Rose Patten Mentorship Program

Leadership Partnership:
2020 Mentees

Arij Al Chawaf

Director, Strategic Alliances and Communications, Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)

Dr Arij Al Chawaf joined the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) at the University of Toronto in 2010. As Director of Strategic Alliances, she supports open science by catalyzing partnerships and collaborations with companies, research organizations and groups interested in open innovation and drug discovery, and by raising funding from public and private sources. Prior to joining SGC, Arij worked with Toronto-based start-up and biotech companies in marketing, business development and communications. Arij completed her PhD in Neuroendocrinology from the University of Toronto. Her research focused on a newly discovered group of peptides and how they regulate anxiety networks in the brain.

Arleen Morrin

Chief Administrative Officer, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Arleen Morrin has worked in higher education administration for the past 15 years, the most recent 8 years at UofT. Her responsibilities have included the management of budgets and finance, human resources, IT and space. She is currently the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing. She is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) and holds a MEd and PhD in Higher Education from OISE. Her PhD research examined decision making and individual faculties’ behaviour and response to decentralized budgeting at the divisional and departmental level.

Darshan Harrinanan

Business Systems Analyst/Project Manager, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration

Hi! I’ve been with U of T for 13 years, currently I’m with the EASI team and manage SAP finance projects. I’ve worked in the education sector for over 20 years and have held roles in accessibility services, management, human resources and information technology. I have my CHRL and PMP designation. 

The most rewarding aspects of my role is being able to innovate and work with staff from across the University, as well as, be at the forefront of new and exciting projects that improved services for our students, faculty and staff.

In my spare time I enjoy traveling, photography and snorkeling. One of my most memorable trips was a two week trip to Thailand which I planned myself! We visited an elephant sanctuary, tried a multitude of delicious street foods and slept in the wild at Khoa Sok National Park.

Deirdre Gomes

Associate Director, Donor Relations, Office of Advancement, Rotman School of Management

As Associate Director, Donor Relations at the Rotman School of Management, Deirdre provides strategic direction of stewardship and donor relations activities. Working collaboratively with donors, senior leadership and key stakeholders, she creates opportunities to deepen relationships and develops engagement plans that are aligned with the University’s funding and academic priorities.  Prior to joining Rotman, Deirdre worked at the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering managing the stewardship portfolio, and at Central Advancement expanding regional alumni outreach. Earlier on in her career, she was a valued member at Pathways to Education Canada advancing the organization’s mission to help at-risk youth graduate high school.  Deirdre has over 13 years of experience in communications, stakeholder engagement and project management. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Ryerson University, and a Master’s degree in Adult Education & Community Development and a Certificate in Leadership Essentials from the University of Toronto.  

Jen Davies

Manager, Career Development Services, AA&CC, UTSC

Dr. Jen Davies currently serves as the Manager, Career Development Services at the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Academic Advising & Career Centre. She has worked in post-secondary and community-focused career services since 2007, except for a stint teaching English in South Korea. In her spare time she completes Massive Open Online courses, and teaches online for one of her alma maters, Conestoga College. She has also studied at Queen’s (Psychology) and McGill (Counselling Psychology), and completed the Doctorate in Education in Counselling Psychology for Community and Educational Settings in 2019.

Justin Lim

Faculty Financial Analyst, FoM/ Comptroller's Office

I started my career in accounting at the University of Toronto in 2008. I have been responsible for managing academic departments’ annual budgets, implement financial models, and help forecast the Faculty’s long-term positions. Along the way, I pursued my CPA designation to enhance my knowledge and technical skills. Before UofT, I worked as a technical salesperson, then as an Operations Manager at IBM, which has enabled me to learn IT infrastructure components, customer services, time management as well as developments of corporate strategy and internal processes.


I would like to further enhance my skillsets for effective decision-making and implement good practices to improve current processes.


Through the mentoring leadership program, I hope that I can broaden my horizon and learn more about different roles and operations at the University.


I am very passionate about travel, as well interest in yoga, meditations, health, exercise, and diverse cultures. 

Karen Sung

Manager, Marketing & Communications, Rotman School of Management

Karen Sung is Marketing Manager for the professional MBA programs at the Rotman School of Management. Project manager, communications innovator and creative thinker by day, she leverages this same expertise as the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old at home.

Karen started her career in the corporate world at Bell Canada, expanded her background in the arts at the Royal Ontario Museum, and has been broadening her expertise in higher education at the University of Toronto for the past seven years. Her passion is in making connections across people, perspectives and ideas to build effective partnerships and develop strategic plans. She enjoys dragonboating, serves on the board of Adam House, a home for refugees, and is currently learning to play the ukulele.

Kelly Heggie

Associate Director, Program Services, Rotman School of Management

Kelly Heggie has worked with the Rotman School of Management with the University of Toronto for over 7 years and has been in her current role of the Associate Director, Program Services for 1 year. In her current role, Kelly is responsible for the development and delivery of services supporting the students and the instructors in the Master of Finance and Graduate Diploma of Professional Accounting programs. Prior to this role Kelly worked in the Career Centre for the full-time MBA program as the Industry Advisor for the Canadian Banks and Payment Companies for 6 years. In this role, Kelly collaborated with firms and alumni on multiple initiatives aimed at assisting the students understand and explore the many career opportunities in the changing finance industry.

Prior to joining the University, Kelly worked in Human Resources in diverse corporations.

Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from York University and a Human Resources Management certificate from Seneca College.


Marina Jimenez

Global Media Relations Strategist, UTC/ Media Relations

Marina Jimenez has a Master of Arts degree from University College of London and is a University of Toronto alumna. For 25 years, she worked as a journalist for 7 different media organizations, including the National Post, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, specializing in foreign news and immigration. She covered stories from Iraq to the Philippines, Vietnam, and across Latin America and Canada, including the Arctic. She has contributed chapters to three books, freelanced for Canadian Geographic, Toronto Life and other publications, and taught a course on immigration reporting at U of T from 2008-2011. She served as the 2009-10 St. Clair Balfour Massey Fellow. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including two gold National Magazine Awards and a 2003 National Newspaper Award in immigration reporting; in 2011, she was named one of Canada’s Top 10 most influential Hispanic-Canadians. She is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Mubin Merchant

Finance & Enrolment Analyst, FAS - Finance

Mubin has been working at the University of Toronto for 8+ years in a variety of finance-related roles ranging from a Business Officer to a Finance & Enrollment Analyst. Mubin is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has an MBA with a specialization in Accounting- Performance Management from the Lazaridis School of Business. Mubin’s portfolio includes:

  1. Financial/operational modeling and administration of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences’ admission process.
  2. Development and evaluation of academic and financial metrics for a variety of programming.
  3. The planning and implementation of technologies into business processes to reduce manual effort, operational lag and the potential for human error.
  4. Providing analytical and strategic support to a multitude of stakeholders including but not limited to, the Faculty of Arts & Science Senior Leadership, the Office of the Registrar, the Deans Office (supporting three Vice-Dean’s portfolios) and the Faculty’s Finance Office.

Natasha Jesenak

Manager, Instructor and Program Services, School of Continuing Studies

Natasha is an educational leader passionate about lifelong learning.  She has worked at the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies (SCS) in various roles for 12+ years. In her current role, she manages the operations of SCS courses and programs and the administrative services to contract instructors. She holds a BSc in human biology and bioethics. As part of her commitment to social justice and equity, she volunteers on the board of directors at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services. When not at work, Natasha can be found exploring Toronto on her bicycle, walking her dog Coco, watching movies or backcountry camping. 

Neil Neebar

Associate Faculty Registrar & Director of Registrar Services, Faculty of Arts & Science, Office of the Faculty Registrar

Neil Neebar is currently the Associate Faculty Registrar and Director of Registrar Services in the Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS). Neil has held various positions across the University over the past 20 years, in progressively senior roles, providing advice and support in areas of strategic enrolment management, data analysis and reporting, academic advising, student records and operations, and in special project management. In addition to FAS, Neil has worked at the University of Toronto Mississauga, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, Victoria College and Enrolment Services (then called Admissions and Awards). A U of T alum, Class of 1999, Erindale College (now UTM), Neil is currently completing a Masters in Leadership and Higher Education at OISE and is navigating the landscape of raising two teenaged daughters!

Nelly Leizerovich

Finance Director, School of Continuing Studies ( SCS)

I have joined University of Toronto in 2007and during my career at the University I worked for different faculties including OISE, Faculty of Arts and Science and currently I am at the School of Continuing Studies as the Finance Director.

I am providing different financial support and have expertise in managing research grants, budgeting, forecasting, financial modeling and auditing.

I also have experience in systems analyses and design.

 Prior to joining the University, I was employed by the Hospital for Sick Children and Eli Lily Pharmaceutical.

I gained the  Chartered Professional Accountant  (CPA) designation in 2012 and completed a Master of Business Administration in 2016. In addition,

I have an Honours Bachelor of Commerce from Laurentian University and an Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Programming from Centennial College.

I have two grown sons, a husband and a cat. I like to travel and explore new places. I believe in lifelong learning and personal growth.

Patrick Feng

Research Project Manager, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, IHPME

Patrick Feng is a research manager in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, where he leads a number of community-engaged research partnerships. These partnerships involve doctors, patients, policymakers and others, working together to improve health and transform health systems. Patrick is also an Adjunct Professor at OCAD University, where he teaches in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Program.


A two-time Fulbright Scholar, Patrick has led projects in domains such as health, information technology, and sustainability. He is very interdisciplinary and is looking to lead teams and projects that cut across traditional lines. Through this mentorship program, Patrick hopes to develop skills for gathering diverse groups and leading them effectively in collaborative work that translates research into action.


Patrick grew up in Toronto and pursued graduate studies in the U.S. After completing his PhD, he lived in Vancouver and Calgary before moving back to Toronto in 2017. He and his wife Lisa have a high-energy 7-year old who keeps them on their toes!

Simona Chiose

Senior Policy Advisor, Government Relations Office

Simona Chiose is Senior Policy Advisor, Strategic Initiatives and Engagement in the Government Relations Office, where she manages and supports partnerships with external stakeholders that advance the University’s priorities. Simona leads knowledge translation initiatives with external stakeholders, co-ordinating the strategic design and deployment of content on all platforms. She works across university units to curate and highlight the positive impact of the U of T on Canada’s, Ontario’s and Toronto’s success. Prior to her role at U of T, Simona wrote about postsecondary education as a reporter, and national news as assistant national and education editor at The Globe and Mail. She focused particularly on internationalization, graduates’ labour market integration, and university governance crises. A journalist for over two decades, Simona has a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. Her dissertation examined the sources of increasing partisanship in immigration policy in comparative perspective. She teaches politics and communication at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.