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Julia Hanigsberg with The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry at the Spring Convocation - June 2014

Farmers' Market - June 2014

25 Year Club Celebration - May 2014: Julia Hanigsberg, Margie Hutchinson (inductee), Sheldon Levy and Julia Lewis

MAC Conference at the MAC - May 2014

Women in Leadership Event - October 2014: Women in Academia: Unmasking the complexities in rising to the top.

Ryerson Awards Night - March 2014: Heather Willis, co-chair of the university's Accessibility Advisory Committee, won the Alan Shepard Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award for her leadership in accessibility initiatives.

Administration & Finance Managers and Directors Welcome Back Party - January 2014

Julia Hanigsberg headshot

Every day, I am inspired by the people – students, faculty and staff – that make Ryerson the leading innovation and entrepreneurial university in Canada. It is an honour to work with such talented, passionate, and incredibly smart individuals.

One of the essential features of our Ryerson community is that we always put people first. That principle arose first in the context of planning our physical campus as outlined in our visionary Master Plan. Since then, it has spread to all facets of our organization. Now a part of Ryerson’s DNA, our people-first culture is fostering a high-engagement, diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace – where the most talented and in-demand want to learn, work, teach and conduct research.

As the Vice President, Administration and Finance, I am fortunate to have working with me a true team of leaders. This group provides solutions and advice, executes projects and delivers services that impact the university’s people, infrastructure and finances, as well as support Ryerson’s priorities. In everything we do, my colleagues and I strive to act on the core values outlined in our university’s Academic Plan.

The innovation culture my team and I are striving to nurture is essential in these times of financial belt-tightening. Indeed, given this challenging context the future well-being of Ryerson’s students, faculty and staff requires an intrapreneurial mindset that eagerly and creatively attempts to improve existing processes, invent better ways of doing things and learn from setbacks. Alongside intrapreneurship, our people-first approach to serving the Ryerson community rests on a strong belief that innovation is rooted in collaboration. And successful, outcomes-focused collaboration itself, I am convinced, pivots on the kind of integrity, empathy, transparency and the embrace of diversity for which my team is so highly respected throughout the university. 

Julia Hanigsberg was appointed Vice President, Administration and Finance, effective October 1, 2010. In this role, Julia oversees the Administration and Finance Management Group and its work in supporting Ryerson University’s priorities and developing a people-first environment for all students, faculty and staff. Notable milestones since Julia became Vice President include the opening of the Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens and the Ryerson Image Centre – part of the university’s energetic city-building commitment.

Prior to becoming Vice President, Julia served as General Counsel and Secretary of the Ryerson Board of Governors (2006-2010). During the 2008-2009 academic year, she was also the Interim Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

Before joining Ryerson in 2006, Julia worked for the Ontario government as Counsel and Special Advisor to the Secretary of Cabinet, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General and Counsel in the Policy Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General. She was Chief of Staff to the Attorney General of Ontario from 2003 to 2005. Immediately prior to her appointment to Ryerson University, Julia was Visiting Professor of Law and Government at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Julia holds a BCL and LLB from McGill's Faculty of Law (where she was Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Law Journal), and an LLM from Columbia University Law School (where she held a Fulbright fellowship and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada fellowship). Following her graduation from law school, Julia clerked for Justice Peter Cory of the Supreme Court of Canada. Julia has authored several articles and published a collection of essays (with Sara Ruddick).

Also very active in her community, Julia is a member of the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and serves on the DiverseCity Steering Committee, the Steering Committee of the Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance, theMcGill Law Journal Advisory Committee, and the Dean’s Advisory Council of the McGill University Faculty of Law.

In January 2015 Julia will take up her new role as the President and CEO of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada's largest pediatric rehabilitation hospital.

The Administration & Finance Management Group (AFMG) consists of nine non-academic units that work in partnership with colleagues across the university.  The group focuses on people, infrastructure and finance ensuring that students, faculty and staff can call Ryerson a vibrant place to learn and work.

The AFMG operates 24 hours a day. Their activities range from complex undertakings such as building the new Student Learning Centre, providing healthy, delicious and sustainable food in the cafeterias and student residences and managing the finances of the university, to everyday operations that include ensuring WIFI is up to speed, classrooms are turned over for the next group of students and the campus feels safe and welcoming.

The objective of the AFMG is to help every Ryersonian feel valued and empowered to do their work - whether it is to excel as a student, shine as top-notch researcher or win accolades as a staff member.

Here's a fun slide show that illustrates how the nine units collaborate with one another to keep Ryerson running.


Whether celebrating diversity, supporting employees throughout their careers or ensuring a safe campus for all, putting people first is at the centre of everything AFMG does.


The teams strive to ensure everyone has access to modern, efficient and reliable facilities and communication systems for learning, teaching, scholarly research and creative work. 


Handling the finances of the university, paying suppliers, independently appraising processes, running the campus store and parking services – some of the many ways AFMG supports the Ryerson community.

The Big Leadership Picture

September 30, 2014

I recently wrote an article on work-life fit (and what I call the “myth” of work-life balance) as part of the Globe and Mail’s Leadership Lab series. One of the comments on the Globe website struck me particularly.