As the administrative lead, working with the School of Cities' senior leadership team, he provides leadership and strategic direction for the overall mission of the School, including programming and outreach, revenue generation and business administration activities, and ensures the efficient and effective management of the School’s resources. Administrative oversight includes finance, human resources, communications and branding, IT, facility operations and services and space management, capital and renovation project management, governance, as well as risk management. He brings over 20 years of experience across a range of higher education functions.
Prior to joining the School, Ben was the Director of the Office of Professional Development & Career Strategies at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and the founding Coordinator for Academic Service-Learning & Faculty Development at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Community Partnerships.
Ben is also actively engaged in campus and community governance. He has served on many university committees and working groups, including the University Affairs Board of the Governing Council and the Faculty of Arts & Science Council. As the vice-president of the board of directors of the Central Toronto Community Health Centres, he led the board accreditation process, board development and was the liaison to the Association of Ontario Health Centres. He has served on the boards of the Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development and the Regent Park Community Health Centre. He is currently on the University of Toronto’s Academic Board and the Committee on Planning & Budget.
Senior Partnerships, Engagement and Projects Officer
Lara joins the School of Cities after serving in various member and sponsor relations roles at the Toronto Region Board of Trade. She is a world traveler and passionate city builder who excels at creating partnerships and places to explore the economic, social, and cultural vitality of city regions. A graduate of U of T, Lara has also worked in educational publishing, financial services, and the public sector and serves as co-chair of Environmental Education Ontario.
Katherine Danks, Programs Officer
Katherine joins the School of Cities as the Programs Officer and comes to us from the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, where she has been a part of the Advancement and Alumni Relations administrative team for over three years. Prior to that she developed and ran her own business in designing and facilitating experiential creative leadership and strategic visioning programs.
Katherine began her career in advertising and worked at Anderson DDB as an Account Executive and later as New Business Supervisor, where she helped develop strategy and conducted research to advance new business.
Katherine has a genuine interest in using creativity in approaching problem solving and innovation. She holds a B.F.A. (Honours) from York University and a certificate in Adult Training and Development from OISE at the University of Toronto.
Project Manager, Creative Mixed-Use Initiative and Urban Pilot Lab
Cecelia is the Project Manager for the Creative Mixed-Use initiative, a matchmaking service for building partners, and the School's Urban Pilot Lab, where interdisciplinary research projects address critical issues facing cities and citizens. She completed her Master of Science in Planning at the University of Toronto, receiving the Friends of Planning Graduate Scholarship for Innovation, Toronto CREW Real Estate Scholarship and the General Motors Women in Science and Mathematics Award. As a city builder, she is passionate about emerging technology as a tool in planning, transit equity and creative placemaking.