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Guelph-Humber alumni awarded for their success in media and business

Two outstanding University of Guelph-Humber alumni were recently recognized for their success and contributions since graduating. 

The accolades, given to Dilshan Jayasinghe and Naomi Leanage are awarded to alumni who exemplify leadership and success and give back to the Guelph-Humber community. Leanage and Jayasinghe were recognized at an alumni event held at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation.

Naomi Leanage, who graduated from media and communication studies in 2014, received the Alumni Award of Achievement for her success on the social media platform Tik Tok. Her work has resonated with an ever-growing audience to the tune of more than 500,000 followers and 23 million likes. She is a self-employed full-time content creator and her reach has touched the South Asian community, something she is very proud of.

“The reason that motivates me is that I honestly never had someone who looked like me growing up. We had Mindy Kaling and that was about it. To be that representation for younger girls who never saw someone that looked like them in the media-that is why I do what I do,” Leanage said. 

Leanage, who attended the event with her parents, credited the Guelph-Humber media and communications program with giving her the skills to succeed.

“All the skills I learned in the media studies program got me to where I am right now. I learned how to do videography, I learned how to take photographs, social media.., I don’t think I would have gotten to this point or be able to create the quality that I do without my education,” Leanage explained.

Her audience increased during the pandemic something she figures came because of people wanting to have an outlet during a hard time.

“A lot of my content was comedy-based and relatable,” Leanage said.

Dilshan Jayasinghe, who graduated from the business program in 2019, received the Distinguished Alum award, given to a graduate who has achieved distinction in their field and whose integrity and ability has inspired alumni. 

Jayasinghe, in three short years has made his mark at EY, already being elevated to a senior accountant position that he currently holds today. 

While he was at Guelph-Humber, he was as active in extra-curriculars as he was with his studies, holding roles such as President of the Guelph-Humber Accounting Council as well as being a Senior Student Transition and Resource Team (START) leader.

Despite his work ethic and success at EY, Jayasinghe has not been a stranger on campus. In fact, he has served as a panelist at student and alumni networking events, been a guest speaker at many events and classes and has volunteered at Guelph-Humber future alumni events. Those are but a few ways he continues to be a part of the Guelph-Humber alumni community.

Jayasinghe said part of what he loved at Guelph-Humber was that it was a small community, so he was able to know students from each year and different programs which made him comfortable. He continues to be involved because of the impact his time here had on him.

“Guelph-Humber really changed my life for the better,” Jayasinghe said. “I have made my best friends here, learned skills, gained confidence through my extracurriculars,” Jayasinghe said, adding that participating in case competitions while he studied prepared him for his career. 

“Since starting at EY I’m still involved in case competitions virtually and in person. I have judged 19 case competitions with four more coming up in the next month,” Jayasinghe said.

He added that the opportunities to participate in extra curricular activities while studying really helped him juggle his career as well as volunteer work today.