ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT (DEVELOPMENT AND OUTREACH): DEGROOTE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, MCMASTER UNIVERSITY

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I oversee DeGroote’s alumni programming, corporate outreach, and community engagement initiatives, and am responsible for providing development expertise, leadership, and strategy in concert with McMaster’s central University Advancement team.


WHERE IS YOUR BUSINESS LOCATED?

McMaster University moved to Hamilton from Toronto in 1930 and is prominently located in Hamilton’s Westdale neighbourhood. McMaster also has several locations outside the main campus, including in Burlington and downtown Hamilton.


WHAT IS YOUR STORY?

I’ve played an active role with McMaster since finishing my MBA at the DeGroote School of Business in 2009, including as an instructor and a member of the Board of Directors of the McMaster Alumni Association and McMaster’s Board of Governors. I joined the institution full time in 2015 because I believe deeply in the transformation power of education, and of the ability of our educational institutions to make meaningful impacts on society. McMaster is one of the top 100 universities in the world, and it’s a privilege to work for the organization.


WHAT DOES HAMILTON MEAN TO YOU?

Hamilton is home, literally and figuratively. It’s a place I feel privileged to have come from and contribute to. It’s a city full of great people, organizations, friends, and meaning. It has a deep and fascinating history, part of which I’ve experienced, and part of which is evident from what our society has shaped into today.


WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT HAMILTON?

Hamilton’s assets are well documented, but one of the things that I find especially compelling is the culture. Compared to many other places, Hamiltonians are extremely active and proud citizens, they are very supportive and collaborative, and there is a very strong sense of community and optimism.


WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS IN HAMILTON WEST?

My engagement with Hamilton is spread across the city, but I spend a lot of time in Hamilton West as a result of my work at McMaster University. The research that comes from McMaster is exported from Hamilton West and influences people across the world. Hamilton West is often the first Hamilton experience for students who come to study at McMaster, and we hope many of them will stay after they graduate.


WHAT RECENT CHANGE WITHIN HAMILTON WEST DO YOU THINK IS MOST SIGNIFICANT?

One of my favourite developments in Hamilton West has been McMaster Innovation Park, which has been a great example of adaptive reuse and has been catalytic in the development of Hamilton’s current innovation ecosystem. It has attracted significant investment, including the development of the McMaster Automotive Resource Centre and the CanmetMATERIALS research centre, a world-class Materials R&D facility that is part of the Department of Natural Resources Canada and relocated from Ottawa to McMaster Innovation Park in 2011.


ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM HAMILTON? WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STAY/MOVE HERE?

I am originally from Hamilton, and after spending some time outside of the city, chose to return to assume a position as the Director of Commercial Activities at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 2010. I dove in headfirst and have had the privilege of being part of many city-building initiatives since this time.


WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MEMORY IN HAMILTON?

In 1996, during Canada’s sesquicentennial, I won a student writing contest on the topic of what we love about Hamilton and Canada, for which I received tickets to attend the Grey Cup at Ivor Wynne Stadium – a great experience I shared with my dad. It fascinates me to read this essay 20 years later and to see how my belief in Hamilton, which wasn’t nearly as widespread at the time, predicated my deep involvement with our city.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO IN HAMILTON WEST?

I’ve really enjoyed dining at the Aberdeen Tavern recently – they have great pride in the food and presentation – always a great time.


WHAT IS A HIDDEN GEM IN HAMILTON?

Many don’t realize that Cootes Paradise offers a 320-hectare river-mouth marsh, glacial plateaus, 16 creeks, and 25 kilometres of shoreline through its 18-kilometre trail system. It is a National Historic site, a Nationally Important Bird Area, and a Nationally Important Reptile and Amphibian Area.


IF SOMEONE WAS CONSIDERING MOVING TO HAMILTON WEST, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?

Hamilton West is a diverse neighbourhood full of fascinating architecture, a compelling sense of community, and approachable people and businesses – an excellent place to live!