Vincent Black

She is an influencer in my books

M. J. (Maria Joao) Maciel Jorge, Associate Dean, Global & Community Engagement at York University.


Maria João Maciel Jorge

If you are reading this and you have no idea who M.J. is this article will explain the concept of an influencer. In the Portuguese community and beyond, she is an amazing individual who has accomplished a great deal within the academia world. Since immigrating to Canada from the Azores islands in 1989 she has worked within the Canadian system to get her PhD from the University of Toronto among other credentials. Her background and her perseverance to be an accomplished professor and leader within the community is something that needs to be acknowledged and celebrated as someone who is a role model and an influencer.

Professor Maria Joao is someone I have known over the past few years and in my estimation, she has karma. The way she handles herself individually and within a group setting is truly endearing and she has the human touch. M.J. and her journey is something that needs to be acknowledged and celebrated because in my opinion she can and will influence many. The story of her life is truly and amazing success story and others should use as a template for their lives. She has given back to the community through her role with the 70th anniversary committee celebrating the arrival of the Portuguese immigrants in Canada and many other organizations but becoming an associate dean at York University is the icing on the cake.

An influencer is an individual who has established credibility and a following in a specific niche or body of work. They have the power to affect the outcome of many decisions of their followers. M.J. is an influencer that you need to follow because they are truly inspiring and her brand needs to be appreciated in the Portuguese community in Toronto because she is one of those new building blocks that you need to build on.

Great leaders come from all walks of life and Maria Joao Maciel Jorge has earned the position of an influential leader.

Part 2

I would like to give you my post municipal mayoralty round up and where we are with our city today. Olivia Chow finally took as the new Mayor by riding her horse/ bike into town and definitely making a statement that the new sheriff had arrived and is preparing to do it her way. In her first day as mayor of Toronto kicked it off literally with bells and whistles as dozens of cyclists accompanied her on a ride to City Hall.

A feeling of optimism marked the crowd of supporters, who rode flower-adorned bikes, blew bubbles and blasted upbeat tunes along Bay street right down to City Hall. Congestion was a major issue in this election campaign, and most other candidates talked about doing something about it so we will see if this issue gets fixed under Olivia Chow as we have so many more critical issues that need to be addressed by the new city council under the leadership of Olivia Chow. She takes office facing strong opposition from the premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, whose brother Rob was a past mayor of the City of Toronto. 

Doug Ford had said during the election campaign that if Ms. Chow was elected it would be an “unmitigated disaster”, well she was able to pull it off and got elected. Now, the two have to put down their personal issues and work for the betterment of all Torontonians. Chow takes charge of Toronto at a time when the city of close to 3 million people, the core of a wider metropolitan area of nearly 7 million which is struggling with surging rents and a budget deficit of about 1.5 billion dollars. 

Chow is expected to be a champion for transit, but prioritizing walking and cycling – she does not have a driving license – and has promised to turn the tide on years of low-taxation promoted by her conservative predecessors. The city has struggled to advance progressive policies for its downtown core since its 1998 amalgamation with five neighboring boroughs that tend to vote for more conservative candidates. She also said that she would raise property taxes to fund investment, whatever, that may be. Being pressed during the campaign she indicated that she would raise property taxes modestly.

Although she did not receive the majority of votes, she was however, able to have the other candidates split the vote and enabled her to win the byelection to become the first ever Mayor of Toronto from a Chinese background.

Regardless, of where you are on the political spectrum, right, left or center, let’s give her a chance to succeed or fail. She won the race fair and square.

Let’s give her a chance….

Vince Nigro/MS

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