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The 2019 Bay Street Bull 30×30 Guide

This is the Bay Street Bull Class of 2019.

In the last few years, society has come face-to-face with its maladies, resulting in a heavy dose of reality that has collectively forced us to give pause and question what kind of people we want to be, what kind of future we want for ourselves. Valuable lessons have been learned, chief among them being that we cannot underestimate our youth. We’ve seen younger generations mobilize and fight for their rights in colossal efforts that have been nothing short of inspiring.

In our third annual 30×30 guide, we celebrate those young leaders in the community — men and women who continue to push boundaries, raise their voices, and refuse to accept nothing less than excellence. They are entrepreneurs, innovators, community champions, athletes, artists, and more.

Swipe through the gallery below and use #BSB30x30 to share your thoughts.

TessaVirtue, 29

Olympian



Photography: Dave Delnea
Styling: Ingrie Williams
Hair: Kelly Araujo
Makeup: Matthew King

 

“I wish I had known that the process is so much more fulfilling than that fleeting moment of standing on the podium,” says Tessa Virtue. Since semi-retiring following the Olympics (her third), one half of the world’s most heavily decorated figure skaters has had plenty of time to reflect upon her time as a young Olympic hopeful.

Growing up in London, Ontario, Virtue was the youngest of four in an athletically inclined family. Unsurprisingly, Virtue ended up streamed into sports and, in a story well told, it was when she was paired with Scott Moir that their ice-dancing trajectory took off.

Virtue’s childhood was by no means normal: skating coloured in a life that may otherwise have been brimming with sleepovers and trips to the mall. To this day she has yet to watch Disney’s The Lion King and vacations would revolve around where she could train.

“It is a life of deprivation and sacrifice,” Virtue says. “And, while people may see the smiles and the sequins, it’s a lot of truly hard work. If that isn’t enjoyable, no medal can fill that void.”

Virtue — as charming and gracious as you’d expect — is seen as Canada’s sweetheart, a title that both flatters and diminishes, detracting from her status as a warrior athlete. Most 29-year-olds don’t speak with the same self-assuredness and care as she does, an effect of years of discipline alongside plenty of time in the global media spotlight.

After stepping back from amateur skating, Virtue has been filling her schedule with a whirlwind of activities.

“It's been hectic and busy. I've probably consciously made those decisions to fill my schedule because I was used to one singular goal, and everything was wrapped around this all-consuming purpose of winning the Olympics. Since then, I’ve been trying to reconcile how that applies to what's next. It has been a challenge but also something I'm trying to embrace because it's exciting and exhilarating to step outside of my comfort zone.”

With a litany of on-ice goals all checked off — eight-time Canadian national champion, three-time world champion, and medals at three Olympics, to name a few — where is Virtue’s sightline resting?

“Underlying everything that I’ve been tackling, the mission statement is clear, and that is to inspire young girls,” Virtue says. “I’ve been given this opportunity to use my voice, and I hope that I’m able to make good of it.”

Most recently, this impetus has seen Virtue — along with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau — partner with the non-profit FitSpirit to encourage girls to be physically active while normalizing the practice. Whether through team sports or solo bouts at the gym, athleticism plays a proven role in girls’ confidence and self-worth.

For a female athlete hailing from the aesthetic world of ice dance, scrutiny and criticism of the body happens on a far greater scale than in other sports. “I just tried to embrace my strength,” Virtue says. It was always important to her that young girls have a healthy role model to look up to.

The rise of social media — which Virtue only started using in the lead-up to PyeongChang — has caused the focus on female athletes’ appearance over their accomplishments to intensify. Virtue, however, sees plenty of positivity in the medium, viewing it as yet another valuable tool that she can use to speak out about health, wellness, and “what it means to feel good in your body.”

This next adventure — an exciting solo one — will undoubtedly see Virtue tackle her M.O. with the same gusto that she took to the ice. “My definition of greatness is being the best you can possibly be,” Virtue says. “And that's what keeps me motivated — that's what gets me out of bed every morning.”  — KE

On Tessa: Vest ($195) and trousers ($195) by MICHAEL Michael Kors; earrings ($3,650) by Tiffany & Co.; ring ($2,995) and bracelet ($2595) by Birks; watch ($6,350) by OMEGA

Henry Shi, 26

Co-founder, SnapTravel

Illustration: Joel Kimmel


Have you ever made plans with a friend through text or DM about an upcoming trip? Imagine if booking that room was as easy as having that conversation about where to stay. That is the vision of SnapTravel, co-founded by Waterloo alumni Henry Shi, who graduated in the top one percent of his class and worked as an engineer at Google. The idea is a part of a wing of tech development called conversational commerce, which allows you to interact with chatbots to go smoothly from inquiry to purchase. The SnapTravel model is a hybrid of initial conversations being fielded by chatbots, then moving more complex inquiries to live customer service agents. With over two million users, SnapTravel has completed over 94 percent of bookings without human involvement. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise how they were able to raise $22 million USD from a list of high-profile investors, including Golden State Warriors player, Stephen Curry. - CP

Mike Murchison, 30
David Hariri, 28 

Co-founders, Ada



Photography: courtesy of Ada

If you do customer service long enough, you start to be able to predict what people are going to ask before they say a word. Mike Murchison and David Hariri saw that first-hand when they dove into customer service roles before founding Ada, an AI-powered Automated Customer Experience platform in 2016. Murchison and Hariri, who are based in Toronto, saw the predictability of customer needs and the time spent fielding repetitive questions as an opportunity to streamline an otherwise redundant process. The result has been a swift uptake and rapid growth of their company and services, landing them $19 million in their first round of major investment this past December. Growing from two to nearly 100 employees since, Ada systems currently interacts with over 30 million customers annually, answering up to 70 percent of customer service inquiries for their clients, which include AirAsia and Telus. They’ve posted a year-over-year revenue growth of over 300 percent and have become leaders in a new industry with exciting potential. - CP

Deon Nicholas, 25

Co-founder, Forethought



Photography: courtesy of Forethought


The conversation about AI and work is usually centred around what jobs will be lost to the machines of the future. Deon Nicholas has a different way of looking at this as a co-founder of Forethought, a company whose goal is to make everyone “a genius at their job” by using AI to augment human abilities. Before helping Forethought secure over $10 million in venture funding, Nicholas cut his coding teeth in Toronto before taking his talents to Silicon Valley to work for tech giants like Facebook, Dropbox, and Palantir. Today, Forethought has released Agatha, an AI-based program that helps customer service agents answer questions up to 30 percent faster, among other tools that embed AI tools into employee workflows. - CP

Alexander Rodrigues, 23
Brandon Moak, 23 

Co-founders, Embark Trucks



Illustration: Joel Kimmel

According to Alexander Rodrigues and Brandon Moak, the first autonomous vehicle in Canada was a driverless golf cart they made while they were both studying at the University of Waterloo. They bonded over a love of robotics and before graduating went on to co-found Embark Trucks where they began working on bringing self-driving 18-wheelers to the transport industry. The strengths of Embark have been how quickly they have moved their ideas forward and their willingness to work around the limits of the technology. For example, the combination of cameras, sensors, computers, radar and software to operate on highways exists, but city streets are just too complex for autonomous vehicles to navigate. Recognizing this, they’ve focused on automation covering the bulk of the drive on the highways, with human drivers taking over within city limits. Where the other companies are looking at eliminating the need for human drivers, Embark has looked aimed at working with the industry. With that in mind, they’ve raised over $47 million USD to support their efforts and in 2018 completed their first coast-to-coast test drive from Los Angeles, California to Jacksonville, Florida in 2018. - CP

Emilie Cushman, 28

Founder, Kira Talent



Photography: courtesy of Kira Talent

When it comes to higher education, so much rests on the application. Quantitative results trump qualitative, leaving so many potential students — ones driven by leadership grit and strong soft skills — in the dust. Emilie Cushman, Kira Talent co-founder and CEO, recognized  the inequality and bias stitched deep into the education system. And so she decided to do something about it. The idea sprung from a minute-long YouTube video Cushman had to make as part of an application for a Next 36 mentoring program. Why not incorporate storytelling, in both video and essay format, into higher education? Kira Talent takes a far more holistic approach to the application process, revealing the people behind the papers while benefiting institutions. Since founding Kira Talent, Cushman has raised over $8 million, worked with over 300 academic programs, and seen over 400,000 completed student applications. With Yale, Stanford and University of Toronto on board, it’s clear that they’re leading the way. - KE  

Mallorie Brodie, 27
Lauren Lake, 27

Co-founders, Bridgit



Photography: courtesy of Bridgit


While studying structural engineering at Western, Lauren Lake arrived at her first construction site armed with little more than her iPhone. She was handed a clipboard and just like that, a spotlight was shone on the antiquated ways of the construction industry. So when Lake met Mallorie Brodie at Toronto’s Next36 program for budding entrepreneurs, she already had an idea in mind — a digital management tool that could be used by construction companies to track progress and deficiencies. An Ivey Business grad, Brodie was all in. She brought her experience running an e-commerce website to the table, wrapping her failures into usable lessons. From the start, the entrepreneurial duo was adamant about being hands-on with their research, talking to over 500 industry people and visiting site after site to gain insight. The result is Bridgit, a platform that streamlines every step of the construction processes by increasing efficiency, lowering risk, and helping projects finish faster. The platform struck a chord in the industry and is now used by over 10,000 subcontractors in major cities across North America. Up next? The world. - KE

Charles Birchall, 28
Brad Taylor, 27

Co-founders, Birchall & Taylor




Photography: courtesy of Birchall & Taylor

Creating the consummate timepiece is about more than counting the hours. It demands rigorous planning and engineering. Simply ask Charles Birchall and Brad Taylor. The Torontonians met in 2012, having journeyed to the historic Swiss city of Le Locle, which for centuries has produced some of the world’s finest watches. They soon developed a shared language and outlook rooted in a common admiration for long-established Swiss watchmaking techniques. With Birchall going on to work under one of the most esteemed master watchmakers on the planet (Roger W. Smith), and Taylor under the tutelage of two highly desirable brands (Hublot and Patek Philippe), they finally combined their vision by forming their eponymous brand, Birchall & Taylor, in 2017. Their nascent enterprise’s debut offering is the celebrated Reference 1: a handmade Canadian luxury automatic watch with traditional Swiss fingerprints all over it. Together, the pair aren’t just communicating an obsession with proportion and nuance to a new wave of premium watch enthusiasts, they’re transporting a standard of storied, upscale craftsmanship home to the Great White North. - CM

Dani Roche, 27

Founder, Kastor & Pollux; co-founder, SCHOOL



Photography: Duy Nguyen

Dani Roche’s first foray into entrepreneurship was at age 16. While her peers were landing gigs at the mall, Roche launched a vintage e-commerce venture along with a friend, hard-coding each and every for-sale item. This tenacity prepared her for the next decade of hard work. Roche completed the split design program at York University and Sheridan College, all the while tending to Kastor & Pollux, a new e-commerce store launched with the same friend that they positioned as a fashion blog. Over the years, Roche lost her business partner and morphed Kastor & Pollux into a marketing and design agency. Working across disciplines in the creative space, the agency always keeps its goals in-focus: to raise visibility of Asian women in media and business, support independent studios, and “show that small things can be mighty.” Major clients have included Wealthsimple, Bumble, and Fujifilm. As if this all wasn’t enough, in 2018 Roche co-founded SCHOOL, an online platform giving creatives in marginalized communities the push and support they need to become full-on entrepreneurs. Coming full circle, Roche also plays creative director at Biannual, a vegan outerwear brand directed at conscious millennials. Roche is a serious power to reckon with. - KE

Matei Olaru, 29

CEO, Lift & Co.



Photography: courtesy of Lift & Co.
 

As the CEO of Lift & Co., Matei Olaru needed less than four years to take the data-driven cannabis media and technology startup to new highs. Pun intended or not, his résumé speaks for itself. On Olaru’s watch, Lift & Co. has transformed itself from a blog about medical cannabis into the number one review platform of federally legal cannabis solutions in the world. He’s guided the company in raising 13 million dollars, going public (TSXV:LIFT), growing its team tenfold, and launching multiple key products. Chalk it up to more than just good leadership. It's crucial, yes, but it necessitates vision. Without that, it’s just management. However, the Romanian-born and Toronto-raised Olaru seemingly sees everything, always looking beyond the bottom line to the bigger picture. He’s furthered Lift & Co.'s focus on education and campaigned to combat negative cannabis stereotypes. He’s personally sourced and negotiated partnerships with prominent charitable and not-for-profit organizations and has announced the first unbiased cannabis retail training certification, CannSell, in Canada for both government and private vendors through an exclusive partnership with MADD Canada, the Canadian arm of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It's no surprise some refer to Olaru as the face of Canadian cannabis. Us? We actually think of him as the eyes. 

Braden Handley, 29

Co-founder, Inkbox



Photo: courtesy of Inkbox

Braden Handley’s objective when co-founding Inkbox was modest: to fashion an authentic, semi-permanent tattoo you apply from the comfort of home, no needles required. Today, the Toronto startup has all the makings of a juggernaut. Part tech company, part beauty brand, and part manufacturing facility, Inkbox currently ships more than 60,000 tattoos a month to 150-plus countries, having already sold half a million of them. Featured on hit series like Stranger Things and in Oscar-nominated films like The Greatest Showman, in addition to boasting a variety of celebrity endorsers and investors, Inkbox has raised USD $14.1 million from investors. And although Inkbox is most popular with customers who want to test out a tattoo idea before committing to anything lasting, targeting Millennials and Gen Z’ers in particular, Handley resists categorizing his tattoo ecosystem as a “disruptor.” Rather, the Ryerson graduate credits Inkbox’s runaway success to being first to market with a high-consumable, high-repeat, high-frequency product that enables you to engage in confident tattoo decisions — or just temporary bad ones! - CM

Nadia Masri, 28

Founder, Perksy



Photography: courtesy of Perksy

People and passion have always driven Nadia Masri. Growing up in an immigrant family, she watched her dad go through med school twice — the second time after landing on Canadian soil. His ambition informed Masri’s work ethos. At age 17 she was able to obtain a bank loan (with the help of her father) to purchase a house-painting franchise called College Pro, where she booked $70,000 worth of work in one summer. Just over a decade later, Masri’s latest company — Perksy, a next gen consumer insight platform — booked a cool $1.3 million in revenue its first year on the market. The seed for Perksy was planted when, at Harvard summer school, Masri learned that students loved participating in studies. How could she parlay that experience into a tool that would help brands? The answer: fun, interactive, mobile survey-games that pilfer pop culture while giving users rewards. Masri’s idea has trampled the competition, with an 84 percent completion rate compared to the average one to three percent. With Perksy’s growth clocking in at 216 percent in its first year, Masri’s just getting started. - KE  

Mani Jassal, 26

Fashion Designer



Photography: courtesy of Mani Jassal

The joyful eruption from the audience at the end of Mani Jassal’s Fall/Winter 2019 show at Toronto Fashion Week was confirmation that the talented designer had cemented herself in Canada’s fashion lexicon. The show, titled “With Love”, was an artful exhibit of the Indian-born, Canadian-raised designer’s distinct voice in luxury evening wear and bridal designs, a result of her vision cultivated at Ryerson University’s Fashion Design program. One of Jassal’s master strokes has been her ability to draw up the South Asian influences in her own background through a modern lens, replacing the heavily-beaded and voluminous traditional looks with a lightweight, minimalistic approach. Most importantly, Jassal has become a welcome addition to an industry that has yearned for more leaders of colour that are unafraid, and unapologetic, to celebrate their cultural heritage. - CP

Kia Nurse, 23
Darnell Nurse, 24 

Athletes; New York Liberty, Edmonton Oilers



Illustration: Joel Kimmel

Siblings will usually have a rivalry between them but can you imagine what it was like for Kia and Darnell Nurse? Their father played in the CFL and their mother played basketball at McMaster University, while older sister Tamika got an NCAA basketball scholarship. How do you top that? Kia, who is one of Canada’s best young female basketball players ever and currently a WNBA player for the New York Liberty, gets a scholarship to the storied University of Connecticut where she helps win two national championships. Middle sibling Darnell chose the ice and was the Edmonton Oilers’ first round pick in 2013 at 17 years old. He’s currently in his fourth NHL season and looks like a key component to the team’s future helping to anchor the defence. With both siblings seemingly having incredibly bright futures in their chosen fields, Kia and Darnell look to solidify the dynasty as one of if not the first family in Canadian sports.  - RB

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 28

Athlete, Kansas City Chiefs; doctor

We can all agree that there is a great deal of discipline required if you’re trying to become a doctor.  The sheer amount of knowledge that you have to acquire before you specialize in a given field is immense and there’s always more to learn. Now imagine doing a medical degree while you’re learning to protect an NFL quarterback as your day job. Despite the demands of professional football, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who is entering his sixth season, was able to complete his medical degree last May.  He was granted permission from McGill University to extend the degree time from four to eight years due to his football career, making him the only current active player to do the feat first since 1970. Duvernay-Tardif, who is leaning towards specializing in ER medicine, will be looking to start his residency in the near future. - RB

Vlad Guerrero Jr., 20

Athlete, Toronto Blue Jays

When Toronto Blue Jays fans watch this season they’ll probably be hearing a name that's associated with another baseball team that was once in Montreal. Vlad Guerrero Jr., whose hall of fame father began his career with the Expos, is the top prospect in the minor leagues. He doesn’t cut the same frame as the elder Guerrero but he’s definitely got his bat (but with more power) and is among the best hitting prospects in baseball. And all at 20 years old. The Jays have had him working through their minor league system for the last three seasons, and he’s showcased the stuff that has scouts calling him a  “generational talent”. It will be a matter of time before Vlad Jr. gets his call up this season but until then Jays fans, like the whole baseball world, will be waiting with bated breath. - RB

Bo Bichette, 21

Athlete, Toronto Blue Jays



Illustration: Joel Kimmel


Bo Bichette’s dad originally wanted him to play tennis but the pull to the baseball diamond was too strong. After all, it’s in the family. He’s the son of 14-year Major League player Dante and the brother of Dante Jr. who was a first round draft pick by the Yankees. Having been a household name among baseball folks since high school, Bichette is one of the top prospects in the Blue Jays minor league system and among the brightest in baseball. In his short time in the minors he’s set himself apart, turning heads and making highlight reels with his hitting and fielding. With a quick bat, good power, and an impressive glove, the 2016 second round draft pick is looking to make the big club in 2019 and beginning to make his own name, maybe one day surpass his father’s legacy, as one of the best. - RB



Mena Massoud, 27

Actor



Photography:courtesy of Disney

Not long ago, Mena Massoud voiced his frustration with Hollywood’s lack of diversity. The Egyptian-Canadian actor felt he couldn’t compete for parts written for Caucasian leads. Likewise, studios were continuing to cast white-skinned stars as non-white characters. Think Jake Gyllenhaal as the swashbuckling, titular Prince of Persia. Think Emma Stone as a heroine of Hawaiian and Asian heritage in Aloha. Still, Massoud, who was born in Cairo and immigrated to Toronto at the age of three, remained optimistic the industry might evolve. That it would start supporting performers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds. He was right. Amidst escalating public outcry for improved visibility of people of colour in mainstream film, he landed the coveted role of Aladdin in the upcoming live-action remake of Disney’s animated classic. On one hand, Massoud topping the summer blockbuster wields the potential to further validate why minority talents like himself never belonged in margins to begin with. On the other, it promises to favourably position the 27-year-old as not only Canada’s latest symbol of inclusion and representation, but the fresh face of Tinseltown’s overdue shift towards cultural authenticity. - CM

LaMar Taylor, 28

Co-founder, HXOUSE



Illustration: Joel Kimmel

It’s no secret what LaMar Taylor can accomplish in the arenas of branding, marketing, and production. As a driving force behind The Weeknd’s meteoric rise from Scarborough suburb to pop stardom, as well as the creative director for the R&B crooner’s skyrocketing XO empire, his expertise in elevating artistry is beyond reproach. For Taylor’s next trick, the influential photographer-director-designer wants to stimulate a new generation of creatives in pursuing a familiar career path: his own. Enter HXOUSE, an incubator and accelerator at the forefront of fostering innovation and opportunity. Opening soon as part of the $28.4-million Artscape Daniels Launchpad space, the Toronto facility is Taylor’s brainchild. It will empower young entrepreneurs with the tools, programming, mentorship, network, funds, and freedom they need to activate their talent, then translate it into a sustainable calling that promotes industry advancement. Just don’t mistake the venture for a vanity project. Taylor knows firsthand how hard money, resources, support, and the like can be to come by. Frankly, HXOUSE is something he wishes he had access to when getting started. Consider it his way of giving back. - CM

Stephan James, 25

Actor



Photography: courtesy Annapurna Pictures

Stephan James tells the story over and over again of the lunch that changed his life. He heard that Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) was turning the James Baldwin novel If Beale Street Could Talk into a film and he had to be a part of it. James managed to get a lunch with Jenkins and found his way into the film, but never imagined that the bit role he thought he had landed would turn into a lead. He has gone from growing up in Scarborough and a recurring role on Degrassi, to an Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated film on his resume. The pace of James’ life and career has accelerated, and one can imagine that his name is on the tip of the tongue of casting directors across the industry. The safe bet here is that we are at the beginning of a storied career, and keeping our eyes peeled for the roles this son of Scarborough will be playing in the months and years to come. - CP

Taran Ghatrora, 27
Bunny Ghatrora, 24 

Co-founders, Blume



Photography: courtesy of Blume

No matter which way you cut it, puberty is hard. And for tween girls, the awkwardness of periods adds an additional layer of stress. In this state of in between, entrepreneurial sibling duo Taran and Bunny Ghatrora spotted an opportunity. Enter Blume (recently rebranded from Ellebox) their self-care subscription service that seeks to empower and inform young women. Stepping into the role of the sage older sister, Blume educates them on what products to buy while stripping the stigma from the shopping experience. Sleek packaging, snappy taglines, and plenty of social and digital content all add up to a strategy that has normalized a universal experience for women. Not to mention a high growth rate, and overarching mission- and sustainability-driven angles, through which Taran and Bunny finally convinced male investors to get behind their products. The beauty industry’s disturbing lack of regulations is outlined on the website, illuminating why Blume’s tampons are chemical-free, BPA-free, and made from biodegradable organic cotton. An aluminum-free deodorant and paraben-free face wash help round out their arsenal of products. As the Blume customer grows, Taran and Bunny aim to grow the business alongside her, prioritizing her health and wellbeing... just like an older sister would do. - KE

Mabel Lee, 30

Founder, Velour



Photography: courtesy of Velour

Mabel Lee was on a mission. After being disappointed time and again by false lashes, the University of Toronto finance major opted to make her own magic. Obsessively stitching pair after pair, Lee aimed for a natural-looking lash that wouldn’t cause discomfort after hours of wear. Eventually, she settled on the perfect flutter: cruelty-free mink fur. Realizing she’d cornered a niche market, Lee funded her fledgling business with money raised by selling Torontonians special curling irons that could only be purchased in China. Her smarts paid off. It wasn’t long before celebrities, like Kate Upton and Beyoncé, started to flock and Sephora came calling. After hitting a serious roadblock — the public perception of what mink implied caused the behemoth beauty retailer to back out of an exclusive deal — a determined Lee developed a silk version that would finalize the deal. Seven years and countless pairs of lashes later, Velour has hopped to the top of the food chain and is on track to be in over 1,600 stores across Sephora and Ulta by the end of 2019, becoming America’s top prestige lash brand. With Lee at the helm, a $20,000 investment became a beauty brand worth millions. Her next goal? Take the company into the next stratosphere, making it the biggest eye-based cosmetic brand globally. Talk about eye on the prize. - KE




Naitik Mehta, 23

Co-founder, NextBillion.org



V.S.O.P Privilège Award
Celebrating its third year with Bay Street Bull, Hennessy's V.S.O.P Privilège Awards recognize individuals that have achieved unparalleled accomplishments and used their success to give back to others in their communities; people who express the attributes that define Hennessy's V.S.O.P Privilège: mastery, strength, and sophistication. 

How many critical inventions and innovations never get developed because businesses refuse to look past social stigma? Naitik Mehta doesn’t have an exact number, but he is adamant that far too many talented people and brilliant ideas are being left out of the tech industry due to visible and invisible disabilities. His solution is NextBillion.org, a mentorship network that supports people living with a disability who are interested in the technology sector. The idea for the company came about when a close friend of Mehta’s friend, who was born blind, was denied the chance to take an entrance exam at a prestigious Indian university because of his disability. It forced him to wonder how many opportunities were being missed because of the discrimination towards disabled people. At NextBillion.org, individuals are able to submit an application for the program by self-disclosing disabilities voluntarily. So far, the organization has worked with members from over 50 universities, landing participants jobs at Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Apple to name a few. The result? Mehta hopes for a paradigm shift where companies will start showing greater empathy, and as such, a more diverse and expansive talent pool to fuel innovation. - CP

Nohemie Mawaka, 27

Founder, Stats Congo



Photography: courtesy of Stats Congo

Data is one of our most valuable assets, and it is being yielded in new and imaginative ways for business and social good. Stats Congo was founded by Nohemie Mawaka in 2017 to address the high mortality rates (among the highest in the world) faced by mothers and newborns in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The project is building the first centralized electronic health records database in the nation and supporting hospitals to collect and monitor information digitally in order to shape policy, funding allocation, and inform advocacy for mothers and children. At the heart of this ambitious national project is fostering a spirit of collaboration throughout the medical community in the DRC so that no mother should fear giving birth, and no child should grow up without a mother. Mawaka can also be heard on her podcast Let’s Talk, where she talks about health, entrepreneurship, and inspiration through conversation with some of Toronto’s most dynamic city-builders and business owners. - CP