Celebrating alumni

Celebrating the accomplishments of our alumni

Across Ontario and around the world, Georgian alumni are making a difference, and we are proud to celebrate their contributions to our college, their professions and their communities! Alumni awards recognize their efforts to improve their industries, and to make our world a better place.

Board of Governor’s Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award

Every year, the Georgian College Board of Governors recognizes graduates who:

  • have achieved an exceptionally high level of career success
  • have received professional recognition in their field
  • have made a significant contribution to Georgian, or the community in general

Recommendations for the Distinguished Alumni Award are welcome at any time. Suggest an alumnus or alumna who deserves to be recognized by this distinguished award by emailing alumni@georgiancollege.ca. Candidates are considered on an annual basis, and we’ll be sure to share the outcome of your recommendation with you. Recommendations for each calendar year are due by Dec. 31 the previous year.

Nadia George, a 2009 graduate of Georgian’s Social Services Worker program, was recognized with a 2020 Board of Governors’ Distinguished Alumni Award.

Premier’s Awards

Celebrating the contributions of our graduates

This annual awards program was created by the provincial government to acknowledge the important economic and social contribution college graduates make worldwide. The Premier’s Awards program is administered by Colleges Ontario.

Any graduate of a college program may be nominated. The person must have demonstrated outstanding career success and be making a contribution to their community or society.

Do you know a Georgian graduate who should be recognized for their career achievements and successes? The Alumni Office welcomes suggestions for nominations at any time. Please email alumni@georgiancollege.ca for more information.

Award categories

Colleges may nominate one graduate in each of the following categories:

  • Apprenticeship
  • Business
  • Community Services
  • Creative Arts and Design
  • Health Sciences
  • Recent Graduate
  • Technology
2022 Premier’s Award nomineesGeorgian College Chevron
Rena Lang

Rena Lang

Nomination category: Apprenticeship
Program: Hairstylist Apprenticeship
Graduated: 2007
Job title:  Faculty – Hairstylist program
Place of employment: 
Georgian College

After completing her Hairstyling apprenticeship, Rena went on to become an entrepreneur, as well as the Hairstyling Program Coordinator and faculty member at Georgian College. Since joining the college, Rena has tripled the program’s student enrollment, and has made learning more accessible for students by introducing digital teaching aids into the classroom, and ensuring that students were able to complete their learning outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. She launched a recycling program at the college which sees 95 per cent of the hairstyling program waste repurposed and recycled into bikes, building structures, oil booms, energy, clean drinking water, and other products.

Chris Schmidt

Curtis Schmidt

Nomination category: Business
Program: Bachelor of Applied Business – Automotive Management
Graduated: 2007
Job title:  President and Chief Growth Officer
Place of employment: 
RAPP – Middle East and Africa Region (MENA), Dubai

Curtis is a globally acclimatized and progressive marketing leader and industry disrupter who excels in understanding critical topics for countries, companies, brands and consumers, and is currently the President and Chief Growth Officer for RAPP – Middle East and Northern Africa, based in Dubai, Managing Director Team X GD Marketing Excellence Centre based in Dubai and Managing Director Team X Egypt, based in Cairo. He’s held leadership roles across North America, Europe, China and the Middle East, and recently worked with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy as Head of Digital Services for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Michael Braithwaite

Michael Braithwaite

Nomination category: Community Service
Program: Fundraising and Resource Development
Graduated: 2013
Job title:  CEO
Place of employment: 
Blue Door Support Services

Michael is a community champion who’s worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years. He’s currently the Chief Executive Officer for Blue Door Support Services, the largest emergency housing, health, and employment provider in York Region. Under his leadership, Blue Door launched the social enterprise Construct which resolves homelessness by connecting people to career paths, breaking down barriers to meaningful employment, and leading them to affordable housing. Over his career, Michael’s launched programs to support female or female-identifying survivors of human trafficking, programs to support 2SLGBTQ+ youth, and has expanded access to healthcare services for people experiencing homelessness.

Don Komarechka

Don Komarechka

Nomination category: Creative Arts
Program: Advertising
Graduated: 2009
Job title:  Owner/Photographer
Place of employment: 
Komarechka Photography Ltd.

Don is a nature, macro and landscape photographer, book author and instructor. His work pushes against the technical limitations of camera equipment and physical limitations of light itself, and has been featured in projects around the world, including with the Royal Canadian Mint and The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, and through projects with the BBC, Discovery Channel and National Geographic. He’s been published in The Canadian Journal of Physics and The Canadian Journal of Microbiology. He currently lives in Bulgaria, where he is using his photography to help fund his humanitarian work with local Ukrainian refugee centers.

Jocelyn Leworthy

Jocelyn Leworthy

Nomination category: Health Sciences
Program: Early Childhood Education
Graduated: 2015
Job title:  Certified Child Life Specialist
Place of employment: 
Halton Healthcare

Jocelyn struggled as a child from the psychosocial impacts of albinism, a rare condition that causes a lack of pigmentation in her hair and skin, and a visual impairment that cannot be addressed with corrective lenses. She’s now an award-winning child life specialist who’s dedicated most of her career to supporting children and families impacted by cancer. In 2021, she received the 40 under 40 in Cancer award for her work with children living with cancer. Jocelyn is also a two-time live organ donor and visits high schools to share her story and to promote organ donation.

Patricia Di Chiara

Patricia Di Chiara

Nomination category: Recent Grad
Program: Culinary Management
Graduated: 2017
Job title:  Founder and CEO
Place of employment: 
Luisella Foods Inc.

Patricia is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Luisella Foods Inc. Luisella is a line of chocolate spreads that contain all-natural ingredients, high-quality cocoa and sunflower seeds. It is a nut-free and gluten-free line of products which include plant-based/vegan/dairy-free options, making it nutritious, socially responsible and an environmentally-friendly option. Patricia’s products, which she created as a culinary management student, have received Kosher and Non-GMO certifications, and in 2021 received the Ontario Made designation. They are now available in major big-box retail stores across North America, and her company has begun expansion into European markets.

Mark Schick

Mark Schick

Nomination category: Technology
Program: General Business – Marketing
Graduated: 1983
Job title:  CEO
Place of employment: 
Advanced Motion and Controls Ltd.

Mark is the award-winning Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Motion & Controls, which is headquartered in Barrie, and has regional offices in Mississauga, Cambridge and Quebec. He founded the company in 1986, and built the company into a major Canadian distributor of factory automation products, with revenues of approximately $35-million annually. His company’s products employ the latest in electronic, pneumatic, robotic and mechatronic systems. He is a regular donor to Ontario college student success initiatives and capital projects, and has donated advanced technology and equipment to support engineering and other technology-related programs throughout his career.

Previous Premier’s Awards winnersGeorgian College Chevron

Nadia George (2021)

Nomination category: Creative Arts and Design
Program: Social Service Worker
Graduated: 2009
Job title: Actress
Place of employment: Marla Mann Agency

Nadia George is an award-winning Indigenous Canadian actress, media personality, therapist and public speaker based in Toronto. Her work focuses on uplifting young voices and addressing stigma around contemporary Indigenous identity, and her volunteerism includes roles as a national ambassador, advisor and BIPOC committee member for several national organizations. She can be seen in numerous films and television series including History Erased, Along the Water’s Edge and Uncolonize, and her portrayal of Jolene in the award-winning film ‘Her Water Drum’ earned her the distinguished award of Achievement in Acting for a Leading Role at the Los Angeles Skins Film Festival.

Kevin Collins (2019)

Nomination category: Community Services
Program: Hotel and Resort Administration, and Tourism Management
Graduated: 1984 and 1985
Job title: President and CEO
Place of employment: Easter Seals Ontario

A two-time recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and Ontario Restaurant’s Trillium Award Newsmaker of the Year 2013, Kevin J. Collins has brought philanthropy to the forefront in the hospitality industry. As a child with Cerebral Palsy, Kevin benefited from Easter Seal’s camp programs and pledged to give back, doing so as Executive Director of Friends of We Care, the industry’s charitable arm which sends physically disabled children to camp. After successfully tripling the organization’s donor base and raising $20.5-million over his career, he was appointed to his current role as President and CEO of Easter Seals Ontario in 2017.

Aylan Couchie (2016)

Nomination category: Recent Graduate
Art and Design Fundamentals
Job title: 
Anishinaabe artist, community organizer and aspiring writer
Place of employment: Freelance artist, currently pursuing MFA at OCAD University

Just a year out of college, Aylan has built an impressive list of career achievements. In August 2015, she was chosen from among more than 950 entries worldwide to receive the Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the U.S.-based International Sculpture Center. Less than a month later, Aylan was honoured with the inaugural Native Women in the Arts Barbara Laronde Award, which celebrates the career of one outstanding, emerging Northern Ontario-based  Indigenous female artist. Her artwork has also been featured in Sculpture magazine, an international publication that is distributed in more than 70 countries and has a readership of more than 37,000.

Aylan was also the winner of the Pratt Homes Sculpture competition that hand-selected four artists to design a sculpture to sit atop their new condominium in Barrie, as well as a rooftop patio piece and select works throughout the interior. Her work was chosen by the public against three seasoned and highly-esteemed sculptors. Once built, the piece, (H.I.O. Big Chiefs) will be seen from Highway 400 as it looks out over Kempenfelt Bay in tribute to the Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Anishinabek nations.

Aylan has also made an indelible impact on the community. In 2014, she organized and launched Barrie’s first downtown art crawl, which featured local artists, fostered new relationships within the downtown merchant core, and led to partnerships that continue today.

Aylan says she is inspired by her grandfather, a residential school survivor whose passed-down teachings greatly influenced her work and encouraged her to return to college as a mature student and single mother of three teenage boys.

Despite the many accolades, Aylan feels the most important part of her work is being part of the larger conversation about First Nations realities, including murdered and missing Indigenous women, current actualities facing First Nations communities across Canada, and residential school legacies.

Dianne Martin (2016)

Nomination category: Health Sciences
Program: Nursing
Graduated: 1998
Job title: Chief Executive Officer
Place of employment: Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario

As the Chief Executive Officer of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario, Dianne provides leadership and advocates for the province’s thousands of registered practical nurses. She also works hard to make a difference in the lives of patients and nursing students through policies, reforms and education.

Dianne is currently working to refocus healthcare decisions on the needs of patients, which will help them take control of their own wellness. She’s also spent a good portion of her career addressing the workplace bullying she says is prevalent in the industry and providing support to nurses suffering from work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dianne hopesp the resources she and her team have created will assist employers, re-engage nurses in the profession, and help reduce or eradicate bullying and PTSD.

In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations and managing the RPNAO’s budget, Dianne visits healthcare organizations across the country to consult on nursing and how to improve patient outcomes and workplace satisfaction and retention.

Dianne also consults with many hospitals and helps administrators understand and expand the nurses’ role and implement positive change. She speaks regularly at conferences across the province on issues related to health and wellness education, and nursing issues in particular.

In addition to her leadership role, Dianne sits on nursing advisory committees at several colleges – including Georgian – and still finds time to teach in the classroom.

Dale George (2012)

Program: Industrial Design
Graduated: 1985
Job title: Chief Technology Officer
Place of employment: Buoyant Aircraft Systems International (BASI)

Dale George has established a niche in the world of design for improving operations, defining innovation, and creating industry standards for a number of products and services. Now he is again at the leading edge as the chief technical officer of Buoyant Airship Services International. George’s remarkable journey began in the Industrial Design program at college. Throughout his evolution from the early days of designing the now-famous “little yellow” plastic slide that can be found in backyards across North America, to developing the first high-altitude wind turbine, to his aviation work with lighter-than-air airships with NASA and transport to remote areas, George has remained a trailblazer in his field.

Geoffrey Stephens (2011)

Program: Business Administration
Graduated: 1984
Job title: President
Place of employment: Capital Paving Inc.

Geoffrey Stephens became president and controlling owner of Capital Paving Inc. at age 35 and has grown its revenue from $18 million to $80 million in just over 10 years. He and his partners recently made a major ownership investment in Fowler Construction. In 2010, Capital was named one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies and is an unprecedented three-time winner of the Ministry of Transportation’s Paver of the Year Award. Stephens was one of 40 Canadian entrepreneurs chosen for the 2010 Quantum Shift at Richard Ivey School of Business. He is active in the community, serving on numerous industry association boards.

Stephen Flowers (2005)

Program: Business
Graduated: 1983
Job title: President
Place of employment: UPS Americas Region

Stephen Flowers, President of the UPS Americas Region, is responsible for all UPS package operations in Canada and more than 50 countries and territories across Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to taking on the region’s highest post, Flowers was UPS’s West Europe District Manager, where he oversaw the company’s operations in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Stephen began his career with UPS in 1981 as a loader/unloader while at Georgian College. Stephen has served on the board of directors for the United Way of Long Island, New York and the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

Rose Adams

Program: Office Administration
Graduated: 1984

Rose overcame a difficult childhood to get where she is today. Growing up in foster homes, she financed her college education by cleaning houses and checking coats at a local bar. In 1991, she was crowned Miss Black Ontario and entered law school as a mature student. Rose has taught business courses at Georgian College and Ontario Business College and volunteers for non-profit community groups such as the Out of the Cold program. She served on the board of Big Brothers and the Simcoe Literacy Network.


Time to celebrate with old friends!

Ever wonder what became of your Georgian classmates? They may be curious about you too! Georgian’s alumni relations team encourages alumni to stay connected with their fellow graduates.

When the time comes to plan a reunion, the reunion team would be happy to assist with:

  • personalized invitations
  • promoting the event on alumni social media, website and e-communications
  • providing welcome packages to attendees
  • providing sponsorship funding (includes an application and selection process)
  • scheduling Growler, the Georgian mascot, to make an appearance (based on availability)
  • arranging for a faculty member to be present to speak
  • assisting with overnight accommodations for guests
  • organizing a campus tour

With a number of planning tools available, organizing your reunion is easy! For further information or to discuss customized packages, please contact us.

Connect with us

Advancement and Alumni Relations Office

Alumni Engagement, Room E200
One Georgian Dr.
Barrie ON, Canada
L4M 3X9

Email: alumni@georgiancollege.ca
Phone: 705.722.5173