Esther Rhee, BA '05
As a Social Worker, Esther has worked with not-for-profits, helped build hundreds of programs across Canada and worked as a Clinical Therapist focusing on children and adult mental health. In her current role as the National Program Director for Autism Speaks Canada, Esther’s work focuses on building community capacity, collaboration, program development and navigation support strategies for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families across Canada.
Esther built one of the first community collaborative models in Canada, changing how communities support families impacted by autism. Esther oversees one of the largest funding programs in Canada to increase autism programs and research, which has raised over $13 million and supported hundreds of organizations.
Esther also specializes in children’s mental health and trauma. In her spare time, she supports children who have lost a parent or sibling through the Dr. Jay’s Children’s Grief Centre in Toronto.
In 2017, Esther was recognized as a Top Leading Canadian for Mental Health in Canada by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She has been published in the Journal of Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and can regularly be found at the House of Commons heightening autism awareness.
Esther is an exemplary alumna — her leadership, compassion for others, and commitment to excellence, reflect the University of Guelph’s mission to improve life.
Esther was honoured at the UGAA Awards of Excellence Gala on June 22, 2018.