The York University Alumni Board (YUAB) is a presidential advisory committee on matters of alumni engagement. Working closely with the Office of Alumni Engagement, Division of Advancement, it comprises up to eighteen members at a time with one or two-year terms and possibility of renewal.
The YUAB brings together a diverse set of experiences to enhance the reputation of York University, celebrate philanthropy, and increase student engagement. Currently meeting four times per year, as well as regularly contributing to the work of various subcommittees, the YUAB adds value through their strategic advice, counsel, philanthropic engagement, network enhancement, and many other important areas.
Questions? Contact Zachary Nichols at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-736-2100 ext. 44659.
Randy Williamson (LLB ’88)
Chair, elected in 2012
Randy Williamson was appointed to the Board of Governors on October 1, 2013 and serves as Chair of the Investment Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. He is also Chair of the York University Pension Fund Board of Trustees.
A partner of Toronto law firm Aird & Berlis LLP, Randy has over 30 years’ experience as a lawyer, CPA, CA, public company senior executive and independent business owner-operator.
Prior to returning to Bay Street in 2005, Randy owned and operated three business process outsourcing companies; was a senior executive with a multi-billion dollar public industrial products company; and a partner in another prominent Toronto law firm. Randy was originally trained as a CPA, CA, and holds the speciality Corporate Finance qualification.
He is the Chair of the York University Alumni Association; past Vice-Chair of the Board of Toronto Atmospheric Fund; founding Chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni; Past Chair of the Investment Committee and a Governing Council member at St. James Cathedral, Toronto; past President of Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship; founding Board member of Ontario’s Promise to Children and Youth; and past Chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. Randy was honoured with Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service and was twice Toronto’s Big Brother of the Year.
Randy received his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and his Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University.
Francesca Accinelli (BFA ’92)
Francesca Accinelli began her career as a cultural administrator in theatre, working at places such as Harbourfront Centre and Solar Stage before moving to television production. While at York, the Vanier College grad was a recipient of the Murray Ross Scholarship.
For the last nine years Francesca has been working for Telefilm Canada, a federal cultural agency dedicated to developing and promoting the Canadian audiovisual industry, she is currently the Director of Communications and National Promotions, but previously held the roles of Director, CMF Program Administration, English market and Deputy Director, Television Business Unit, English market. Francesca has spent the last 15 years working with producers of film, television and digital media.
It is a great pleasure for Francesca to serve on the alumni board for York University. she spent a lot of time at York both prior to be a student attending York Youth Connection day camp and then while at the university working with Vanier College Productions and at the Open End Pub. And sometimes she misses running up the old Ross building ramp.
Michelle Dagnino (BA ’02, MA '03, LLB '06)
Michelle Dagnino is a social entrepreneur, lawyer, public speaker and expert on youth engagement, generational change, and human services design for populations facing multiple and/or complex barriers.
Dagnino is currently the Executive Director of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre, a social services agency in West Toronto, dedicated to supporting the local community through service delivery and resident capacity-building. The Jane/Finch Centre has undergone a three-year strategic transformation leading to a targeted focus of moving the over 15,000 residents we serve annually out of poverty. Through an ongoing process of human-centred service design throughout our program areas, the Jane/Finch Centre is demonstrating impact to provide people the skills and opportunity to improve their economic and social mobility.
Prior to this, Dagnino held positions as the Canada Director for Ashoka’s Youth Venture, Executive Director of Youth Action Network, and was in private practice with one of Canada’s leading labour and human rights law firms.
Dagnino is also the recipient of the YWCA Young Woman of Distinction award, and was named by The Globe and Mail and the Women's Executive Network as one of Canada's Top 100: Most Powerful Women. The Toronto Star called her "a woman to buoy the soul", and Maclean’s magazine named her one of Canada’s top 30 under 30. Michelle works with Lura Consulting as a Senior Engagement Consultant on neighborhood impact and strategic change initiatives.
Hamza S. Dawood (BA ’07, MBA/JD ’11)
Hamza Dawood is an associate of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto. His law practice encompasses a broad range of corporate and commercial matters, with a focus on corporate transactions, governance and complex commercial agreements.
While at York, Dawood received numerous scholastic and leadership awards, including the Murray G. Ross Award, York's highest student honour for exceptional academic and extracurricular achievement. He served, among other things, as executive editor of the Osgoode Hall Law Journal and president of the South Asian Law Students’ Association at Osgoode.
Antonio Di Domenico (BA Hons. ’02, LLB ’05)
Antonio Di Domenico was elected to the YUAA board in 2005. He is currently practicing law at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto, where he is engaged in a broad litigation and dispute resolution practice.
While at York, Di Domenico received numerous awards, including the Murray G. Ross Award for his high academic achievement and outstanding leadership and community involvement. He also served on more than 30 committees or bodies at the University, including the York University Board of Governors, Senate and the Faculty Council of Osgoode Hall Law School. He is currently a member of the teaching team of the Lawyer as Negotiator course at the Osgoode Hall Law School.
Kiera Dinsmore is a third generation York University student. Kiera attends Glendon College where she is completing a Bilingual International Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies. She is a Glendon eAmbassador, campus ambassador, former research assistant and, recently, became the first-ever student director inducted into the York University Alumni Association.
In 2013, Kiera was the recipient of the Harry Arthurs Alumni Families Scholarship and the Top Scholar Award from Glendon College. In her spare time, she enjoys performing in music, theatre and dance. A former Premier of the Ontario Youth Parliament, Kiera is very involved in avenues of youth activism and engagement. Kiera takes special interest in women's rights and health, refugees and migration, the LGBTQ* community, First Nations accountability, and environmental sustainability. An avid traveller, Kiera will partake in an academic exchange to Brussels, Belgium this spring.
Monika Federau (BA ’86)
Monika Federau is the Chief Strategy Officer for Intact Financial Corporation where she leads the development of corporate strategies, and oversees branding, government relations and communications.
She joined Intact in 2010 as Senior Vice President, Marketing responsible for national advertising, communication and sponsorship strategies, as well as research and digital initiatives. Prior to Intact, Ms. Federau lived in Hong Kong working for a global life insurer where she was responsible for developing and executing strategies to enhance the company’s brand throughout Asia.
Monika serves on the Board of the Toronto Financial Services Alliance as well as on the Board of the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada.
Layth Gafoor (BA ’02, LLB '06)
As managing partner of Lucentem Sports & Entertainment Law, Gafoor's practice involves representing and advising athletes, artists, management personnel, coaches and organizations in business and legal matters. His practice also encompasses providing legal advice and representation to clients in the music, film and television industries. Gafoor also manages the firm’s crisis management group, which provides direct crisis communication, support and trial advocacy for high profile individuals and corporations facing criminal and regulatory charges throughout Canada.
Gafoor has become a leading television and print media commentator on sport and entertainment law matters. He is often called upon by various media sources to discuss international legal issues within sport, as well as provide analysis from a Canadian perspective. Gafoor is a source that international organizations turn to when Canadian sport and entertainment expertise is required.
Gafoor regularly lectures at universities and industry conferences throughout the world in the areas of comparative Canadian/American sport & entertainment jurisprudence. Gafoor was recently appointed to the board of directors for the sports lawyers association (SLA).
Paul Nguyen (BA ’04)
Paul Nguyen is an award-winning activist and filmmaker from Toronto's Jane-Finch area. In 2004, he created Jane-Finch.com to change negative stereotypes about his community.
He is a public speaker and media commentator on race, crime and youth issues.
Paul is a recipient of the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism, William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations, Heritage Toronto Award, Canadian Ethnic Media Association Award, National Ethnic Press Award and the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.
In 2012, Paul was presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Governor General and Prime Minister at Rideau Hall for 'fighting stereotypes and acting as a role model and mentor for at-risk youth'. He is recognized as 1 of 25 Notable Canadians of Asian heritage by the Government of Canada.
Daniel Steinfeld (BBA ’04)
The ex-chief financial officer and vice president of sales for the Toronto Argonauts Football Club, Steinfeld currently operates Grasp Consulting, a strategic consulting firm dealing with business expansions and modeling projects spanning three continents. Steinfeld is a chartered accountant and has made a career out of relationship building and using a unique background to serve clients and colleagues at the highest level. Steinfeld is also a licensed realtor and is practices real estate in the Greater Toronto Area.
Outside of his professional life, Steinfeld mentors young professionals, speaks at conferences and teaches in several business settings. In addition to his role on the YUAA Board, Steinfeld sits as a senator on York University’s Senate. He also advises several university organizations on budgeting, responsible management and sponsorship.
Daniel lives in Woodbridge, Ontario, and is married as well as father to four future York alumni.
Bart Zemanek (BA ’07, MSc '10)
Bart Zemanek has a long history at York, spanning more than 13 years, that includes as a student-athlete, coach and administrator. He is currently the manager of varsity athletics within York’s Athletics & Recreation Department.
Zemanek assumed the role in August 2015. Prior to that, he served as the Athlete Services Coordinator for the Lions for the past five years, where he created the University’s very successful PAWS (Providing Athletes with Winning Strategies) mentoring program to provide academic and personal support to Lions student-athletes with a special focus on first-year transitioning student-athletes. He also currently sits on both the board of directors for the York University Alumni Association and The Fifth Quarter Football Alumni Association.
Zemanek began his time at York as a kinesiology and health science student and as the starting quarterback of the Lions football team. Throughout his playing career he was a team captain and MVP, and was awarded the prestigious Charles Saundercook Memorial Trophy in 2007. He was also a top student in the classroom, receiving academic all-Canadian honours, and was the recipient of the Stuart G. Robbins Award, which is given annually to the student-athlete with the highest GPA among Sport Excellence Award recipients.
He graduated from York with a bachelor of arts degree in 2007 and a master’s in kinesiology and health science in 2010. Before becoming the Athlete Services Coordinator with the Lions, he spent one season playing professional football in Helsinki, Finland, was the starting quarterback for the first ever Polish national team and more recently has also served as an assistant coach with the Lions football team.
Internal Board Member
Rhonda Lenton became York's eighth president and vice-chancellor on July 1, 2017. Prior to her appointment, Lenton had served as York University's Vice-President Academic and Provost since 2012.
A respected sociologist, Lenton has taught and published broadly in the areas of gender, health, sexual violence and higher education. Lenton sits on the Boards of the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) and eCampus Ontario. Before becoming an academic administrator, Lenton published research on a range of topics related to family violence, feminism in academia, and online dating. In 2015, the Women's Executive Network named her one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.
Internal Board Member
Since October 2011, Jeff O’Hagan has served as Vice-President, Advancement at York University, responsible for the University’s alumni engagement, alumni and donor communications, community relations and fundraising efforts. Mr. O’Hagan leads Impact – The Campaign for York University, a multi-year, comprehensive $500 million fundraising and alumni engagement campaign, the largest and most ambitious in York’s history. Mr. O’Hagan is a leading advancement professional and executive with 25 years of experience in the advancement and wealth management sectors. He is the former chief executive officer of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Foundation, where he led all aspects of the organization and the $470-million Campaign for Sunnybrook. Prior to Sunnybrook, Mr. O’Hagan held senior management and fundraising roles at Western University (UWO), including Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, as part of Western's $270-million Campaign. Prior to Western, Mr. O'Hagan led the gift planning efforts at the St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation in Waterloo. He also spent a number of years in the wealth management and estate services sector and held several senior positions with leading financial institutions, including the Royal Bank of Canada. Mr. O’Hagan earned a bachelor of arts in Political Science from Western University.