Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Alumni Awards recipients powerful examples of positive change

Alumni Awards recipients powerful examples of positive change

October 6, 2023

For more than two decades, the York U Alumni Awards have been a platform for celebrating alum who embody the principles of York University, have left an indelible mark on their respective fields and have contributed positively to the world.

This tradition of recognizing the remarkable accomplishments of alum will continue April 3, 2024, when this year’s distinguished awardees will be honoured at a ceremony.

Each year, the York University Alumni Awards recognize outstanding alum who have achieved the extraordinary and are working to right the future by creating positive change in their fields. The Awards celebrate the broad York alum community of innovators, activists and researchers and its long-standing commitment to the public good.  

This year’s recipients are Harry S. LaForme (LLB ‘77, LLD ‘08), Fatima Israel (MBA ‘06), Flavien P. Joubert (MES ‘03) and Temo Primrose Gare (BA ‘12).

“This year’s recipients represent the positive contributions York alumni are making around the world,” says Julie Lafford, assistant vice-president, Alumni Engagement. “In addition to their many accomplishments, exceptional leadership, philanthropic support and meaningful engagement with the alumni community, the 2023 award recipients continue to set an example for future generations of students and alumni alike. It will be a pleasure to honour them this fall at the Alumni Awards ceremony.” 

Outstanding Contribution: Harry S. LaForme (LLB ‘77, LLD ‘08) OC, IPC, senior counsel, Olthius Kleer Townshend LL.P 

This award goes to an alum who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of York and its students through exceptional service, commitment and/or philanthropic contributions.

Harry S. LaForme
Harry S. LaForme

Harry S. LaForme is a retired judge who received a bachelor of laws and a doctor of laws from Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1994, he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, making him one of three Indigenous judges to be designated to this level of trial court in Canada at the time. He dedicated his career to furthering the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Canada’s 2SLGBTQ2IA+ communities and the rights of all other marginalized groups living in Canada. In 2004, LaForme became the first Indigenous judge to be appointed to an appellate court in Canada with his appointment to the Ontario Court of Appeal. 

During his tenure, LaForme specialized in Indigenous law with a focus on Constitutional and Charter issues and represented Canadian Indigenous interests internationally. In 2018, LaForme retired from the judiciary and currently works as senior counsel with Olthius Kleer Townshend. LaForme has received honorary degrees from various universities and numerous accolades, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Law & Justice and the Order of Canada. He’s also published numerous articles on issues related to Indigenous law and justice and speaks frequently on Indigenous issues, Indigenous law, constitutional law, and civil, equality and human rights.

Outstanding Achievement: Fatima Israel (MBA ‘06), Chief Growth and Marketing Officer, Gowling WLG

This award goes to an alum who has achieved distinction in their field and whose integrity and ability inspire alumni, faculty, staff and students.

Fatima Israel
Fatima Israel

Fatima Israel is a marketing officer with a master of business administration degree from the Schulich School of Business who is transforming the industry with her expertise in professional services, telecommunications, technology, health services and fintech. Israel is an advocate for putting people at the heart of transformation to drive innovation, catalyze progress and deliver on purpose. She boldly combines ambitious ideas with insights to build a better working world for her clients and communities. 

Her passion for leadership and advancing the marketing community has earned her awards from the Canadian Marketing Association and the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business. Israel strives to channel this passion to support the next generation as an executive mentor and advisory council member for the American Marketing Association, a mentor for the EY Women’s Athlete Business Network and a regular judge for marketing industry award programs.

Tentanda Via: Flavien P. Joubert (MES ‘03), minister for agriculture, climate change and environment on the island of Seychelles

This award goes to an alum who has demonstrated innovative, unconventional, and daring leadership and success, reflecting the University’s motto “The way must be tried.”

Flavien P. Jourbert
Flavien P. Jourbert

Flavien P. Joubert currently serves as the minister for agriculture, climate change and environment on the island of Seychelles. Before attaining his master’s degree in environmental studies at York University, Joubert completed his higher national diploma and graduate studies at the Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom. During his studies, Joubert rediscovered one of the rarest bat species in the country and co-wrote two research papers on the subject. In his role as minister, Joubert has continued to promote research and conservation on bat species.  

Joubert’s career with the Ministry of Environment began in 1996, where he held several key positions, including director general for Wildlife Enforcement and Permits, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Seychelles National Parks Authority and CEO of the Landscape & Waste Management Authority. Internationally, Joubert has represented Seychelles in many fora related to chemicals and waste, and he served as a prominent figure in the Basel and Stockholm Conventions. He also played instrumental roles in initiatives around chemical safety in Seychelles. In 2015, Joubert was recognized by the United Nations Environment Programme for his leadership at the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the Nairobi Convention. In 2020, he was appointed minister for agriculture, climate change and energy.

One to Watch: Temo Primrose Gare (BA ‘12), journalist, television host, executive producer, Fibe TV; founder, Okavango Media

This award goes to an alum who has made a significant impact in their field and/or community within 15 years of a bachelor’s degree or 10 years of a professional/graduate degree.

Temo Primrose Gare
Temo Primrose Gare

Temo Primrose Gare is a journalist, accomplished television host and executive producer with years of experience in the media industry. Gare received a bachelor of arts from York University, where she laid the foundation for her passion for journalism and communication. She later pursued her master of media in journalism and communication at Western University. In 2018, Gare was honoured with the Raveena Aulakh Memorial Award in recognition of her academic achievements and contributions to journalism and communication.

Since completing her studies, Gare has worked at CTV News, BNN Bloomberg and NewsTalk, and produced two television shows for Rogers Communications and Bell Media. Gare currently serves as the host and executive producer of the television show “Our Stories” and is the founder of Okavango Media, her production company that provides a space for her to shape and amplify compelling stories that resonate with audiences on a deeper level.

About the awards

The York U Alumni Awards were inspired by Bruce Bryden, who was an exceptionally committed and influential leader at York University for many years. He was a member of York’s first undergraduate class, was the founding president of the York University Alumni Association (now the York University Alumni Board/YUAB) and was a member of the York University Board of Governors. The York U Alumni Awards recognize and honour his vision, exemplary leadership and extraordinary achievements.

For information about The York U Alumni Awards, visit

Originally posted on YFile