photo: Elizabeth McIsaac

Elizabeth McIsaac


Elizabeth is leading Maytree’s work to advance economic and social rights in Canada. She is a dedicated builder and champion for the non-profit sector, with extensive experience in research, teaching, and direct service. Elizabeth has a deep history with Maytree; she previously served as its Director of Policy and was the executive director of one of Maytree’s signature ideas: the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Before returning to Maytree in 2014, Elizabeth established and led Mowat NFP at the Mowat Centre, University of Toronto, where she conducted and directed research on the challenges facing the non-profit sector. Elizabeth currently serves as the Chair of Making the Shift: A Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab at York University, and as the Chair of the City of Toronto’s Housing Rights Advisory Committee.

photo: Sarah Craig

Sarah Craig

Communications and Design Specialist

Sarah implements Maytree’s visual identity across all print and online products. She worked for Roots of Empathy and Ideas that Matter before taking on her current role at Maytree. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design and holds a BFA from York University. Sarah’s private illustration work has been published in Spacing and Reader’s Digest Canada.

photo: Yukon Damov

Yukon Damov

Communications Officer

Yukon supports all aspects of Maytree’s communications operations, including writing newsletter and landing page copy, editing reports, and managing social media. Most recently, he was a freelance content writer. Previously, he worked in communications for a non-profit in Germany, wrote a community newsletter for a Toronto housing co-op, and edited a university newspaper. He holds an MA (European and Russian Affairs) and a BA Hons. (English Literature, History) from the University of Toronto.

photo: Sam DiBellonia

Sam DiBellonia

Policy Manager

Sam shapes Maytree’s policy and research strategy around the right to housing. Her work focuses on affordable housing, tenant protections, and poverty reduction. Before joining Maytree, Sam worked in the Ontario Public Service focusing on income security policy and in the financial services sector focusing on human rights reporting. Sam holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Toronto and an honours bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Western Ontario.

Tina Edan

Lead, Maytree Policy School

Tina leads the Maytree Policy School. Her previous work has focused on ideas, networks and communications for issue-driven organizations such as the United Way Toronto & York Region and the Coalition for Gun Control. Tina holds an MA in communications from Concordia University and serves on the national board of Word on the Street. She has published her own poetry in several anthologies, including TOK: Writing the New Toronto and Generations: A Journal of Ideas and Images.

no photo available

Violeta Li

Executive Assistant

Violeta provides administrative support to the president and management team. Before joining Maytree, she worked and volunteered with many community organizations, including Skills for Change and the Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples. Violeta trained as an executive assistant at Escuela Superior de Educación Profesional Maria Rosario Araoz Pinto in Lima, Peru.

photo: Bonnie Mah

Bonnie Mah

Lead, Strategic Narrative

Bonnie leads Maytree’s work to change the narrative of human rights and poverty in Canada. Her previous research, policy, communications, and service work at Maytree, OCASI, University of Toronto Scarborough, and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) focused on immigrants and international students. Bonnie holds an MA in immigration and settlement studies from Toronto Metropolitan University.

photo: Markus Stadelmann-Elder

Markus Stadelmann-Elder

Director of Communications

Markus oversees all aspects of Maytree’s communications strategy, including media relations. He has led communications teams in a wide variety organizations, including a German community newspaper, Variety Village and Lavalife, one of Toronto’s largest online dating services. Markus holds a licentiate degree from the University of Zurich and an MA in English literature from the University of Toronto. Please direct media inquiries to Markus at 416-271-5654 or mselder[at]

photo: Mohy Tabbara

Mohy-Dean Tabbara

Senior Policy Advisor

Mohy leads Maytree’s income security policy file. His work uses a human rights lens to focus on reducing the rate and depth of poverty and transforming Canada’s social safety net. He co-authors the Welfare in Canada report, and authors the Social Assistance Summaries report. Before joining Maytree, Mohy was a Researcher at the Institute for Research on Public Policy where he worked on several policy issues, including income security, criminal justice reform, and institution building. Mohy holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto and an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from McGill University.

photo: Effie Vlachoyannacos

Effie Vlachoyannacos

Director, Community Investment and Engagement

Effie (she/her) leads Maytree’s grants program and engagement work to build participation in, and the development of, civic processes that include the voices of people with lived experience of poverty. Effie has spent over 15 years working with resident and tenant leaders, and communities across Toronto’s inner suburbs in systems change work that has resulted in progressive changes in affordable housing, public transit and community economic development. She holds a BA and a BSW from York University.

photo: Katarina Vukobratovic

Katarina Vukobratovic

Lead, Learning and Network Engagement

A long-time staff member at Maytree working on a broad range of programs, Katarina enjoys connecting people, ideas, and opportunities. In her current role she manages the programming, logistics, and communications for Five Good Ideas, Maytree’s long-standing capacity-building program for non-profits, and coordinates the Maytree McMillan Pro-Bono Program. She also works on expanding the Maytree network’s capacity by ensuring its access to learning opportunities. Before joining Maytree, she worked as a translator/interpreter and taught English language and literature. Katarina holds a MA in teaching English language and literature from the University of Belgrade.

photo: Alexi White

Alexi White

Director of Systems Change

Alexi leads Maytree’s efforts to change social systems so that they respect, protect, and fulfill everyone’s economic and social rights. He brings experience in the intersection of human rights and public policy from his previous role leading the policy team at B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. He has also held multiple policy positions in the Ontario government, culminating in the role of Director of Policy to the Minister of Education. Alexi holds a master in public policy degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Queen’s University.  

photo: Alan Broadbent

Alan Broadbent


Alan Broadbent is Chairman and Founder of Maytree, and Chairman and CEO of Avana Capital Corporation. He co-founded and chaired the Caledon Institute of Social Policy (1992-2017) and the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement (2004-2019), and was a Director and Chair of Sustainalytics Holdings B.V. (2009-2020). Alan chairs the Institute on Municipal Finance & Governance at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, and is also Chair of the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation, Chair of the Common Good Retirement Savings Initiative Steering Committee, Senior Fellow, former Chair and Member of the Governing Board of Massey College, and Member of the Order of Canada and recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Alan is the author of Urban Nation: Why We Need to Give Power Back to the Cities to Make Canada Strong; and You’re It (with Franca Gucciardi); and co-editor of Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success. Alan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) in 2009, and from Queen’s University in 2015.

photo: Matt Broadbent

Matt Broadbent


Matt is a Principal and Co-Founder of ACS Group, a socially responsible investment research and fund management company, and co-leads Alder Capital, an investment firm financing private companies with positive social or environmental mandates. His previous experience includes working as an economist specializing in tax and benefit policy with the Ontario government, before entering the investment industry where he has worked across asset classes. Matt is the Vice-Chair of All Saints Church Homes, an affordable housing provider in Toronto. He holds an Economics degree from McMaster University and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Victoria.

photo: Judy Broadbent

Judy Broadbent


A professional social worker by training, Judy Broadbent has led the creation of a number of initiatives including the Maytree Scholarship Program for protected persons, which she directed for nearly two decades. Throughout her professional career she has specialized in working with adolescents in distress. In 1975, when the Toronto Child Psychotherapy Program first began, she was in the first group of students. Since then she has worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH – formerly the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry) and Jewish Family and Child Services. She also developed an aftercare program at Opportunity House for youth and spent several years as a supervisor of a group residential treatment home at Youthdale Treatment Centres as well as working in the family therapy department. Judy’s commitment to community and serving the needs of refugee students was recognized by FCJ Refugee Centre through an award presented at their twentieth anniversary Refugee Forum.

photo: Sam Broadbent

Sam Broadbent


Sam Broadbent is the Chief Executive Officer of Advantage Capital Strategies Group, a fund manager in the Responsible Investment industry. He also serves as an Exempt Market Dealer for the firm. He has over 15 years of finance experience in both the public and private sector. Sam began his career in the Government of British Columbia, working in a range of Ministries, including several years at the Ministry of Finance. After departing the government, Sam has spent close to a decade working in private sector investment management, with experience in public and private markets. Sam serves on several Boards, including Fresh City Farms and Maytree, with past Board service including St. Jude’s Community Homes and the Open Democracy Project. Sam holds the Chartered Professional Accountant (CMA, CPA) designation and the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation.

photo: Dan Burns

Daniel Burns


Daniel Burns has been on the Board of Maytree since its founding. He served as a Deputy Minster at Queen’s Park for ten years at the Ministries of Housing, Municipal Affairs, Economic Development, and Health. Before that he worked at Toronto City Hall for 16 years in the Department of Planning and as Commissioner of Housing. During those years he served on a variety of public and community agency boards including the Ontario Realty Corporation, the Waterfront Trust, and United Way Toronto. Since retiring in 2002, Dan has worked as a consultant in public policy and public administration. From 2012 to 2014 he served as the interim CEO of the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres. Additionally, he has served as a trustee of several organizations including Queen’s University and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), where he was Chair of the Board. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Board to the Salvation Army and a director of the Ireland Park Foundation.


photo: Jeff Szeto

Jeff Szeto

President and CFO of Avana Capital Corporation and Treasurer of Maytree

Jeff has over 15 years of extensive experience in leading, managing and growing finance functions in high-growth entrepreneurial businesses. His background has seen him working in M&A and corporate finance for top-tier financial institutions, as well as serving as CFO of rapidly growing private companies supporting many of them through scale up to exit. He was previously the Finance lead for a high growth SaaS company (Ranked one of the fastest growing companies in Canada) where he played an instrumental role in creating a scalable finance team, raising growth capital, and leading the organization to an exit to a $1 billion International Private Equity firm. Jeff currently serves as the President of Avana Capital Corporation, an organization that provides fractional CFO, and accounting services to a variety of investment holdcos, non-profits and entrepreneurial ventures.

photo: Vali Bennett

Vali Bennett

Vice President and Corporate Secretary, Avana Capital Corporation

Vali is the Vice President and Corporate Secretary at Avana Capital Corporation. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Literary Studies from the University of Toronto, and is the Corporate Secretary for a number of organizations, including The Literary Review of Canada, the Loran Scholars Foundation, and the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF).

photo: Ige Egal

Ige Egal

Ige is a public policy, stakeholder engagement, and advocacy specialist who champions collaborative, values-driven approaches to address complex challenges. He is a builder with a career spanning local grassroots activism and global multilateral consensus building initiatives. 

As a Maytree fellow, Ige will be developing an initiative aimed at driving systems change within Canada’s sports and physical activity landscape. Using a human rights-based approach, this effort will establish a national platform for collaboration to shape and realize a vision for an inclusive sports and physical activity ecosystem in Canada. This means creating opportunities where everyone can play, participate, and compete to the best of their abilities. Additionally, the initiative will emphasize promoting individuals’ health and well-being while protecting their human rights. 

Ige’s international public policy work has focused on supporting efforts to address systemic challenges in the digital economy. At the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Ige supported the work to transform the century-old global tax system to cope with digitalization. He focused on policy analysis and engaging stakeholders across government, business, civil society, and academia. Likewise, his work at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Business Advisory Council centred on creating the enabling conditions for a thriving and inclusive digital economy across the Asia-Pacific region. Collaborating closely with C-suite leaders from across the Asia-Pacific, Ige co-developed work-plans and facilitated their execution with an international team from 21 countries. He published research papers and organized events and symposia to drive public and government awareness on digital economy issues. 

Prior to working internationally, Ige was the founding executive director of the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation where he built pathways for youth in sport, education, employment, and leadership development. 

Ige serves on the Board at the MLSE LaunchPad. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Toronto and a Master’s in Public Affairs from SciencesPo, Paris. 

photo: Jennefer Laidley

Jennefer Laidley

Jennefer Laidley has focused on poverty- and income security-related advocacy and research for more than 20 years, whether supporting and learning from people living in poverty, speaking to government officials and legislative committees, or writing and publishing policy papers, advocacy resources, and public education materials.

As the researcher and lead author of Maytree’s annual Welfare in Canada report since 2020, Jennefer has contributed her deep knowledge of social assistance systems and expertise in research, data analysis, and policy advocacy to this unique and important publication. Prior to joining Maytree, she was Policy Analyst at the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC) in Toronto, where for twelve years she led policy analysis and development, strategic communications, and government, network, and media relations, focused on improving social assistance and reducing poverty in Ontario. She has also served as political staff to members of the House of Commons, the BC Legislature, and Toronto City Council, worked with non-profit service providers and networks to develop their governance and strategic planning capacity, and served on numerous non-profit boards.

As a Maytree fellow, Jennefer will focus on helping Maytree develop a strategy and materials to disseminate learning about the Welfare in Canada data set and its implications for people living in poverty, assist Maytree in its advocacy efforts with the public, government, and media, and provide advice and support to advance Maytree’s income security advocacy priorities.

Jennefer’s academic work in urban planning and development culminated in the publication of two edited collections on the development of the Toronto waterfront and urban waterfronts around the world. She currently serves on the Gabriola Local Trust Committee’s Advisory Planning Commission, leads data collection and analysis on the social determinants of health in the Gabriola Health Data Report series, and volunteers with local organizations in various capacities.

photo: Michael Mendelson

Michael Mendelson

Michael Mendelson was Senior Scholar at the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. He has previously held senior public service positions in Ontario and Manitoba: Deputy Secretary (Deputy Minister) of Cabinet Office in Ontario; Assistant Deputy Minister in Ontario’s Ministries of Finance, Community Services and Health; Secretary to Treasury Board and Deputy Minister of Social Services in Manitoba. He is currently Chair of the Board of the Environics Institute and also a trustee of two private investment companies.

Michael has published many articles on social and fiscal policy including: ‘Basic Income’ or ‘Bait and Switch’? [Caledon Institute]; The Training Wheels Are Off: A Closer Look at the Canada Job Grant with Noah Zon [Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation and the Caledon Institute]; Is Canada (still) a fiscal union? [Caledon Institute]; The UK in 2011 is not Canada in 1996 [Barrow Cadbury Foundation, London, UK]; Aboriginal Peoples and Postsecondary Education in Canada [Caledon Institute]; Financing the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans [American Association of Retired Persons, Public Policy Institute, Washington]; Measuring Child Benefits: Measuring Child Poverty [Caledon Institute]; Benefits for Children: A Four Country Study ed. with Ken Battle [Caledon Institute and the J. Rowntree Foundation].

Photo credit: Environics

photo: Tyler Meredith

Tyler Meredith

Management consultant, think tanker, and senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister, Tyler Meredith brings nearly two decades of experience at the intersection of economics, public policy, and politics.

Tyler was the lead author of the 2019 and 2021 winning election platforms of the Liberal Party of Canada, helped lead the delivery of six federal budgets and five economic statements, and contributed to the writing of multiple ministerial mandate letters during government transition.

Until his departure in late 2022, Tyler was the lead economic advisor for Justin Trudeau and two Ministers of Finance – Chrystia Freeland and Bill Morneau. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was the principal architect of the the government’s economic response, including work on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Response Benefit, and Rent Subsidy programs. From 2016-2022 his work touched nearly all aspects of the government’s social and economic agenda, from financial sector and tax policy, to the creation of the National Housing Strategy and Poverty Reduction Strategy, to the negotiation of the 2017 health accords.

At Maytree, Tyler will focus on issues related to ending chronic homelessness, supporting the development of policies that promote more inclusive and equitable labour market and income security outcomes for all Canadians, and contributing to the work of Maytree Policy School.

Before working in government, Tyler was the economic research director for the Institute for Research on Public Policy, where he oversaw and authored numerous peer reviewed publications on Canadian economic policy, income security issues and labour market dynamics. He was also previously a management consultant for nearly five years.

Photo credit: Alex Tetreault (PMO)

photo: Bruce Porter

Bruce Porter

Bruce has played a leading role in the promotion and implementation of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights in Canada and internationally. He is the Director of the Social Rights Advocacy Centre, has published many articles and book chapters, co-directed a major ten-year research project, and has been retained as a consultant by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He sat on the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 2016-2019.

Bruce was instrumental in developing federal legislation to entrench the right to housing in the National Housing Strategy Act (NHSA) (2019) and works actively with the National Right to Housing Network to ensure its implementation.

He has co-ordinated thirteen interventions by the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues at the Supreme Court of Canada and represented the claimant at the UN in Nell Toussaint v Canada, a precedent-setting case on the right to life and access to health care. He co-ordinated the successful Charter challenge to establish the rights of charities to advocate for changes to law and policy in Canada Without Poverty v Canada.

Bruce represented NGOs in negotiating the historic complaints procedure for violations of ESC rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2008. He was a founding member of ESCR-Net and sits on the Steering Committee of its Strategic Litigation Working Group.

As a Maytree Fellow, Bruce is dedicated to enhancing the capacity of marginalized communities to claim social rights and to developing an inclusive human rights practice in Canada that bridges social policy and human rights.

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Why a human rights-based approach

A human rights-based approach to poverty puts people first. Human rights principles and practices can shape our systems to prevent and eliminate poverty.

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Our approach to granting

We take a relationship-based approach to better understand the ideas and plans of groups, and strengthen connections with the people who are leading the work.

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Five Good Ideas

Five Good Ideas is a lunch-and-learn program where subject-matter experts discuss powerful and practical ideas about key issues facing non-profit organizations.

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