Nonprofit Driven 2022: Speakers

Erin Kang (they/them, she/her)


Erin is a facilitator, storyteller, and dreamer living in Tkaronto. For over a decade, Erin has been examining the relationship between people, place, and power through her studies, profession, and creative projects. She is the founder of Stories of Ours, a grassroots project which aims to deepen community, invite solidarity, and challenge dominant narratives through intentional acts of storytelling and art. As a convener at heart, they thrive in spaces of community-building and mutuality. Erin’s work lies at the intersections of anti-oppressive pedagogy, community collaborations, and creative arts.

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Tamer Ibrahim (he/him)


Tamer Ibrahim is the Director, Granting at the Definity Insurance Foundation: a newly established public grant-making entity, that will work in partnership with others, especially Indigenous, Black, racialized and other equity deserving groups, to tackle the systemic roots of inequality across Canada. Prior to joining Definity, Tamer was the Youth Collective Impact Program Manager at the Laidlaw Foundation. Tamer was also the Community Development Manager at UforChange, where he helped develop the organization’s fundraising strategy, writing grants and managing the organization’s special projects with some of its incredible partners like Google Canada, Artscape and the Inspirit Foundation. In his spare time, Tamer is the Chair of the Board at For Youth Initiative.

Brock Warner (he/him)

Brock Warner, CFRE is a recognized leader in the nonprofit sector and author of the bestselling From The Ground Up: Digital Fundraising for Nonprofits. He has raised millions of dollars, and developed successful campaigns, partnerships, and sector innovations, and co-founded Broccoli in 2021. Brock is a sought-after presenter throughout North America, and is the professor of Integrated Marketing for Nonprofits at Humber College Business School’s Fundraising Management postgraduate program in Toronto.

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Cindy Wagman (she/her)

Cindy Wagman is the President and Founder of The Good Partnership, a values-driven, social-justice informed consultancy that is working to unlock the potential of small nonprofits through fundraising. Cindy became a Certified Fundraising Executive in 2009 and received her MBA from the Rotman School at the University of Toronto in 2013. Cindy has presented for AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals), CanadaHelps, CharityVillage, Bloomerang, Keela, and Fundraising Everywhere. She is the host of the top-rated The Small Nonprofit podcast, and best-selling author of Raise It! The Reluctant Fundraiser’s Guide to Raising Money Without Selling Your Soul.

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Dr. Notisha Massaquoi (she/her)

Dr. Notisha Massaquoi has been an advocate for advancements in Black community healthcare for over 30 years. She holds a BA in Psychology from Western University an MSW and PhD in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto. Her early career established several organizations which serve Black communities in Canada, including Africans in Partnership Against AIDS and Taibu Community Health Centre. She designed the programs and served for two decades as the Executive Director of Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre in Toronto – the only Community Health Centre in North America, which provides specialized primary healthcare for Black and racialized women. She has consulted globally for the United Nations Social Development Council, WHO and UNAIDS on racism and its impact on workforces. She is considered one of Canada’s leading experts in developing equity responsive organizations and evidence-based programs. She has served on numerous committees to address systemic anti-Black racism in Canada. She most recently co-chaired the Anti-Racism Advisory Panel of the Toronto Police Services Board and was responsible for producing the first mandatory race-based data collection policy for a police service in Canada. She has also served as a Board trustee for many organizations to ensure equity is at the forefront of governance in Canadian institutions such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Notisha is currently an Assistant Professor with the Department of Health and Society at the University of Toronto, Scarborough.

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Liane Zafiropoulos (she/her)

Liane is currently doing a PhD in Canadian and Indigenous Studies at Trent University. As an elementary school teacher, she has been seeking ways to encourage students to actively connect with their natural environment by incorporating Indigenous pedagogy into daily teaching practice. Her research involves using arts-based methodologies to encourage students to be more engaged in climate justice.

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Benjamin Miller (he/him)

Benjamin (he/him) comes to ONN from the Government of Canada and Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) where he focused on nonprofit and charity law and policy. Over the past 4 years at CLEO, Benjamin has answered hundreds of nonprofit law questions and developed an online interactive bylaw builder for the ONCA. In 2018, Benjamin served as a Summer Research Fellow at ONN researching the topic of transfer payment agreement modernization. His first book on long-term strategic communications “The 100-Year PR Plan: A Guide for advocates” was published in January 2021 by Civil Sector Press. His other writings on topics ranging from dark money to campus clubs have appeared in publications such as The Philanthropist, Policy Options, University Affairs, Canadian Lawyer, Slaw, and the Globe & Mail. Benjamin holds a JD and MPP from the University of Toronto and an MA in political theory from the University of Ottawa.

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Hana Shafi

Hana Shafi (she/her)

Hana Shafi (she/her) is an illustrator and writer based in Toronto. She’s known for her weekly affirmation series of over 175 illustrations to give people moments of solace and understanding in their days. She is the author of It Begins with the Body and was listed by CBC as one of the Best Poetry Books of 2018. Her second book, Small, Broke and Kind of Dirty came out in September of 2020. Her work explores themes such as feminism, body politics, racism, and pop culture.

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Olivia Chow (she/her)

For over thirty years, Olivia Chow has been an effective and well-known public figure, serving in Toronto’s municipal politics and on the national stage as a Canadian Member of Parliament. In 2015, Olivia Chow established the Institute for Change Leaders ( at Toronto Metropolitan (Ryerson) University. Since then, Olivia and her team of 40+ trainers have taught community and political organizing to over 10,000 organizers. Olivia Chow has thirteen years of teaching experience and two certificates from Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education. She is the author of the best selling memoir “My Journey.”

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Medhat Mahdy (he/him)

Medhat Mahdy is the President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto and President of YMCA Ontario. He is driven to help the Y promote equity and boost well-being across the GTA, because he believes we owe every individual the opportunity to shine.

Medhat has an extensive background in charitable sector leadership and has been involved with the YMCA for over 40 years as a member, volunteer, donor, and leader. He holds a Bachelor Degree from the University of Toronto and has received several designations from York University, McGill University, Harvard University, and Queen’s University. Currently, Medhat is Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). 

An immigrant who was welcomed to Canada by the YMCA as a young man, Medhat lives in Toronto with his wife and is a father and grandfather. He is a classical music fan and tennis lover who started working at the YMCA of Greater Toronto in his early twenties as a part-time tennis coach.

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Rabia Khedr (she/her)

Rabia is dedicated to equity and justice for persons with disabilities, women and diverse communities. Rabia most recently served as a Board member of Accessibility Standards Canada and the Minister’s Disability Advisory Group and previously served as a Commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She is the National Director of Disability Without Poverty and CEO of DEEN Support Services. A founder of Race and Disability Canada, she is also a board member of the Muslim Council of Peel and a board member of the Federation of Muslim Women. A motivational speaker and a documentary commentator, Rabia has campaigned in municipal elections to serve as a city councilor in Mississauga. Rabia has received numerous awards for her humanitarian services, including a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Rabia holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Toronto) and a Master of Arts (York University).

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Katie Gibson (she/her)

Katie is a lawyer by training and an activist at heart. She’s passionate about using entrepreneurial tools for social impact. Currently, Katie leads strategy and partnerships at the CIO Strategy Council, a nonprofit focused on Canada’s digital transformation. In this role, she cofounded the Canadian Centre for Nonprofit Digital Resilience. She also leads work on sustainable IT and responsible AI. You may also have crossed paths with Katie in her previous roles as general counsel in a national youth charity, as director of Social Enterprise for the Ontario government, or in her work at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing.

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Kadon Douglas (she/her)

With a reverence for artists and griots coupled with a deep commitment to equity and decolonization, Kadon Douglas finds her joy in supporting creative talent in building thriving careers. The inaugural executive director of Toronto-based nonprofit movement, BIPOC TV & FILM spends her days advocating for systems change in the screen media industry, addressing barriers to career entry and advancement for racialized and Indigenous creatives, and disrupting colonial and discriminatory practices in the nonprofit sector and creative industries. 

She is a 2019 Ontario Nonprofit Network RBC Leading the Future fellow. Kadon is also an active member of the screen-based media community, volunteering her time on various advisory committees and juries.

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Fae Johnstone (she/her, they/them)

Fae Johnstone is executive director and co-owner of Wisdom2Action (W2A) and based on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin territory in Ottawa, Ontario. She is an experienced community engagement expert, diversity and inclusion consultant, and project manager. Over her past two years working with W2A, Fae has led local, provincial, and national initiatives focused on 2SLGBTQ+ community health and wellness, youth mental health, meaningful community engagement, and gender-based violence.

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Tanya Sinclair (she/her)

Tanya Sinclair is a community-focused People Operations leader working in the tech sector providing strategy, advocacy, and policy development advice with a focus on well-being, diversity, and inclusion. Tanya holds the Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) designation along with the Distinguished HR Professional (DHRP) award of distinction. Tanya is an active community volunteer and has served on several Boards and advisory committees. Tanya has a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Royal Roads University in B.C. Tanya is currently the Director, People & Culture at Leap Tools. In 2020, she founded a not-for-profit network called Black Human Resources Professionals of Canada through her desire to directly discover, connect and empower all Black HR professionals. Tanya’s leadership philosophy is lead, learn, laugh. 

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Daniele Zanotti (he/him)

With his 20+ years of experience in the public and non-profit sectors, Daniele Zanotti’s work is guided by one core value — to work in and with community across all sectors to fight local poverty.  Under his leadership since 2016, United Way Greater Toronto is the largest United Way in the world and largest funder of social services outside of government. Daniele holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and sits on advisory committees and boards across the region.

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Linda Mollenhauer (she/her)

Linda Mollenhauer is Chair of Ignite NPS, a foundation committed to igniting new ways of working in the nonprofit sector. She is currently Co-Lead of Reimagining Governance, in collaboration with the Ontario Nonprofit Network. Linda led a consulting practice for over 20 years working with funders and non-profit organizations. In collaboration with others, she has published resources, such as Trends and Forces Reshaping Nonprofit Organizations; Board Oversight of Not-for-Profit Collaboration (CPA); Benchmarks of Excellence for the Voluntary Sector; A Framework for Success for Nonprofit Federations; and Collaboration Coach. Prior to her consulting practice, she was CEO of Imagine Canada. She has a Masters degree in Communications from Boston University.

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Fahima Karim (she/her)

Fahima Karim joined Alterna in 2017 after graduating with a degree in financial services. She originally learned about Alterna’s community impact during her time providing financial literacy seminars through the student group and Alterna collaborator Enactus. Through working closely with community based organizations, Fahima is now able to serve over 3,600 sector members in banking. In Fahima’s words, “I have the opportunity through my role as the Account Manager, NFP and Affordable Housing to be an advocate for not-for-profits, co-operatives, and affordable housing providers in the banking sector. I believe in communication and collaboration to help our communities discover the good in banking™ through Alterna.”

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Victoria King (she/her)

Victoria is the Senior Business Consultant at Riipen; a company with the mission of eliminating graduate unemployment by providing students with real world work experience through connecting with businesses and nonprofits. Victoria’s expertise lies in connecting with industry partners and helping them identify how they can elevate their business to the next level and accomplish their goals by working with students through Riipen. Victoria is a graduate from the Dalhousie University Rowe School of Business and her own experience with experiential learning while in school fueled her passion for ed-tech and has allowed her to spend each day with Riipen helping to provide students those same invaluable experiences while providing businesses & non-profits with an incredible resource.

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Maryam Pandi (she/her)

Maryam Pandi (she/her) is the Executive Director at Sexual Assault Centre Kingston. She is passionate about social justice and grounds her work in intersectional feminism and Anti-Oppression/Anti-Racism values. In her daily work, Maryam engages in community building through a gender equity lens and works towards creating a future free of discrimination and violence.

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Abdul Nakua

Abdul Nakua has broad experience in the technology and nonprofit sectors, with a professional career that spans over 20 years of technical leadership in technology organizations including start-ups, as well as executive experience in the Non-profit sector. He is serving with the Muslim Association of Canada as part of the Executive Team with a broad portfolio that includes operations, community engagement, branding, and philanthropy and donor relations.  He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in 2013, in recognition of his contributions to community leadership. He served as a Member of the Champions Council for the Mental Health in the Workplace with CivicAction. He currently serves on the board of directors for Ontario Nonprofit Network. Abdul is a member of the Sector Equitable Recovery Collective.

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Sibel Cicek (she/her)

Sibel Cicek is Director of Government Relations with the YMCA of Greater Toronto where she leads public policy and advocacy for YMCAs across Ontario.

As an advocate working to improve the social determinants of health, Sibel has contributed to provincial, national and international policy reform while working with organizations such as Right To Play International, Children’s Mental Health Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Education. Her interest in public policy was sparked early on while working as a community development practitioner in underserved areas of India with World Literacy Canada.  

Sibel is proud to volunteer with Fora, a gender empowerment organization building a pipeline of young women leaders, as a Steering Committee member and mentor.

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Camille Gooden (she/her)

Camille is a Public Policy and Government Relations Consultant. She has practiced law in Jamaica and Ontario and has worked with the Ontario provincial government. During almost a decade at Queen’s Park she worked as a Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor to various cabinet ministers and honed her skills in public policy development, stakeholder and government relations.

An avid volunteer, Camille has been a member of various Citizen Advisory Committees in the Town of Ajax and is currently a member of the board of directors of Prosper Canada.

Camille is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and in 2019 completed the Wharton’s Advanced Management Program, University of Pennsylvania.

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Carole Monture (she/her)

Carole is Kanienkehá:ka (Mohawk) Wolf Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River territory. After pursuing a degree in Indigenous Studies from McMaster University, she has been working for Indigenous Climate Action as the Climate Leadership Coordinator where she works alongside Indigenous people and communities as they explore the root causes of climate change and center Indigenous rights as a primary solution to the climate crisis.

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Maureen Fair (she/her)

Maureen is Executive Director of West Neighbourhood House, a multi-service neighbourhood centre in west Toronto. Her professional experience includes program design and management, community development, public policy development and advocacy strategies on issues such as income security, income inequality, and neighbourhood change. Maureen has been actively involved in ONN’s funding reform steering committee and forum.  She has a B.A. from Princeton University and a Master of Science in Planning from University of Toronto.

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Chiyi Tam (she/her)

Chiyi is an urban planner and anti-gentrification organizer raised in Vancouver, on unceded Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) lands and waters, in the translation between places and culture.

She now practices in Tkaronto, lands governed by the Dish With One Spoon Treaty and Two Row Wampum. Chiyi is currently the executive director of the Kensington Market Community Land Trust. She is also a member of the Toronto Chinatown CLT working group, which is also exploring community ownership as an anti-displacement strategy for racial & economic justice in Toronto’s Chinatowns.

She frequently consults with groups regarding social enterprise legislation, governance and cooperative strategies. She aims to reciprocate knowledge into community.

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Sarah Leeson-Klym (she/her)

Sarah Leeson-Klym is Director of Regional & Strategic Initiatives for the Canadian CED Network. This part of the network’s strategy brings members and partners together to work at the local level or on focused practices or emerging trends. Sarah’s role is to support these initiatives by convening groups of leaders, providing administrative or funder management support to member-led projects and local hubs, representing the network at relevant tables and being an information and relationship connector across the network. Previously, she worked in Manitoba to convene Canadian CED Network members, advocate to local governments to support the sector, and host learning events or programs to build strength and knowledge in the field. She’s also a board member with the Social Enterprise Council of Canada.

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Tyler Boyce (he/him)

Tyler Boyce (he/him) is a nationally recognized human rights activist and the Executive Director of the Enchanté Network – Canada’s largest network of 2SLGBTQI+ organizations. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law where he teaches Deconstruction of Racism in the Law and, in 2022, he was recognized as one of Future of Good’s 30 Young Impact Leaders To Watch. His leadership is grounded in Black Queer Feminist Thought, Queer Theory and a commitment to bridging the worlds of research, public policy, and social justice.

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Garima Talwar Kapoor (she/her)

Garima Talwar Kapoor is the Director of Policy and Research with Maytree. Maytree is a charitable organization dedicated to advancing solutions to poverty in Canada through a human rights-based approach. Prior to joining Maytree, Garima spent several years with the Ontario Public Service. Garima holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University, and is currently also pursuing her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Toronto.

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Ryan-Collins-Swartz (he/him)

Ryan is dedicated to building inclusive financial systems that engage the transformative power of community.  As the Co-Executive Director of Tapestry, he supports organizations across Canada to raise investment to bring their dream projects to life. Tapestry has raised over $100 million in Community Bonds for projects in renewable energy, affordable housing, education, and other social infrastructure. His professional journey has focused on the intersections between social enterprise, real estate, and community engagement. Ryan and the Tapestry Team were recently awarded as winners of CMHC’s Housing Supply Challenge to grow Community Bonds in Canada’s affordable housing sector. He is a Board Member at Saintlo (formerly Hosteling International Canada) and an advisor to the University of Toronto’s Infrastructure Institute. Ryan holds an HBA from the Ivey Business School & Rotterdam School of Management.

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Kim Patel (she/her)

Kim Patel has been in the employment field for two decades supporting job seekers in a variety of programs in many roles including Resource Counsellor, Job Developer and Coordinator. Currently she is the Vice President of Employment and Training Services at The Neighbourhood Group, a multi-service community-based agency in Toronto. Kim is a Toronto Sector Skills Academy Fellow, a First Work Board Member and is active in many employment service networks throughout the city.

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Liban Abokor (he/him)

Liban Abokor is a non-profit executive with over 15 years of experience in developing high-impact initiatives in education, employment, healthcare, housing, and social service. He is presently the Managing Director of Reimagine LABS, a social innovation lab that assists social and public sector organizations evolve their strategic goals into well-designed programs. He is also a co-author of the report Unfunded: Black Communities Overlooked by Canadian Philanthropy, which highlighted the inequitable funding of Black communities by Canada’s philanthropic sector, as well as the co-founder of the Foundation for Black Communities, Canada’s first-ever philanthropic foundation dedicated to supporting Black-led, serving, and focused non-profits and charities. He presently serves on the boards of the Samara Centre for Democracy and the Foundation for Black Communities. Liban is also a Fellow at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.

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John Beebe (he/him)

John Beebe leads the Democratic Engagement Exchange, serves as Advisor to the Dean of Arts on Democratic Engagement, and an Adjunct Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University. He is a long-time educator, seasoned community activist, street photographer and senior political advisor who founded the Democratic Engagement Exchange in the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University in 2017. His democratic outreach and engagement programs include the award-winning Vote PopUp and Democracy Talks initiatives. John’s political career includes work on campaigns in both Canada and the U.S., including a U.S. Senate and presidential campaign.  He served as Chief of Staff to a U.S. Congressperson and was actively engaged in a successful campaign to publicly finance state elections.

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Mark Beckles (he/him)

Mark has over 25 years’ experience in financial services, Mark has executive leadership experiences in banking, insurance, risk management and non-profit leadership. Mark leads the strategic execution of RBC’s Social Impact portfolios including RBC Future Launch, RBC Tech for Nature and RBC Emerging Artists. Mark also leads stakeholder relations to cultivate and maintain key relationships across Canada including policy makers, partners and stakeholders to advance RBC’s community investment priorities. Mark holds an MBA in International Business from the University of Bradford and has completed executive programs with Richard Ivey School of Business and holds the Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D).

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Alicia McGuire (she/her)

Alicia McGuire (she/her), PCP, is the Payroll Manager at Young Associates, which specializes in delivering financial services to nonprofits and charities. Alicia holds the Payroll Compliance Practitioner designation from the National Payroll Institute, and has managed payrolls in an array of corporate settings for more than 15 years. Since joining Young Associates in 2017, she has built a team providing comprehensive payroll services helping organizations deliver timely and accurate pays via reliable cloud-based platforms, while managing government remittances, benefit and pension plans, and special payments, and complying with the many federal and provincial laws governing payroll. Alicia is also available to consult on matters ranging from payroll policies and procedures to benefits administration to CRA audits. When not reconciling complex payrolls or evaluating thorny compliance questions, Alicia enjoys family life in beautiful Elmira.
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Jackie Brown (she/her)

Jackie Brown is a researcher, journalist, and advocate passionate about economic justice and forms of community organization. She studies political economy and financialization, with a focus on seniors housing and the dangers of commodifying care.

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Shane Camastro (they/them)

Shane Camastro (BA, BEd, MSW) is an Anishinaabe-Métis Two-Spirit and trans educator, artist, and researcher from Tkaronto, Dish with One Spoon Territory. Shane has been teaching and facilitating conversations around space building and cultural safety for over 10 years. They have worked in the fields of sexual health and reproductive rights, land-based education, front line peer support and crisis intervention, community-based arts facilitation, and grassroots community development. Currently, Shane works as a Researcher with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) supporting community-driven research and evaluation grounded in Indigenous methodologies and principles.

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Jo Anne Tacorda (she/her)

Jo Anne Tacorda is a Program Manager at the Ontario Trillium Foundation. OTF’s mission is to build healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ontario by investing in community-based initiatives and strengthening the impact of Ontario’s non-profit sector. In her role, Jo Anne conducts outreach, assesses applications, supports OTF’s volunteers, and monitors grants. Jo Anne holds a Master of Arts Degree in Adult Education, Community Development and Environmental Studies.

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Floydeen Charles-Fridal (she/her)

Floydeen Charles-Fridal is a change agent who, for the last 35 years, has demonstrated her commitment towards improving the lives of others through her work in the community. Floydeen’s years of working with non-profit organizations has resulted in the development of social and health services programs, strategic business and operational planning, program implementation and operations. In her role as Program Director at Rexdale Community Health Centre, Floydeen facilitated a think tank to address the issues of violence in Rexdale (Jamestown). She is one of the two first African-Canadians certified by the National Organization of Victims Assistance as a crisis response trainer. With the Black Health Alliance, Floydeen was the brainchild behind the community-based research study entitled “How Scarborough’s Black Youth Access the Health Care System”. Floydeen was a founding member of TAIBU Community Health Centre the first of its kind in Canada, which would become a centre of excellence in community health serving Black communities that is. Also, Leaside High School established the Farley Flex & Floydeen Charles-Fridal Scholarship for students who exemplify a sense of community, worked empathy and leadership in raising awareness in areas of equity and diversity.

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Shweta Arya (she/her)

Shweta Arya is an Associate Portfolio Manager at OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension plans, where she leads the design and implementation of the fund’s climate strategy. She has a background in private and public sector consulting with a focus on impact investing and economic development. She has previously worked at the World Bank and Bank of America and holds an MBA from The Wharton School and an MPA in International Development from Harvard Kennedy School.

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Jason White (he/him)

Jason White is a Senior Public Affairs Advisor at OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest defined pension plans. At OPTrust, Jason leads outreach and employer engagement for OPTrust Select, the ONN-recommended pension plan for Ontario’s nonprofit sector. Prior to joining OPTrust, Jason spent close to a decade working in Ontario politics.

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Benny Min (he/him)

Benny Min has been working at the Ontario Trillium Foundation for the past 15 years, and is passionate about using his role as Program Manager to advance OTF’s mission of building healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Benny is an avid learner and community builder who lives and works on the traditional and treaty territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

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Alexandra Whiteduck

Alexandra Whiteduck (she/her)

Alexandra Whiteduck is an Indigenous woman from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. She currently studies at the University of Ottawa to achieve an Honours Bachelor of Science Double Major Biology and English. She is the Project Manager/Director for Project Nibi. Her degree and volunteer work help her advocate in her job as Jr. Policy Analyst at the Assembly of First Nations in the Infrastructure and Water sector, to enable inclusive policy to help First Nations communities get access to safe and clean drinking water.

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MJ Sinha

Mritunjay (MJ) Sinha (he/him)

A social entrepreneur-operator and an investor, Mritunjay (MJ) helped build a multi-million-dollar micro-loan portfolio in rural India and helped create a co-operative that served over 200 entrepreneurs. For the last few years MJ has worked in impact and responsible investing. Through his bootstrapped advisory firm, he has helped deploy over C$400M through private-market impact investing, and another C$500M through responsible investment strategies for several family offices, foundations, and financial institutions. 

MJ is the Treasurer for Computers for Success Canada; a Board Director for The Helderleigh Foundation, Philanthropic Foundations Canada, and Tapestry Capital; and sits on the Impact Investment Committee for the Laidlaw Foundation; the Investment Advisory Committee for the Foundation for Black Communities; and the Investment Committee for the MakeWay Foundation Canada. 

MJ’s passion for social change is complemented by his experience in Capital Markets, Corporate Strategy, and Global Health, and his degrees in Computer Engineering and M.B.A.

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Laura Severinac (she/her)

Laura Severinac is passionate about creating opportunities for transformative work to unfold. She is a dynamic facilitator, coach, and community organizer who loves creating experiences that are challenging, empowering, reflective, inclusive and friendly. She draws from over 2 decades of experience working on the ground for campaigning organizations, 6+ years as a leadership coach, certification in Conflict Management and Mediation and extensive experience in campaigning, advocacy and process design for purpose-driven individuals and organizations. Laura works part-time with Righting Relations Canada as their Central Hub Coordinator (Ontario and Quebec) and is a Project Manager with Bloom Consulting.

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Andrew Parkin

Andrew Parkin is the Executive Director of the Environics Institute for Survey Research, a not-for-profit agency created in 2006 to conduct in-depth public opinion and social research on the issues shaping Canada’s future. Prior to joining the Institute, Andrew served as the Director of the Mowat Centre and Associate Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (2017-19), Director General of the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) (2010-14), Associate Executive Director and Director of Research and Program Development at the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (2004-10), and Co-Director of the Centre for Research and Information on Canada (2000-04). He has also worked as an independent public policy analyst and consultant, providing strategic advice, issue analysis, and policy research to a variety of national and international clients in the areas of education and skills development, social and economic policy, and public opinion research.

Andrew has convened, informed, and led national and international discussions on a wide range of public policy issues and acted as an authoritative public spokesperson on education, federalism, and the Canadian political community in both official languages. A political sociologist by background, he completed his post-doctorate at Dalhousie University, his Ph.D. at the University of Bradford (U.K.), and his B.A. (Honours) at Queen’s University. He has received several academic honours, including a Commonwealth Scholarship and a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship, and has authored or co-authored numerous publications on Canadian public policy.

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Elamin Abdelmahmoud (he/him)

Elamin Abdelmahmoud is a culture writer for BuzzFeed News and host of CBC’s pop culture show Pop Chat and the author of the national bestselling memoir Son of Elsewhere. He was a founding co-host of the CBC Politics podcast Party Lines, and he is a contributor to The National’s At Issue panel. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Globe and Mail, and others. When he gets a chance, he writes bad tweets.

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Akosua Alagaratnam (she/her)

Akosua is the Executive Director of First Work. Prior to joining the organization, Akosua worked as a senior public affairs professional. During her tenure with the Provincial Minister of Children and Youth Services, and as a senior policy advisor with the Provincial Minister of Finance, Akosua effectively advised on policy and legislation spanning a diverse portfolio, including labour, children and youth services, community and social services, correctional services, and Indigenous relations. With over 10 years of experience in public and government affairs, Akosua is an established driver of effective policy-making and community engagement.

Akosua currently sits on the board of the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training, MabelleArts, and GoodWill Amity.

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Rudy Ruttimann (she/her)

A passionate leader and advocate in education and community arts practices for all. Strategic, results-driven executive with proven ability to create new organizations, spearhead change, and conceptualize and achieve innovative and sustainable initiatives. A strong aptitude for addressing diversity. A compassionate manager with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, dedicated to fostering a working environment that encourages collaboration and optimizes team performance. Twenty plus years of experience and proven ability to realize a vision and provoke long lasting transformation. Recent projects involving Social Financing have been catalytic to sharing the experience of the NFP sector and Community Investment opportunities! It
is a critical space to be involved in to see systems, language, and capacity building across sectors!

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Ally Crockford (she/her)

For over 10 years, Ally has been working with organizations across industries and continents. A passionate social justice educator, communicator, activist, and advocate, she is always looking to tell stories, engage communities, and facilitate change.

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Sean Campbell (he/him)

Sean works as the Executive Director of Union Co-operative, is working to buy residential & commercial properties in Waterloo Region for permanent affordability through community ownership. He is the Principal of Scaled Purpose, a management consultancy for non-profits, charities, and co-operatives. Sean is an instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Treasurer at the construction company Fourth Pig Worker Co-operative.
Sean holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo. Sean is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Waterloo where he researches the governance and financial strategies of community organizations. Sean was a 2021 Bertram Scholar, a research award provided by the Institute of Corporate Director’s Canadian Foundation for Governance Research.
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Shana Hillman (she/her)

Shana Hillman is an arts manager with over 20 years’ experience in community outreach, evaluation, government relations and program development. She joined East End Arts in early 2017 with the goal to take it from an incubated project overseen by the Toronto Arts Foundation, to an independent not-for-profit organization.

Her past career highlights include management roles with Kaeja d’Dance, inDANCE, YWCA Toronto, Creative Trust, and Toronto Dance Theatre.

In 2017, Shana was selected to join Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab, a leadership development program for arts professionals who have demonstrated the potential to drive change in the sector.

Shana is inspired by the power of the arts to heighten quality of life and revitalize buildings and neighbourhoods.

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Robin Lawson

Robin Lawson (she/her) is a queer designer and consultant based in Tiohti:áke/Montreal. A graduate of Acadia University with a background in sustainability and community development, she is a passionate conservationist and proponent for meaningful youth engagement across the Nonprofit sector. Robin channels these passions into her volunteer work as a Director at the Lawson Foundation and board member of the Canadian Committee for IUCN.

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Carly Gasparini (she/her)

Carly Gasparini is the Managing Director of Community Builders in Sudbury Ontario. Community Builders
is a social enterprise construction training program that trains individuals with barriers to employment in
construction skills, while teaching vital employment skills and removing the barriers that have prevented
them from being successful in the private market. She was also the Executive Director of a Community
Renewal Organization and an Immigrant Settlement Services agency. Carly believes strongly in
harnessing the effective business practices that make the private sector profitable and employing them
to create sustainability in the non-profit sector.

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Maddie Carr (she/her)

Maddie Carr is a passionate environmental leader who grew up exploring nature from her home in rural New Brunswick. What she saw and learned about the environment as a child inspired her to pursue a combined degree in Interdisciplinary Leadership and Environmental Studies from the University of New Brunswick. While a student, Maddie worked every summer for environmental education and Indigenous non-profits in her community. Upon graduating, she began managing a food security non-profit called Market Greens. As a recent Lawson Foundation fellow, Maddie is also in the early stages of launching an inclusive, eco-tourism-based organization dedicated to restoring, celebrating, and protecting areas of natural and cultural significance. Maddie’s varied background has taught her why and how environmental action can be incorporated into any non-profit organization.

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Headshot of Debbie Douglas

Debbie Douglas

Debbie Douglas is the Executive Director of OCASI -the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
Through her work in the NGO sector and particularly at OCASI, Ms. Douglas has highlighted issues of
equity and inclusion including race, gender and sexual orientation within the immigration system and
promoted the creation of safe, welcoming spaces within the settlement and integration sector.

A well-known face in Ontario and across the country, Ms. Douglas is often called upon by governments
to share her expertise. Ms.Douglas is a member of the Immigration and Refugee Advisory Committee of
Legal Aid Ontario and the federal government’s National Settlement & Integration Council. She co-chairs the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Leadership Table and was appointed as a member of the provinces
roundtable on Violence Against Women, and co-chaired the provincial Anti-Black Racism subcommittee.
She is also currently on the Toronto Community Housing Corporation Board of Directors, and was most
recently was appointed to the Stephen Lewis Foundation Board of Directors.

She has been the recipient of several awards including the Women of Distinction from YWCA Toronto
(2004); the Amino Malko award from the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (2008) and the Urban
Alliance on Race Relations Anti-Racism Award (2014).

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Elder Blu

Laureen Blu Waters (they/them)

Laureen (Blu) Waters: Istchii Nikamoon: Earth Song, Wolf clan. Cree/Metis/Micmac, Blu is a member of the Metis Nation of Ontario.

Blu’s family is from Big River Saskatchewan, Star Blanket Reserve and Bra’dor Lake, Eskasoni First Nations, Cape Breton Nova Scotia, and the Red River. Blu grew up with their grandmother and learned about traditional medicines, learning healing methods, and care for the sick. Their grandmother also shared her knowledge of the great teachings.

Blu is currently working at Seneca College as an Elder on campus providing traditional teachings and one-to-one counseling. Blu spent 2.5 years working for the National Inquiry for Murdered and Missing Women as a Grandmother to Commissioner Brian Eyelfson and sits on the Grandmother Circle.

Blu sits on the Thunder Women Healing Lodge as a Director of the Board. Blu also sits as the Ontario representative for Metis people with 2 Spirits In Motion Board. Blu also provides ceremony, teaching, and counseling for 2 Spirit People of the First Nations, in Toronto. Blu was also the national caucus representative for the Toronto Urban Aboriginal strategies for five years working with the community of Toronto and the government. They are also a graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology receiving their business software micro-computer architecture and A+ certification.

Blu’s gifts include: Traditional teachings, giving traditional spirit names, hand drumming, songwriter, creative writings, and full moon conductor. Pipe ceremonies and sweat lodge ceremonies and traditional counseling. Blu is a 2 spirit person, a mother of 3, a grandmother of 3, a sun dancer, and a pipe carrier.

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