Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #21, Ratna Omidvar
21 In June, three months before Alan Kurdi’s death woke the world up to the Syrian refugee crisis, Omidvar called upon the connections she’s collected through an array of prestigious positions—founding executive director of Ryerson’s Global Diversity Exchange, president of the anti-poverty organization Maytree, advisor to the provincial Liberals—to launch Lifeline Syria. Within four months, 220 groups had each raised upwards of $12,000 for the refugee-sponsorship initiative. Omidvar, one of the city’s staunchest champions of diversity, also lobbied every level of government, helping to shape their responses to the crisis.
Side Gig: DiverseCity OnBoard, a Toronto-based corporate program run through Omidvar’s Global Diversity Exchange, launched chapters in six more Canadian cities this year.