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Grads vie for votes in municipal election

Cast your ballot on Monday, Oct. 22

election

Clockwise from top: Lisa-Marie Wilson, David Heard, Mary Winkler, Michael D'Amelio, Steve Downs, Dino Giuliani and Naila Mahmood are Seneca grads who are running in the 2018 municipal election.


On Monday, Oct. 22, chances are, one of the names on your municipal election ballot will be a Seneca grad.

From government relations to real property, social service and recreation facility, Seneca grads with various professional backgrounds have been door-knocking in their ridings for coveted seats on municipal councils or school boards.

Seneca News caught up with seven of them on the campaign trail this week. Below is a snapshot of the candidates and how their Seneca education has prepared them to serve the communities they live in.


Michael D'Amelio

Michael D’Amelio

Candidate, Town of Richmond Hill, Ward 4

Michael D’Amelio has a background in government relations and strategic communications. He has volunteered for two federal election campaigns, worked as a government relations assistant at the Canadian National Exhibition and as a communications officer for Smart Computing for Innovation. In addition, he was part of Seneca’s recruitment team for two and a half years and recently helped lead government relations efforts for the Luminato festival in Toronto.

The Seneca factor:

Government Relations, 2017
Honours Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2016
Liberal Arts University Transfer, 2013

“The Government Relations program gave me a thorough understanding of how government works. I had the opportunity to learn from professors who are members of different political parties,” D’Amelio said. “The assignments were practical and they helped me develop strategic communication skills. It was worthwhile and I would recommend this program to anyone who is interested in a career in politics.”


Steve Downs

Steve Downs

Candidate, Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ward 5

Steve Downs is a professional swim coach with the North York Aquatic Club, working with young athletes between nine and 11 years old. He also works with the Markham Masters Swim Club, coaching adult swimmers. Previously, Downs worked for the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville as a pool supervisor. He has also worked for the municipalities of Tecumseh, Windsor, Nepean, Carleton Place and Almonte.

The Seneca factor:

Recreation Facility Management, 2006

“In addition to the educational growth, Seneca provided me with the opportunity and the challenge to grow as a person,” Downs said. “The strength I got from returning to school as an adult at Seneca gave me the courage to run for council. I extend my deepest gratitude to Seneca for making me the man that I am today.”


Dino Giuliani

Dino Giuliani

Candidate (incumbent), York Catholic District School Board, Ward 2, Vaughan

Dino Giuliani has served the parents and students of his ward for the past 21 years. He began his career working in the fee appraisal business and later with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. He is the founder of Approved Appraisal Services and has participated in the establishment of an appraisal review department with a major financial institution.

The Seneca factor:

Real Property Administration (Accelerated), 1990

“When I first ran for school trustee in 1997, and was elected, school boards received funding from property taxes charged. My area of study at Seneca focused on property tax assessment and valuation, which gave me a solid foundation on which to build,” Giuliani said. “Later, my knowledge of valuation, through the Seneca program, assisted me in dealing with our school board’s real estate matters, construction and school development. Overall, my area of study at Seneca was a direct benefit to me in my current political position.”


David Heard

David Heard

Candidate, Town of Aurora

David Heard has served as a specialist for the largest autism agency in Canada for more than 10 years. He has volunteered with the Welcoming Arms, co-founded the weekly Rise & Shine community breakfast, and served as a past executive member of the Aurora farmers market and as a member of the heritage advisory committee. He was recognized with the Character Community Award for social justice in 2010.

The Seneca factor:

Social Service Worker, 2012

“My journey at Seneca enhanced one foundation I truly believe we need to build on. That feature is community,” Heard said. “Seneca gave me the knowledge and strength to build my social caring network. I am truly better equipped to increase my empathetic approach.”


Naila Mahmood

Naila Mahmood

Candidate, Peel District School Board, Mississauga, wards 3 and 4

Naila Mahmood, 24, is the youngest candidate running in her area for school trustee. Born in Montreal and raised in Mississauga, she has worked for Seneca’s social media team and for a member of Parliament in Mississauga, among others. In addition, she volunteers with several non-profits, including Plan Canada, Humanity First, SEVA Food Bank, WeFem, Muslim Welfare Centre and others.

The Seneca factor:

Government Relations, 2016

“I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be here running on my own today if it weren’t for the knowledge, skills and experiences I gained from Seneca,” Mahmood said. “Through the Government Relations program, I was given opportunities to find where I belong. It gave me the hands-on experience I needed to succeed in politics and I was privileged enough to meet and learn from amazing industry professionals. Attending Seneca and working for Seneca helped me realize my potential and passion for education and politics.”


Lisa-Marie Wilson

Lisa-Marie Wilson

Candidate, Simcoe County District School Board, wards 7, 8, 9 and 10

Lisa-Marie Wilson began her professional career in public service working for the Ministry of Community & Social Services then the Ministry of Children & Youth Services. She’s currently with the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services. Previously, Wilson has volunteered in various capacities, from coaching children’s soccer to helping with the Out of the Cold program.

The Seneca factor:

Social Service Worker, 2000

“The SSW program provided me with valuable theoretical and experiential learning. It gave me the confidence to pursue my career aspirations,” Wilson said. “Being successful in completing this program instilled and inspired me to continue my formal education, resulting in me completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology. All of this was possible after applying, being accepted and graduating with high honours from Seneca.”


Mary Winkler

Mary Winkler

Candidate, Town of Hanover, mayor

Mary Winkler has years of management experience from Community Support Services in the Grey and Bruce Counties. Recently, she completed the Indigenous Cultural Competency Training with the South West Local Health Integration Network. Winkler’s late father, Eric Winkler, was Hanover’s youngest mayor who went on to have a career in both federal and provincial politics.

The Seneca factor:

Palliative Care Multidisciplinary, 1998

“One of the cornerstones of hospice palliative care is that individuals experiencing the challenges of a life-threatening illness have a choice and are heard,” Winkler said. “In the same token, municipal governments need to receive suggestions and take advice for the benefit of all concerned.”