From the stages of Broadway to the trophy treasure trove at the Hockey Hall of Fame, Sheridan’s nominees for this year’s Premier’s Awards represent a wide spectrum of success. Sheridan has nominated six accomplished graduates for the 2016 accolades, which recognize the outstanding social and economic contributions of Ontario’s college graduates. Since 1992, the awards have recognized one winner in each of six categories, and Sheridan alumni – including children’s author Jon Klassen and actress Tina Maddigan – have taken home the prize 15 times. This year’s winners will be announced on Nov. 21 at a gala in Toronto.
Sheridan’s 2016 nominees are:
Camille Eanga-Selenge, Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance (2012)
Camille Eanga-Selenge is the nominee in the recent graduate category. She made her debut in The Book of Mormon, one of Broadway’s most acclaimed and successful musicals, just one year after graduating from the Music Theatre Performance program in 2012. A talented dancer, singer and actress, Camille has already built an impressive career in musical theatre, with more than 13 performance credits. These include Canadian productions of RENT, Hairspray, and the touring and Broadway companies of The Book of Mormon, where she plays the challenging role of female swing and understudy for the lead actress in the musical. She says Sheridan’s world class instructors and the excellent students around her gave her the work ethic, professionalism and drive that have allowed her to succeed on Broadway. “Watching the students around me, especially the ones who were so advanced, it pushed me to work hard and become the best version of myself.”
Charmaine Hammond, Correctional Worker (1985)
Charmaine Hammond is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, expert in conflict resolution and mediation, and a social entrepreneur. She is the nominee in the community services category. Since graduating from the Correctional Worker program in 1985, she’s learned that the conflicts that happen behind bars aren’t too different from ones that bubble up in boardrooms. “People often disagree on a human level – our environment is just one aspect,” she says. Today, as President of Hammond International Inc. she helps organizations resolve conflict and build leadership skills. She also leads Team Toby, a philanthropic initiative inspired by her rescue dog, Toby. When Hammond learned Toby suffered from separation anxiety, she realized he needed a job to stay calm. She began volunteering with him to offer pet therapy in mental health settings. Then she and Toby drove across North America in an RV on the Million Acts of Kindness and Paws Across Canada tours, delivering workshops to students on the importance of being accepting, kind and respectful. Toby’s adventures also inspired her to write books featuring him, including On Toby’s Terms, and Toby Says be a Buddy, Not a Bully. She says Toby’s adventures appeal to people because “they have a way of connecting people through the heart.”
Michael Hicks, Computer Science Technology (2001)
Michael Hicks represents Sheridan in the technology category. Hicks has been a driving force in turning Intelex Technologies from a small Canadian company to a global leader in cloud-based environmental, health, safety and quality management software. As chief technology officer, Hicks led the design and development of the software platform and application builder upon which all the company’s products are based. “This is a great industry to be in now,” he says. “We have an admirable mission at Intelex, which is to make the world a better place. Our products help companies improve the quality of their products, reduce their impact on the environment and improve the safety of their employees.” Beyond the technology, Hicks also plays an important role in other areas of Intelex’s success. In his nomination, Intelex president and CEO Mark Jaine called Hicks’s leadership and communication skills integral to the company’s achievements. “Mike has set the tone here in terms of strategy, innovation and corporate culture,” Jaine says. “A huge amount of our success rests on his shoulders.”
Kent Monkman, Illustration (1986)
One of Canada’s pre-eminent contemporary artists, Kent Monkman is nominated in the creative arts and design category. Monkman is renowned for his paintings, films, installations and performances which recast historical depictions of First Nations people in provocative and humorous ways. “Humour disarms people. They are then open to receiving other messages that are more serious,” he says. “I didn’t want to create just a pretty picture hanging on a wall. I wanted to deal with themes that I felt were important – how First Nations people have been portrayed in terms of art history, the impact of colonialism and the church.” Of Cree descent, he is an important voice highlighting the darker aspects of colonialism, and has influenced both aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities. Monkman’s work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collections of galleries and museums across North America, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Smithsonian. In 2017, Monkman will open a massive, multi-installation exhibit in Toronto to mark Canada’s 150th birthday. A reflection of Canada’s history from a First Nations perspective, the exhibit will tour across the country for two years.
Gloria Peckham, Animal Care (1995)
As a head instructor for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, Gloria Peckham has earned the nomination in the health sciences category. Her work gives Canadians with disabilities a new lease on life. After completing Sheridan’s animal care program, she began her career in the Dog Guides’ breeding facility in 1996 and became a key player in the expansion of the organization’s programs from three to six. She developed the Seizure Response Dog Guide and Diabetic Alert Dog Guide programs, the first of their kind in Canada. These specially trained dogs offer their handlers independence, safety and mobility. In some cases, the animals save lives. Since their inception, the programs have provided dogs for nearly 200 Canadians. “The most rewarding aspect of this work is watching our teams succeed in the real world once they bring the dog guide to its new home,” she says. “These dogs allow people to enjoy independence they never had before.”
Phil Pritchard, Business Accounting (1984)
A graduate of both Sheridan and Durham College, Phil Pritchard is a joint nominee from the two schools in the business category. Before he became widely known as the “Keeper of the Stanley Cup,” Pritchard earned an accounting diploma from Sheridan. Today, he collects, preserves, and promotes hockey’s most prized possessions, including jerseys, books, equipment and photographs as the Vice-President, Resource Centre, and Curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He also spends 160 days per year travelling with hockey’s top prize, the Stanley Cup trophy, to bring it closer to fans the world over. He’s been everywhere from a hot tub in Finland to small towns in Ontario, along with trips to the White House and to visit Lord Stanley’s great- grandson in the United Kingdom. His goal is to bring the Stanley Cup to each of the 75 countries around the world where hockey is played. In his premier’s award nomination, one colleague described him as “one of the best people I’ve worked with at the league for over 25 years.”
Pictured at top of page (from top left, clockwise): Camille Eanga-Selenge, Charmaine Hammond, Michael Hicks, Phil Pritchard, Gloria Peckham, Kent Monkman
Written by: Jill Scarrow, Editor of Ovation in Sheridan’s Alumni Department