Established in 2021, the President’s Excellence Award is part of the University of Toronto’s Pinnacle Awards Program, which recognizes exceptional contributions by administrative staff and librarians. The President’s Excellence Award complements the Chancellor’s Leadership Award.
Recipients of the President’s Excellence Award demonstrate outstanding service to the University and their role in enhancing the University experience.
There are three categories of the President’s Excellence Awards:
- Influential Excellence
- Distinguished Excellence
- Emerging Excellence
2023 Award Recipients
Senior Executive Director, Labour Relations, People Strategy, Equity & Culture
Since 2010, Alex Brat has distinguished himself as a collaborative leader in labour relations for the more than 25,000 individuals whose talents and efforts power the University of Toronto. Bringing creativity, respect, and strategic thinking to all contexts, Brat works diligently with his team, colleagues, and external advisors to arrive at solutions that support the University’s interests and the unique needs of each employee group and the diverse roles and responsibilities our employees hold.
His recent collaboration with Chief Administrative Officers, academics, and Human Resources professionals to successfully conclude a significant round of negotiations with the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998 Staff-Appointed unit exemplifies his drive to reach mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties. Moreover, Brat proved invaluable to the University’s successful negotiations with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3261 and CUPE 3902, Unit 3, demonstrating resourcefulness and skill throughout multiple rounds of bargaining.
Brat’s contributions to the University of Toronto will have a lasting impact on the quality of our institution, our workplace culture, and the lives of the faculty members, librarians, and staff who form a vital part of our tri-campus community.
Director, High Risk, Faculty Support & Mental Health, Faculty of Arts & Science, and Director, Centre for Graduate Mentorship & Supervision
At the Faculty of Arts and Science, Caroline Rabbat has navigated and case-managed a series of high-profile and high-risk matters and mitigated, responded to, and provided informal resolution to myriad of issues involving students, staff, and faculty members. At the newly created Centre for Graduate Mentorship & Supervision, Rabbat has been central in the development of the centre’s service delivery model and in all its programming and activities. She has provided conflict resolution, consulting, training, and coaching services to students and faculty members that experienced a breakdown in a context of graduate supervision. Additionally, she played a lead role in the work that formed the basis for recommendations underlying the Presidential & Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health.
During her time at the University, Rabbat has consistently demonstrated a superior client-centered and personalized approach and has taken great strides to make the University a truly caring place. She has clearly demonstrated her strong commitment to community engagement and University citizenship and contributed in significant ways to cross-University initiatives that has defined U of T now and for years to come.
Executive Director of Strategy, Office of the Vice-President and Principal, University of Toronto Mississauga
Anuar Rodrigues continually exceeds expectations, and it is rare to find an initiative at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) that he has not reviewed, provided oversight, or impacted in some way. His influence is so often behind the scenes but critical to the success of many endeavours at the campus.
Rodrigues has supported campus-wide processes to maximize its budget; improved UTM’s approach to space planning and allocation; and enhanced the capacity for effective emergency preparation and response. He has strengthened a culture of data-driven decision making and systematic project management; developed streamlined workflows for effective collaboration; and mentored colleagues with generosity and care. He embodies a level of efficiency that makes everyone step up their game, including the university’s most senior administrators, at UTM and across U of T.
Rodrigues’ impact during the pandemic emergency as a leader in our tri-campus response to COVID-19 was profound, and over the past decade at UTM he has helped to shape a campus that’s significantly better positioned for success than when he arrived. Under his leadership, the campus has continued to build academic and administrative capacities to enable UTM to flourish sustainably and be an agent of positive social change. Rodrigues has helped to coordinate the resources—budget, space, and people—to make it possible. He’s both visionary and pragmatic, thoughtful and relentlessly driven. He sets our highest standard for excellence, and then exceeds it himself.
Gloria Zangari Cuneo
Director, University Family Housing, University Operations & Real Estate Partnerships
Gloria Cuneo is a caring and responsive landlord to the University’s many rental tenants, an inspiring and engaged leader, and an advocate for student families. Despite her hectic schedule and breadth of responsibilities, she takes the time to get to know the people in her communities and on her team and makes sure that all the “little things” that others take for granted are considered.
Cuneo has been a member of the University of Toronto community for decades and is held in high esteem by her colleagues, team members, and senior leadership alike. She is a critical resource not only for advice about residential rentals but is also regularly sought out as a mentor and sounding board for matters outside of her direct responsibility.
Cuneo has demonstrated her innovative thinking time and again through continuous improvement of her facilities and operations, creation of new programs and services to support tenants, and through building relationships in the local community and across the continent to further the University’s housing development goals.
Director, Human Resources, University of Toronto Mississauga
Nader Boutros makes the complex processes of change management flow seamlessly. In his tenure, he has launched campus-wide initiatives to empower staff wellbeing and belonging across the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). From people strategy to bargaining to on-boarding or COVID-19 policy, Boutros solves challenges that are often considered unfixable, and his solutions-oriented spirit makes a difference in less overt ways, too. Boutros is committed to supporting the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion on campus for students, faculty members, librarians and staff alike. He has also been quick and eager to support student learning in the field of Human Resource Management when called upon.
Boutros steps up like this as a matter of course, not because he wants special credit but because that’s who he is—a leader who comes to work every day looking for someone to help and for some way to make U of T a better place. He has built his Human Resources Team as a model of inclusive excellence. They seek opportunities for collaboration; share best practices in equity, efficiency, and wellbeing; and run transparent processes that elevate our entire operation. They inspire confidence—as Boutros does himself—that UTM and U of T will be better tomorrow than it is today.