Diversity in Economic Development
Location: Ontario Investment and Trade Centre, Galleria, 250 Yonge Street, 35th Floor, Toronto, ON
Date: February 4th, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Cost: $50.00 (Lunch included)
About: The economic development profession is becoming more diverse. This is a positive trend that will result in more creative and inclusive initiatives in our communities!
EDCO is hosting this event to facilitate a dialogue about the experience of economic development professionals in under-represented groups. This will be an opportunity to deepen our collective understanding of the workplace challenges of these groups, and learn how to better support each other.
The event will feature a panel of economic development professionals, who will share their experiences working in communities across Ontario. This will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with the audience.
Born and bred in Grenada, a Caribbean island paradise, Jason Felix migrated to Canada in 2013 to further his studies in Economic Development. Shortly after acquiring his Master’s degree in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo, Jason proceeded to work with rural municipalities, assisting in the development of stronger, more resilient and inclusive economies. With a strong vision to promote community and economic growth in rural communities complemented by a passion for community revitalization, while embracing new challenges, Jason’s move to Northern Ontario was a natural fit. His success to date at evoking a sense of community pride and optimism in communities that were once deemed depressed and declining can be attributed to hard work along with the tremendous encouragement and support received from staff members, municipal council, friends and family. In his free time, Jason enjoys spending quality time with friends and family. Grateful for the opportunity to contribute to nation building, Jason continues to help communities develop the most appropriate economic development framework to achieve sustained and diverse growth.
Justin completed a Bachelor of Arts at Western University and a Post Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Humber College in Toronto. Prior to joining MDB Insight, Justin was the Director of Economic Development and Community Services with the Municipality of North Middlesex where he oversaw a diverse portfolio including economic development initiatives, parks and recreation, facilities, and corporate communications.
Over his six years of economic development experience, Justin has worked for municipalities, non-profit workforce planning boards and the provincial government. Justin’s diverse range of public administration, marketing and project management experience makes him adept at understanding the roles and responsibilities of all the players involved in the economic development landscape and a deep appreciation for the practical realities facing municipal practitioners.
Justin has completed Year 1 and 2 through the University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program. In addition to being a member of EDCO and EDAC, Justin is also a member of the Project Management Institute where he is pursuing his Project Management Professional (PMP) designation. His attention to detail and knowledge of current and emerging trends help to inform the background research and forward-looking recommendations he puts forward on his project engagements.
Rajbir Sian has been in economic development for the past seven years and has recently transitioned to a split role of economic development and planning for the Township of Woolwich located just north of Waterloo, ON. Rajbir worked as the Economic Development department for the City of Waterloo from 2013 to 2016 in a variety of roles including Economic Development Coordinator and Business Development Specialist. In her role with the City of Waterloo, Rajbir led the City in its first civic hackathon resulting in a tree mobile application that was developed by University of Waterloo students utilizing the City of Waterloo’s open data system.
In 2016, Rajbir began working as an Economic Development and Tourism Officer for the Township of Woolwich. Rajbir grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and was unfamiliar with the rural economy and with the Mennonite Community. She quickly learned that developing relationships and building trust in a small close knit community, where often times many individuals are related, is extremely important in being able to perform the duties of an economic development professional.
One key difference that she quickly picked up on is that agricultural and agriculturally related businesses are a large part of the local economy, approximately 64%, and gaining the trust of the Mennonite community is very important to the vitality of the farming industry. Rajbir earned the trust of key Mennonite leaders in the community who then referred her services and spoke highly of her ability to help in tough situations which resulted in her being able to work closely with the community on key economic infinitives including the Quilt and Fibre festival and the local farmer’s markets.She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Business from the University of Waterloo, a Master of Public Service from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Planning from the University of Waterloo. Rajbir also received her Ec.D. designation from the Economic Developers Association of Canada and is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP).