Formed in 2017, the Heart & Stroke Young Leaders is a passionate group of philanthropists. They connect young professionals to help shape the future of the organization, focus on prevention, and support life-saving research.
The Young Leaders Committee is the driving force for the group, responsible for developing the framework to accomplish their ambitious goals and organizing a variety of initiatives.
The Young Leaders have a VIP table and team at Ride for Heart that anyone in their 20s or 30s is able to join. Successful past events organized by the Committee include Yoga for Heart and Future of Health Technovation, which brought medical experts and digital innovators to downtown Toronto.
Meet the Committee’s leaders, Melissa and Jacqueline, and learn about what drove them to get involved and what’s in store for the upcoming year.
Connect with the Young Leaders
Melissa Hartwick, Chair
Melissa is director of partnerships at Flashfood Inc., where she partners with grocers across North America to tackle the mounting problem of food waste. Her background is in business strategy, which she developed while working as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman and further honed through her experience at Element AI. Melissa graduated from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario, where she was also captain of the Women's Varsity Ringette Team. In her free time, she enjoys staying active and has completed two half marathons to date. Melissa has been passionate about raising awareness and funds for Heart & Stroke research after losing her dad to a heart attack in 2015.
Jacqueline Martinz, Vice-chair
Jacqueline is a public relations professional working in higher education. She enjoys freelance writing and has a background in journalism. Her articles have appeared in The Globe and Mail’s Canadian University Report Card, Metro, University Affairs, The Toronto Star’s Speak Your Mind Blog, TalentEgg.ca, and more. Jacqueline has been passionate about raising awareness and funds for Heart & Stroke research since her father had a heart attack several years ago. Fortunately, he recovered after surgery. In her spare time, she can be found exploring art galleries, watching a play in Toronto’s entertainment district, or cheering on the Raptors.
Alice is the operations lead at Lilia. She previously worked at Opencare and in KPMG's Digital Health consulting practice to help transform healthcare organizations by leveraging tech. Outside of work, you can find her playing on an intramural sports team, cooking or booking her next trip. Alice is involved in Heart & Stroke because she is passionate about standing up for women's heart and brain health equity, especially after she lost her grandmother to a sudden stroke.
Lauren is a senior strategist at Sid Lee, serving as the right hand to the managing partners of the creative agency. Lauren’s dad underwent a quadruple bypass in 2008. Thanks to her family’s knowledge of heart disease, they were able to get ahead of what could have been a different story. It was at this point Lauren realized their knowledge was a privilege — and sought to work with Heart & Stroke to help make this type of education accessible to all.
Kristina is a senior marketing and sales professional, and has had roles in both global and local CPG companies across Canada. Her work is mainly in food and beverage — making her hyper aware of how food and nutrition can affect one's health. She enjoys cycling, running, yoga and cooking. Heart disease has touched her family in many ways. Her passion for cycling and her family history have gotten her involved in the Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart, and this passion continues to grow with her involvement with this committee. She's proudly from Montreal, enjoys discovering new music and travels to new places every chance she gets.
Ilana is an orthopaedic surgery pharmacist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She also serves on the clinical team at Passport Health Canada, acting as a drug information resource in travel medicine. Ilana lost her father suddenly, just days after what was thought to be a successful complex angioplasty. His long standing cardiac history, and her experience growing up with him requiring multiple cardiac surgeries, led her to become a passionate Heart & Stroke advocate. Ilana loves golden retrievers, and can’t wait to get one of her own.
Daniel is the co-founder of CAARY Capital, a financial platform made by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. He graduated from Ryerson University with an MBA and is passionate about using technology to solve humanitarian efforts. An avid traveler, he’s been to more than 20 countries, and believes that culture is an important factor in developing oneself as a leader. Daniel became even more passionate about raising awareness and funds for Heart & Stroke research after having personal connections affected several years ago.
Andre is a product manager driven by the potential technology has to improve people's lives and the health care system. He believes in working with products that can truly help people with experience in electronic health records and wearable technology development. After his grandfather survived a heart attack, he realized the importance of organizations like Heart & Stroke which provide funding for life-saving research. In his spare time, Andre enjoys cycling, hiking, climbing, snowboarding, and attending concerts.
Sharon is a biomedical engineer working in data science at a large investment management fund. She focuses on using data science techniques to draw insights to make investment decisions. Sharon graduated from engineering science at the University of Toronto, where she led several clubs focused on professional development for students. For her undergraduate thesis, she worked with stroke patients for the development of a post-stroke recovery robot at Toronto Rehab. In her free time, she enjoys HIIT based activities, yoga, and running with the aspiration of hitting an Olympic triathlon. An avid traveler, she plans to visit 50 countries by age 50. Sharon has been passionate about raising awareness and funds for Heart & Stroke research since losing her father to a heart attack in 2016.
As vice president at RBC Capital Partners, Karim is actively involved as a champion of RBC's annual Employee Giving Campaign, an initiative that furthers RBC's goal of helping communities prosper. While completing his MBA at the Ivey Business School, he discovered his passion for the role that renewable energy plays in the development of emerging markets. With a family history of heart disease, Karim believes the work Heart & Stroke does is vital for the near and long-term health of our community. His other interests include fitness, soccer, cooking and travel.
Allison is a product manager at Wealthsimple, a financial services technology company that makes investing more accessible. Prior to this, she held various roles at CIBC and American Express in digital strategy and marketing. In her free time, she enjoys cycling, camping and skiing. Allison became passionate about raising awareness of stroke in young people after a series of personal experiences. Her father suffered a massive stroke in his early 40s, leaving him with aphasia (the inability to speak), and she experienced a minor stroke at the age of 29.
Andrew is a senior accountant at EY in their Financial Services practice. Prior to beginning his career at EY, Andrew attended Western University, earning both a business degree at the Ivey Business School and a bachelor of medical science with honours specialization in biochemistry. His passion for Heart & Stroke research stems from his experience performing neurological research at Western University and losing his grandmother to heart complications at a young age. Andrew’s interests include playing the guitar and piano, tennis and running.
Sabrina is the manager and senior advisor in the Office of the President and CEO at Metrolinx, where she oversees government relations and communications activities. She has a background in public service and stakeholder relations. Sabrina graduated from York University with a master’s in public policy, administration and law. In her free time, you can find her outside with her beloved French bulldog, with her head in a book or creating new, healthy dishes. Sabrina lost her father to complications from heart disease. Since then, she has been a long-standing volunteer with Heart & Stroke, and is passionate about making heart health a priority on the public agenda.
Bella is a marketing and communications professional with over a decade of experience at brands such as Auxly and Select Wines. At Auxly, she initiated and executed a first-to-market vape recycling program across Canada, which garnered media attention from such outlets as Bloomberg BNN. Earlier in her career, she was founder and CEO of Missy Ink magazine, which quickly grew to become a bimonthly print publication in Chapters/Indigo. One of her most memorable moments at Missy Ink was interviewing Robin Williams' daughter, Zelda, for the magazine. When she isn't working, Bella focuses on raising funds to support charities close to her heart such as Heart & Stroke. She enjoys yoga, as well as spending time with her partner and family.