Meet your Committee


Get to know the Dal Lead 2021 Planning Committee!

If you have any questions for any of us, please feel free to reach out by email at

Mary Kale Telen (she/her/elle)

Networking and Social Sub-Committee Lead

Program: 4th Year, BEng in Chemical Engineering

How I got involved: I got introduced to this opportunity to be part of the committee through my role as a Peer Supporter at the International Centre, but I’m involved in many societies outside of that role as well!

Emily MacKay (she/her)

Concurrent Session Sub-Committee Lead

Program: Recreation Management

How I got involved: I got involved with the planning of the Dal Lead Conference because I wanted to be a part of a team that works to showcase inspiring student leaders. Getting involved in the planning process is also a great opportunity to work on my own leadership abilities while developing new skills and gain experience. I had a great time last year and am happy to be helping again this year!

Olivia Giansante-Torre (she/her)

Conference Co-Chair and Volunteer Sub-Committee Lead  

Program: MREM, Master of Resource and Environmental Management

How I got involved: I joined the planning committee last year for the first time and co-coordinated the volunteer sub-committee. I love my experience and being involved with the conference, and decided to join the planning committee again this year. Being involved with this conference also helps me to develop my personal skills and connect with the Dalhousie community.

Yara Ahmed (she/her)

Risk Management and World Café Sub-Committees Lead

Program: Applied Computer Science

How I got involved: I first heard about Dal Lead in my first year through an Instagram post and had decided to volunteer. I loved the idea behind the conference, and more so the fact that it empowers and brings together all the student leaders within the Dalhousie community. Also being my first volunteer experience at Dal, I got to meet so many lovely, inspiring, and like-minded people. I instantly knew I wanted to be a part of it again, but this time I decided to join the planning committee to take part in making it happen.

Ali Abdi (he/him)

Chair, Marketing and Outreach & Co-Chair Keynotes  

Program: Mechanical Engineering

How I got involved: This is the second year that I am involved with Dal Lead as a Marketing and Outreach Chair. I first got involved with Dal Lead when I was working with Student Life, which implements this program at Dalhousie University. I have enjoyed working with an amazing team my first time in this program and that's the reason why I am involved again this year.

Pierina Leon (she/her)

Accessibility Sub-Committee Lead

Program: Chemical Engineering

How I got involved: I am returning as a committee member for the 2nd year in a row, and I have to say I loved the experience the first time! I look forward to meeting other students and making connections. This year I am part of the accessibility committee - excited to collaborate with other folks and learn more about this panel!

Rigel Biscione Cruz (she/her)

Staff Support & Past Chair

Unit: Student Life

How I got involved: I got involved with Dal Lead as a student Peer Advisor through the (at the time) Career and Leadership Development Centre.

I was involved with the DalConnects program at the time, and my supervisor asked if I was interested in getting involved with the conference.

At first, I was only volunteering and assisting the committee with the marketing of the conference, but as the day of Dal Lead approached I started to get more and more involved with planning and eventually joined the Organizing Committee. Being involved in the planning was a great experience that allowed me to form meaningful connections with a lot of other students on campus. This was in 2017.

Now, as the Student Engagement Coordinator for the Student Life Department, I provide support to the students on the planning committee and assist in any way I can to bring the conference they envision to life.