The Lazaridis School of Business & Economics Alumni Awards gala celebrates the outstanding achievements of our undergraduate and graduate alumni.
Each year, we recognize extraordinary alumni for their community service, career achievements and contributions to the Laurier community. With more than 30,000 alumni, and growing, the Lazaridis School continues to prepare exceptional leaders for today and tomorrow.
For more information or to learn about sponsorship opportunities at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics Alumni Awards, please contact Graham McCormick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018
Time: 5 p.m. Reception | 6 p.m. Dinner and Awards
Location: Lazaridis Hall, Wilfrid Laurier University
Ticket Price: $60 Early Bird | $80 after Sept. 15 | Tickets will be available for purchase in June
Nominations close on May 31.
Awarded to two Lazaridis School alumni as the highest honour given by the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics. This award recognizes leadership, initiative and contributions to the business world, the community and their alma mater. This award is selected by the alumni selection committee.
Sponsored by Tom and Lynn Oldfield
Awarded to a Lazaridis MBA alumnus/a who has achieved career success and demonstrated a pattern of exceptional leadership and service.
The Young Alumnus/a of the Year Award honours those individuals (under the age of 35) who have made exceptional accomplishments in their professional career and/or community throughout their first 10 years of alumni status. This award is selected by the alumni selection committee.
Recognizes a Lazaridis School alumni who embodies an entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen, and who has demonstrated innovative business achievement.
Recognizes a Lazaridis School alumni who has demonstrated exceptional generosity and outstanding charitable responsibility, and whose goodwill encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles in the community.
This award recognizes an alumnus/a of the school who has furthered the interests of the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics through significant support, commitment and service to the school. All alumni of the Lazaridis School are eligible for this award. The award winner is selected by the Dean, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.
Presented by Lynn and Tom Oldfield
Dan Einwechter, BBA '77
Founder, Chairman, CEO, and President, Challenger Motor Freight Inc.
Dan Einwechter is founder, chairman and CEO of the Challenger group of companies headquartered in Cambridge, Ont. Currently an executive member of the Board of Directors for both the Ontario Trucking Association and the Canadian Trucking Alliance, Dan got his start in transportation by driving trucks as a teenager. This experience inspired him to form a transportation company in 1975 as a means to support his university education.
For more than 40 years under Dan’s leadership, Challenger has grown to a fleet of 4,000 trucks and trailers and 600,000 sq. ft. of warehousing and a 53-acre facility. Challenger’s success is the accumulation of many years of hard work, dedicated employees and a philosophy of continuous improvement. When it comes to customers, Dan and his team truly live Challenger’s slogan of "We Go the Distance.”
In 2004, Dan was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the truck transportation industry through the Trailmobile Service to the Industry Award. In 2002, was named Al Palladini Transportation Person of the Year and was also the recipient of the Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EOY) in the “Business-to-Business, Products and Services” category. Dan was inducted into the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame in 2007. He has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, the President’s Council of Advisors, and the Campaign Cabinet for the Building Canada’s Best Business School fundraising campaign. Among his many industry and community awards, including recognition as leading one of Canada’s 50 best-managed companies, Dan was named Laurier’s Alumnus of the Year in 1996 and one of Laurier’s 100 Alumni of Achievement in 2011.
Dan has Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics. Dan takes tremendous pride in being a part of the Canadian transportation industry and feels a great sense of accomplishment knowing that his company adds value to North American Commerce.
Pat Krajewski, DIPL '89, MBA '90
Retired Senior Vice President, Scotiabank
Pat Krajewski is a retired financial services executive with expertise in human resources, reputation risk management and international business. She is currently active in the tech community as a mentor, advisor, and a strategy team member of MoveTheDial.
Through her diverse and lengthy career with Scotiabank she led teams making significant contributions to strategy development, leadership development and succession planning, brand and reputation risk management and international mergers and acquisitions. Pat also has experience in the areas of global risk management, investment banking and Canadian personal and commercial banking. Her most recent positions at the Bank included Senior Vice-President, Public and Corporate Affairs, Senior Vice-President, International Banking Human Resources and Senior Vice-President, Corporate Human Resources.
Pat served on the Board of Wilfrid Laurier University for nine years, holding the positions of Board vice-chair, Board secretary and chair of the Human Resources Committee. She was also a member of the Executive and Governance Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Resource Planning and Utilization Committee, as well as serving on multiple search committees, including the university President Search Committee. Pat continues to be very actively involved with Laurier and is currently vice-chair of the Dean's Advisory Council for the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics and a member of the Campaign Cabinet for the Building Canada’s Best Business School fundraising campaign.
Pat has received a number of awards from Laurier including the MBA Gold Medal, the Governor General's Gold Medal, Distinguished Governor Award, MBA Alumna of the Year and Top 100 Alumni.
Pat holds a Business Administration Diploma and a Master of Business Administration from the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. Pat is most proud of being a partner to her husband, Rick, and mother to her daughter Jill and son Shane. In her retirement, in addition to focusing on giving back, Pat is having the time of her life spending time with her family and friends, going to concerts and sporting events, and travelling.
Michael Devlin, MBA '03
President, ECHO Payment Systems
Michael Devlin is president and co-founder of ECHO Payment Systems Inc., a start-up fintech company specializing in the development of branded payment programs for its clients. Michael is an accomplished executive in the payments industry with international experience across North America, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), India, Pakistan, Europe, and Australia. His global experience in payments drives a unique outlook on the history and evolution of payments and payment trends, including those in the fintech sphere. Michael has leveraged this perspective to drive many industry-firsts in his career, including the first launch of contactless payments in Canada.
Michael attributes a large part of his success to his time in the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics’ MBA program and the mentorship and friendship of Hugh Munro and a core group of his graduating class, including Scott Lapstra, Mitch Frazer, Ian GlynWilliams, Sasha Jacob, Ross Kerr, Ian Heynen, Michelle Murray and Ola Slowakiewicz.
Michael currently resides in Toronto, Canada with his wife, Nadine Cannata, and their three children, Matthew, Lauren and Caleb.
Presented by POI Business Interiors and Steelcase
Sarah Au, BBA '09
Senior Brand Manager and Shopper Marketing Lead, The Clorox Company
Sarah Au is a passionate storyteller; whether it’s through leading brands like Brita and Burt’s Bees, teaching marketing at George Brown College or doing a TEDx talk about her journey as an underdog. Sarah has strived to create excitement with breakthrough marketing plans in historically mature categories. She blazed a trail in the industry with targeted multicultural marketing campaigns for South Asian and Chinese consumers for brands like Clorox and Brita. She created a “purchase with a purpose” model that brought access to clean water to over 41,000 people in Kenya. She set a best-in-class example of how to utilize Virtual Reality to tell a brand story for Brita by using it to show consumers the long journey some young students in Kenya must undertake to access water for their families. Sarah also created a sports marketing platform for brands in Canada that was leveraged across the U.S.
In 2015, Sarah was named one of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 under 30 for her success in developing strategic brand partnerships and creating a path for multicultural marketing in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry. She was also ranked 16 on Toronto Star’s 2017 list of inspiring women for her personal contribution to leading social change through Brita’s clean water initiative with ME to WE.
Sarah has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, and she prides herself in having an authentic voice and continues her relentless drive to become a remarkable storyteller.
Presented by TD
Jennifer Smith, EMTM '12
(most recently) Executive Vice President, Global Market Solutions and Engineering, Christie Digital Systems
Most recently as executive vice-president, Global Market Solutions and Engineering for Christie Digital Systems, Jennifer’s career has spanned technologies from satellite communications to laser projectors, markets from cinema to virtual reality, and customers from NASDAQ to Disney. Jennifer’s strategic thinking and leadership skills have been instrumental in many of Christie’s successes throughout her tenure. Over the past two decades, she has pushed boundaries in engineering and product management — leading to significant new products and market approaches and driving revenue growth to C$1B.
Jennifer completed her Executive Master’s of Technology Management at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, is a licensed professional engineer and a graduate of McGill University's Faculty of Engineering.
Jennifer was named to the Waterloo Region Record’s Top 40 Under 40 for her contribution to innovation and social change in the KW region. Jennifer currently serves as a board member for Communitech and the UW Stratford Advisory Board and is happily married with twins that keep her busy during her precious time off.
Aaron Bast, BBA '06
Associate Director, The Investment Accelerator, MaRS Discovery District
Aaron has more than 10 years of experience working with high-tech firms as an investor, operator and service provider in Waterloo Region. In his current role, Aaron deploys seed capital to innovative startups and actively manages over 20 early-stage investments for the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. Prior to that, Aaron spent five years at Miovision Technologies as chief financial officer and worked closely with the founders to raise venture capital investment, multiply revenue by a factor of 10, add two new lines of business, expand internationally and triple the size of the team. Aaron started his career at Ernst & Young LLP where he earned his CPA designation.
Aaron volunteers as a member of the Laurier Startup Fund’s Investment Committee and is also a member of the Board of Governors for the Grand River Hospital Foundation.
Aaron holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.
Presented by KPMG
Don Kaluzny, MBA '15
Creator, Make Your Robot Move
Don Kaluzny is an entrepreneur and consultant who is always looking for new and interesting projects. Through his involvement in Laurier’s LaunchPad program, he is the creator of the eBook “Make Your Robot Move”, which was developed to teach youth and FIRST LEGO League and World Robotics Olympiad coaches and mentors how to program LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots and get the most out of the programming software. This self-published eBook sells in over 20 countries.
Don has served on local boards of directors with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Don’s career also includes over 25 years of engineering, supply-chain, operations, and construction/project management experience including both domestic and international projects. His portfolio includes experience with nuclear quality assurance; environment health and safety; and regulatory affairs.
Don holds an MBA from the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics and an undergraduate degree in Materials Engineering from McMaster University.
Srin Sridharan, BBA '14
Partner, Alcielo Capital Management
Srin Sridharan is partner at Alcielo Capital Management, a group of entrepreneurial partners investing in and operating private companies, public companies, and complex financial instruments in the search of attractive risk adjusted returns. Previously, Srin was a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and he has also worked as an Equity Research Associate with Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc.
Srin has a passion for helping organizations focused on children’s brain and mental health, and has actively helped The Sick Kids Hospital, The LEAP Centre, BCG’s Social Impact Practice Area, Capitalize for Kids & Kids Help Phone. He continues to be actively involved at Laurier as a co-faculty advisor for their growing case competition program, as well as involving Laurier students in his social impact initiatives.
Srin graduated from Laurier’s prestigious double degree program with a degree in Mathematics (University of Waterloo) and a BBA from the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.
Matt Schnarr, DIPL '98
Founder and Managing Partner, AWAKE Chocolate
In his 13 years working for some of the biggest consumer packaged food companies in North America, Matt Schnarr met with plenty of success. He won the Kraft sales rep of the year award, the PepsiCo key account manager of the year award and the PepsiCo Ring of Honor.
In 2012, Matt left the big corporations and with two friends (including fellow Laurier alumnus Adam Deremo) started AWAKE Caffeinated Chocolate. The group made a successful pitch on Dragons’ Den, cementing an investment from Lazaridis School of Business & Economics alumnus David Chilton.
Today, AWAKE is sold in 20,000 stores across North America. AWAKE is considered one of Dragons’ Den’s ‘best’ stories.
At the AWAKE offices, Matt and Adam mark “Laurier Fridays” by wearing their Laurier gear into the office. It’s no surprise, then, that Matt is a proud alumnus and regularly shares his knowledge and skill with Laurier students. Matt speaks at O-Day, club events and entrepreneurship classes.
Matt graduated from Laurier with his degree in ABC and Diploma in Business Administration from the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.
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