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HR & Equity Awards of Distinction

The Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity (VPHRE) established the HR & Equity Awards of Distinction in 2018 to acknowledge and celebrate exceptional contributions towards achieving the mission and vision of the Division of Human Resources and Equity (HR & E) and the broader University.

The program provides faculty, librarians, and staff across the institution with an opportunity to recognize individuals or teams from both the Division of Human Resources & Equity and the Divisional HR Offices who exemplify our values and perform outstanding work throughout the year.

framed award certificates in a row on a table

Four categories of achievement-based awards are available to recognize our HR & Equity community.

Individual Awards

Distinguished Contribution Award

Presented to an individual whose work has contributed towards achieving the mission and vision of either the Division of HR & Equity or their own Division, while positively influencing those around them, and actively demonstrates and advances equitable, diverse and inclusive leadership to their co-workers and/or team members.

Emerging Leader Award

Presented to an individual who has demonstrated remarkable leadership potential (not necessarily as part of a formal leadership role) and who has sought out opportunities for learning and development while moving into progressively more responsible roles. The individual promotes equity, diversity and inclusion through their work and / or contributions to the university community.

Living Our Values Award

Presented to an individual who exemplifies the values of the Division of HR & Equity in their daily work and in their interactions with internal clients, and who serves as a model and mentor for others within the broader HR & E community.

Group Award

Distinguished Contribution – HR Team of the Year Award

Presented to an HR team that has collectively achieved outstanding results during the past year by producing a demonstrable positive impact on HR services for the division(s) they support and / or the broader University. Teams must be made up of two or more individuals.

2020 Recipients

Distinguished Contribution Award – Individual

  • Jodie Glean, Director, Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, HR & Equity
  • Sean Suleman, Executive Director, CAHRS & Workplace Investigations, HR & Equity

Emerging Leader Award

  • Emmanuelle Cummings, Information & Change Advisor, HR & Equity

Living Our Values Award

  • Saimah Baig, Program Coordinator, Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, HR & Equity
  • Ellen Brikaras, Benefits Officer & HR Generalist, Faculty of Arts & Science

Distinguished Contribution Award – HR Team of the Year

Family Care Office

  • Francesca Dobbin, Director, Family Programs and Services
  • Kaye Francis, Manager, Family Care Office
  • Maria Jardim, Family Care Advisor Student Focus
  • Cecilia Konney, Information & Communications Officer
  • Dunya Mojadiddi, Education & Communications Coordinator

HRE Communications, Change & Engagement Team

  • Will Campbell, Digital Communications Specialist
  • Emmanuelle Cummings, Information & Change Advisor
  • Hayley Fuller, Director, Strategic Communications & Change
  • Lesa Holmes, Communications & Engagement Manager
  • Alexander Nathan. Communications Officer
  • Tom Spence, Employee Recognition & Engagement Advisor

OREP Human Resources Team

  • Diane Charest, Human Resources / Payroll Administrator
  • Melissa Cheung, Human Resources / Payroll Administrator
  • Julia Chou, HR Advisor
  • Elina Fonariov, HR Consultant
  • Lori-Anne Hill, Director, HR Services – University Operations
  • Ashley Jordan, HR Consultant
  • Katherine Muir, Human Resources Advisor
  • Bellmia Ravindran, HR Advisor
  • Marigold Sobrepena, HR Advisor
  • Naomi Wenger, HR Consultant

UTM – HR Department

  • Jessica Aavasalmi, HR Consultant
  • Kirsten Archbell, Senior HR Consultant
  • G.D. Warnika Ariyapala, HR & Payroll Assistant
  • Nader Boutros, Director, UTM Human Resources
  • Veronica Brown, Senior HR Consultant
  • Beatriz Coutinho, HR & Payroll Assistant
  • Jamie Craig, HR Advisor
  • Valerie Davis, HR Advisor
  • Saima Ladha, HR Advisor
  • Louise Oliver, Digital Communications Specialist
  • Michelle Raz Taylor, HR Advisor
  • Monica Seymour, Senior HR Consultant
  • Maureen Shanahan, HR Administrator
  • Heather Siemens, HR Advisor
  • Christine Sousa, HR Advisor
  • Claremont Uy, Payroll & Benefits Supervisor
  • Hana Yusuf, HR Advisor, Project & Analytics



When reviewing nominations, the Selection Committee will look for examples of sustained excellence and strong performance. Consideration will be given to nominees who have made significant contributions and/or possess some or all of the special qualities and attributes as outlined below.

  • Exceptionally service oriented (within their home divisions and, more specifically, the Division of HR & Equity)
  • Collaborative (within their unit and / or with other units / divisions)
  • Demonstrated initiative and inclusive practices
  • Innovative (improving work processes, financial efficiencies, etc.)
  • Strong work ethic (dependability, commitment)
  • Mentor to junior staff

The following award has additional criteria and considerations:

HR Team of the Year Award

  • Actively pooled skills, talents and knowledge, with evidence of each team members’ contributions and mutual support and respect for team members
  • Evidence to support completion of a project or an assignment that is beyond the scope of team members’ individual job descriptions
  • Submissions should illustrate how the team has stood out among their peers in terms of achieving an overall outstanding positive impact to the division(s) they support or the broader university community
  • Submissions can be submitted by members of the team, team leader / supervisor, or by their internal clients


The Nomination Process

Nominations for team or individual awards must be submitted via the True Blue Recognition Platform*. The Selection Committee will review all submitted nominations, and may then ask for further details. All nomination materials will remain confidential.

*Note: This award will be visible on the True Blue Recognition Platform to all faculty, librarians, and staff at the University. Internal clients/customers may wish to nominate HR & Equity staff for the HR Team of the Year award.



Nominees from the University of Toronto St. George, University of Toronto Mississauga, and University of Toronto Scarborough will be considered, and must be staff-appointed employees who work in:

  • A Divisional HR Office
  • The Division of HR & Equity

Casual employees, students, and faculty are not eligible for consideration.

Please note that nominees are only eligible to receive each category of Individual Award once in their career; however, they may be nominated to receive the Group Award as a member of a team or different categories of the Individual Award as appropriate. Selection of the recipients is based on the information provided as part of the nomination package.

All nominees must be in good standing at the University. Nominees must be in an active status when the nominations close.


Helpful Tips for Completing the Nomination Form

In completing the nomination submission please:

  • Be specific – give examples and the details of what your candidate or team has done that meets the selection criteria. Every candidate will not exhibit all of the award-winning characteristics, but you should provide evidence of those demonstrated by your candidate
  • Avoid general statements such as: “the nominee has a pleasant personality,” “the nominee is a seasoned professional,” or “the nominee is always helpful.”
  • Include as much qualitative and quantitative information as you can about the nominee’s work and contributions
  • If you are nominating a team or group, be sure to list all members and describe how they work collaboratively to the benefit of the university. The nomination statement should explain the importance of team effort to the group’s overall success

Please see our guide How to Write an Impactful Award Nomination for additional details.



The selection committee will be Chaired by the Chief Human Resources Officer and will comprise of a minimum of two divisional HR Managers/Directors or their designates, two Central HR Directors or their designate, and one client manager. Members of the selection committee will review the nomination packages and the award criteria in advance of the Selection Committee meeting date. At the meeting, members will discuss each nomination package and will select the deserving recipient(s) for each award.

The Chair will ensure the nominations are adjudicated within the allotted time for the meeting, but will not participate in determining the recipients. The Chair will serve as the final decision maker should members of the Committee not be able to come to an agreement.

The members of the selection committee for the 2020 HR & Equity Awards of Distinction will consist of:

  • Erin Jackson, Chief Human Resources Officer, HR & Equity
  • Carolina Almonte, Director, Talent Management, HR & Equity
  • Nader Boutros, Director, Human Resources, UTM Human Resources Services
  • Kim Burbine, Director, Health & Wellbeing Programs & Services, HR & Equity
  • Sharon Grandison, Director, Human Resources, Kinesiology & Physical Education
  • James Robertson, Chief Operating Officer, Division of University Advancement
  • Diana Tiernan, Director, Administrative Human Resources, Arts & Science


Award Prizing

  • Awards of Distinction Certificate
  • 594 points redeemable for prizes on the True Blue Recognition Platform for individuals ($100 value)
  • If and when public health guidance allows, a luncheon with Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity