November 26th, TORONTO – The fundraising gala co-hosted by CPAC and CPAC Foundation on November 24th at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel & Suites was once again a great success.

The event hosted around 500 esteemed guests including business and community leaders, and CPAC sponsors, partners and friends. It was also supported by three levels of government and was attended by political leaders, including MP Jean Yip, Zhuang Yaodong, Acting Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, and MPPs Aris Babikian and Daisy Wai.

The highlight of the gala was the presentations of the Professional Achievement Awards (PAA) and Young Achiever’s Award (YAA). PAA was established in 2009 to recognize and celebrate outstanding accomplishments and contributions by immigrant professionals in Canada. This award is also aimed at presenting role models to inspire other immigrants to strive for success. The three recipients of the 2019 CPAC Professional Achievement Awards are Ms. Serena Chan, Partner of the IBM Financial Services sector of IBM Global Business Services in Canada, Dr. Heyu Ni, the Platform Director for Hematology, Cancer and Immunological Diseases at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, and a professor at University of Toronto, and Dr. Mingyao Liu, Director of Institute of Medical Science and a professor of Surgery, Medicine and Physiology at University of Toronto.

YAA is modeled after the established PAA and honours an outstanding young immigrant in Canada for their community or professional achievements and success locally or abroad. Clara Weng was awarded YAA this year for her contribution to Toronto’s multicultural art scene as the President of Emerging Young Artists, an organization that has been building a borderless community of and for the up-and-coming artists from diverse cultural backgrounds.

In their passionate and inspiring acceptance speeches, the award recipients shared their valuable life experiences that have made them who they are and as successful and contributing members of the community. They also reflected on how they managed to overcome the barriers that have hindered their career progression as an immigrant minority in Canada through making great efforts. One common message conveyed in all their speeches is to be grateful for the kindness of others and consider helping others as part of a meaningful life.

On top of the awards presentation ceremony, guests also enjoyed fine food and an incredible performance presented by Beatsync, an eight-piece a cappella ensemble from Toronto, combining eclectic repertoire with dynamic beats and sophisticated arrangements. Silent Auctions is another big part of the CPAC Annual Gala. The funds raised will go towards scholarships and CPAC’s employment services for the immigrant community.

CPAC and CPAC Foundation thank all the donors and sponsors of this fundraising event, particularly Presenting Sponsor TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, Diamond Sponsor CPA Ontario, and Platinum Sponsors HSBC and Investar Global Financial Group.

Serena Chan

About the Award Recipients:

Serena Chan is a Partner of the IBM Financial Services sector of IBM Global Business Services in Canada. She is the first Chinese woman to become Partner in her sector and is one of Canada’s Top 50 women in FinTech listed by the Digital Finance Institute in 2019.

As a tech leader, Serena is committed to quality and innovation and focuses on helping clients accelerate digital reinvention, from strategy and technology to incubating and scaling new skills and competencies. As a people manager, she builds strong project communities across local, nearshore and offshore resources. Serena places great importance on retaining and growing individuals and started an apprentice program to mentor senior consultants to become Associate Partners. She is also a voice for women and minorities by virtue of being the guild leader for Technical Women’s Guild at IBM. In addition, she represented IBM and performed pro bono consulting services in Mexico City for IBM Service Corps, helping implement an e-learning platform to reach thousands of students, especially troubled youth.

Serena holds 16 professional certificates, is a four-time IBM Redbook author, and has received 28 personal awards, including seven IBM Delivery Excellence awards and the highest honor in IBM, the Best of IBM award. In 2019, her project team has received an IBM Delivery and Innovation Award and is short listed for Top FinTech Project of the Year.

Dr. Heyu Ni

Dr. Heyu Ni is the Platform Director for Hematology, Cancer and Immunological Diseases at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, a Senior Scientist at the Canadian Blood Services Centre for Innovation, and a professor at University of Toronto.

He is a world leader in the fields of thrombosis and hemostasis, conditions that lead to heart attack, stroke and bleeding disorders. He has discovered and redefined the mechanisms underlying these conditions and established the first intravital microscopy thrombosis model. His discovery of fibrinogen/VWF-independent thrombosis resulted in a paradigm shift in this field. He has also established several models of autoimmune/alloimmune diseases and tumor metastasis and developed corresponding diagnostics and therapies. His discoveries have led to clinical trials in Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia and China.

Dr. Ni ranked #1 nationwide for fundamental research and #3 overall among all grant recipients from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2018. Of his numerous publications, over 40 are in high impact journals, such as Nature Medicine and Science Translational Medicine. He has been on peer review committees for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, National Institutes of Health (USA), Landsteiner Foundation for Blood Transfusion Research in Europe, and other prestigious foundations in Israel, Ireland, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and China. He has delivered 14 keynote and distinguished lectures and made presentations at 53 well-known institutions, including Harvard, MIT, Beijing Universities, Russian Academy of Sciences, Max Planck Institute, Sheba Medical Center, and INSERM.

Dr. Mingyao Liu

Dr. Mingyao Liu is an exceptional academic leader who has overcome the impossible. Despite not having an education background in North America, he became a professor at the University of Toronto, and also held a number of leadership positions, including Director of the Institute of Medical Science in the Faculty of Medicine and Associate Dean of School of Graduate Studies.

Dr. Liu is a Professor of Surgery, Medicine and Physiology and a co-founder of the Latner Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratories which is one of the leading groups in clinical practice and translational research in the field of lung transplantation worldwide. He is also the James and Mary Davie Chair in Lung Injury, Repair and Regeneration and Head of Respiratory and Critical Care Research at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Liu specializes in the study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of acute lung injury. He has identified intracellular therapeutic targets and developed a world-leading, nano-particle based drug discovery/delivery pipeline system. His lab has also discovered a novel, signal-transducting adaptor protein, XB130, and its role in cell survival, proliferation, migration and regulation of gene expression. His team is now studying the role of this protein in lung injury and repair, tumorigenesis and endocrine biology.

Dr. Liu has published over 300 peer-reviewed research articles, with exceptionally high citations of over 18,000 and an h-index of 71. He has been on numerous editorial boards, grant review committees and journal review teams. He is a recipient of a number of research awards and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Clara Weng

Clara Weng is a private banker at HSBC. She has been selected as this year’s recipient for her contribution to Toronto’s multicultural art scene as the President of Emerging Young Artists, an organization that has been building a borderless community of and for the up-and-coming artists from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Clara joined EYA in its early stage and assumed the President’s role in 2016. She has since grown the organization from 10 to 35 active volunteers, now working in six departments with weekly goals.

Clara has a strong belief and a passion for bringing positive social impact of art and culture on communities. As a volunteer at United Planet, she went to Nepal in 2017 to deliver an art-therapy program for abused youth and stayed to train new volunteers to continue this project that she had started. 

As President of EYA, she and her team have successfully obtained grants from Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils every year and produced nine signature art projects, in forms of art exhibitions, concerts and music festivals. In delivering these projects, Clara plays a pivotal role in seeking collaborations and building partnerships with local and international organizations. In total, EYA has connected over 300 young artists and showcased 89 of them from 26 nations. EYA also organizes workshops and provides a creative coding program through collaboration with first-class art institutions outside of Canada.

Clara believes that fusion is important both artistically and socially and endeavours to explore the role of art in stimulating dialogue, facilitating cross-cultural understanding and strengthening transnational community.

About CPAC

CPAC is a not-for-profit organization that has served the internationally educated professionals (IEPs) community for 27 years. Its programs help new immigrants with their credential upgrading, employment, career and leadership development, cultural integration and accessing international business opportunities. CPAC also advocates on issues important to Chinese Canadians, with the goal of achieving the full potential of a diverse and inclusive Canadian society. The organization now has over 30,000 members from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds with a wide range of professional training and skills. CPAC as a community service provider is funded in part by different levels of government to provide employment and career development programs to immigrant communities in the Greater Toronto Area.

About CPAC Foundation

The CPAC Foundation is a registered charity that raises funds to support CPAC’s employment services within the immigrant community and provide scholarships to secondary and post-secondary students. The CPAC scholarships support hardworking students who have demonstrated financial need and outstanding students who have demonstrated social responsibility and leadership as well as academic excellence. Since 2000, the CPAC Foundation has given out more than 232 scholarships and bursaries with a total value of $292,000. It has also built two schools in poverty- and disaster-stricken areas in China.

Group photo of VIPs at 2019 CPAC Annual Gala
First row from left: Peter Zhou, CPAC Board Member, Margaret Yang, CPAC Board Member and Immediate Past President, David Kuo, Head of Branch Network-Ontario, HSBC Bank Canada & Honorary Advisor of CPAC Foundation, Aris Babikian, Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt, Zhuang Yaodong, Acting Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Eric Xiao, CPAC President, Jean Yip, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Agincourt, Daisy Wai, Member of Provincial Parliament for Richmond Hill, Max Stiles, Associate Vice President, Affinity Market Group, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, presenting sponsor of 2019 CPAC Gala

Second row from left: CPAC Executive Director Andi Shi, CPAC Board Member Lawrence Yu, Lynda Xu, CPAC Foundation Trustee and 2019 Gala Co-Chair Lai-King Hum, CPAC Vice President and 2019 Gala Co-Chair Mia Wang, CPAC Executive Vice President & Treasurer Ti Wang, CPAC Board Member Bess Song, CPAC Foundation Trustee Adrian Cheung, CPAC Board Member Hugh Zhao, Howard Shen and Stan Yu
Gala Sponsors Appreciation
From left: David Kuo, Head of Branch Network-Ontario, HSBC Bank Canada, Max Stiles, Associate Vice President, Affinity Market Group, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, Eric Xiao, CPAC President, Carmen Jacques, Manager of Student Recruitment, CPA Ontario, LiyuanQi, President of Investar Global Financial Group
Group Photo of 2018 CPAC PAA and YAA recipients
From left: Mia Wang, CPAC Vice President and 2019 Gala Co-Chair, Lai-King Hum, CPAC Foundation Trustee and 2019 Gala Co-Chair, Dr. Mingyao Liu, 2019 CPAC Professional Achievement Award recipient, Clara Weng, 2019 CPAC Young Achiever’s Award recipient, Dr. Heyu Ni, 2019 CPAC Professional Achievement Award recipient, Serena Chan, 2019 CPAC Professional Achievement Award recipient, Eric Xiao, CPAC President, Ti Wang, CPAC Executive Vice President & Treasurer
The wonderful performance provided by Beatsync
Networking at Gala’s reception
CPAC Gala is also a great event for networking and shopping gifts at silent auction
Gala performers at CPAC media wall

More photos of 2019 CPAC Gala:

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