Surrey Board of Trade's Top 25 under 25 award recipient Hajira Khan (right) is among 14 from SFU congratulated by SFU Surrey executive director Steve Dooley (left) during the awards ceremony.

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Surrey Board of Trade's Top 25 under 25 Awards Recognize 14 from SFU

April 29, 2019
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Fourteen SFU students and alumni are being recognized with the Surrey Board of Trade’s 2019 Top 25 under 25 awards. The awards are given annually to 25 Surrey youth to acknowledge their leadership roles and achievements either working in Surrey or on a business- or community-related project for Surrey. The awards were presented on April 24.

SFU’s award recipients are from diverse fields of study. Many are studying in the Beedie School of Business while others are from health sciences, economics and molecular biology and biochemistry.

Maintaining a strong presence at the awards, four recipients are involved with Enactus SFU. Enactus is a student-run organization that helps students develop skills while making a difference in the community. With more than 120 active members running nine sustainable programs, they continue expanding each year.

Others have demonstrated their leadership skills through SFU-based organizations such as Simon Fraser Student Society, a student-led organization that represents and advocates for the interests of SFU undergraduates, and RADIUS Refugee Livelihood Lab, a collaborative innovative process supporting refugee communities.

Since the awards program began in 2011 nearly 100 SFU students and alumni have been recognized for their leaderships and contributions in Surrey.

SFU students and alumni with their Surrey Board of Trade 2018 Top 25 Under 25 awards and SFU Surrey executive director Steve Dooley.

This year’s award recipients include:

Khayla Almonte-Davila, a business alumna and co-founder of REACH, a digital platform that houses resources for private sponsors equipping them to help their sponsored refugee families. This led to her involvement with RADIUS Refugee Livelihood Lab and later to the creation and management of the RADIUS internship program, matching SFU Co-op and First Nations Technology Council students with entrepreneurs. Khayla is also the recipient of the honorary Health & Safety in the Workplace Award;

Summin Dinsa, co-founder of the LUMEN Society, a non-profit organization that supports people impacted by chronic health conditions. LUMEN’s goal is to change society’s perception of invisible illness by offering support and funding scholarships for high school graduates suffering from these illnesses. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from SFU and has participated in SFU’s study abroad program;

Donya Divsalar, SFU Aerospace president and co-founder and a health sciences student, brings together the university’s three largest aerospace teams representing each one in their efforts for funding and resources. She is a change-maker who has spearheaded multiple new initiatives and organizations and has significant leadership experience with Phi Delta Epsilon, MedConnect, Music for the Hearts, and SFU’s Blood, Organ and Stem Cell Club;

Ravneet Ghotra, a mentor, director and researcher, has set a great example in Surrey through various philanthropic projects and business ventures. She is involved with SOAR Philanthropic Society as a director, providing scholarship and educational resources to local high school students. She has raised more than $50,000 in funds, assisting children from low-socioeconomic backgrounds to attend post-secondary school;

Aruba Khan, president of Red Drops for Life, is responsible for organizing resources to help Canadian Blood Services recruit blood donors and potential community partners. She has demonstrated her commitment to philanthropy with her volunteer work at many different organizations, including the Vancouver International Children's Festival, Delta Youth Council and Splendid Syns for Syria. Aruba will be attending SFU to pursue a degree in molecular biology and biochemistry;

Hajira Khan, founder of Creatorly, a creative marketing company, and EmpowHer, a platform and event label that brings women in business together. She is also the lead organizer of BeautyCon SFU in partnership with Shoppers Drug Mart Canada, raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society and the Surrey Hospital Foundation;

Shilpa Lakshmy, Enactus SFU’s president, is involved in a number of initiatives to create social, economic and environmental impact in the local community. She currently leads a team of 15 individuals in one of Enactus’ social enterprises, Coast Cards, selling eco-friendly greeting cards. Through Coast Cards, Shilpa also helps provide transitional employment to marginalized individuals by creating partnerships with recovery centres to facilitate skill-building in a creative setting; 

Surrey Board of Trade Top 25 Under 25 award recipient Branden Sorbo.

Tawanda Masawi, former vice-president of student life for the Simon Fraser Student Society, represented over 25,000 undergraduate students at SFU in the 2018/2019 school year. He is committed to making an impact through progressive initiatives to improve student life and has a passion for celebrating African diversity and unity. Tawanda also revived the African Students Association and currently acts as vice president of the organization;

Chetanya Monga, a successful entrepreneur with a bachelor’s in economics from SFU. He uses his education as an asset for his entrepreneurialism, resulting in strong sales and revenues at his Vera’s Burger Shack location and his mortgage brokerage, Mortgage MC. Chetanya is also a volunteer for SOAR Philanthropic Society, focusing on youth educational resources in Surrey and providing financial assistance to local high school students;

Gaganjit Phulka, founder and president of Vitality for the Vulnerable, a not-for-profit organization educating and empowering women and young girls suffering from homelessness or poverty, and who are facing barriers to accessing health care. She is also a registered nurse providing health care to the Stó:lō First Nations at the Seabird Island Indian Reserve and helps spread awareness on women’s health topics such as breast care, mental health, and ovarian and cervical cancer;

Ravneet Randhawa, current project manager of the Enactus SFU initiative Count on Me, a hands-on program that teaches at-risk youth the fundamentals of financial literacy, employability skills, and healthy eating. In her role, she created partnership with three school districts, oversaw the accreditation of the curriculum by G&F Financial Group and has expanded the program to be taught in high school classrooms, working with over 350 youth;

Tanraj Sohal, an ambassador with Canadian Eyesight Global, organizes free eye care camps in various community centres and temples in Surrey. Concerned with global blindness, the organization has helped hundreds of British Columbians to preserve their vision by early diagnosis of preventable eye diseases that cause loss of vision. In his final year at SFU, Tanraj is also a chess coach and player competing for Team B.C. in the Canadian Chess Challenge;

Branden Sorbo, vice president of external relations and finance with Enactus SFU, has brought on several new community partners and gathered more than $15,000 in grants and sponsorships for the organization. His efforts directly support the events and operations of the many Enactus initiatives which allows them to continue their positive impacts on the community;

Peyton Winslade, external manager of Media Minds at Enactus SFU, a program that provides workshops to integrate students into their community through the use of film education. Involved in a number of case competitions, including CaseIt, hosted by SFU, she has represented the university internationally as a competitor in Serbia, and nationally, with her team taking first place at the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition in the marketing event.