Bold Ideas

Our Bold Ideas sessions serve as a platform for citizens, activists, and leaders to share their personal, career, and life experiences and challenges with the community, and how they negotiated their life paths around these challenges. Below you may find recorded Bold Idea sessions that you may watch and learn from. If you would like to host a Bold Ideas session, apply here.

*Please note: The recorded sessions below are listed in reversed chronology.

Being Bold and Brave: Navigating Mental Illness in the South Asian Community and Healthcare System - Safwath Farooqui

Click here to access Safwath's recorded meeting
Feedback Forum
Date: Monday, August 24, 2020

Presenter's Bio: Safwath is currently completing his BA in Psychology at York University and hopes to pursue a Master's in Social Work with a focus on mental health. He has been involved with Student Community and Leadership Development (SCLD) as a Peer Health Educator, engaging with students and faculty in incorporating wellness as a daily practice. He has also served as the Academic Representative for Calumet College Council, highlighting the intersection between academic success and mental health. Safwath is passionate about mental health advocacy and aspires to bring changes to inequitable access to mental health services in Canada.

Session Summary:  Witnessing my mother battle with anxiety and depression over the years has often left me feeling helpless and alone. I had to watch the person I love wait over 5 months to see a psychiatrist and be unable to seek ongoing therapy. The misconceptions of mental illness within the South Asian community made the journey of healing for my mother difficult and added to my feelings of powerlessness. Through sharing my story, talking to other students and organizations, I realized I wasn't powerless, that I had the power to inspire change in the way we view mental 'illness' and support people's continued fight to seek care. This, is my story.

A Black Woman's Experience: Navigating Professional Spaces, Building Resilience, and Being a Strong Leader - Kamilah Clayton

Click here to access Kamilah's recorded meeting
Feedback Forum
Date: Friday, August 21, 2020

Presenter's Bio: Kamilah Clayton, MSW, RSW, CBT, is a Registered Social Worker, with over 10 years of experience working with children, youth, and families. Kamilah holds a Bachelor of Psychology, a Bachelor's and a Masters in Social Work, and is certified in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Kamilah is an African Centred Rites of Passage Initiate and a former member of Yensomu African Rites of Passage. Kamilah has a private practice in Whitby, ON, where she specializes in issues of Anxiety, Depression, Stress, and Racial identity. Kamilah is committed to providing quality mental health counseling and programming to members of the African Canadian Community.

Session Summary: As a child, I was told that I had to work "twice as hard, to be viewed as just as good". This one phrase would shape the way I showed up in all spaces throughout my life, and in particular, the way I exist in the workplace. For Black women, professional spaces can be sites of great satisfaction for the years of hard work you've put into building your career, or they can be sites of trauma and ongoing assaults to who you are. In this session, I will discuss some of my strategies for navigating the workplace as a Black woman, and why now, more than ever, it is imperative to invest in and support Black women.

Your Story Doesn't End Here: Valuing Survivors' Diverse Experiences with Trauma, Recovery & Activism - Shalyn Isaac

Click here to access Shalyn's recorded meeting
Feedback Forum
Date: Thursday, August 13, 2020

Presenter's Bio: Shalyn Isaacs was the first student to serve on the Board of Trustees at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health hospital. During her time at York University as the Founder and President of Women’s Mental Health Talks and a Leadership Coach with Calumet & Stong Colleges, she worked with hundreds of students to address mental health challenges and navigate experiences with trauma. Her research has focused on intersectional theory and feminist psychology, as well as the interconnections between cultural values and South Asian women’s mental health. She has been a public speaker for 4 years, giving talks related to women’s mental health, sexual violence education and prevention, equitable leadership, perfectionism, and the role of compassion in trauma healing, self-care and systemic equity. Her work addresses trauma-informed education and leadership. She believes that adopting trauma-informed perspectives within educational and leadership spaces has the potential to create institutions that are equitable and that prioritize the mental health, learning capacities, and empowerment of marginalized individuals and communities.

Session Summary: Individuals with marginalized identities who face discrimination on the basis of their race, gender, sexual identity or socio-economic class often face additional obstacles to sharing their experiences with trauma and becoming social advocates when coping with on-going traumas that are part of their daily existence. Activists and advocates from marginalized backgrounds may start to feel that their work is insufficient as a result of coping with on-going traumas and/or trauma memories. In this talk, Shalyn will challenge assumptions embedded within the Master American Narrative by highlighting the importance of appreciating diverse trauma stories and emphasizing ways that systemic change and individual psychological healing is connected to collective liberation. She will be using my personal experiences with trauma healing and advocacy work in the field of women’s mental health and sexual violence to highlight the importance of appreciating diverse lived experiences with trauma, healing, recovery and activism that rarely follows linear trajectories.

Unmasking failure: An intersectional view at mental health and masculinity - Ashim Sharma

Click here to access Ashim's recorded meeting
Feedback Forum
Date: Thursday, July 16, 2020

Presenter Bio: Ashim is currently completing his BA in Psychology and English at York University and is looking to pursue a Master’s in counselling. His current research interests revolve around Masculinity and its effects on Emotion Regulation. He has been involved with the Faculty of Health at York University as a Calumet & Stong Colleges Leadership Coach since 2018, delivering leadership skills training to hundreds of students. He is also leading the GEL group within The Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education, to engage male identified or non-binary community members to work towards ending gender-based violence and contributing to enhancing and supporting positive masculinity. Ashim is also supporting an Agents of Change project, Humans In Progress, to aid community leaders in recovering and re-assessing their sense of purpose and their personal mission.

Session Summary: It is often the redemption story within us that we seek, and we take for granted the importance of the failures that lead up to it. Often times, we may even fear the failure that precedes the redemption. But without being knocked down over and over, without the countless failures, and without the endless lessons, the redemption story would just be another story. As a first-generation South-Asian student navigating the diaspora of mass immigration, dealing with mental health issues throughout his life, and addressing masculine norms within society, Ashim is no stranger to failure. Join Ashim in his attempt to change the narrative behind the redemption story and unmask failure to uncover its necessity in everyday life.

Three Generations of Rebels: Defying the Status Quo - Diana, Jamal & Raya Khoury

Click here to access the Khourys' recorded meeting
Feedback Forum
Date: Thursday, June 18, 2020

Presenter Bios:

Diana Khoury: Born and educated in Lebanon, Diana moved to Canada 30 years ago with an MBA degree. Diana recently joined the Shell International team as Head of Global Alliances and Partnerships and relocated to London, UK on an international assignment. As a senior woman leader, she became a role model for upcoming female talent that aspires to influence and shape the future of the Retail industry globally.

Jamal KhouryJamal is an event producer, radio host, DJ, and music producer. Jamal entered the world of radio and digital audio production in 2012 when he began volunteering with CJSW90.9FM, Calgary’s independent campus and community radio station. Community radio quickly became part of his lifestyle - it provided Jamal an outlet to dive deep into his love of music, and CJSW offered the facilities to learn and practice new skills. The idea of championing an inclusive creative community became at the forefront of Jamal’s pursuits.

Raya KhouryAs an aspiring entrepreneur, and recent post-secondary drop-out, she sought out some ideas and inspiration by entering the world of restaurants. Raya quickly fell in love with being in service of others and through some varied encounters, she experienced a range of different management styles and became eager to personally develop her own sense of leadership. Raya is now in the midst of creating her own platform that she can use to equip and empower others with the resources to live a meaningful and healthy life.

Session Summary:A young woman in a small village in southern Lebanon decides to found a school for girls in the 1950s against the will of village elders and men. She challenges sexism and helps shape the perception of generations of men and women. She becomes a role model to women and girls.... Her daughter negotiates the trials and tribulations of every day war in Beirut in the 1970s/80s, a war that splits the entire country along religious lines. She falls in love with a man from another religion, and strives to overcome her family's prejudice against inter-religious marriage. She challenges generations of bigotry as she immigrates to Canada and raises a family.... Her two Canadian children strive to establish their career paths challenging family pressures for formal post-secondary education.... Three generations pursue their life paths to fulfill their calling, and in the process inspire generations of men and women to think and live more authentically. In defying norms, they elevate themselves and others.

Topics Discussed and Their Timestamps:

  • (00:09) Introduction and Land Acknowledgement
  • (05:51) Speaker Introductions
  • (09:34) Diana’s bold story: the Lebanese civil war, path of rebellion and the immigrant experience
  • (34:42) How to strike a balance between having a career and being a mother?
  • (37:10) What to do when you experience pushback from your support network?
  • (39:30) How to come to terms with the guilt of rebelling against the cultural norm?
  • (44:45) Jamal’s bold story: rebelling against the societal status quo, parental expectations, and a career in creativity
  • (01:00:34) Experience rebelling against family members who themselves rebelled against the status quo
  • (01:09:17) Tips for staying consistent on a path that strays from the societal and cultural norm
  • (01:14:10) How to create a safe platform as peer leaders to students going through a challenging time
  • (01:15:47) Raya’s bold story: being a queer, woman immigrant and adhering to the generational legacy
  • (01:23:35) Experience coming out to Arab parents as a racialized and queer woman
  • (01:27:14) How does Diana feel about her children not pursuing post-secondary?
  • (01:30:29) Diana’s experience with failure and moving forward
  • (01:34:54) Based on the values of generations past, what kind of role model would Raya and Jamal provide to the next generation?
  • (01:41:33) Why do Jamal and Raya not pursue post-secondary and their own pursuits at the same time to honor the wishes of their parents?
  • (01:49:18) Raya’s experience hiding and expressing her sexual orientation to her parents and extended family
  • (01:51:55) How to foster healthy conversations between parents and children through an academic platform?
  • (01:59:15) Why does Raya choose to hide her sexuality from her extended family?
  • (02:01:45) Are there paths common between Raya and Jamal and their grandmother and mother?
  • (02:05:32) Looking back at your journeys, what things would you three have done differently?
  • (02:10:20) Last words of advice to the participants as they carve their own paths in life
  • (02:14:32) Final remarks

How Listening Saved My Life - Rahin Virani

Click here to access Rahin's recorded meeting
Feedback Forum
Date: Monday, June 8, 2020

Presenter Bio: Rahin is a Crisis Line Responder for Greater Toronto Distress Centres and Canada Suicide Prevention Services and is studying psychology in order to become a licensed psychotherapist. At present, Rahin works one-on-one with clients as a Certified Life Coach to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Rahin has previously worked as a Leadership & Development Coordinator where he trained more than 400 students through Calumet and Stong Colleges’ foundational and advanced peer leadership training programs.

Session Summary: Recognizing and embracing the power of active listening has truly changed my life. In this presentation, I will be sharing the experiences I have had responding to clients who are in distress and sharing how active listening has helped my clients and I lead a more meaningful life. This presentation will also provide you with practical strategies for becoming a better active listener which can help improve your personal and professional relationships. After the presentation, there will be a question and answer session with opportunities for participants to share their own experiences.

Topics Discussed and Their Timestamps:

  • (00:03) Introduction and Land Acknowledgment
  • (04:45) Speaker introduction
  • (06:00) Presentation agenda
  • (06:28) Sharing My Story; being a Crisis Line Responder and a LEAD
  • (09:10) The impact of listening
  • (14:14) Empathy vs. Sympathy
  • (17:47) Greatest insight of Rahin’s life
  • (18:55) Bold Idea: Radical Empathy
  • (21:10) Discussion
  • (23:43) Where we could use more empathy
  • (25:31) Importance of self-awareness
  • (26:10) Tools for building active listening skills
  • (27:34) Summarize and Clarify; a technique and discussion
  • (35:14) Discussion: How did listening save Rahin’s life?
  • (45:47) Discussion: Mental and emotional challenges during COVID-19
  • (51:24) Discussion: Is gaining more life experiences a way to better empathize with people?
  • (55:20) Discussion: Practical ways to help somebody who has a completely different life experience from yourself
  • (01:00:56) Discussion: How to rewire yourself to be more empathetic?
  • (01:09:42) Final remarks

Move More, Exercise Less: Challenging our perspective of physical activity - Cameron Mattice

Feedback Forum
Date: Monday, March 9, 2020

Presenter's Bio: Cameron Mattice is a former competitive athlete, having travelled across North America playing baseball. He played on 18u Team Canada and received a scholarship to attend college in Louisiana. During his athletic career, Cameron overcame cancer and other health challenges. Through these experiences, he learned to develop resiliency and discovered the body's incredible ability to heal. It was a result of this adversity that Cameron decided to change his career path towards helping others feel their best. Cameron has a degree in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University, is a registered Hatha Yoga Teacher, and is certified as a Strength and Conditioning Coach. Currently, Cameron is pursuing education to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. He also provides an online coaching service for adults which focuses on educating physical literacy and supportive lifestyle practices. To find out more about Cameron please access

Session Summary: It's hardly refuted now a days that exercise is good for our health and general well-being. We are constantly bombarded with information about the benefits and long list of what we should be doing, yet statistics show that many people in North America continue to be physically inactive. Join presenter Cameron Mattice as he shares his journey of overcoming cancer, achieving success as a competitive baseball player, and how his fitness experience brought him to reconsider what is important. In this talk, Cameron shares why he feels that our current paradigm of exercise may be working against us and makes a case for an alternative. He will address the theory of the fundamentals of movement and provide practical applications that are accessible to all.

Owning the Journey: Discovering the human within - Nida Hashimi

Feedback Forum
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2020

Presenter's Bio: Nida is a fourth-year Kinesiology and Health Science Student and has been involved with Stong and Calumet Colleges in leadership roles (former Kinesiology and Health Science Student Organization KAHSSO Peer Tutoring Coordinator) and is currently a Student Health Ambassador at York (SHAY) for faculty of health. She is currently a spiritual leader for her Ismaili Community for the post-secondary students at York University and is the project coordinator for Girls Mentorship Program within the GTA North sector of Ismaili Community at large. She is passionate about empowering women through self-discovery and a proponent of spreading love to acquire peace.

Session Summary: My love for who I am and what I do in my life has defined my freedom to overcome my low self-esteem. Along the way, the struggles, states of vulnerability, hardships, and inequality have taught me to be at peace with myself and others around me. I took ownership of my actions and their consequences in my life which took me to the journey of self-discovery and identifying the potentials of the woman within.

Exercise and Health: What they won't tell you on social media - Glen Owen

Feedback Forum
Date: Thursday, February 27, 2020

Presenter's Bio: Glen is a personal trainer and certified muscle system specialist that works with clients to improve their muscle and motor function so they can go back to doing what they love. His mission is to educate clients and exercise professionals on how to create better, more sustainable physical health and exercise practices. He is a graduate of York University's Kinesiology & Health Science program, a certified muscle system specialist, and holds a NSCA-CSCS certification. To find out more about Glen, please access GO Integrated Health at

Session Summary: What if I told you that most exercise health and fitness professionals are focusing on the wrong things? In the age of social media and online personal training, fitness has become watered down. Join presenter Glen Owen as he discusses the critical components of exercise and shares a fresh perspective on what exercise is, what the fitness industry needs to learn, and what you can do to take care of yourself and your body for life.