Robert D. Onley, J.D.
Executive Director & Co-Founder
firstname.lastname@example.org - @RobertOnley
Robert is a lawyer from Ottawa with a passion for public advocacy and Canadian foreign policy, currently working in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in Ottawa.
As a Juris Doctor graduate of the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, where he served as student body President in his graduating year, Robert has been a part of the Young Diplomats of Canada team for the past four years. Robert co-founded YDC in 2013, and served as Vice-President Operations and Vice-Chair of YDC from 2011 to 2014. Prior to this, Robert graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts Specialist Degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto. He is currently a freelance blogger for
The Huffington Post and the Times of Israel, with a variety of op-eds published around the world.
As the Executive Director and Co-Founder of YDC, Robert is charged with coordinating and overseeing all operations, furthering the organization’s mission and mandate, and communicating with external partners. Robert also serves as the Chief Legal Counsel for YDC, handling all legal affairs.
email@example.com - @jaxson
Named one of Canada's Top 20 Under 20 young leaders, Jaxson is a project coordinator at Microsoft Canada and an undergraduate student at Huron University College at Western. Jaxson co-founded and is the Chair of the Board of Student Voice Initiative, a federal non-profit which has successfully advocated for student leadership policies across the nation. Jaxson co-chairs the AstraZeneca Canada Young Health Program, a global community investment initiative which helps young Canadians in need deal with mental and physical health issues, and he co-founded The Globe and Mail Student Advisory Council, which informs and writes student-authored editorials for a national publication with a readership of more than 3.5 million. He has traveled to and conducted research in fifteen countries across four continents, including the UK, Belgium, Israel, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, and represented Canada at the United Nations in New York City as well as the G8 Youth Summit. Jaxson is a 3M National Student Fellow, an Ambassador of One Young World, and a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum.
Prior to joining the YDC Executive, Jaxson served as a delegate on the Canadian Delegation to the 2013 Y8 Summit in London, UK.
Director of Strategy & Business Development
Growing up on three continents, Liz's love for travelling began at an early age. She's now a proud citizen of Canada and resides in Toronto. Liz pursued her passions at the University of Toronto, graduating with a double major in International Relations and Political Science, and a minor in African Studies. Soon after, she started working for Free The Children, an international charity and educational partner. Liz spent the past two years travelling with Free The Children's Co-Founder Craig Kielburger, to cities across North America, furthering the organization's mission of empowering youth to be world changers. Working with educators, youth, celebrities and C-level business leaders, Liz recognizes the importance of connecting people with their passions. As Director of Strategy & Business Development at YDC, Liz is responsible for creating and implementing the organization's strategic vision and providing opportunities for Canadian companies to invest in Canada's young leaders.
Director of Communications
Olivia Labonté is passionate about economics and sustainable development. While pursuing her undergraduate studies in economics at the University of Ottawa, she was President of the Economics Student Association, a member of the Board of Politics and Economics at the University of Exeter and the Chair of the Economic Department Graduation Committee. She was the initiator of the Economic Department Mentoring Program aimed at creating partnerships between professional economists in the Ottawa region and graduating students. She also worked as a research assistant for the Index of Economic Wellbeing. In 2013, she was the "Volunteer of the Year Award" recipient at the University of Ottawa. Olivia currently lives in Montréal where she is pursuing a Masters of Business in Economics. In the past, she has worked for the Parliament of Canada, the Index of Economic Wellbeing and the International Air Transport Association Consulting department.
Olivia represented YDC as an Ambassador at the 2014 World Bank-IMF Civil Society Meetings in Washington, DC, and served YDC as a Delegate on the Canadian Delegation at the 2014 Y20 Summit in Sydney, Australia.
As Director of Communications, Olivia is responsible for managing YDC's internal and external communications, and for developing YDC's communications strategy.
Daniel is currently studying law at McGill University, where he is also a junior editor for the McGill Journal of Law and Health. In 2011, he was flown to Taipei to present his research on the challenges and opportunities facing Canada-Taiwan relations. In 2012, he was part of the Canadian delegation to the Y8/Y20 Summit in Washington D.C., and in 2013, he had the honour to intern at the Embassy of Canada in Washington D.C. Amongst other things, Daniel worked at a Montreal food bank, the International Economic Forum of the Americas, and a global engineering firm.
As Research Director, Daniel is charged with building the thought leadership component of YDC, the Young Diplomats Forum blog, and leading the research efforts on the Y20 Accountability Report, in partnership with the G20 Research Center in Toronto.
Director of Media
Mike Soragnese is an entrepreneur with a focus on media. From as far back as he can remember, Mike has been driven to perform and engage audiences. With nearly a decade of industry experience under his belt, Mike knows there is no single approach when it comes to engaging an audience and that every project is unique. He’s always looking forward to the next challenge, and always looking to make his current venture as good as it can possibly be. Mike is currently the President and Executive Producer of L.A. Studios, a film and TV studio facility which prides itself on community involvement. He is also the Creative Director and Producer for Render Media, a company focused on Video Production and Digital Media. Over the years Mike has also been involved in the production of a number of TV pilots, including “Playbook” and “Outside the Pocket” with CFL Hall of Fame quarterback Damon Allen. Most recently Mike has become the Host and Producer of “The Business Section” on Rogers TV and nominated for Young Entrepreneur Under 40, Vaughan Chamber of Commerce, Business Achievement Awards.
As Director of Media, Mike is responsible for implementing brand strategies for awareness on a larger scale in order to increase the visibility and legitimacy of the Young Diplomats of Canada's brand among the general public.
Director of External Affairs
Patrick Beatty is a Government Relations Advisor with Suncor Energy, Canada’s largest energy company. Originally from Ontario, Patrick moved to Alberta to take a Masters of Public Policy degree at the University of Calgary, which he completed last September. During his studies, Patrick was awarded the Jack and Eleanor Mintz Graduate Scholarship in Tax Policy. He has worked on many political campaigns and has served in the office of two federal parliamentarians including the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Patrick’s policy experience was tested last year when he was asked to help draft a policy platform for a major Canadian political party. He currently sits on several political boards, the Calgary Chamber’s Tax and Economic Affairs Committee, and the Canadian Chamber’s Energy and Environment Committee.
Prior to joining the YDC Executive, Patrick served as a delegate on the Canadian Delegation to the 2013 Y8 Summit in London, UK. In 2014, Patrick represented YDC as the Head Delegate to the Canadian Delegation at the OECD Forum in Paris, France.
Colin hails from Alberta, and although a mountain man at heart, has an appetite for all things international. Splitting his degree between Marketing and International Business, Colin sharpened his talents as the VP of Outgoing Exchange with AIESEC, and the President of the University of Alberta Lacrosse Club. Most recently, he represented Canada on an Economic Trade Mission to Colombia & Panama and represented Canada as the Press Secretary at the Y8 Summit in London, England.
Currently, Colin works for Sticks & Stones Communication performing marketing strategy, visual design, videography, photography, and everything else needed for the Web 2.0 generation. Working with a number of businesses, educational institutions, and not-for-profits, he has a variety of work to his name. Entrepreneurial at heart, he particularly enjoys working with start-up companies, helping them expand their business and look globally. As the Creative Director, Colin creates visual marketing content, promotional materials, and monitors what brand message is communicated. He is to credit for the new, modern and sleek YDC logo and website.