Diversity Champions Award Nominees 2018

The City of Saint John

Corporate Business Nominee

The City of Saint John believes in the value of immigration, actively promotes diversity, and encouraging citizens to support newcomer families within the community. The City has shown a strong leadership role in the development, promotion, and delivery of many innovative diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Delta Hotels by Marriott Saint John

Corporate Business Nominee - 2018 Winner

Delta Hotels by Marriott Saint John has created a friendly learning environment, which supports employee success. The Delta employs many newcomers in different areas such as housekeeping and cooking, as well as bellman, front desk, and management positions. At Delta Hotels by Marriott Saint John, they treat their employees with respect; help promote self-confidence, and provide an environment free from discrimination and judgement.


Corporate Business Nominee

Scotiabank employees thrive in an inclusive and welcoming workspace that offers service, which is reflective of their diverse customer base. Scotiabank also provides social media tools and online resources to assist newcomer clients with their banking needs. As a highly diverse company, Scotiabank believes that an inclusive environment for employees and customers helps everyone achieve their best, with new perspectives and fresh ideas.

Thandi Restaurant – Holly Singh

Small Business Nominee - 2018 Winner

Thandi is a great place to work where people take care of each other, learn from each other, and teach each other about other parts of the world. Thandi is an active participant in the SSELT Hospitality Employment Program, which provides work placements at the restaurant. Students are trained and coached with one of the staff members, to maximize their learning experience. The students are also invited to join their team on outing activities within the community. Students get to learn a lot about the local culture and share stories about their experiences as newcomers.

Haircraft - Joseph Alexander

Small Business Nominee

In the 1970s, Joe Alexander came to Canada as an immigrant from Trinidad. In 1983, Joe and his wife Pat opened their business, Haircraft on Hickey Road and 35 years later, they are still going strong at that location. They have built a loyal following of customers. Their business is a personal one and they deal with people on that level every day. They now have generations of customers coming through their doors. They treat everyone with a high level of respect, from the young child that may be there for the first time, to the senior that has been going there for years.

Amit Tamrakar

Community Leader Nominee

Amit was born in India and moved to North America in 2002. He started volunteering in Ontario with the Rotary Club where he served as the International Director. After moving to Saint John, he also served as Director of Professional Development at the Project Management Institute (PMI), New Brunswick and he currently works at Irving Oil. His passion for sports drove him to start the Saint John Cricket Club. The club is now the most successful in New Brunswick and it brings a lot of multicultural people together to play a sport that they love. His leadership skills have taken him beyond Saint John and he is now part of Cricket New Brunswick and Cricket Canada. Amit is responsible for restarting the Indo-Canadian Society of Saint John and is the current President. Under Amit’s leadership, the organization is flourishing and plays a key role in welcoming diversity, inclusion and sharing in Saint John.

D.S. Mack MacKenzie

Community Leader Nominee - 2018 Winner

Mack MacKenzie is an outstanding individual who is a dynamic, effective, and compassionate social worker. His level of expertise and commitment to supporting all youth is impressive and his commitment to the LGBTQ+ youth is extraordinary. He works with PRIDE, Port City Rainbow Pride, Saint John Pride, and PFLAG Canada (Saint John), a national charitable organization that supports members of the LGBTQ+ community and their families. He is easy to communicate with, allows you to feel safe, and comfortable to say how you feel without bias. Mack unselfishly shares his jovial nature, kindness, and wisdom with all those who are fortunate enough to meet him, without exception.

Olive Ozoemena

Community Leader Nominee

Olive graduated from the University of New Brunswick as an International student. She is the local site coordinator of ‘Skills Launch NB’, the Immigrant Youth Employability program, developed and delivered by the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, in partnership with multicultural associations, and the NB Community College. Olive is passionate about empowering newcomer youth to find avenues for developing self-confidence and pathways for labor market participation. Olive is also a member of the Newcomers Youth Committee at the YMCA.

École Samuel-de-Champlain

Education & Heritage Nominee - 2018 Winner

Samuel-de-Champlain School is the only French-language school in the City of Saint John. They have 35 countries represented in the school and last year they received more than 40 foreign students. Their staff attend cultural awareness classes to be better prepared for the challenges that may arise with a culturally diverse group of students. The team of classroom teachers, learning support teachers, educational assistants, tutors, drivers, administrative assistants, etc., go well beyond their responsibilities to ensure that newcomers feel comfortable in the school.

Imagine NB Community Mentor – Matt George

Education & Heritage Nominee

Matt George is a community mentor for the Imagine NB Immigrant Youth Leadership Program by the New Brunswick Multicultural Council. He is an individual who promotes change and seeks to involve all voices, especially those who are not often heard. Matt has doubled his voluntary service hours supporting the leadership development of two immigrant youths in the Saint John community. He has not let language or cultural differences impede him from fully supporting his mentees, meeting with parents, and investing extra efforts to connect youth with other community leaders.

Dylan Capstick

Youth Leader Nominee

Dylan is very passionate about many issues, including the issues of racial equality and human rights. He has a voracious appetite for learning, for history and languages, but especially for learning about other cultures and peoples. Moreover, he shows an enormous respect for cultures and for the value of cultural variety. He also has a sharp eye toward injustice and discrimination, and he is not afraid to stand up against something he perceives to be wrong.

Mackenzie Comeau

Youth Leader Nominee - 2018 Winner

Mackenzie Comeau is known to selflessly give to others at every opportunity. He quietly leads by example and demonstrates sound character and an unquestionable sense of integrity. Mackenzie volunteers to help anyone in need and acts without consideration of his own needs. He has served as a Co-leader of Cultural Fusion, a group dedicated to connecting newcomer students to their school and community. Mackenzie mentored English language learners within St. Malachy’s Memorial High School and helps them to integrate into the high school community.

Imagine NB Youth Leadership

Youth Leader Nominee

Aisha Kuvatova, Yuzhi Yang, Hannah Otilla, and Sedra Sharbaji are active and engaged students who volunteer to support newcomer youth leadership in high schools. These individuals seek to support all voices, promote effective inter-cultural awareness, and understanding of differences. These community leaders participate in the Imagine NB Immigrant Youth Leadership Program through the New Brunswick Multicultural Council.

Amos Friling

Immigrant Entrepreneur Nominee

Amos Friling is an immigrant from Israel who is a community leader, an entrepreneur and a visionary. Amos has his own company in Canada, QPROS, and is actively involved with his customers. He also represents a firm from Israel that serves international customers. He believes Saint John is becoming a centre for Exporting Knowledge. It is a perfect place to live as well as a prime location to serve North American customers.

Yan and Yeny Del Valle

Immigrant Entrepreneur Nominee - 2018 Winner

Unafraid of work, when Yan moved to Saint John from Cuba he worked long hours and started a small cleaning business. Using his Spanish skills, he also worked as a Brand Specialist for Unilever.  He met his future wife, Yeny – who is also from Cuba.  With three children, they are now the owners of J Valle Cleaning, Connections Bistro at The Saint John Airport and they are the newly minted owners of a food service business, 14 1/2 Café and Bar in the former Boaz restaurant building at Reversing Falls.