Julia St-Louis Saleh (Ivonoffski) '05, Young Alumni Award Recipient 2016

"TFS encourages you to aspire. Being surrounded by people with tremendous drive means that striving to excel becomes the norm."

Julia Ivonoffski came to TFS seeking a larger educational community. She had been attending Lycée Français Toronto, but found it too small. It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that today Julia is President and CEO of Sero Communications, a global business with teams in Toronto and Dubai, providing language communication services in dozens of languages, notably in English, French and Arabic.

When setting up her company, flexibility was high on Julia’s list. “I can manage the business from anywhere as long as I have a reliable Internet connection. I love to travel, so I travel every chance I get,” says Julia. “But the most rewarding aspect of my business is connecting and working with people around the world.”

By the time Julia was 15, she knew she wanted to run her own company. Her methodical approach toward her entrepreneurial goal included choosing jobs for skills that she would need and learning as much as possible along the way. Her first job after university, in human resources, had a translation component. “I graduated into the recession, so I had to think about what I was good at — and I was good at translation. This skill turned out to be a huge component of not only making a living, but building my business.”

Julia is thrilled to receive the TFS Young Alumni Award for 2016 and speaks fondly of her alma mater. “I have always loved languages and was inspired by many teachers; notably, my French teacher M. Pilaprat and English teacher Mr. Tucker, who always pushed me to improve my writing and communication skills.” Her participation in the Model UN Club and attending the Secondary Schools’ United Nations Symposium in Montreal are special memories for her. Julia has stayed in touch with TFS friends, and now that her home base is in Toronto, she is more involved with the TFS Alumni Association (TFSAA).

What’s next for Julia? She plans to grow the business, acquire new clients and expand services in other areas. She credits the TFS environment for inspiring her to dream big. “TFS encourages you to aspire. Being surrounded by people with tremendous drive means that striving to excel becomes the norm.”

Her advice to TFS students? “Get involved in extracurricular activities to explore potential interests and develop new skills. The connections you’ll make with like-minded individuals are invaluable.”