, receiving the Appreciation Award for raising funds for Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, Immigrant Entrepreneur Award by City of Ottawa in 2017 and Canada 150 Award in 2017.
Serving as the President and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade for over six years, Ian Faris has worked to strengthen the City’s business community, in particular its role as a stakeholder in City, Provincial and Federal decision-making.
Mr. Faris oversaw the amalgamation of three Chambers of Commerce into one cohesive organization. Throughout the pandemic, the benefits of having a unified Ottawa Board of Trade involved in the City’s economic recovery, working for the benefit of its members and the broader business community, has been experienced firsthand.
As President and CEO, the Ottawa Board of Trade launched the Capital Build Task Force aimed at building momentum for City-building infrastructure projects, including the LeBreton Flats redevelopment, a new Civic Hospital campus, equitable distribution of jobs across all areas of the City, and the revitalization of the ByWard Market.
Ian Faris has taken on a national advocacy role as the Senior Vice President, Chamber Network Relations and Advocacy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. His expertise continues to serve the needs of the national and local business community.
Ian Faris continually demonstrated a commitment to serve his community through youth athletics. He has held several senior executive volunteer roles on basketball, soccer and community-based youth organizations, leading, organizing and fundraising to ensure that their seasons are successful and the youth are supported in their athletic goals. Ian is one of the founding members of The Hill Charity Golf Classic, whose mission is to fundraise for resources, and to provide financial support for youth athletics.
A fine sportsman, a first-class athlete, official, builder and volunteer, Barclay Frost has been recognized by the Ottawa Sports Awards, winning its Technical Official Award. In 2021, the National Officials’ Committee of Athletics honoured him for his 50 plus years of dedication to athletics, inducting him onto the Athletics Canada Wall of Honour.
A former teacher, Mr. Frost sparked enthusiasm and encouraged many of his students to pursue their interest in sport. He made it fun, coaching in a positive, kind manner that motivated many to strive to do their very best. His love of sport is contagious.
Barclay grew up on the playgrounds of Ottawa playing sports and learning life skills. He worked as a young adult for Parks and Recreation as a playground supervisor where he developed leadership and organizational skills that have continued all his life.
Now, at 80 years old, Mr. Frost continues to work tirelessly as an official in Athletics events that range from the Olympics, to international, national, provincial and local levels. As a member of the Ottawa Sports Awards (OSA) Committee for the last 18 years, Barclay Frosts’ leadership as Chair is inspirational to the team that organizes the Ottawa’s Sports Award Banquet which hosts over 600 athletes, officials, coaches, and their family members. He is very hands-on, charting the path to ensure that this event is successful and remains the most comprehensive and inclusive amateur sports recognition awards event in Canada.
He has been an active basketball official for over 30 years, officiating all levels. As a resident of Munster Hamlet, Barclay Frost regularly puts on his goaltender equipment to play old-timers' hockey, participates in curling and golf and loves to go camping with his wife Janet.
Jeff Hunt left his family home in Newfoundland for Ottawa in 1983 to pursue his entrepreneurial vision. In his first year in Ottawa, Mr. Hunt started a carpet cleaning firm, Canway, and over the next 15 years, franchised it, expanded into the US and sold the thriving business to Sears. That sale, in 1998, enabled Mr. Hunt to pursue his dream of owning and managing a hockey team, the Ottawa 67’s.
Mr. Hunt’s success with the 67’s was sighted by the Canadian Football League as an important factor in its decision to award an expansion franchise to Ottawa. Mr. Hunt, along with other community partners, set out in 2006 to bid for the expansion of the CFL franchise as well as the redevelopment of Ottawa's Lansdowne Park. The partners banded together to form the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, to which Jeff Hunt was President. That franchise, the Ottawa Redblacks, and Jeff Hunt’s vision brought the CFL back to Ottawa and saw the team rise to win a championship in only three years, winning the Grey Cup in 2016.
In recent months, Jeff Hunt has partnered with European soccer franchise Atletico Madrid on the ownership of an Ottawa franchise, Atletico Ottawa, in the Canadian Premier League.
During his career, Jeff Hunt’s accomplishments have been recognized with multiple awards, including five Profit Magazine Fast-100 and two Fast-50 awards. He has also been named OHL and Canadian Hockey League Executive of the Year and in 2015 he was named to the Yahoo Canada Sports list of the top 25 “Movers and Shakers” who have the most influence over sport in Canada. In January 2017, Jeff was named Ottawa’s Favorite Entrepreneur by Faces Magazine.
Amanda Jetté Knox
Amanda Jetté Knox is an award-winning author, journalist, public speaker, and human rights advocate for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Amanda is a nonbinary person, the mother of a nonbinary child, and the spouse of a transgender woman. Amanda has shared her experiences with the world, advocating on behalf of loving, inclusive families everywhere. Amanda’s work, both in activism and in writing, teaches the perspective “lead with love”. Amanda dedicates her time to improving healthcare access, school environments, and overall acceptance not only for her child, but for all of the trans and nonbinary children who follow.
Mx. Jetté Knox’s 2019 book, "Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family", was a national bestseller, an Indigo Staff Pick of the Month, and finalist for the 2020 Ottawa Book Awards. Her writing and her family's journey have been profiled on CBC, The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, O Magazine, The Today Show, and various other national and international publications, podcasts and media outlets.
Amanda expanded her advocacy to become a visible spokesperson for families. Over the years, Amanda has strived towards reaching as many parents as possible, with the goal of ensuring every single child in our local community (and beyond) has the opportunity to thrive.
Amanda is a 2019 Chatelaine Woman of the Year, one of 2020’s Top 25 Women of Influence, was on Today’s Parents’ Most Influential Parents list, and was recognized for her community service at the 2021 Redblacks season opener game.
Mark Kaluski is the President of the local consulting firm Hashmark Strategies. With an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry Mr. Kaluski worked in public service before founding Hashmark in 2008, which operates four local businesses.
Mark Kaluski has made significant contributions to Ottawa’s business community through his volunteer work with many municipal panels in areas of economic development, public health, planning, and francophone issues. He serves as the chair of the Vanier Business Improvement Area (BIA) since 2010, and co-founder and chair of the Ottawa Coalition of BIAs (OCOBIA) since 2016. He has spent countless hours bringing businesses together city-wide to help amplify their voices and advocate on their behalf to all levels of government.
Mr. Kaluski’s steadfast leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has helped the city’s 19 BIAs navigate the ever-changing challenges businesses have faced. He spearheaded lobbying efforts that led to local support initiatives, rent and wage subsidies, and other provincial and federal programs. After seeing the pandemic’s impact on small business owners, he organized the Small Business Mental Health Forum to connect people in need with health professionals. He has selflessly supported many small business owners, all while endeavouring to save his own businesses.
Mark Kaluski is a proud Ottawan and a staunch defender of the Vanier community through its ongoing challenges, while remaining a keen champion for its potential. Be it navigating development files, community issues, or a philanthropy project for one of Vanier’s community organizations, Mr. Kaluski is a gracious and generous leader.
Pat Kelly began his long career in hospitality and tourism with the Westin Hotels and Resorts chain. After 14 years with Westin, including 5 years as General Manager of the Westin Ottawa, Mr. Kelly was recruited by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts to be the General Manager of the legendary Chateau Laurier. He later became Vice-President of Fairmont for the Pacific Northwest Region, and was responsible for many hotels in BC and Seattle Washington before returning to Ottawa in 2005 to become the Dean, School of Hospitality and Tourism for Algonquin College.
In 2007, Mr. Kelly became President of the Ottawa Congress Centre and was instrumental in his leadership in the design, development, and opening of the Ottawa Convention Centre (now The Shaw Centre), recently recognized by Canadian and international convention planners as the finest convention centre in the world. As President and CEO of the Shaw Centre, Mr. Kelly was instrumental in attracting the international One Young World Summit to Ottawa in 2016.
Pat Kelly has served the local tourism industry with distinction on Ottawa Tourism’s Board of Directors and as a former Chair. He was also a Board member and Vice Chair of the Ottawa International Airport, and a past Board member of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, Operation Come Home and the Ottawa Board of Trade.
Pat Kelly is currently a successful tourism consultant, leading his own firm, Pat Kelly Consulting, which provides consulting services and expertise to hospitality and tourism organizations. He is also a partner in FLOOR 13, a boutique tourism consulting firm providing diverse insight and fresh approaches to traditional problem-solving.
In all of these activities, Mr. Kelly has been a remarkable champion of tourism for the City of Ottawa, not only promoting Ottawa across Canada, but around the world.
Dr. Isra Levy
After graduating as a physician in South Africa, Isra Levy immigrated to Canada and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Ottawa, specializing in epidemiology and Public Health.
Dr. Levy was the founding director of the Office for Public Health at the Canadian Medical Association, where he helped launch a Mental Health Support Network and advocated for enhancement of mental health services, before joining the City of Ottawa’s Public Health Department and becoming the City’s Medical Officer of Health. During his 11 years with Ottawa Public Health he expanded programming in mental health and addictions, and guided innovative public health initiatives including the response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and expansion of the City of Ottawa’s smoke-free spaces legislation. He worked in partnership with Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) on many initiatives for vulnerable tenants including declaring OCH homes and communities smoke free.
Dr. Levy is currently a member of the executive management team at Canadian Blood Services, where he oversees research and medical programs. He is the recent past vice-chair of the Board for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, has participated in the governance of local health and social service agencies, and is a current member of the Board of Public Health Ontario.
Isra is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa, and was named the Physician of the Year by the Ottawa Academy of Medicine in 2010. In 2018 he was bestowed an honorary life membership by the Canadian Public Health Association in recognition of his work as an educator, researcher and practitioner in the field of public health.
Dr. Danielle Lussier
Dr. Lussier is Red River Métis and mother of three, born and raised in the homeland of the Métis Nation on Treaty 1 Territory. She relocated to Ottawa to pursue her post-secondary education at the University of Ottawa in 2002.
Dr. Lussier is a legal scholar, the Director of Community and Indigenous Relations, and Professor of Indigenous Legal Orders at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. She has previously served as advocate for legislation and law reform on behalf of the Canadian Bar Association, as a legal analyst for the Parliamentary Research and Information Service at the Library of Parliament, and as legal counsel to a federal administrative tribunal.
Her work to centre Indigenous Legal Pedagogies and ways of knowing in legal education is revolutionizing the teaching of law in Ottawa and across Ontario. Dr. Lussier’s approaches to teaching and learning support Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners in engaging both heart knowledge and mind knowledge; as she often says, if you are only learning with your head, you are only understanding half the story.
Dr. Lussier is co-chair of the Indigenous Advisory Group of the Law Society of Ontario, Trustee of the Ontario Bar Association Foundation, and a Director of the Ottawa Community Foundation, and as member of the Indigenous Education Committee of the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, supporting reconciliation efforts in elementary and secondary schools in Eastern Ontario. In these roles, she amplifies Indigenous community members’ voices within the legal profession and the community at large.
Dr. Lussier’s efforts advance the critical work of reconciliation through community building, while also supporting Métis intellectual self-determination and decolonization of education systems.
HCol Daniel Mackay
For more than four decades, Honorary Colonel Daniel Mackay has served in the Canadian Army Reserve with The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh’s Own), the City of Ottawa’s Official Regiment. HCol Mackay served as Commanding Officer of the Regiment on two occasions. Following his retirement from the Regiment he was subsequently recognized for his service by being appointed first Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel and then Honorary Colonel. In addition, he has served for over twenty-five years as a voluntary Aide-de-Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
HCol Mackay founded the Regimental Museum of The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (Duke of Edinburgh’s Own) in 1977. He was successful in obtaining Canadian Forces accreditation for the museum which showcases a large collection of uniforms, photographs, medals and other memorabilia dating back to the regiment’s inception in Ottawa in 1862.
HCol Mackay has served over twenty-five years with Federal District Council of St. John Ambulance. During this time, he served as President, and continues to serve as a member on their Board of Directors. His efforts have allowed St. John Ambulance to continue serving the public and businesses in Ottawa during very difficult times such as the Ice Storm of 1998, and more recently with local floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The commitment of HCol Mackay is also outstanding when dealing with the veteran community in the City of Ottawa. He has been involved in a major fundraising effort with the Perley Health Community of Care, aiming to raise $10 million of capital funds in order to achieve their goals and objectives.
From advancing the social and economic development interests of Canada’s capital while serving in the Canadian Army Reserve and with various volunteer organizations, HCol Mackay exemplifies dedication and commitment to the City of Ottawa.
Daljit S. Nirman
Since immigrating to Canada in 2000, Daljit S. Nirman has dedicated his life to repaying his adopted homeland by serving and supporting those in need. Mr. Nirman has contributed tens of thousands of hours for nearly two decades in support of dozens of local causes.
Mr. Nirman is alumnus of the University of Ottawa and in 2004, he established a law practice that focused on human rights and immigration matters, but often chose to offer his services pro-bono to members of marginalized communities of South-Asian diaspora. He recognized that many of these individuals did not have access to professional legal representation, through a combination of limited means, a poor understanding of the legal system as well as language, cultural barriers, and prejudice.
Beyond his profession, Mr. Nirman has been a devoted and passionate community builder and advocate. He has taken on a variety of causes ranging from mental health, addictions treatment, community safety and youth poverty.
Daljit S. Nirman has served on the boards of numerous non-profit and community-based organizations to lead various philanthropic endeavors including The Snowsuit Fund of Ottawa, The United Way East Ontario, Montfort Hospital, Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization and University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He saw the opportunity to further inspire and engage members of the Indo-Canadian community to become more directly involved in solving our community’s toughest challenges, alongside United Way.
Mr. Nirman was appointed as Member of the Ottawa Police Services Board, where his legal mind, courage, humanity, and profound sense of social justice have helped to guide an organization that is central to the well-being of Ottawa’s citizenry and measure for justice in our community.
Barry Padolsky is an Ottawa-based architect, urban designer and heritage consultant with over 50 years of experience. As the principal of his firm, Barry Padolsky & Associates Inc. Architects, he has led close to two hundred significant architectural, urban design and heritage conservation projects and numerous smaller projects in the National Capital Region.
Perhaps best known for his long and extensive involvement with heritage conservation, starting with co-chairing of the Citizens’ Committee to save the Rideau Convent in 1972, his energetic involvements, often pro bono, have led to numerous and significant achievements in heritage conservation in our City.
Mr. Padolsky has been instrumental in the design, restoration, renovation and adaption of buildings throughout Ottawa including the Ottawa Art Gallery/Arts Court, Global Centre for Pluralism, Government Conference Centre, Museum of Nature, Fleet Street Pumping Station, Ottawa Teacher’s College, and the By Ward Market Building.
Barry Padolsky’s service to his community is further reflected in the public boards and committees on which he has served including, the City of Ottawa Design Committee, the Rideau Centre Public Advisory Committee, Heritage Ottawa, Action Sandy Hill, the City of Ottawa Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee and the City of Ottawa Built Heritage Sub Committee.
Through his commitment to enhancing Ottawa’s built environment, Barry Padolsky has helped to make our nation’s capital a more visually and culturally engaging city that is enjoyed by its residents and the thousands of Canadians and international visitors who come here to experience its pleasures.
Ian Sherman is a recently retired Partner in the EY Ottawa Office with over 35 years of public accounting experience. He managed the Ottawa Tax Practice of approximately 90 professionals.
Mr. Sherman is continuing as a Contractor at EY in addition to assuming corporate director and family business advisory roles through his new company, Relationship Capital Inc.Ian Sherman was an Instructor for the CPA Canada In-Depth Income Tax Course for over 10 years. From 2007 to 2011, Ian was Chair of the Tax Courses Committee and subsequently became Chair of CPA Canada’s Income Tax Education Committee.
He was elected as a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 2006 in recognition of his professional achievements and contributions. In 2013, Ian received the CPA Canada Award for Excellence in Income Tax in recognition of outstanding service to the profession and the Canadian tax community.
Ian Sherman is currently Chair of the Ottawa Board of Trade and the Ottawa-Gatineau Youth Foundation. He also has deep roots in the Ottawa Jewish community as the current Chair of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and a Past Chair of the Soloway Jewish Community Centre and Congregation Beth Shalom.
Mr. Sherman has been recognized many times for his community service, most recently receiving the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Ottawa Philanthropy Award as 2021 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser and the 2021 Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka Award from the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. In 2009, Ian was recognized as the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year.
Grace Xue Xin
Grace Xin came to Ottawa in 1999 as an international student attending the University of Ottawa. Since then, she has found home in the capital region of Canada and her adopted country and hometown have given her a lot of opportunities to contribute to society and the neighbourhoods where she works and lives. During Grace’s 13-year tenure as the Executive Director of the Somerset Street Chinatown Business Improvement Area (BIA), she worked tirelessly to promote and support the main street businesses in the area through organizing artistic and cultural events and implementing key initiatives.
In 2010, she was selected by the Ottawa Life Magazine as one of the Top Fifty People in the capital city of Canada for her role in leading an international project team to fundraise for and build the stunning Ottawa-Beijing twin-city project – the Chinatown Gateway. This project has won a prestigious “Project of the Year” award given by the American Public Works Association in 2011.
Locally and nationally, Grace was an active contributor to the Canada-China Tourism development through her professional and volunteer work with Ottawa Tourism and the Tourism Industry of Canada. In 2015, Grace was given the Volunteer of the Year Award by Ottawa Tourism. She frequently organized familiarization tours, delivered speeches, workshops and training sessions on destination development and how to serve the Chinese inbound market—one of the major inbound markets for Canada. This work has taken Grace to every province and every territory in Canada.
Currently, Grace is the Vice President, Philanthropic Services & Community Building at the Ottawa Community Foundation. She continues her journey in helping Ottawa fulfill its potential as a healthy, inclusive, environmentally balanced, and culturally and economically vibrant city.
Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching Recipients
Manock Lual is a former pro-basketball player who came to Canada as a refugee from South Sudan and grew up in Overbrook.
Coach Manock is Founder and Head Coach of Prezdential, a non-profit that is dedicated to bridging the gap faced by disadvantaged youth in Ottawa, and particularly racialized youth living in low-income communities. Mr. Lual offers free basketball and life skills programming strengthened by partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club, Ottawa Community Foundation and local community associations and resource centres.
Coach Manock’s ability to coach young athletes goes beyond the game of basketball. His individualistic style of coaching and charisma throughout training sessions applies to all ages, and practice sessions are more than about building better players but becoming better people through sport.
Coach Manock fosters an environment of acceptance and positivity that follows participants into their communities. During a year plagued by limitations for physical closeness, Coach Manock showed how his leadership translates into community development. Coach Manock and his team at Prezdential Basketball supported the youth of Ottawa through initiatives that aided their general mental health and wellbeing. Prezdential Basketball now includes financial literacy programming, cooking classes, a youth media program, an annual backpack drive, after school programming, and the Overbrook Show.
While his basketball prowess is renowned, it is his work to mentor youth, using basketball as a tool, which makes Coach Manock remarkable.
Coach Julie Richards of the West Ottawa Basketball Association (WOBA) and Holy Trinity Catholic High School, coaches players with unwavering leadership, commitment and dedication. Coach Julie has been Head Coach of a WOBA competitive basketball team for 5 years, but her basketball coaching experience includes house league, club competitive basketball, high school basketball and spans many age groups (from ages 10 to 18).
A few weeks into the first COVID-19 lockdown, Coach Julie enthusiastically embraced technology and organized hour-long weekly Zoom meetings/workouts to keep the boys focused, physically active, and engaged. Through these weekly Zoom calls, the boys would practice drills in front of the camera, engaged in conversations on health – mental and physical – as well as nutrition, drill challenges and many other topics the boys wanted to discuss. These workouts provided these youth with stability, stimulation and motivation during an unprecedented time. Her leadership and support kept the boys engaged and involved during a time where most kids slipped into isolation.
Beyond the court, Coach Julie has also had a monumental impact in developing the character of these teenage boys. An example of her creating a culture of giving back occurred during the month of December 2020, when Coach Julie introduced a Calendar of Gratitude that challenged the boys to come up with and demonstrate an act of kindness every day of the month, including anything from simple gestures such as helping a family member wash dishes or help a sibling with homework, to leading food and toy drives for less fortunate families.
Coach Julie has always led by example by demonstrating the very best that a coach can offer, a passion for excellence, hard work, respect for your teammates and your opposition, and an unbelievable sense of sportsmanship.