Inspiring Young Alumni: Catching up with Dominic Roszak ’02
Dominic Roszak began his St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) career as a Grade 9 student in 1997. Since graduating he has grown his career in politics while living out the school’s motto and honouring his parents' sacrifices.
Roszak’s life was deeply influenced by his parents, Jerzy and Elzbieta, Polish immigrants who worked tirelessly to support his SMCS journey.
“I am grateful to them for their support and to SMCS for the bursary assistance we received during those challenging years that made it possible for me to earn my diploma,” shares Roszak.
Since graduating from SMCS, Roszak has worked in the public sector at both the federal and provincial levels of government as a political advisor. Fresh out of university, his first introduction to political life was as a writer in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s office. Since then, he has worked for several cabinet ministers, in departments ranging from Immigration and Multiculturalism, National Defense, Government and Consumer Services, and Energy. He has also been actively involved in Canada’s Polish community and currently serves as the 1st Vice President for Canadian Affairs on the Canadian Polish Congress’ National Executive Board. He also served as an election observer with the OSCE/ODIHR in Russia in 2016, and again in Ukraine in 2019.
For over two years, Roszak has been working in the office of Ontario’s Minister of Energy, with his primary responsibility being stakeholder relations. In this role, he works with energy sector stakeholders to advance policies that are helping people and businesses in Ontario through the pandemic. As the Ministry of Energy now looks towards economic recovery, they want to ensure that Ontario’s energy system remains reliable, sustainable, and affordable.
Read on to find out more about Dominic Roszak and why he is one of our inspiring young alumni.
What stands out from your time at SMCS?
It was both a challenging and rewarding time, with lengthy daily commutes and demanding coursework. I was never an athlete, but focused on my academic pursuits, particularly enjoying Latin class, and even attempted ancient Greek in the early mornings with Mrs. Morra. After school, I enjoyed being part of the photo-video club led by Mr. Thompson and spending time in the cafeteria playing Briscola with friends.
How did SMCS prepare you for and propel you into life?
There is no question that the discipline and high academic standards at SMCS gave me the tools and confidence to succeed. Teachers like Dr. Terry Sheridan ’89 and Mr. David Fischer stand out in my mind as important influences, but I will never forget speaking to Mr. Giancarlo Mazzanti, who ultimately suggested that I consider the Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management Program at Carleton University. It is advice I am thankful for to this day.
Throughout my university career, I used the skills and lessons learned at SMCS to advance my academic and extracurricular work. This assisted me in earning an entrance scholarship to Carleton and provided me with the confidence to seek election to the Rideau River Residence Association. The excellent SMCS reputation often comes up when it is mentioned that I am an alumnus.
Do you continue to be involved with SMCS?
I have attended Turkey Rolls, made donations, bought a nostalgic yellow desk, and enjoyed reconnecting with fellow SMCS grads in the professional world. I would welcome other opportunities to reconnect with the SMCS community. Otherwise, I look forward to the 20th anniversary reunion of the Class of 2002! Hopefully, we will be able to gather in person.
How has your Catholic faith supported you?
The Catholic faith has played a central part in my formation. I remember a spiritual retreat to the Abbey of the Genesee with SMCS classmates as a particularly meaningful experience. Moreover, as a Polish-Canadian, I grew up with Saint John Paul II as ‘the Polish Pope,’ and had the privilege of witnessing the official recognition of Pope John Paul II Day by Canada’s Parliament in 2014. Catholic values, traditions, and acts of service have contributed to making me the person I am today.
How do you live out the Basilian motto of Teach me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge?
I will never forget Fr. Thomas Mohan’s ’48, CSB, OSM passionate and inspiring speeches about the importance of the SMCS motto. Goodness, discipline, and knowledge are the foundations of success in any endeavour. Throughout my career in government, I have strived to live out these values by doing my small part to make sure that policy decisions help people, and conduct myself in a way that reflects a high ethical standard. I seek to mentor others and to help people in need in the same spirit.
How do you stay connected to SMCS within your community or industry?
The Blue Banner and Alumni Association Tradition e-newsletter keep me connected and informed. I’ve also had the opportunity to reconnect with members of the SMCS community at the annual Cardinal’s Dinner, and to work with colleagues like Nick Pozhke ’02 and Jonathan Rose ’02.
How do you demonstrate through work that you are being the best for the world?
Public service is a calling and being able to serve the people of my community, province, and country with integrity is something that I value. My SMCS education played an important role in instilling and amplifying those values.
What advice would you like to share with the current SMCS students?
If you can, consider choosing a university that requires you to leave the comfort of home. I moved to Ottawa and never regretted the decision. Also, find a mentor who can support you as you pursue your career – be that a family friend, teacher, or guidance counsellor. Don’t choose your path only based on family expectations or financial goals. Study hard, take risks, be genuine, and you will succeed!
With his parents’ support, Catholic foundation, and the SMCS lessons learned, Roszak continues to strive to service Ontarians by staying true to his values.
“I have always been a big believer in being open to new opportunities and experiences. I never expected to make politics and government a career, but it has been rewarding,” says Roszak.
We are pleased to feature Dominic Roszak as a member of our inspiring young alumni. Additional young alumni are featured on the wall outside the main office. These young leaders and change-makers represent a variety of fields, industries, and professions worldwide, and lead their lives through faith, character, and service.