The Government and Community Relations & Events (GCRE) team at York University aims to cultivate and enhance strategic relationships with internal and external stakeholders to advocate for positions and policies that align with the values and mission of the University. Our goal is to increase external awareness of our unique strengths and achievements and advance the University’s reputation while promoting our contribution to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which we serve.
Meet the Team
Chief of Government and Community Relations
Ijade is currently the Chief of Government and Community Relations at York University, one of Canada’s largest and most diverse universities. Prior to this role, she served as Chief of Staff to the President at York University for almost ten years. Ijade has over two decades of experience in the areas of: strategic planning, community engagement, issues management, reputation building, finance, human resources, communications strategy, risk management and stakeholder engagement.
Ijade holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from York University and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Victoria. Ijade is an avid volunteer and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Lakeridge Health in Durham Region and as Vice-Chair for the Government Relations Officers Network (Canada).
Government Relations Officer
Lucas Anderson has been with the Office of the President since June 2018. Prior to this, he held several advisory roles in the Government of Ontario, including Policy Advisor to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and as a Senior Advisor to the President of Treasury Board. No stranger to politicking, he has worked on several federal and provincial campaigns, and has also worked for a Federal political party.
Lucas has a master’s in public policy from the University of Toronto and is also an alumnus of Queen’s University, where he studied political theory and economics during his undergraduate degree.
Coordinator, Special Projects & Events
Alex joined York University after having worked in various public education and non-profit positions, including coordinating public events at Historica Canada. In her current role, Alex supports the Government and Community Relations team through event coordination, engaging with students through the President’s Ambassador Program, and executing several event-focused initiatives for the Office of the President. Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Trent University and a Certificate in Culture and Heritage Management from Centennial College.
Ja’Net [jah-nay] joined the Office of the President as the Administrative Coordinator in September 2018. In her role, she supports both the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Government and Community Relations. She also manages the student staff in the office. Receiving her BA from the University of Toronto, Ja’Net has worked in both the private and not-for-profit sectors, gaining a wealth of experience and enhancing her customer service and communication skills.
Ja’Net is best described as a determined and focus-driven individual. She enjoys baking, photography, astronomy and hopes to further expand her real-life experiences by travelling the world. Growing up in a single-parent household in the Rexdale community, there were many obstacles that she needed to over-come, and today, she shares her experiences and advice as motivation to several adolescents and youth.
Government and Community Relations Assistant
Arjun is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management, holding a Bachelor of Commerce double-majoring in Business Law and Global Management Studies. Prior to joining York University, Arjun served as a stakeholder engagement and communications advisor to a Toronto City Councillor, where he focused on advancing Toronto’s infrastructure, climate and resilience initiatives. Arjun has a passion for supporting the creation of data-driven public policy. He believes public policy is a tool for change and the development of data-based public policy will help build a more equitable world.
In 2021, Arjun joined the Government and Community Relations & Events team at York University. In his current role, Arjun provides support to enhance strategic relationships with government and community stakeholders, and extend York University’s impact to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which we serve.
Community and Government Relations Officer
Shawna holds a BSW and an MSW from Ryerson University. She began her social work career as a frontline counsellor in a women’s shelter, working with women and children who had survived domestic violence. Subsequently, Shawna spent over ten years as political staff within the City of Toronto for two City Councillors and her time there spanned three different Mayoral administrations.
In 2018, Shawna joined the Community and Government Relations team at York University. In her current role, Shawna is focused on enhancing relationships within communities as well as with municipal, regional and Indigenous governments.
Stakeholder Relations Coordinator & Policy Analyst
Laksh Vig joined the Office of the President in 2017. After a brief stint volunteering for a Councillor at the City of Toronto, he served as a Constituency Assistant to a Member of Provincial Parliament. He later worked at a political consulting firm, where he helped clients in the public, private and charitable sectors achieve their government and public relations objectives, including securing over $20 million in infrastructure funding for a small municipality. He has also been active on federal, provincial, municipal and leadership campaigns. Growing up in the Jane and Finch community has been a source of inspiration for Laksh and has driven him to pursue work and goals that have a positive impact on society.
Laksh is an alumnus of the School of Public Policy and Administration at York. In his spare time, he enjoys sports, music, time with loved ones and working on his entrepreneurial aspirations.