More than a dozen Brock University graduates and three Brock employees have made the list of Niagara’s top young business professionals.
Business Link Media Group recently announced the recipients of the 18th annual 40 Under Forty Business Achievement Awards, which celebrate 40 individuals under the age of 40 for their business and community contributions.
Among the 16 Brock community members named this year were staff members Kristen Nilsen (BBA ’12, MEd ’18), David DiPietro and Christine Richard, who share passions for enhancing the Niagara community and engaging and supporting youth.
Nilsen, who is a two-time Brock graduate and Experiential Education Co-ordinator with Brock’s Co-op, Career and Experiential (CCEE) office, was recognized for her efforts in advising and coaching Brock students, connecting Niagara businesses and community partners with the University, and for her volunteer initiatives.
“My work centres around helping people, so I’m always looking for opportunities or connections,” she says. “How to create efficiencies and make processes better, how to leverage existing supports in new ways and how I can help people gain the tools they need to be successful.”
As Vice-Chair of NEXTNiagara, Nilsen helps to amplify the voices of young professionals by creating opportunities for community engagement and empowerment. Since joining two years ago, Nilsen has helped the council launch a new strategic plan, develop a new subcommittee structure and host its first conference.
DiPietro, Senior Experiential Education Co-ordinator with CCEE, was honoured for his dedication to building the Niagara community and retaining youth in the region.
The St. Catharines native has played a key role in growing experiential learning at Brock and recently worked to establish a high school experiential learning program with the District School Board of Niagara that offers students the opportunity to work with local organizations as part of their business curriculum.
“Experiential learning is often framed as a ‘win-win’ situation, where students can work on a real-world project and community partners receive tangible work to implement within their organization,” says DiPietro. “Being involved with this on a daily basis is very rewarding and it pushes me to be creative.”
Outside of Brock, DiPietro is Chair for Tomorrow’s Voices children’s choir; a member of the Grant Review Committee for the Niagara Community Foundation; and a member of the Executive Advisory Board with Wavemakers.
Richard, who is currently on secondment with Brock’s Student Life and Success team as a Co-Curricular Engagement Co-ordinator, was recognized for her efforts in engaging Brock students and alumni.
In her nine-year role as an Alumni Officer with the Office of Alumni and Donor Relations, Richard facilitated hundreds of meaningful student-alumni connections through volunteer programming and opportunities and organized Homecoming activities that resulted in sold-out schedules every year.
In her current role with Student Life and Success, she shares her expertise as an imaginative event planner and engagement strategist with Brock departments and student clubs so they can plan inclusive and safe extracurricular initiatives that enrich the student experience.
“Whether I am working with colleagues, volunteers or students, I aim to share my passion for enhancing their Brock experience,” she says. “I want those I encounter to feel the value of their Brock connection and become advocates who are passionate about staying involved and giving their time and talent back to the University.”
Outside of her professional work, Richard has been completing courses as part of the Bachelor of Education in Adult Education degree program. She expects to graduate this fall.
Brock University alumni and employee recipients of the 40 Under Forty Business Achievement Awards 2022
- Emily Andrews (BA ’11), multimedia artist, actress and musician
- Daniel Bordenave (BKin ’11, MSc ’15), Spark IECI and Bisep Inc.
- Elizabeth Brugman (BSc ’08), Active Life Rehab + and Niagara Concussion Management
- Clare Cameron (MBA ’15), Township Niagara
- David DiPietro, Brock University, Co-op, Career and Experiential Education
- Amanda Fidler (BA ’07), Checking In Counselling and Consulting
- Erin Graybiel (BA ’05), Big Brothers Big Sisters of North and West Niagara
- Rachel Kleiman (BA ’14, BA ’15), Anchor Rehabilitation Support Services and Brain Injury Association of Niagara
- Sarah Leach (BA ’16), Town of Pelham
- Timothy Nelles (BAcc ’06), Grant Thornton LLP
- Kristen Nilsen (BBA ’12, MEd ’18), Brock University, Co-op, Career and Experiential Education
- Crystal Rabley (BA ’10), Walker Industries
- Christine Richard, Brock University, Student Life and Success
- Deanna Shalala (BA ’08), Socks and Snacks Outreach Initiative
- Charlotte Steinschifter (BMus ’14, MBA ’17), Billyard Insurance Group
- Ashley Waters (BA ’06), Scouts Canada
A full list of this year’s recipients is available on the Business Link Media Group Facebook page.