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News & Press: Ascend Canada National News

MEDIA ADVISORY – 5th Annual Ascend Canada Leadership Awards Gala

Monday, March 26, 2018  
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TORONTO, March 26, 2018 /CNW/ - Canada's business leaders will gather on April 3, 2018, to celebrate exceptional individuals at Ascend Canada's 5th annual Leadership Awards Gala. Ascend Canada, a premier North American organization for Pan-Asian professionals and leaders, is proud to honour five individuals for their personal dedication, career achievement, and contributions to the community.

"This year's gala reflects Ascend Canada's core mission of advancing Pan-Asian talent and leaders to its fullest potential. Each of this year's winners has had a strong impact within the workplace and the community - by innovating, inspiring, mentoring and leading. Their leadership is a testament to why diversity is crucial to success in an organization," said Kelvin Tran, President, Ascend Canada.

DATE: Tuesday April 3, 2018
TIME: 5.00 p.m. – 8.00 p.m.
LOCATION: The Ritz-Carlton (Room: Ballroom), 181 Wellington St. W., Toronto
AGENDA: Five awards will be handed out at the gala reception. In addition to the awards, our featured guest Kathleen Taylor, Chair of the Board, RBC, will be in conversation with Julia Shin Doi, General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Governors, Ryerson University. The fireside chat will be about Ms. Taylor's career, her views on diversity and the importance of women in leadership roles.

Sponsors of individual awards are noted in brackets followed by names of the recipient.

  • Executive of the Year (TD): Tina Lee, Chief Executive Officer at T&T Supermarket, is a distinguished and a proven leader of the largest Asian grocery retailer in Canada.
  • Rising Star of the Year (RBC): Fahad Tariq, Founder of Shift, is on a mission to give access to free and clean cooking gas to rural communities in developing and underdeveloped countries.
  • Mentor of the Year (Manulife): Samra Zafar, Founder & Executive Director at Brave Beginnings, is a dedicated community leader, mentor and speaker who advocates for gender diversity and inclusion.
  • Innovator of the Year (Ascend Canada): Jahanzaib Ansari, Co-Founder & CEO at Knockri, is a true disrupter for creating an IBM backed A.I. recruiting tool that promises to disperse the unconscious hiring biases.
  • Ascend Volunteer of the Year: Avni Shah, Manager at TD Securities Audit, is a role model who was recognized for her enthusiasm, passion and generous dedication to the operations committee.

About Ascend Canada
Ascend Canada is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and advance pan-Asian talent through partnership with other Canadian and like-minded organizations. With more than 3,000 members and many corporate partners across a wide cross-section of industries, Ascend is committed to offering members strategic professional development programs and unparalleled access to key decision makers and senior executives.

For more information on Ascend Canada, visit

Shalini Bazari, Communications Coordinator, Ascend Canada, Email: 

about Ascend

Ascend Canada was founded in 2012 to enhance the presence, visibility and influence of current and future Pan-Asian business leaders. Today, with the support of our more than 3,000 members and numerous corporate partners, our objectives are to develop the full potential of our members by leveraging our networks and providing programs and events that inspire, as well as educate. 

Vision: To have a diverse and inclusive Canada where pan-Asian talent can achieve its full potential.

Mission: Partner and progress with Canadian Organizations to develop and advance pan-Asian talent.

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