A Week With Sam Jeffers

September 2019

From September 9th to 13th we hosted returning Visiting Global Fellow Sam Jeffers in Canada. During his visit, Sam spoke at 5 public events in Toronto, Ottawa and Brampton with approximately 400 total attendees; conducted 14 interviews with TV, radio, newspapers and podcasts; participated in 3 undergraduate class talks to 150 students; and secured 600+ downloads of Who Targets Me in Canada.


WonkProm 2019

April 11, 2019

The Ryerson Leadership Lab was thrilled to host Wonk Prom, a celebration of politics, policy and the change-makers making it happen. From live music by the HMCS York Jazz Band to the test-your-wonk quiz on Canadian Politics and Ontario Budget 2019, the official after-party of the Public Policy Forum Testimonial Dinner came with huge success. A massive thank you to our guests, volunteers, partners and sponsors for helping make it so memorable. Here's to the wonks!


An Unlikely Activist: In Conversation with Wael Ghonim

March 22, 2019

Internet activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Wael Ghonim, joined us for a special student discussion at Ryerson University, where he spoke about his life working in the technology sector and the lessons he has learned as a democracy activist.


Twenty Ways to Build a Better Canada with David Johnston

February 28, 2019

The Ryerson Leadership Lab hosted the Rt. Hon. David Johnston and 200 guests for a conversation 20 ways to restore trust in ourselves, our organizations, and our institutions, and in doing so build a better Canada.

This free event featured a moderated talk, an audience Q&A, and a book signing with the 28th Governor General of Canada, Chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation and author of the bestsellers The Idea of Canada and Ingenious.



January 25-27, 2019

The second edition of Canada's democracy summit, DemocracyXChange 2019, took place at Ryerson University on January 25th-27th. The jam-packed weekend brought together over 440 participants, 70 speakers, 49 workshop leaders, and 9 DXC Open Spaces organizations. Fueled by powerful democracy discourse and meaningful community connection, DemocracyXChange is an example of your tireless commitment to activating change from the ground up. With our DemocracyXChange co-founders, the Open Democracy Project, we want to thank all of our conference co-presenters, partnersspeakers, volunteers and attendees for your passionate participation. Democracy and change-making work when we work together.


A Week With Sarada Peri

January 2019

Former Senior Speechwriter to President Obama and communications expert, Sarada Peri, had an exciting trip to Toronto and Ottawa as the Ryerson Leadership Lab's most recent Visiting Global Fellow. 

As part of her fellowship, Sarada led: 
- A keynote speech and debate on populism at DemocracyXChange 2019
- A workshop on breakthrough messaging for making change
- A masterclass on storytelling
- A #MakingtheFuture student talk at Ryerson 
A talk with the Empire Club of Canada 
A speech and moderated Q&A with Canada 2020
- Meetings with various communications professionals in Toronto and Ottawa


Maria Ressa: Guardian of the Truth

January 28, 2019

TIME's 2018 Person of the Year, "Guardian in the War on Truth" and Founder/CEO of Rappler Maria Ressa, visited Toronto to deliver her keynote, "The Essential Moment for Global Power Structures" at DemocracyXChange 2019, in a visit sponsored by Journalists for Human Rights, Toronto Public Library and Unifor. In partnership with the Ryerson Communication and Design Society and Ryerson's Faculty of Communication and Design, the inspiring journalist also spoke to Ryerson #MakingtheFuture students about disinformation, fake news, and her story of critical reporting on authoritarian Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte.   


Reinventing the Restaurant Experience with Ray Reddy

January 16, 2019

Another partnership with the Ryerson Leadership Lab and DMZ Sandbox, the Canadian Club of Toronto hosted Ray Reddy, Co-Founder & CEO of Ritual, to discuss the future of mobile ordering and the changes we will continue to see on restaurant and food court design. With over 10 million orders served and more than 4,400 restaurant partners, Ray spoke about how the Toronto-born company has successfully reimagined lunchtime experience.


Global Compact on Migration: Facts vs Fear

December 14, 2018

The Ryerson Leadership Lab was pleased to welcome The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for a timely conversation on the Global Compact on Migration: Facts vs Fear. The discussion was moderated by Rachel Pulfer (Ryerson Journalism '99), Executive Director of Journalists for Human Rights. A short question and answer period with the audience followed.


Beyond The Numbers: A Conversation With Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

November 28, 2018


Geeks and Gurus - A Master Class on Campaign Strategy with Guillaume Liegey

November 6, 2018

The Ryerson Leadership Lab brought Visiting Global Fellow, Guillaume Liegey, CEO of Liegey Muller Pons and a senior digital campaigner in Europe. Guillaume is known for his work with Emmanuel Macron on the creation of En Marche! and his successful campaign for the French Presidency. Join Guillaume to learn about his campaign strategies and insights on politics in France and Europe - and how digital campaigns are influencing the US midterms.


Beyond The Horizon with Chris Hadfield

November 2, 2018

Col. Chris Hadfield’s inspiring journey is one that we can all learn from. Raised on a small farm in Sarnia, Ontario, a young Hadfield’s interest in flying led him to enrol as an Air Cadet, become an experimental pilot working with over 70 types of aircraft and eventually ride his first rocket in 1995. He went on to become the first Canadian to walk in space and command the International Space Station. The Ryerson Leadership Lab and the George Vari Innovation Conference hosted Col. Hadfield as he pulled from a lifetime of galactic experiences to inspire us attendees rise to into their full leadership potential.


Developing Leadership Skills with Jennifer Hollett


October 5, 2018

From small-scale business meetings or personal conversations to big-scale social or political campaigns, persuasion is a tool we use constantly. While many may see a pile of facts as enough, there is an art and science behind persuasion that if understood, can be powerfully influential in spreading any kind of message. Drawn from the Harvard Kennedy School's popular two-week intensive “Persuasion: The Science and Art of Effective Influence,” this workshop used proven principles of persuasion to teach how to make a presentation, pitch or chat more effective.


September 28, 2018

Social media has revolutionized the way we share stories, access information and communicate with one another. While mediums like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have proven to be powerful tools for industry growth, the online presence of too many organizations lacks a concrete strategy to achieve specific goals. Attendees learned how to speak in likes, hashtags and trends to build their online presence, grow their network of influence, frame ideas and break through common social media misconceptions.


Canada’s Response to the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

June 4, 2018

The humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar is a global tragedy leading more than 717,000 Rohingya to flee their homes in Rakhine State and seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

On Monday, June 4th, Bob Rae and Mohamad Fakih engaged in a panel style conversation addressing these issues and demonstrating what Canada can do in response to the Rohingya crisis. Recommendations highlighted in the final report from the Honourable Bob Rae, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, was provided as well insights from Mohamad Fakih to business leaders.


Malala Yousafzai visits Toronto

April 12, 2018

The 20-year-old education advocate recounted the most traumatic day of her life on April 12 during a Q&A at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The event was a partnership between the Ryerson Leadership Lab and Distinguished Visiting Professor Karim Bardeesy and the Fakih Foundation (under leadership of Mohamad Fakih). It featured a screening of the 2015 documentary He Named Me Malala, followed by a Q&A between Yousafzai and CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme for an audience of 500 GTA students from middle school, high school and Ryerson.

LaFlamme asked Yousafzai if surviving the attack increased her determination. “When I saw the support and the love and the prayers that I had received from all around the world,” said Yousafzai, “that gave me hope that my survival was for a greater purpose, a greater cause, which was to help as many young girls as I can. … I dream of a world where every day, a girl can wake up without any fear, go to school, learn, and then follow her dreams. But this is not true for many girls. There are more than 130 million right now who do not have access to education.”

After the event, each attendee received a copy of Yousafzai’s memoir, I Am Malala, allowing them to continue draw inspiration and empowerment from her incredible story.


Al Gore at Ryerson: Taking Leadership on the Climate Crisis

March 8, 2018

Ryerson University and the Ryerson Leadership Lab hosted Al Gore, Nobel Peace Laureate and 45th Vice-President of the United States, and Premier Kathleen Wynne for a public discussion on leadership and the climate crisis at Ryerson University on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

During the discussion, Vice-President Gore and Premier Wynne highlighted the growing climate change threat and the role that leadership, especially the leadership of students and young people, can play in solving it.