MPP, Scarborough-Guildwood, formerly CEO, Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
WHAT SETS HER APART
Since 2012, Mitzie has delivered 31 speeches and participated in 23 committee events
As CEO of GTCAA, lead 1,888 volunteers
Sits on the advisory board of University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation
Nadine Spencer, Chief Marketing Officer, BrandEQ, a strategic marketing and communication agency in Toronto
From Nadine Spencer
As told to Rhea Seymour
Mitzie and I grew up together and in many ways were like sisters. We’ve worked on boards and community organizations together, like Black Business and Professional Association and United Way Toronto, and I’ve watched her entire career—starting with student council president in high school.
When Mitzie’s involved in anything, the landscape changes. As Vice-President at Goodwill, she pushed for access to work for people with special needs. As CEO of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, she championed the need for public transportation across the GTA. Her ability to rally people together in a common cause makes her a game changer.
Last summer, she called me up on Canada Day to tell me she was running for office as the Liberal MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood. I immediately joined her team as the fundraising chair during the campaign.
With her plan to build a new subway in Scarborough, Mitzie’s campaign slogan was Let’s Get Moving, which was fitting because she is absolutely tireless. When you campaign, you don’t go inside houses because there’s just not enough time; you run from door to door. But not Mitzie. She went into the homes of seniors and young people and sat and let them talk. After a two-hour debate at a local church she stood in the parking lot late into the night so she could hear from every last person.
That’s what makes her a great leader: she’s an amazing listener. When someone from her community asks for help, she doesn’t say, “See my staff.” When she was Chief Administrative Officer for Toronto Community Housing, she started Tea with Mitzie. Once a month people could meet with her one-on-one. She knew that a teen or single mom might be intimidated by a corporate environment, so they’d meet at Starbucks.
The week after Mitzie got elected, my mother and her grandmother, Eva Hunter, passed away. She was an inspiring woman, a community builder and superhero to her 14 kids and 43 grandchildren. One of the things she instilled in us was the importance of hospitality. Mitzie loves bringing people together. During the campaign, Mitzie served lunches to the constituents and volunteers. Even though she has a hundred things to do every day, she makes the time to have friends and family in her condo. Sometimes it’s about 20 of us, but when Mitzie’s cooking her caramelized salmon, people will line up for it.
After she won the election, we were driving through her riding and saw two huge campaign signs. They are supposed to be removed immediately after the election. There was Mitzie in white pants, getting splinters in her hands, wrestling with these big signs to shake them out of the ground. As usual, she got the job done.