GenNext Advocates

Get to know the current team of GenNext advocates and find out why they choose to volunteer and support our movement.

Working closely with United Way East Ontario staff, these incredible volunteers are community voices on how to stand up for the causes they care about, how to support GenNext, and how to get involved through our events and activities.

A photo of Ayah Beydoun

Ayah Beydoun (She/Her)

How would you introduce yourself to a new person at a Mix & Mingle? 

My name is Ayah, and I’m a student at the University of Ottawa studying social sciences. In my spare time, I enjoy reading suspense thriller novels, such as In the Event of My Death by Carlene Thompson. I also enjoy being well informed about the current social issues happening around the world and raising awareness on these problems. 

Why did you want to become a GenNext Advocate? 

I am interested in the GenNext Advocate program because, as an advocate, I will be able to use my voice to make an impact. Through this program, I can educate others about social issues by raising awareness and teaching them how to help. 

What’s your favourite hidden gem in our region? 

My favorite hidden gem in Ottawa is Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar. It captivates a wide-ranging mix with its warm atmosphere and its used books. It is the perfect place for university students to study while treating themselves to baked goods and beverages. 

A photo of Giancarlo Cerquozzi

Giancarlo Cerquozzi (He/Him)

How would you introduce yourself to a new person at a Mix & Mingle? 

Hi! My name is Giancarlo Cerquozzi (he/him). I am a cisgender queer professional dedicated to advancing Gender-Based Analysis Plus and 2SLGBTQ+ allyship within the federal public service.  

I enjoy cooking, watching horror movies, and thrifting for mid-century modern furniture and vintage clothing in my spare time. I have a major sweet tooth and could easily eat an entire strawberry-rhubarb pie for breakfast (yum!).  

Why did you want to become a GenNext Advocate?  

I am particularly passionate about advocating for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and advancing awareness around 2SLGBTQ+ themes such as: gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation; inclusion and representation; and intersectionality. GenNext East Ontario is addressing discrimination and lack of inclusion head on, and I am privileged to join them in their cause.   

I joined the GenNext East Ontario movement because I am passionate about supporting and connecting with my local community. It is so important for me to understand who my neighbours are and to contribute to my community’s wellbeing.  

What’s your favourite hidden gem in our region?  

Year upon year, Ottawa’s culinary scene has gotten more diverse and tastier! A few of my favourites eateries/food trucks include: AdMare Seafood, Angry Dragonz, Erling’s Variety, Genji, Town/Citizen and Union 613. I am dedicated to eating my way through the downtown core and beyond! 

A photo of Hiru Rodrigo

Hiru Rodrigo (He/Him)

How would you introduce yourself to a new person at a Mix & Mingle

Hey, I’m Hiru. I’m originally from Montreal. When I’m not working on my startup, you can find me jamming to hip hop and rap music, playing pool at the local bar, scouting for a new bubble tea and coffee shop, or going on long nature walks in the Montreal and Ottawa regions.

Why did you want to become a GenNext Advocate?  

I believe that the GenNext Advocate program is an ideal way for young professionals like me to give back to their communities. Having thoroughly enjoyed volunteering while I was in university, I wanted to continue serving my community and having a positive impact on youth-related issues. 

What’s your favourite hidden gem in our region?   

Although not the most hidden, there is nothing that feels more Canadian than skating on the Rideau Canal and eating a Beavertail topped with Nutella and a dusting of icing sugar. 

A photo of Tristan Peterson

Tristan Peterson (She/Her)

How would you introduce yourself to a new person at a Mix & Mingle

My name is Tristan and I’m finishing up my undergrad degree at uOttawa. I play varsity volleyball and have been playing volleyball for 14 years. I’m also a bartender and server part time at a few different restaurants in Ottawa. I have a passion for music, so you will almost always find me with my headphones in.   

Why did you want to become a GenNext Advocate? 

I wanted to become a GenNext Advocate because I have a shared passion for some of the United Way’s core values. I have come to realize through my political science studies that I am interested in making real change in the community. I believe real change can be made simply by individuals who care.  

I want to deepen my connections with the community, make a real difference and meet new people while developing my professional skills, such as networking, communication, organization and time management. 

What’s your favourite hidden gem in our region? 

My favourite hidden gem in the region is Brown’s Inlet Park, located in the Glebe. My favourite part about it is that it’s the community meeting place for all of the dogs in the neighbourhood. I love to go there and meet new puppies all the time.   

The GenNext Advocate program is for young philanthropists who want to help grow GenNext East Ontario, while developing their professional skills and making new connections.