Alumni make 2010 headlines

Wilfrid Laurier University’s alumni have been making waves in the news in 2010 — some for their achievements in the business world, and some for more controversial matters.

The following alumni are individuals who have put Laurier’s name in the news this year and are sure to continue making headlines in 2011.

Jeff Melanson, MBA ‘99

On Nov. 4, at Laurier’s 4th annual Alumni Awards Gala in Toronto, 36-year-old Jeff Melanson was named Laurier’s MBA Alumnus of the Year.

Melanson has been the executive director and co-CEO of Canada’s National Ballet School since 2006. Since 1998, Melanson has played an instrumental role in various artistic organizations across Canada, including Opera Ontario and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Since he began work at the National Ballet, Melanson has eliminated a significant annual deficit for the school’s operating budget and has increased annual revenue by 30 per cent.

Melanson earned his MBA in Finance, Marketing and Strategy at WLU. He holds a BA in music from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Melanson, a frequent guest lecturer in MBA programs across North America, was also named one of 2009’s Toronto Star Top 40 Under 40 in Canada and was recently appointed special advisor on arts and culture to new Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Suresh Sriskandarajah, MBA ‘09

The ongoing trial of 30-year-old Suresh Sriskandarajah is not expected to end any time soon.

The MBA graduate was arrested in 2006 after a joint FBI-RCMP investigation tracked Sriskandarajah as the leader of four alleged terrorist supporters with ties to the University of Waterloo.

Sriskandarajah was accused of buying and researching communications devices and submarine and warship design software for Tamil Tigers.

Sriskandarajah holds several degrees from UW and WLU. He earned his MBA at Laurier while free on bail and received a prestigious entrepreneurship award upon his graduation.

In December, Sriskandarajah was released from jail after his family posted the $445,000 bail.

He is facing the possibility of standing trial in New York City. Sriskandarajah is appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeal could take up to six months to be processed.

Sriskandarajah could face up to 25 years in prison.

Virginia Poly, Hon. BA ‘95

The Toronto Star named political science graduate Virginia Poly one of 2011’s People to Watch.

Poly is the head of Poly Placements, Inc., a company that recruits for different types of organizations.

Poly, 38, first entered the business world when she became the co-owner of her father’s small Guelph eatery, Dmitri’s place.

After selling the restaurant to her brother, Poly spent a decade training in the IT sector. In 2006, she started Poly Placements, Inc. from her home.

Since its inception five years ago, Poly Placements has increased its revenue by 2,500 per cent. The company, based in Toronto, currently has 50 full-time and contract staff, and Poly has plans to increase the number of staff by 50 per cent over the next year.

Poly was also listed on the Profit W100 list of top female entrepreneurs in 2010.

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