Urban Policy Mentorship Program

A career development initiative that pairs urban policy professionals with Master of Global Affairs and Master of Public Policy students at the Munk School.

  • Overview

  • Hundreds of Munk School graduates end up working in policy roles related to cities. Yet few entered their programs of study with a clear sense of what a career in urban policy looks like in practice.
  • This new mentorship program, along with the Urban Policy Lab's ongoing educational programming, aims to fill this gap, helping students grow their professional networks and cultivate meaningful relationships with leaders in the field.
Receive Guidance

Mentees receive career guidance from experienced leaders

Make Connections

Mentors connect with up-and-coming talent

Generate Ideas

Conversations lead to new ideas that advance city building

  • The Urban Policy Mentorship Program was the highlight of my graduating year. Connecting with an urban policy professional that has so much experience was invaluable. My mentor was incredible - she provided me with resources for related research that I was working on, advice about my career, and guidance as I searched for a job. It was also a wonderful opportunity to be able to chat about urban topics with someone who is equally passionate about them. Gaining access to experiences such as this was one of the key reasons that I came to Munk.
    Jessica Macdonald
    Master of Public Policy student ('22)
  • The program is a unique opportunity for cross-generational learning and mentorship. I know that I got as much value from seeing the world and the future through my mentee’s perspective as I hope she got from me. It was a pleasure to participate and be part of a new cohort so committed to making Toronto a great city.
    Sally Han
    Manager, Cultural Partnerships, City of Toronto
  • My mentor has complemented and enhanced my studies by allowing me to learn the "behind-the scenes" realities of policymaking at the municipal level. Perhaps more importantly, the mentorship program has given me new perspectives with which to approach urban policy challenges and opened my eyes to vocational opportunities I never would have otherwise considered! Applying for the Urban Policy Lab's mentorship program was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I made last year. 10/10. Would recommend!
    Renae Appadurai
    Master of Global Affairs student ('22)
  • The Urban Policy Mentorship Program was a highlight of my time at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Having an opportunity to discuss urban policy issues at length with an experienced professional was a great learning opportunity where I was able to ask practical questions about urban policymaking. Working in partnership with my mentor on a project focused on our shared urban policy interests was a highpoint of my final year as a Masters of Public Policy student.
    Arman Bachmann
    Master of Public Policy student ('22)
  • I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my mentee through the Urban Policy Mentorship Program. I was so pleased to find that my mentee was interested and excited by "on the ground" municipal policy, and really impressed by how she took charge in getting to her goals through her studies. Although we weren't able to meet in person, I am looking forward to continuing to stay in touch with my mentee and cheering her on as she makes a difference.
    Alice Xu
    Manager, Smart City Program, City of Toronto
  • The Urban Policy Lab’s Mentorship Program has been one the best experiences I’ve had at the Munk School. The kindness and wisdom that my mentor exemplified is something that I will carry on throughout my career. Learning about her experiences, that did not come without struggles, has helped me grow both personally and professionally. Although I have a long way to go in my career, I know I will always have my mentor to look up to.
    Sabrina Gilmour
    Master of Public Policy student ('22)
  • Participating in the Urban Policy Mentorship Program was a cool experience. My mentee and I were well-matched and were able to have casual and stimulating conversations, which provided a welcome opportunity to disengage from work and get a pulse on the mood of the emerging cohort of policy students. It has been rewarding sharing my experience and offering my mentee different ways of thinking about career navigation and policy topics.
    Jamille Clarke-Darshanand
    Manager, Client Services, Artscape
  • Being able to contribute to the Urban Policy Lab through regular one on one meet ups with a student was a meaningful experience for me. I know how much it would’ve meant to me while I was a student to have a connection with someone in the industry. This is an important program that gives students access to learning opportunities that can’t be found in a textbook and provides invaluable guidance in navigating potential career paths.
    Luke Anderson
    Executive Director, StopGap Foundation
  • The mentorship program allowed me to deep-dive into my policy and research interests with someone whose impacts I aspire to emulate. The conversations, advice, and research between my mentor and I shaped my assignments and outlook on the policy realm in general. Connecting with a mentor who had so much knowledge to share and who was interested in my research and work was a validating and insightful experience and it was one of the highlights of the MPP program.
    Mrinal Kashyap
    Master of Public Policy student ('22)
  • As the President and CEO responsible for revitalizing the Toronto waterfront, it is my job to look to plan and build a complete community not just for today, but for our future conditions. It is also my job to find and support the leaders who will take us on this journey over the next few decades. So it was my pleasure to support the Urban Policy Lab in accepting one of their mentees from its Mentorship Program. It was time well spent and based on my positive experience, I would not hesitate to participate once again.
    George Zegarac
    President & CEO, Waterfront Toronto
  • The mentorship program has been a great opportunity to practice relationship building. I was paired with a mentor who works outside of my area of policy interest but I was still able to gain many valuable insights. We spoke extensively about issues that stretch across policy sectors like community consultations, building relationships with government as an NGO, and building coalitions within a policy sector. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to think about the intersections between policy areas.”
    Chloe Hinds
    Master of Public Policy student ('22)

Mentors

2021-22

Luke Anderson
Executive Director, StopGap Foundation
Joe Berridge
Partner, Urban Strategies
Gary Bloch
Physician, St. Michael's Hospital
Veronika Bylicki
Executive Director, City Hive
Jamille Clarke-Darshanand
Manager, Artscape
André Côté
Côté & Company Strategies
Leilani Farha
Global Director, The Shift
Katie German
Director, Foodshare Toronto
Ken Greenberg
Principal, Greenberg Consultants Inc.
Max Greenwald
Manager, Deputy City Manager’s Office, City of Toronto
Sally Han
Manager, Cultural Partnerships, City of Toronto
Claire Hopkinson
Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council
Shirley Hoy
Senior Advisor, StrategyCorp
Roselle Martino
VP, Public Policy, Toronto Region Board of Trade
Tanzeel Merchant
Director, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing
Chris Murray
City Manager, City of Toronto
Rebecca Ramsarran
Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
Mary Rowe
CEO, Canadian Urban Institute
Mohamed Shuriye
Policing Reform, City of Toronto
Enid Slack
Director, Institute on Municipal Finance & Governance
Karen Thorburn
Head, Corporate Initiatives, TTC
Margaret Tomei
Team Lead, Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Alice Xu
Manager, Smart City Program, City of Toronto
George Zegarac
President & CEO, Waterfront Toronto

Mentees

2021-22

Heba Al-Junaidi (MGA)
Renae Appadurai (MGA)
Christian Avendano (MPP)
Alisha Ayaz (MPP)
Arman Bachmann (MPP)
Benj Burgar (MPP)
Amber Chan (MPP)
Evelyn Chong (MPP)
Nowshin Chowdhury (MGA)
Justin Gander (MPP)
Sabrina Gilmour (MPP)
Lauren Grosberg (MPP)
Salwa Hakem (MGA)
Chloe Hinds (MPP)
Mrinal Kashyap (MPP)
Jessica Macdonald (MPP)
Sean McGowan (MPP)
Erin Mierdel (MPP)
Sonja Perisic (MPP)
Pamela Pietrusiak (MPP)
Hugh Ragan (MPP)
Jonathan Rincon Lopez (MGA)
Ruth Roselle (MPP)
Molly Simpson (MPP)