University of Toronto

Innis Alumni & Friends

Matthew Boulos

Class of 2005 – Innis

Matthew BoulosĀ studied Computer Science, Peace & Conflict Studies and International Relations at the University of Toronto before completing a fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a law degree at Harvard. Though the business world called him, Boulos continued to stay deeply involved as a mentor with his church youth group in Scarborough, where the idea for Teen Legal Helpline came about. Read the full story here.

To learn more about the Teen Legal Helpline, click here.

In a few words, please outline your career path.

After law school I began my career with the management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. I also worked for RBC Capital Markets before committing full time to building Teen Legal Helpline, the organization I now lead.

What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?

Integrity cannot be taken for granted. It requires constant care and attention, as well as making the occasional difficult choice. In return, you draw the benefit of being trusted and the confidence that you have done right by the people you have had the fortune of working with, for, or against.

What is the Teen Legal Helpline? How does one access it?

Teen Legal Helpline is on an online service that gives teens free and confidential legal advice. Any Ontario teen can get help by visiting

What are some of the challenges you faced when developing the Teen Legal Helpline?

Like many young organizations, we have had to work with less funding than we would have liked. While challenging at times, it has forced us to be resourceful and to draw heavily on the contributions of volunteers (individuals, organizations, and corporations). This in turn has led to some of our richest relationships and has given us the capacity to expand the service with greater ambition than we had imagined.

What are you next steps with this important initiative?

We are laying the foundation for long-term growth. This means systemizing processes and continuing to build our volunteer team. At the same time, we are building on what we have learned over the past few years in order to find clever new ways of reaching and serving teens.

What is your favourite memory from your time spent at Innis College?

On especially cold mornings, after a long commute from my home in Scarborough, I would tuck into the basement to grab a bagel and coffee. Innis was always my home base, and the warm feeling of that breakfast would get me going for the day.

Do you have any advice you would like to share with current Innis students?

Do the difficult things. We live in a world awash with challenges and opportunities, and unless we rise to them, they will go unmet. A common pattern I have observed among the most effective people I know is that they have not shied away from doing what needed to be done in order to succeed. Sometimes that means it will take longer to achieve a goal or cost that much more in effort. The tradeoff, though, is the chance to do something that matters.

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