Six community champions to receive Ascend Canada Leadership Awards

Six community champions to receive Ascend Canada Leadership Awards

TORONTO, [May 9, 2022]

Ascend Canada congratulates recipients of the Ascend Canada Leadership Awards, which honours individuals who exemplify personal and professional dedication, and who have contributed value to the community. The recipients will be presented with their awards at a virtual awards gala on May 19th.

“In the face of the global pandemic, this year’s recipients of the Ascend Canada Leadership Awards have demonstrated resilience and empathy as mentors, entrepreneurs, and community champions. Ascend Canada is proud to recognize six individuals at different career levels for their leadership and meaningful impact in their workplace and communities,” said Manjit Singh, President, Ascend Canada.

Ascend Canada congratulates the following:

Executive of the Year: Reetu Gupta
Sponsored by TD, this award recognizes an individual who has delivered business results for their organization, demonstrated leadership, and is at the forefront of innovation. Reetu is the Ambassadress & Principal of The Gupta Group and Easton’s Group of Hotels. Among her accomplishments, she has expanded Easton Group’s reach by developing six hotels to open during the pandemic. As co-founder of Rogue Insight Capital, she aims to invest in the start-up ecosystem and businesses where founders identify as female, visible minority, or immigrant. Reetu is also a philanthropist and acts as a life coach to women who are in need of spiritual and life guidance.

Mentor of the Year: Angie Harrop
Sponsored by Electronic Arts, this award recognizes an individual whose guidance has made a significant contribution to several Pan-Asian individuals’ quality of life and professional development. Angie created a custom coaching program for women and visible minorities and opened up the dialogue around gender diversity at Bell Canada, where she is the Director of Talent Management & Engagement. She also contributes her time with the United Nations Association in Canada, Skills for Change, and Woodgreen Community Services.

Student of the Year: John Johnson
Sponsored by Sun Life, this award is presented to a Pan-Asian student who has made a difference in the community and their school through their impact, leadership and commitment to learning and development. John is a fourth-year medical student who has created a youth literacy program and two research-based social enterprises, with a focus on helping persons with disability and mental illness. During the pandemic, the youth literacy program helped students access opportunities for professional development. His social enterprises, Click&Push Accessibility Inc. and UMove improve accessibility and rehabilitation for kids with cerebral palsy. John was also the President of TEDxUAlberta.

Inclusion Champion of the Year: Muriam De Angelis
Sponsored by CIBC, this new award honours a person who has advanced inclusion in their organization and community by removing barriers and demonstrating extraordinary commitment and leadership by creating effective solutions or ideas to meaningfully spark change. Muriam leads diversity and inclusion at EY, by building and executing its anti-racism strategy for Canada. She was also instrumental in supporting the launch of EY’s Neurodiversity Centre of Excellence, Canada’s first. In her community, she sits on the board of CANVAS Arts Action Programs and volunteers with Girl Guides of Canada.

Social Impact Award: Ampai Thammachack
Sponsored by RBC, this award recognizes a Pan-Asian individual who has committed to providing impactful and creative solutions to persisting societal challenges. Ampai is a leader and a voice of change in the mental health community. She is the Founder, Owner, and Director of Step Above Stigma, a nation-wide network of hundreds of mental health advocates raising funds and affecting systemic change. Through events, Ampai has addressed challenging topics such as anti-Asian racism, disability, and various mental illnesses. Apart from her work in mental-health, she is the Co-Founder and Co-President of the Glass Slipper Organization and has been able to get 1,000 prom dresses to students in financial need.

Woman of Distinction: Kathy Cheng
Sponsored by Manulife, this award celebrates a woman, who has helped advance the careers of other Pan-Asian women, through leadership, sponsorship and by making a significant contribution to the community. As CEO of Redwood Classics Apparel, Kathy is a visionary entrepreneur and a champion for women in business. Her #WomanOfTheWeek social media campaign spotlights and lifts up a new woman every Wednesday. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council and is an Ambassador for Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC).