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Headshot of Matthew Cimone, wearing black half-framed glasses, a light collared shirt and a black and grey patterned tie

Matthew Cimone

“It is amazing to me the encouragement we get from those we are ostensibly trying to help”

Recent experiences
I’ve been working with Stephen Tracy (below) to establish Esther’s Echo (, an organization inspired by a teacher I met in Sierra Leone whose all-girls school had been destroyed.

To ensure that her students would find work, Esther founded The Women in Action centre, which trains 40 girls a year in business. Stephen and I want to assist such projects by profiling them online and enabling them to connect with supporters from all over the world.

A meaningful event
At a leadership conference, I met a Grade 8 student who began asking me questions about my hopes and dreams. I told her that I once imagined being an astronaut, but that my eyesight wasn’t good enough. At the end of the conference, I got a note from her saying, “Even if you don’t make it to space, I know you will be among the stars.” It is amazing to me the encouragement we get from those we are ostensibly trying to help.

Are you doing now what you thought you’d be doing when you attended U of T?
No! I certainly never imagined starting a development organization or studying the ways we can engage youth in the international development process.

What has winning the Gordon Cressy Award meant to you?
Although earning my degree was the institutional “thumbs up,” the Cressy was the added, “We’re proud of you!”

See full list of Cressy Award winner interviews

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