2021 40 Under 40 Winners

2019 40 Under 40 Logo

Denise Dias

The Terry Fox Foundation
Toronto, Ontario

Why is a 40 under 40 winner

  • Denise led the development of Terry Fox: The Power of One, a special one-hour broadcast benefit that aired nationally in Canada, featured several prominent musicians, athletes and personalities, and raised $840,000 for cancer research.
  • She has surpassed media sponsorship targets on an average annual basis of 60% by generating approximately $500,000 in gift-in-kind support from various strategic partners.
  • Denise is the author of three published children’s books including her latest, Molly & The Mastodon, with all proceeds donated to charity.

Q & A

1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?

My first job after graduating from the University of Toronto was in the healthcare practice of a global public relations firm. I was working on a variety of clients, including a few charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Using my skills to promote the International AIDS Conference or launch an educational fashion accessory for women's health gave my work a whole new sense of meaning and purpose. Since then, I've always loved working in the charitable sector or with corporate clients that have a strong social responsibility mandate.

2. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.

After spending years working in the healthcare space, I took a job at the philanthropic foundation for Canada's largest museum of art, culture and nature. Over the course of 12 years, I worked on large fundraising campaigns and events that underscored the importance of the arts on mental health, community building and education. Now that I'm back in healthcare philanthropy, it's really helped me infuse creative thinking and artistry into our fundraising strategy for cancer research.

3. What piece of advice would you give aspiring 40 Under 40 recipients?

Be your own biggest advocate and cheerleader.  

Fun Fact:

I have volunteered or consulted pro bono with various charitable arts and healthcare organizations, including Art Starts, Rethink Breast Cancer, The Canadian Cancer Society, The Stephen Lewis Foundation, and Socks 4 Souls Canada.

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