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Panel Discussion:
Economic Resiliency

Economic and cultural recovery will not happen in isolation. Achieving results will require a coordinated effort that engages partners including artists, businesses, and residents in all part of the city" (Building Back Stronger, City of Toronto, 2020). This session explores how we can together build economic resiliency not only for the larger economy, but also for those specific sectors, communities and groups who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Panelists considered questions like: What sectors of the economy should the City prioritize? How can governments and educational institutes best support equity-deserving groups in gaining the skills and expertise needed to succeed in a post-COVID, technology-driven economy? How can we together create the conditions for generating well-paying, good jobs in the city?

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Leslie Fink
Leslie Fink
Manager of Sector Development, Economic Development and Culture Division, City of Toronto

Leslie Fink is the Manager of Sector Development within the City's Economic Development and Culture Division. The last four years of her career have been dedicated to leading a team of sector experts that seek to advance the competitiveness and vitality of a multidimensional portfolio of industry sectors within Toronto's economy. Fink enjoys building and enhancing strong relationships, providing strategic advice, and collaborating with sector partners to drive innovation, create economic synergies, and promote business growth.

Fink came to the City of Toronto with a multi-disciplinary background, primarily with major Tier 1 retailers. In the private sector, she held many cross-functional leadership roles in disciplines such as Global Sourcing, Financial Planning, Category and Vendor Management and Marketing. Fink also has extensive experience in both developing new business capabilities and leading process enhancements that drive operational efficiencies.

Catherine Chandler-Crichlow
Leslie Fink
Vik Singh
Dr. Vik Singh
Assistant Professor, Global Management Studies, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University

Dr. Vik Singh's research investigates how ethnicity influences housing purchase decisions in a global context. He is the author of "COVID-19 Impact on Toronto: Labour Market Outcomes and Technology Adoption in Organizations," a research study undertaken through a CivicLabTO partnership between the City of Toronto and Ryerson University.


Dr. Singh received his Ph.D. in Business from Griffith University and holds an MBA from Schulich School of Business at York University and M.A. in Economics from the University of Regina.

Jeff D'Hondt
Catherine Chandler-Crichlow

Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow

Dean of the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto 

Dr. Catherine Chandler-Crichlow comes to the University of Toronto with more than 25 years of experience as a human capital professional with a track record of advocacy for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). Dr. Chandler-Crichlow’s sustained focus on EDI issues is reflected in her roles, such as the former Executive Director of Career Management and Corporate Recruiting at the Ivey Business School at Western University; External Advisor to the Ontario Public Service’s inclusion and diversity strategic plan; and her current status as Board Chair of the Toronto Region Immigrant and Employment Council.


Dr. Chandler-Crichlow has a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, an EdM from Harvard University, and a BSc from the University of the West Indies. She is a specialist in the area of the changing nature of work, having completed her doctorate on the topic of curriculum development and technology-mediated distance education.

Vik Singh
Jeff D'Hondt
Jeff D'Hondt
Indigenous Affairs Consultant, Indigenous Affairs Office, City of Toronto

Jeff D'Hondt is a member of the Lenape nation at the Six Nations of the Grand River with additional Belgian-Canadian ancestry. He has had the honour of serving Indigenous and non-Indigenous people throughout his career. D'Hondt has over two decades of experience working in mental health and substance abuse treatment services, which he gained through positions in the correctional system, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and Indigenous communities, and at hospitals and homeless shelters. 


D'Hondt brings energy, creativity, empathy and technical know-how to the Indigenous Affairs Office at the City of Toronto. His job is to work with the Indigenous community to create electric, thrilling initiatives in social services, health, art, education, business and numerous other portfolios. He also provides strategic advice to City staff to prepare them to be effective allies for the Indigenous community.


D'Hondt graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in History (with minors in Aboriginal Studies and the History of Science), from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Social Work (where he was also part of the contract teaching faculty), and from York University with a Masters of Social Work (where his research on using theatre to give voice to homeless Indigenous youth was awarded the Gerry Erickson Book Prize for Best Practice Research Paper). He has also written a novel and has had two plays produced.

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