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40 Under 40 Outstanding Individuals In Windsor Essex

Follow The Leader . . .Meet 40 Under 40 Outstanding Individuals Making An Impact In Windsor Essex

Photo: Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh (middle), Director of Leadership Windsor/Essex and Biz X “Take The Lead” Columnist points out two 40 Leaders Under 40 Award winners, Danielle Tartaro, Owner of Lakeside Bakery, Deli, Cafe and Wes Langlois from Primerica Financial Services and Deerbrook Realty Inc.

Follow The Leader . . .Meet 40 Under 40 Outstanding Individuals Making An Impact In Windsor Essex

Quoting Harvey Firestone, “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

For this reason we must raise up others to inspire, lead by example, create innovation and change or make a difference in our world.

Started in 1995, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 is an awards program “that identifies outstanding young achievers in Canadian business, visionaries and innovators changing the way things are done.” Known as one of Canada’s most coveted awards it has inspired many communities to celebrate their own Top 40 emerging community leaders.

Leadership Windsor/Essex, a program of United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County now has brought the 40 Leaders Under 40 Awards to our community. A selection committee (with representatives of the public, private, and non-profit sectors in Windsor and Essex County) reviewed over 150 nominations, with an emphasis on leadership and community impact before determining the final 40 under 40 winners.

Leadership Windsor/Essex, which began in 2001, has over 350 Alumni and is one of 22 Leadership Programs across Canada that promotes and develops civic-minded leaders. It is also an affiliate of Leaders without Borders, and Leadership Detroit/Oakland/Macomb.

The 10 month program includes a Community Action Project and opening and closing retreat. It is designed to build leadership capacity, mentor aspiring leaders, increase their knowledge of Windsor and Essex County, provide a strong network of support and prepare and inspire civic leadership in our community.

On March 28, 2018 Leadership Windsor/Essex hosts an awards recognition event at Caesars Windsor, celebrating the passion and contributions of these 40 under 40 leaders with speaker Alex Brown of The Beard Club. (note: for more information visit “Events” at:

As Winston Churchill said “the price of greatness is responsibility” and we applaud their efforts to make Windsor Essex, Canada and the world, a better place. So here on the pages of Biz X magazine, in alphabetical order by first name, we present the recipients of the 2018 Leadership Windsor/Essex 40 Leaders Under 40 Awards.

Adam Castle, Director of Venture Services, WEtech Alliance
A lifelong entrepreneur with extensive experience in private and public sectors, Castle sits on several local boards/committees and volunteers with many local organizations. He is a passionate and outspoken advocate for mental health, developing inclusive prosperity for the region, youth welfare and local arts/culture.

Alison Hunter, LaSalle Police Officer, Level 3 Boxing Coach

As a Coach at Border City Boxing on Drouillard Road she is part of a team that has spent a portion of their lives making an impact in the Ford City community. Hunter is also a LaSalle/Windsor Special Olympics Power Lifting Coach and Law Enforcement Torch Run participant.

Andrew Banar, Entrepreneur Group Hug Apparel, Activist Banar is an inspiration for us all. He started a rock inspired t-shirt company with his family, raising money for various charities including his own “Helping Sick Children One Shirt at A Time.” His award list includes: a St. Clair “Alumni of Distinction” Award, “Canada 150” Award, “Queen’s Diamond Jubilee” Award, Canadian Down Syndrome and “Hero Award.”

Andrew Dowie, Tecumseh Councillor, Engineer, City of Windsor,

Dowie, a Civil Engineer, resides in Tecumseh and serves as Councillor for Ward 1. He also serves as Group Commissioner for the 35th Tecumseh Scout Group; as member on the Essex County Library Board, and as Executive member and Past Chair of the Professional Engineers Ontario Windsor-Essex Chapter.

Austin Roth, Student Advocate for the University of Windsor’s Graduate Student Society Roth is an Assistant Coach for the Lancers track and field team, as well as local high schools. He was the student campaign lead for the $73 million Lancer Sport/Recreation Centre. He inspires 100% youth participation, and founded the Windsor West Shoe Program.

Celesta Gaba, HR Coordinator, WFCU Credit Union

Gaba gives back through WFCU Credit Union’s community investment initiatives. Her notable involvement includes mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters; her commitment volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul Parish and mentoring new Canadians as an ESL educator for Windsor Public Library.

Cessidia De Biasio, Founder of The Addolorata De Luca Leadership Scholarship

De Biasio obtained an Honours-Social Work degree with Great Distinction from the University of Windsor; 2015 Board of Governors Medal, 2017 Athena Scholarship and recently earned an Honours of Business Administration degree. A leader and advocate, she is a Director with Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex.

Danielle Tartaro, Owner Lakeside Bakery, Deli, Cafe
Tartaro has raised money for WSO, the Art Gallery of Windsor, and Children’s Aid Society. She Co-Chaired T2B’s “Knock out for Cancer” and “Rooms to Wings” campaign. She is on the board for Children’s Aid Foundation, “Enchanted Garden Gala” committee and has donated bread to the Salvation Army, for 15 years.

David Burman, President, Mister Maid

Burman is on the Campaign Cabinet for United Way, Emerging Philanthropists Founding and Steering Committee; Chair of Backpacks for Success, Event Chair for the Red Shoe Society Windsor-Essex and a Leadership Windsor/Essex alumni. Burman has also founded the Comfort Clean program with T2B and is an inclusive employment partner with ALSO.

Dr. Irek Kusmierczyk, City of Windsor Councillor, Director of Partnerships, WEtech Alliance

Kusmierczyk spearheads innovative initiatives like FIRST Robotics preparing youth for the 21st knowledge economy and helps develop programs like ScaleUP and Innovation Catalyst that help grow innovative tech companies and organizations. As a Councillor, he is passionate about investments in libraries, parks and infrastructure to improve quality of life.

Jada Malott, Youth Activist, St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School

Malott is a natural leader and lobbies elected officials on the effects of NAFTA in Windsor Essex. Her activism has led to meetings with Justin Trudeau. Malott is a speaker on youth opportunities, making communities inclusive and works directly with the Education Minister’s Student Advisory Council.

Jayce Carver, Co-founder/Executive Director, Windsor-Essex Transgender and Allied Support 

Carver works to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of transgender, gender queer, two spirited, gender non-binary, and gender questioning communities, by providing programs and support services. She is on the board of Windsor Pride, City of Windsor Diversity and Adult Protection Services.

Jeremy Bracken, Entrepreneur and International Baccalaureate Business Teacher

Bracken founded several student programs in entrepreneurship, finance and debate. He coaches sports/fitness programs, contributes on WE-TV’s Let’s Talk and mentors students on business plans, securing finance and building companies. He believes that the success of ethical businesses yields benefits for all members of society.

Jonathon Azzopardi, President/CEO of LAVAL

Azzopardi, an advocate for women/youth and industry, serves on United Way’s Campaign Cabinet, WEST and the Build a Dream Board. He is also on the Advisory Committees for: St. Clair College, Royal Canadian Air Cadets, St. Michael’s Parish and London Diocese, Chairman of CAMM and Vice Chairman of APMA.

Kara Picco, Schulich School of Medicine

Picco is passionate about mentorship, promoting STEM education and working with children with special needs. She is an executive of initiatives (Teddy Bear Hospital and MedPals Mentorship Program), providing healthcare education\assisting adolescents career choices. Picco is her class Community Charity Liaison and 2018 Learner Peer Award of Excellence recipient.

Katharen Bortolin, MBA Program, Patient Coordinator Education/Communications at WRH Cancer Centre

Bortolin volunteers as Director of Public Relations/Communications with the Windsor International Film Festival. She volunteers with other community organizations such as the Red Shoe Society Windsor-Essex and Hats for Healthcare. Bortolin enjoys opportunities to takes on challenges and make it work. 

Kiera Royle, President Social Work Student Association, Co-President U of W-NDP

Royle is a women’s studies activist and conference presenter on her research, Murdered/Missing Indigenous Women, Post-World War Masculinity/Effects on Canadian Foreign Policy, and Domestic Violence. Royle fundraises for Indigenous initiatives, directives combating racism, campus accessibility and youth engagement in politics.

Follow The Leader . . .Meet 40 Under 40 Outstanding Individuals Making An Impact In Windsor Essex continues on Page 18.

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Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh
Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh is an award winning leadership consultant and former Director of Leadership Windsor/Essex, Principal, Chief Communications Officer and business owner with over 30 years of experience in education, administration, mentoring, consulting and community leadership. She is also the founder of Girls Rock Windsor, which supports camps across the world to develop leadership, social justice, community awareness, positive self-esteem and a sense of belonging, using music education and performance.