Maytree Policy School

The Maytree Policy School is designed to support policy professionals from the non-profit sector to build skills and resources to enhance their ability to influence public policy and strengthen the policy capacity of their organization. Meet the alumni and learn about their work.

Catherine Belshaw

Catherine Belshaw

Policy and Program Writer, Native Child and Family Services

Catherine Belshaw is the Program and Policy Writer at the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, a multi-service Indigenous organization striving to provide a life of quality, wellbeing, caring, and healing for children and families in Toronto’s Indigenous community.

Ekua Asabea Blair

Ekua Asabea Blair

CEO, Massey Centre

Ekua Asabea Blair is the Chief Executive Officer of the Massey Centre for Women, a client-centered infant and early childhood mental health organization providing support for pregnant and parenting adolescents and their children.

Graham Brown

Graham Brown

Policy Analyst, John Howard Society

Graham Brown is a Policy Analyst with the John Howard Society of Ontario (JHSO), a non-profit organization promoting the fair and humane treatment of all incarcerated persons and the effective integration into the community of those in conflict with the law.

Janet Butler-McPhee

Janet Butler-McPhee

Director of Communications and Advocacy, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Janet Butler-McPhee is the Director of Communications and Advocacy for the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, an organization that promotes the human rights of people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV or AIDS, in Canada and around the world.

Kat Clarke

Kat Clarke

Lead, Advocacy (GTA) and Specialist, Government Relations (Ontario), CNIB

Kat Clarke is Lead, Advocacy (GTA) for CNIB, a non-profit organization providing community-based support, knowledge, and a national voice to ensure that Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills, and opportunities to participate fully in life.

Geordie Dent

Geordie Dent

Executive Director, Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations (FMTA)

Geordie Dent is the Executive Director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations, the oldest and largest tenant federation in Canada, which advocates for better rights for tenants.

Carissa Di Gangi

Carissa Di Gangi

Senior Manager, ABC Life Literacy

Carissa Di Gangi is the Senior Manager of ABC Life Literacy Canada, a national non-profit organization that works with business, government, and communities to create and share free literacy programming for adults and families.

Judy Duncan

Judy Duncan

Executive Director, ACORN

Judy Duncan is the founder and Executive Director of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) Canada, an independent national organization of low- and moderate-income families working to effect policy change on social issues affecting members through community organizing.

Christine Durant

Christine Durant

Director, Poverty Roundtable Hastings Prince Edward

Christine Durant is the Director of the Poverty Roundtable Hastings Prince Edward, a non-profit organization created to address the causes of poverty in Hastings Prince Edward counties and broaden the community’s capacity to do so by working together.

Katie German

Katie German

Director of Programs, FoodShare Toronto

Katie German is the Director of Programs at FoodShare Toronto, a non-profit organization working with communities and schools to deliver healthy food and food education.

Maggie MacDonald

Maggie MacDonald

Manager, Advocacy and Government Relations YMCA

Maggie MacDonald is Manager, Advocacy and Government Relations for YMCA Canada, a charity that helps Canadians lead healthy lives.

Tesfai Mengesha

Tesfai Mengesha

Executive Director, Operations Success Beyond Limits

Tesfai Mengesha is Executive Director, Operations at Success Beyond Limits, an organization that supports youth in the Jane and Finch community to improve their educational outcomes.

Sara Middleton

Sara Middleton

Director, Community Impact, United Way Middlesex

Sara Middleton is Director, Community Impact at United Way Elgin Middlesex, a local United Way working to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing action.

Jessica Mustachi

Jessica Mustachi

Ontario Campaign 2000 Coordinator, Child and Family Poverty Campaign 2000

Jessica Mustachi is the Ontario Campaign 2000 Coordinator with Family Service Toronto, which works with individuals and families destabilized by precarious socio-economic circumstances and/or mental health, to achieve greater resilience and stability in more just and supportive communities.

Colette Prevost

Colette Prevost

Director, Advocacy & Communications, YWCA Toronto

Colette Prevost is the Director of Advocacy and Communications at YWCA Toronto, an organization by, for, and about women and girls. The YWCA’s programs promote equality, economic security, and lives free from violence.

Melanie Redman

Melanie Redman

President & CEO, A Way Home Canada

Melanie Redman is the co-founder and President and CEO of A Way Home Canada, a national coalition of organizations dedicated to preventing and ending youth homelessness. Melanie also leads the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness, a pan-Canadian community of practice consisting of youth serving organizations across the country.

Rekha Sadasivan

Rekha Sadasivan

Director, Strategic Initiatives, Dignitas International

Rekha Sadasivan is Director, Strategic Initiatives for Dignitas International, a Canadian medical and research organization working to innovate sustainable solutions to global health challenges and advance the right to health for marginalized and underserved communities.

Ya’el Santopinto

Ya’el Santopinto

Director, Research and Partnerships, Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal

Ya’el Santopinto is the Director of Research and Partnerships at the Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal (CUG+R), a non-profit organization advocating for supportive policy frameworks around the maintenance of Canada’s affordable apartment housing supply.

Dusha Sritharan

Dusha Sritharan

Campaigner, Climate Change, Toronto Environmental Alliance

Dusha Sritharan is a Climate Change Campaigner with the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), a non-profit organization advocating for a clean, healthy, and equitable Toronto.

Jamie Stuckless

Jamie Stuckless

Executive Director, Share the Road Cycling Coalition

Jamie Stuckless is the Executive Director of Share the Road Cycling Coalition, a provincial cycling advocacy organization working to build a bicycle-friendly Ontario.

Nithya Vijayakumar

Nithya Vijayakumar

Senior Advisor, Transportation Policy and Planning, Pembina Institute

Nithya Vijayakumar is Senior Advisor, Transportation Policy and Planning, at the Pembina Institute, a non-profit organization providing policy research leadership and education on climate change, energy issues, green economics, energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, and environmental governance.

Participant testimonial

“Through the learning opportunities and practical experience provided through the Maytree Policy School, Raising the Roof has transformed from a passive to strategic player in the housing and homelessness public policy space.”

Elisa Traficante, Director of Community Initiatives, Raising the Roof (MPS ’19)

Participant testimonial

“Maytree Policy School completely surpassed my expectations. It's a course anyone should take who strives to be a strategic influencer at any level of government and regardless of who's in power.”

Brian Davis, Executive Director, Houselink Community Homes (MPS ’19)

Participant testimonial

"Maytree Policy School brought together a highly skilled and generous group of instructors. My organization has gained new tools and resources, and connections to fabulous peers and organizations."

Shelagh Pizey-Allen, Executive Director, TTCRiders (MPS ’19)

Participant testimonial

“Maytree Policy School provided us with practical insights into the policy process and the tools we need to engage as policy leaders. We also walked away from the course with a clear plan for implementing what we had learned and new connections across the sector.”

Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director, Share the Road Cycling Coalition (MPS ’18)

Participant testimonial

“Attending Maytree Policy School has helped me raise my game as a policy professional, helped refine my approach to my advocacy work, and created an impact across my organization as I share my learnings with colleagues across the country.”

Kat Clarke, Manager, Advocacy and Government Affairs, CNIB (MPS ’18)

Participant testimonial

“Maytree Policy School was invaluable. It helped me systematize and move forward our policy work. The faculty were knowledgeable and engaging, and the other participants have now become a close network I can call on.”

Sasha McNicoll, Policy Manager, Community Food Centres Canada (MPS ’19)

Participant testimonial

“Having the focused time along with the incredible depth of knowledge from the presenters and other participants made this program worth every minute. The shifts in our approach and development of a policy strategy will have long-term impact for our organization and our mission at Pillar.”

Michelle Baldwin, Executive Director, Pillar Nonprofit Network (MPS ’19)

Participant testimonial

“Maytree Policy School brought together an expert faculty team who generously shared their wealth of knowledge and experiences. I really appreciated how each session was meticulously planned and specifically tailored for us in the non-profit sector.”

Tesfai Mengesha, Executive Director, Success Beyond Limits (MPS ’18)

Participant testimonial

“Maytree Policy School helped us identify where we need to focus our energies to make the most of our limited resources in order to make a real impact in our policy work. It gave me access to what felt like “insider knowledge” and to so many incredible leaders with decades of experience in the policy world. I never would have been able to make those connections on my own.”
Katie German, Director of Programs, Foodshare (MPS ’18)