Five alumni and three Western students are among the trailblazers named as recipients of Business London’s Twenty in their 20s awards.
The awards, given annually, recognize young innovators, creatives and community advocates making a name for themselves in London, Ont. and beyond. Five judges from organizations throughout the municipality reviewed dozens of nominees to identify what Business London’s managing editor Madisyn Latham described as the city’s “brightest, boldest and most innovative twenty-somethings.”
Winners with ties to the Western community include:
Kenisha Arora, student, medical sciences
Founder, The HopeSisters
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) youth representative for North America and Europe.
Chair, Western University student senate
Arora, a third-year medical sciences student at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, has lived by the motto, “service above self,” from a young age. At the beginning of the pandemic, her sister, Alisha, and she founded The HopeSisters, to bring hope to seniors in long-term care and young children in foster care.
As UNESCO youth representative for North America and Europe, she delivered the opening address at the UN Transforming Education Pre-Summit last June in Paris as the youth representative to the SDG4 (Sustainable Development Goal number 4) high-level steering committee.
Her engagement at Western includes serving on the steering committee for the university’s strategic plan, Towards 150. Read more about Arora.
“I realized at a young age I cannot wait for governments and corporations to make the change I want to see in the world. If I wanted to see a change, it was up to me to make it.”
Nicole Baranowski, BA’19, MScM’21
Business analyst, Morrissette Institute of Entrepreneurship
Former Mustang and captain, Western women’s rowing
Kinesiology and sports management graduate Nicole Baranowski founded Hairstrong and created “the world’s first customizable hair band” while attending Western. Through a kinesiology entrepreneurship class, she was inspired to address the problem of her long hair getting in the way as she rowed competitively for the Mustangs. She attracted funding for her adjustable hair ties through various accelerator and incubator programs at the Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship, where she currently works as a business analyst.
“In university, my outlet was competitive rowing. Now, it’s the sport of entrepreneurship. Whatever works, I push forward; and whatever doesn’t work, I just leave behind.”
Read more about Baranowski.
Anthony Giugno, BSc’19
With a passion to help students live better lives, Giugno co-founded B4Grad, a mobile app for an interactive school planner that helps students organize their homework. He started B4Grad as an undergraduate studying computer science at Western. Today, it’s his full-time career, with more than 150,000 students worldwide using B4Grad to keep them on task.
“I know how important it is to have an education, and I think that by building a business that makes studying less stressful and more accessible, I’ve been able to help ease the challenges that prevent students from becoming successful.”
Read more about Giugno on the Western Science Alumni and their perspectives page.
Dollar Luo, student, computer science and HBA
Past executive director, RollUP Solutions
As past executive director of RollUP Solutions, a social enterprise founded by a group of Western students, Luo was part of a team which provided more than 300 wheelchairs, walkers and canes to those in financial need across Canada. The group also supported COVID-19 relief efforts by donating mobility devices to hospitals in Middlesex County and Winnipeg, Man.
“The best part about my career is the opportunity to create something from nothing. As a product manager and entrepreneur, I love the process of conceptualizing a new product or feature, conducting research, and leading its development from inception to implementation.”
Paige Martin, BA’18 (FIMS), MMJC’19
OHL host and sideline reporter, Rogers TV
OHL Contributor, CBC
Martin credits her parents for encouraging her to dream big, responding to her ideas with, “Okay, how will we make that happen?” As a media studies student at Western she was a host for the London Nationals Junior B hockey team. She continues to be a passionate storyteller, driven to make a positive impact.
“I’m one of the few female reporters in the Ontario Hockey League. While some may think that’s really cool (they’re not wrong), it doesn’t sit well with me. We need more women in this league…Parents and grandparents come talk to me at games and tell me that their daughters and granddaughters now like watching because I’m there.”
Ian Rake, BMOS’16
Analyst, AGF Investments
Chair, London Lawn Summer Nights
Despite his busy career as a chartered financial analyst, Rake has always made time to hold leadership roles for the lawn bowling fundraiser, London Lawn Summer Nights. The initiative has raised more than $100,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
“Work hard, play hard. I believe it’s critical to balance work, being able to be disciplined during the workday and build a network of professionals you can rely on for successful charity events and enjoy the good times.”
Rubaina Singla, student, Media, Information and Techoculture, HBA
Founder, Singla Intimates
Singla didn’t set out to be an entrepreneur, but her passion for sustainability led her to create Singla Intimates, an eco-friendly lingerie line.
While working in retail fashion, Singla became concerned about the waste she saw in the process and wanted to be part of the solution. Singla Intimates uses industrial waste and recycled yarns for its garments instead of the typical petroleum-based fibres.
Recently selected as a 2022 Cansbridge Fellow, Singla travelled to the Nordic region for a summer internship through the program to broaden her knowledge about sustainable fashion and how to accelerate Canada’s investment in a circular economy.
“I believe the world expands and solutions emerge from understanding different angles and perspectives. I hope to collaborate with passionate individuals to solve challenging problems in areas like food and textile waste, climate change, healthcare and tech policy.”
Read more about Singla.
Justin Tiseo, BA’16 (King’s University College)
Partner/assistant general manager, East Park Golf Gardens
In addition to his busy role at East Park Golf Gardens, Tiseo has been making a difference in the London community since he was a teenager. The criminology graduate is the leader and creator of John Paul II Catholic secondary school OneRun fundraiser for cancer care, for which he won a Pillar award in 2016. The same year he received the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers, an award given by the province’s lieutenant governor to recognize outstanding volunteer contributions. Today Tiseo says his biggest reward is instilling good work habits and teamwork skills in the young people who work with him at East Park.
“This role is all-encompassing, and issues/situations come up that can feel overwhelming. But I also think this motivates me. I work better under pressure, so having a constant variety of situations requiring me to problem solve is something I actually love.”
-With files from Ivey Communications and the Faculty of Science. Source for quotes of award recipients: Business London