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Build a Dream purple hard hats from WFS Ltd.

OUR STORY

Our Story

There are still many barriers holding young women back from career opportunities in skilled trades, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), emergency response, entrepreneurship, and advancing women in society. 

This gap in industry is depriving Canadian businesses of the innovation that diversity brings.

This is why we exist.

Build a Dream is a national non-profit organization dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives to ensure equitable opportunities for EVERYONE to succeed.In short, we believe in the power of diversity and the edge of advancement it provides.

Since its inception in 2014 in Windsor, Ontario, Build a Dream has delivered programs to inspire young women; providing confidence, filling workforce skill gaps, and offering a new perspective for workforce problem-solving.

We collaborate with speakers, community leaders, and businesses to inspire female students, women and under-represented communities through virtual conferences, career discovery expos, workshops, and hands-on learning programs.

We connect industry directly to students, facilitating awareness and career exploration. By doing so, we help businesses attract, recruit and fill their talent pipeline, while also supporting them to advance their internal talent moving forward. Additionally, we focus our passion and expertise on providing resources, workshops and best practices to engage businesses, driving diversity and inclusion initiatives across all industries.

We are all in… to explore innovative paths in creating synergy and a winning workforce!

Working collaboratively, we can continue to close the workforce gender gap, and lead diversity and inclusion initiatives across Canada.

ALL IN. WE WIN.

MEET THE TEAM

Nour Hachem Fawaz

NOUR HACHEM FAWAZ

President and Founder

Nour utilizes her 13 years of experience as a workforce advisor, mentor, and influencer to inspire youth to make informed career choices that challenge the status quo. Her experiences are not just limited to the workplace. Nour watched her mother struggle and persevere as she started and grew a successful auto parts company in a male-dominated field. Through her work with other non-profits, she dreamt of the idea of Build A Dream and decided to go full force with the organization to bring it to life. She is a passionate force of nature and a workforce disruptor, challenging ideas and companies views of women in the workforce and how we can improve them. 

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Masters in Business Administration

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Pat Simone

Director of Grants and Programs

Natalie Gagné

Education & Curriculum Specialist

Natalie is an OCT certified teacher and our Education & Curriculum Specialist. She earned her Bachelor’s in Science at the University of Windsor with a focus in Chemistry and Mathematics and then went on to do her Bachelor’s in Education in pursuit of a career in the world of education. She is fluent in French and English and although her qualifications steered her in the direction of teaching science and math, she has a passion for art.

In 2020, Natalie started her own small business where she sells prints of the artwork she illustrates on her iPad. Her artwork focuses on promoting Windsor pride and reminding the community of all the great sights that the city has to offer.

Natalie is passionate about educating young minds and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion both in the classroom and in the workplace. She is an advocate for young women pursuing STEM related education and careers at the post-secondary level. From playing hockey and working in the pro shop at a local sports store to pursuing her undergraduate degree in a male dominated environment, she has never been afraid to break gender norms and she looks forward to empowering young women to do the same.

Olivia Paty

Education & Curriculum Assistant

Olivia is an OCT certified teacher and our Education & Curriculum Assistant. She completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University in Life Science. After graduation she moved to Aberdeen, Scotland for three years and worked in various education institutions which is where she found her passion for teaching.

Olivia’s goal is to empower young women to explore all pathways available to them by helping advocate and break down the many barriers they face. Olivia is excited for the opportunity to work alongside the incredible Build a Dream team to see this goal come to fruition.

Lisa Bradley

Sponsorship & Partnerships Manager

Flo Bandi

Sponsorship & Partnerships Coordinate

Flo is a bright light. Her positive attitude and eagerness to learn is incredibly contagious across team dynamics. Her willingness to lend a hand even outside her job description, simply shows her integrity and humanity in building positive relationships.

She is eager to be working at Build a Dream and help contribute to the organization’s end goal which is to diversify the workforce.

Stephanie Chan

Engagement Associate

Stephanie is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Windsor in the Business Administration program with a specialization in marketing. She is a co-operative education student for Build a Dream as the Engagement Associate and is excited to work with a great dream team for the summer. She is passionate about empowering women and working with the community. Stephanie is working towards gaining a better understanding of the social media marketing aspect of the organization.

Olivia Filipov

Projects & Events Associate

Olivia is a recent graduate from the University of Windsor, receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Media, and Film, and Visual Arts. For the past three years, she has worked as a freelance graphic designer in Windsor, Ontario. Outside of the office, Olivia sings, plays the guitar, collects records, writes non-fiction, and maintains a personal library of over 200 books.

Olivia is passionate about intersectional feminism, critical race theory, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of life. She is inspired by feminist scholars and authors such as bell hooks, Caroline Criado-Perez, Eve Babitz, Roxane Gay, Joan Didion, Judith Butler, and Peggy Orenstein. Olivia is eager to work in an environment with like-minded individuals and is looking forward to helping Build a Dream achieve their end goals.

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Gabriella Sadler

Projects & Events Associate

Gabriella is a third-year Concurrent Education student at the University of Windsor. Her experience in event planning, working with WEST (Women’s Enterprise Skills Training), and her mentorship of young women entering university earned her a spot on the Build a Dream team for the summer. Gabriella is excited about the opportunity to work at Build a Dream, and she hopes to utilize her background in education to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and further promote women entering STEM, entrepreneurship, and the skilled trades.

Delaney Krieger

BRAND AMBASSADOR:
3rd Term Carpentry Apprentice

Delaney attended Build A Dream Expos in high school where she connected with The Carpenters Union Local 494. Upon completing her secondary school education, she signed in as a Drywall, Acoustic and Lathing Applicator. Now in her third term, her job consists of a variety of different tasks from steel stud framing to drywall boarding to installing ceiling systems. Her goal is to inspire change within the industry, making it better for future generations of women pursuing the skilled trades.

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Rebecca Chenier

BRAND AMBASSADOR:
Red Seal General Machinist

Rebecca began her career in the skilled trades six years ago through a WEST (Women’s Enterprise Skills Training) and St. Clair College program for Industrial Millwright Mechanic. From there she acquired a job at Centerline as a machinist apprentice. She took on the apprenticeship as a single mom with three kids, working full time, and balancing school at night. She completed her 3 year apprenticeship, developing many skills along the way, and is now a Red Seal Machinist. Amid the pandemic she started working at the college at night as a teaching assistant for the apprenticeship programs. Although happy in her career with Centerline, when an opportunity arose to become a mechanic at Hiram Walkers, she couldn’t resist the exciting career change. She is currently transitioning into this new role, and is a master tackling big life changes. Her goal is to simply let women know these careers exist and are available to them. And to be a resource, as needed, to those just starting out or considering a career in the skilled trades.

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Chair of the Board  Frank Abbruzzese, President, AlphaKOR
TreasurerDesiree Norwegian, Owner & CEO, Atunda
Board MemberJon Azzopardi, Former Treasurer, President of Laval International
Board MemberTeresa Piruzza, Former Chair, Director of External Affairs & Public Policy at Chrysler Canada
Board MemberWalter Garrison, Economic Development
Board MemberNkechi Nwafor-Robinson, Tech/Finance/Entrepreneurship
Board MemberJustine Janssen, Human Capitol Management/Finance
Board MemberJunior Sirivar, Legal
Board MemberJelissa De Torres, Construction – Skilled Trades
Board MemberColin Toop, Construction – Skilled Trades
Board MemberEdwin Tam, Education
Board MemberJennifer Ho, Finance

OUR REACH

Dotted world map of Build A Dream's impact: Canada, USA, Haiti, India, Turkey, Brazil, UAE, Lebanon, Australia, New Zealand and UK.

Build a Dream President & Founder, Nour Hachem-Fawaz, has worked on projects around the globe, connecting youth to new opportunities. Participants in these programs often go on to continue the programs or work on initiatives where their impact also creates positive change. Build a Dream has sparked a positive feedback loop – one with the capacity to forever change the perceptions of women and youth in society.

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