Newsletter - 2023 in Review

The Start Proud Team

January 9, 2024

Happy Holidays everyone! In this second edition of the Start Proud Newsletter we will have a word from our President Mathias Memmel, key highlights from the Out On Bay Street Conference held in September, as well as, a few opportunities within Start Proud and with some of our Partners.

A Word From The President

Dear Start Proud Members,

As we come to the end of another year, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the progress we have made together. Start Proud has been dedicated to helping 2SLGBTQ+ students and young professionals find the career of their dreams, and this year has been no exception. We have continued to provide support and resources to our members, and we have seen many of you achieve great success in your careers.

This year, we hosted a number of events, including the return of our annual Out on Bay Street conference, which attracted 363 registrants from 32 cities across Canada. Our conference registrants represented a wide range of demographics, with 128 students, 49 early-career professionals, 159 partner representatives, and 27 panellists and speakers. We also had a diverse representation in terms of gender, with 44.25% identifying as men, 47.5% identifying as women, and 8.25% identifying as trans and non-binary. We look forward to growing Out on Bay Street in 2024 and reintroducing new and legacy program offerings, including our Leaders To Be Proud Of awards gala!

Despite the political challenges of 2023, we have continued to advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and we have worked to create a community where all of our members feel welcome and supported. As we look ahead to the new year, I am excited to see what we can achieve together. I am confident that we will continue to make progress in our mission of supporting 2SLGBTQ+ students and young professionals, and I look forward to seeing all of the great things that our members will accomplish in the coming year.

Thank you for your continued support of Start Proud. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season, and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.


Mathias Memmel (he/him | il/lui)

President | Président

Recent Events

Out On Bay Street Conference

The highly anticipated return of Out On Bay Street marked a significant milestone in Canada's landscape as the premier 2SLGBTQ+ student-employer engagement conference. The event unfolded in Toronto on September 15 and 16 at the Westin Harbour Castle. Organized by Start Proud and generously sponsored by various ProudPartners, this conference offered a rich tapestry of experiences, fostering networking opportunities, thought leadership, and avenues for professional development.

One of the highlights of the event was the impressive lineup of keynote speakers who graced the stage, among them Kathleen Wynne, former Premier of Ontario, James Rausch, Managing Director and Head of Global Transaction Banking at RBC, and Nikki Gershbain, the Founder & CEO of IDEA Consulting Group. Their insights and experiences contributed to the intellectual wealth of the conference, offering attendees a unique perspective on various aspects of the professional world.

Central to the Out On Bay Street experience was the Career Fair, a focal point where our ProudStudents and recruiters converged to explore employment opportunities. Beyond the traditional job fair setting, the conference encompassed a spectrum of events, from electrifying drag performances by local icons to industry-specific workshops and invigorating case competitions. The legendary gala dinner, supported by lead sponsor TD Bank, added a touch of glamour and sophistication to the overall affair.

Industry workshops emerged as dynamic hubs of interactive networking, providing attendees with a platform for informal group mentorship. Topics ranged from professional conduct to communication skills, offering practical insights that extend beyond the classroom. Students were particularly encouraged to participate in the case competition tailored to their industry, providing a unique chance to showcase their skills and connect with industry experts serving as judges.

Beyond the structured events, Out On Bay Street provided an invaluable opportunity for students to engage with and learn from accomplished professionals within the 2SLGBTQ+ community. For these professionals, the conference served as a platform to connect with emerging talent and future leaders, fostering a collaborative environment for career development and growth.

For any lingering inquiries or post-conference reflections, the organizers were readily available through the central contact point at The comprehensive and immersive nature of the Out On Bay Street conference not only underscored its significance as a catalyst for professional growth but also affirmed its status as a pivotal event within the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Canada.

Homecoming Out Social

In March, Start Proud hosted an evening of networking at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) to introduce the new Start Proud team, reconnect with current members and sponsors and welcome new mentors and students to the organization.

Check out a photo recap of the event here!

Start Pride

On June 1, Start Proud kicked off Pride Month with an unforgettable event aimed at connecting and celebrating 2SLGBTQ+ professionals. The event, held at the Black Pearl in downtown Toronto, featured performances from local drag queens Destiny Doll and Sanjina DaBish Queen, DJ Phill Lopez spinning tracks all night long, amazing food and so much more!

Hundreds of attendees joined us for the memorable event and we are so grateful for our Board of Directors, partners, volunteers and everyone else who helped start off Pride Month with a night to remember.

Check out a photo recap of the event here!  

Start Proud AGM

At our Annual General Meeting in June, Start Proud elected three new board members. Each brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the board. Brie Lacey joins us as a relationship manager at RBC, Brooke Robinson as an associate at PwC, and Albert Lam as former president of Start Proud and current Product Manager at

Volunteer Retreat

Start Proud hosted a retreat for the volunteer team at the Bennett Jones office to build community with new members, plan upcoming events and set goals for the future. The organization is excited to be moving forward with a new and revitalized group of volunteers as we begin this next chapter.

Here are a few opportunities with some of our Partners

RBC Capital Markets Pathways Diversity Award Program
TD AirTD Operations Excellence, CPB Leadership Rotational Program

Best regards,

The Start Proud Team