Heather Hines, Nader Boutros and Anuar Rodrigues

Celebrating Inclusive Excellence at UTM: U of T's Pinnacle Awards

Alexandra Gillespie

Dear colleagues,  

I’m writing to celebrate good news—and to show off a bit on UTM’s behalf.

Three colleagues in our UTM community have recently earned leadership awards from the Pinnacle Program, among U of T’s highest forms of staff recognition. Their individual accomplishments reflect a collective strength, one that shows the power of our campus in U of T’s tri-campus system: positive change for U of T often starts at UTM. This power relies on the intelligence and drive of thousands of UTM colleagues, including…  

Heather Hines, Director of the Office of the Vice-President and Principal, who earned U of T’s 2023 Chancellor’s Award as an Emerging Leader. Heather is always ready to embrace a challenge when she’s needed most. And U of T needs her a lot, including in the past two years for two emergency secondments. She continues to strengthen this community as a champion for collaboration and equity, including in her work as coordinator of UTM’s operational group against anti-Black racism. It has set a U of T-wide standard in turning anti-racist commitments into campus-specific action. 

Nader Boutros, Director of Human Resources, earned U of T’s 2023 President’s Award for Emerging Excellence. Nader sees opportunity in the face of constraint, sharing his solutions-oriented optimism in any area that he can help: from COVID-19 policy to collective bargaining. He invites everyone into UTM’s community, opening space for all our people to flourish, including through new wellness resources. Nader has built his own HR team as a model of inclusive excellence, one that embodies UTM’s commitment to openness and continuous improvement. Their positive impact on service delivery won them U of T’s HR Team of the Year Award in 2020 for Distinguished Contribution. 

Anuar Rodrigues, Executive Director of Strategy, earned U of T’s 2023 President’s Award for Distinguished Excellence. Anuar lifts this community through his example and insight, sharing his expertise to inform almost every aspect of campus life: from academic planning to student support, budget development to space allocation, project management to emergency response. He’s both visionary and pragmatic, thoughtful and relentlessly driven, including in his work to help develop and implement UTM’s first-ever Academic Plan and Strategic Framework.  

Like Heather and Nader, Anuar will qualify this praise as soon as he reads it. “We not me,” he’ll say, encouraging all at UTM to feel proud of our shared progress. And we should. These awards signal a larger recognition of the work we have all done together: UTM continues to make a difference, for this campus and beyond, and our people stand out, even at Canada’s top university.   

So, in congratulating our award-winners, I’ll also celebrate the community that helped make their recognition possible. Thanks for all that you do to make UTM shine. I’m grateful to work here with you. 

Alexandra Gillespie
Vice-President and Principal
University of Toronto Mississauga