September Spotlight: "An incredibly accomplished community of professionals and academics"

September 8, 2020 by Anonymous

Since its creation in 1975, the MIRHR degree has trained professionals in the latest innovations and best practices within industrial relations and human resources management. Our alumni have gone on to careers in human resources management and labour-management relations, collective bargaining and dispute resolution, organizational change and development, labour market and social policy, and more.

Over the past year, we have had the pleasure of sharing the research and careers of each our PhD alumni. We are very excited to next be turning our attention to our MIR and MIRHR graduates: this year, we will be publishing monthly alumni spotlights featuring a wide array of alumni and their experiences before, during and after the master’s program. Whether you are a current MIRHR, a member of our wonderful community of alumni, or simply curious about the program, we hope that, together, these spotlights will give you a taste of the many paths our graduates travel.

Since we can't feature every single Masters graduate in the program's 45-year history, if you or someone you know would be interested in participating, please send an email to

This month, we are kicking things off with four alumni: Maysa Hammad (MIRHR 2008), Hani Al-Dajane (MIRHR 2015), Jordan Romano (MIRHR 2015) and Behnam Nadimfard (MIRHR 2019).

Maysa Hammad is the Director of Industrial Relations at Canada Post, a Crown Corporation with over 50,000 employees, the vast majority of whom are unionized. She leads a team of 70 regional subject matter experts across Canada who are responsible for communicating and consulting with bargaining agents, managing and adjudicating grievances at arbitrations, investigating human rights matters, and representing the company at workers’ compensation appeal hearings. Throughout a 12 year career at Canada Post, Maysa has participated in multiple rounds of collective bargaining and countless labour arbitrations.

Photo of Jordan Romano
Jordan Romano, during Emerge LLP's launch celebration. Photo provided by Jordan Romano

Hani Al-Dajane and Jordan Romano are the co-founders of Emerge LLP, a new law firm in the GTA with a labour and employment arm to help employers and employees with labour and employment issues. They aim to reimagine the delivery of legal services for start-ups and small businesses.

Hani and Jordan met in the MIRHR program, which they say provided a fantastic platform to build their careers as labour and employment lawyers. Both entered the MIRHR program with the plan to pursue law and work at labour and employment firms on Bay Street. Once they achieved this goal, however, they say they found it would be difficult to challenge industry standards while working at big law firms. Hani, a year ahead of Jordan as a lawyer, made the difficult decision to leave Bay Street in 2019, with Jordan following in early 2020 to officially join Hani as a co-founder of Emerge LLP this August.

Photo of Hani Al-Dajane
Photo provided by Hani Al-Dajane

Today, the two spend their days challenging the conventional law firm structure using technology, innovative pricing models, and modern payment solutions to efficiently service start-ups and small businesses. Hani and Jordan also work to build a forward-thinking Emerge community, which challenges conventional thinking across a variety of industries and professions. They recently solidified their partnership with Scale Without Borders, an organization that helps newcomer entrepreneurs access resources to grow and scale their start-ups in Canada, and they have existing partnerships with two esteemed incubators, EDGE at Sheridan College and ICUBE at the University of Toronto, offering support to entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their business.

Behnam Nadimfard is a legal intern at Emerge, assisting Hani and Jordan with incoming clients by researching appropriate statutes, decisive precedents, and cases based on their needs. Behnam collaborates with the founding lawyers by researching and writing monthly legal insights articles in plain language on issues such as employment law, start-ups recruitment, COVID-19 and privacy issues as a vehicle to bring accessible legal information to the public.

Like Hani and Jordan, Behnam says he started the MIRHR planning to attend law school in the following year. “Having this goal in mind allowed me to be very strategic with my coursework and how I networked. I let everyone at the Center know about my intentions (applying to law school), and every single one of them helped me to the best of their capabilities; in my opinion, this the most beautiful characteristic of the Center.”

Photo of Maysa Hammad
Maysa Hammad stands in front of the CIRHR house on the U of T campus. Photo provided by Maysa Hammad

For Maysa, it was a labour economics class with Professor Frank Reid in her undergraduate studies that got her hooked on topics like the impact that individual employees can have on business outputs and the socio-economic factors that relate to employment. She wanted to continue learning, and when she enrolled in the MIRHR she was quickly drawn to labour relations and its history and laws.

Maysa says it wasn’t until she started working full-time that she understood the true value of what the Centre had given her: “Yes, it had opened doors, providing me with invaluable communication and analytical skills, and additional letters after my name on my resume. It had given me so much more – the determination to understand what really drove actions and behaviours in the employment relationship, as well as the difference between intellectual and inspirational leadership. I still refer to my notes from some of my favourite classes.”

Photo of three people in front of a flag
Behnam Nadimfard (centre) with classmates Elysca Fernandes (right) and Natalia Yutovets (left) at the International Labour Organization in Geneva during the International Developments in Labour and Human Resources
Policy class trip. Photo provided by Behnam Nadimfard

All four alumni have advice for today’s MIRHRs, who, whether new or returning, will be spending at least part of their time in the Masters program studying and connecting with the CIRHR community remotely.

Hani and Jordan encourage professionals to “get involved in community and other endeavours that benefit them on multiple different levels.”

Behnam has practical advice for those starting the program: Stay on top of all your emails and get involved with the Center as much as you can. He encourages students to talk to faculty, to librarians, to alumni and PhD students and not to shy away from asking for support. “Love this program, and I guarantee that it will love you back!”

And to students beginning the program this month, Maysa says, “You don’t know it yet, but you are a part of a large, incredibly accomplished and impressive community of professionals and academics who share a common experience with you. There are so many inspiring and influential graduates of the Centre in the IR and HR field across Canada. It is truly a remarkable alumni list – and you will soon join them!”