Celebrating IMI's Best & Brightest at Annual Awards Reception

Friday, June 29, 2018 - 2:06pm
Ryan Cerrudo

On June 21st, 2018, the Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI) held its third annual IMI Faculty & Staff Awards reception, where it fêted the newest award recipients and lauded them for their outstanding contributions this past year.

The reception—which was held at the University of Toronto Mississauga's Lislehurst house—also served as a final goodbye to Professor Hugh Gunz, who served as the inaugural IMI Director and dedicated over 25 years of exemplary research, teaching, and administrative service to the University of Toronto.

Congratulations to all of our winners and to Professor Gunz on retirement!

former IMI Director Hugh Gunz and current IMI Director Soo Min Toh | Enjoy retirement, Professor Gunz


IMI Faculty Award - Laurel Besco (Geography)

This faculty member will have significantly enhanced the overall support, learning and/or engagement of students and/or faculty within the Institute for Management & Innovation. This may be at an undergraduate or graduate level.

Laurel Besco | 2018 IMI Faculty Award

Here is what the nominators had to say about Professor Besco:

Dr. Laurel Besco has been an instrumental cog in the development and ongoing management of the MScSM Program, as well as a true force of nature in supporting our students.  Dr. Besco teaches perhaps one of the most challenging courses in sustainability – Law and Policy – an area that is virtually uncharted, and a topic that is exceedingly challenging for most students. And yet, she does so in an unflappable, creative and steadfast way, leading our students to understand complex and critical topics that help them to stand out in the workforce.

Beyond designing innovative courses and coming up with imaginative teaching mechanisms, like simulation exercises, she is known for being the go-to faculty member for our students when they’re seeking advice, whether on how to choose a research topic, how to actually do research, or whether a PhD is the right choice.

Dr. Besco has high expectations of the students – but in return, she gives them as much time, as many resources, and as much support as she possibly can squeeze out of every day to support them.  The results are incredible – her students publish in journals, learn to think critically about legal and policy ramifications in sustainability, and ultimately become sharper, engaged and more professional graduate students.

She attends every event, every student celebration, and every piece of MScSM Programming – even though it’s not required.  If there were a title for “Most Engaged, Supportive and Genuinely Engaged Faculty Member”, it would indeed be Laurel Besco.

IMI Research Award - Minlei Ye (Management)

This faculty member will have been recognized for a significant research/scholarly contribution to their discipline. This contribution could be but is not limited to an original published work or key research contributions deemed innovative in nature.

Minlei Ye | 2018 IMI Research Award

Here is what the nominators had to say about Professor Ye:

Professor Minlei Ye’s research focuses the economics of auditing....She is ranked #1 in the world in analytical auditing area in the last six years by the Brigham Young University (BYU) ranking.

Her research expertise has been well recognized...She obtained a few research grants (totalling $130,000 without involving human subjects), and she is the sole investigator in one of the SSHRC grants

She is currently serving on the Editorial Board of Contemporary Accounting Research, and is involved in conference organizations in the U.S. and Europe (i.e., Junior Accounting Theorist Conference and European Accounting Association Annual Congress).

As commented by several world leading accounting researchers, 'Her body of work demonstrates excellence relative to the norms of the discipline of accounting and is particularly strong when evaluated against the body of scholarship dealing with the economics of auditing' and 'when it comes to analytical auditing research, Minlei is second to none in her cohort. She owns the field.'

IMI Staff Award - Linnet Kocheril (Management)

This staff member will have significantly enhanced the overall support, learning and/or engagement of students, staff and/or faculty within the Institute for Management & Innovation.

Linnet Kocheril | 2018 IMI Staff Award

Here is what the nominators had to say about Linnet:

Linnet transitioned into a new role over this past year and while it has not always been easy, he has excelled and found ways to streamline challenging processes.  He always finds ways to make things happen even when he is pressed for time, and thinks of the small details that are easily overlooked by others.

His support of his teammates is exemplary and they, in turn appreciate his help. For example, last year, when the undergrad team was without a Careers Officer, Linnet stepped in for a number of weeks. He helped with employer events, mock interviews and a number of other responsibilities, that really weren’t his to worry about, but that he took on to allow us to continue to support our students with their career goals.

While he is excellent at his job, to me, the most critical aspect to consider with this nomination is Linnet’s contribution to our community. Contributors are the first to volunteer when someone needs a hand, they are the ones who put others needs first and they always embrace new initiatives with enthusiasm. Linnet proven himself a contributor time and time again, whether it has been as a member of Connections & Conversations, creating a Dodge for the Cure team, organizing an impromptu Waffle Party for his IMI colleagues or serving on the United Way Campaign Committee where they more than met their fundraising goals.

Linnet is motivated by something bigger than himself, it shows in all that he does and he is a reminder to all of us that giving is so much better than receiving.

Linnet has been professional and quite reliable whenever I needed support. On various occasions he stopped what he was doing and helped me with administrative support (i.e. ranging from TA support to ordering case study material). He's organized and maintains composure which is impressive at such a young age.

IMI Team Collaboration Award - Sam Dumcum & Ignacio Mongrell (ICUBE)

This team of two or more members can include any balance of faculty and staff (up to four (4) members). They will have collaboratively introduced and implemented a new program, product, or initiative that has significantly enhanced the overall support, learning and/or engagement of students, staff and/or faculty within the Institute for Management & Innovation.

Sam Dumcum & Ignacio Mongrell | 2018 IMI Team Collaboration Award

Here is what the nominators had to say about Sam & Ignacio:

Sam and Ignacio have successfully combined their knowledge from previous experiences in the entrepreneurship and startup world to provide support to the ICUBE teams. Having had different paths and experiences in their startups, they have turned those differences into strengths to provide a more holistic approach and support to their teams and ICUBE as a whole.

The dynamic duo of Sam and Ignacio have brought the term ""collaboration"" to new heights at IMI working with most of the IMI programs and student body.  Below is a brief highlight reel!

  • 2017 – F I V E  ICUBE Startups received over $500K in external funding - including a startup from MScSM
  • 2018 – ICUBE introduces four new CCR for undergrad - Aspiring Entrepreneur / Biz Ops / Startup Consultant / Startup Superstar - including a PAID work place experience opportunity.
  • 2018 – ICUBE is awarded LEAF grant
  • 2017 / 18 – ICUBE reaches over 2,000 undergrad students via class visits
  • 2017 & 18 – ICUBE leads 20 hours of Entrepreneurship Training with GLDP (Sam & Ignacio lead workshop sessions)
  • ICUBE lead 2 classes in Management and 1 in MMI
  • ICUBE presents at UTM’s BioTech Investment Club
  • ICUBE introduces 2 new ROP’s (2017/18) Works with 17 Undergrad classes
  • 2017 / 18 – PITCH event grew by over 50% each year!
  • Social media and web hits are over twice as high as 2016
  • IMI 400 had a revamped ICUBE focus
  • New Entrepreneurship Certificate stream associated with PSDP

While these are just highlights, we’ve seen what a team of one can do at ICUBE. Seeing this team of two reach this level of growth, in less than a year is inspiring. The ways that Ignacio and Sam are learning to balance and leverage each other’s strengths and we will see ICUBE continue to grow in the future and are an excellent example of IMI’s collaboration and teamwork.