Maytree Policy School

Karim Bardeesy, Executive Director, Brookfield Institute and the Leadership Lab, Toronto Metropolitan University

photo: Karim Bardeesy

Karim Bardeesy is a public service leader who has worked in progressively senior roles in public policy, politics, journalism and academia in Toronto and the United States since 2001. He is the Executive Director of the Brookfield Institute, and Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Leadership Lab, an action-oriented think tank at Toronto Metropolitan University. He was also the Ontario Liberal candidate for Parkdale-High Park in the 2022 provincial election.

He is also a board member of Corporate Knights, Inc., a member of the Banff Forum, a founding faculty member of Maytree Policy School, and a co-founder of DemocracyXChange, Canada’s democracy summit, and the pandemic publishing project First Policy Response. Karim was previously Deputy Principal Secretary for the Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, and served as Executive Director of Policy for Premiers Wynne and Dalton McGuinty. He has worked as a journalist, as a columnist for The Toronto Star, as an editorial writer and reporter at The Globe and Mail, and as an editorial assistant at Slate magazine. He has taught narrative and leadership at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance and was a DiverseCity Fellow with the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance.

Karim holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He grew up in Bathurst, New Brunswick and is the son of immigrants from Egypt and England. He and his wife Rachel Pulfer are raising their children in Toronto’s west end.

Mark Cabaj, President, From Here to There

photo: Mark CabajMark is President of the consulting company From Here to There and an Associate of Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement.

While studying the Solidarity movement in Krakow, Poland, in mid-1989, Mark experienced a variety of tumultuous events that signalled the end of communism in Eastern Europe – including walking on the Berlin Wall with a million people the week it came down in November 1989. He then rolled up sleeves and worked as an Investment Advisor in Poland’s

Foreign Investment Agency, the Foreign Assistance Coordinator for Grants in the new Ministry of Privatization, and the Mission Coordinator for the creation of the United Nations Development Program’s first regional economic development initiative in Eastern Europe.

Back in Canada, Mark was the Coordinator of the Waterloo Region’s Opportunities 2000 project (1997-2000), an initiative that won provincial, national and international awards for its multi-sector approach to poverty reduction. He served briefly as the Executive Director of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) (2001) and was Vice President of the Tamarack Institute and the Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Canada (2002-2011).

Mark’s current focus is on developing practical ways to understand, plan and evaluate efforts to address complex issues. This includes challenges such as neighborhood renewal, poverty and homelessness, community safety, educational achievement and health. He is particularly involved in developing and promoting developmental evaluation, a new approach to assessment which emphasizes real time feedback and learning in emerging, messy and sometimes fast-moving environments.

Mark lives in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) with his wife Leann and their children Isaiah and Zoë.

Lauren Dobson-Hughes, Advocate, Campaigner and Consultant

photo: Lauren Dobson-HughesLauren Dobson-Hughes, is an experienced advocate and campaigner who began her career working in both British and Canadian Parliaments. She is a specialist in government relations, gender, health and rights. A former Executive Director of an international development organisation, Lauren currently supports NGOs and Foundations in delivering missions around global health and gender equality. Clients include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, International Confederation of Midwives, Gavi; the vaccines alliance, and Oxfam. She is also past President of Planned Parenthood Ottawa and worked for the late NDP Leader Jack Layton.

Sané Dube, Director of Health Equity and Priority Populations, Ontario Health, West

photo: Sane DubeSané Dube is a policy analyst and knowledge broker. Recently, Sané’s work has focused on the development of policies addressing health disparities experienced by Black communities in Ontario. She is currently the Director of Health Equity and Priority Populations at Ontario Health, West. Her previous experience includes her role at the Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine at University Health Network, where she focused on making quality health care accessible to people who face unjust barriers. Her work supports communities in defining their own health priorities. Sané is also pursuing a doctorate in Public Health the University of Toronto.

Sané’s people are the Ndebele of what is now called Zimbabwe.


Camille Gooden, Consultant

photo: Camille GoodenCamille has held several positions at Queens’s Park including Senior Policy Advisor in the office of the Honorable Peter Milczyn and the Minister of Housing and Chief of Staff to the Minister of Consumer Services. She was also a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Premier of Ontario in the Office of the President of the Treasury Board Secretariat. She played a key role in the development and implementation of various Ontario government policy initiatives, including the implementation of the poverty reduction strategy, the ground-breaking basic income pilot, as well as a number of consumer protection initiatives. Camille has been actively involved in her community of Ajax and has sat on various local community advisory committees. She currently serves on the board of Prosper Canada.

Sunil Johal, Vice President, Public Policy, CSA Group

Profile photo of Sunil JohalSunil Johal is a policy expert with a track record of executive-level experience addressing challenging issues. In his current role he is the Vice President, Public Policy at the CSA Group where he is responsible for building and leading a new team to tackle challenging policy issues in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders. He is also the David and Ann Wilson Professor in Public Policy and Society at Victoria College, University of Toronto. In March 2022, he was named to an expert panel advising the Ontario government on the development and implementation of a portable benefits scheme for non-standard workers.

In 2021, Sunil led the medium-term planning and transition activities for Employment and Social Development Canada in an Assistant Deputy Minister-level role. Sunil was Policy Director at the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre from 2012 to 2019, where he led the Centre’s research activities and established himself as a thought leader on issues such as the future of work and the implications of disruptive technologies. In 2019 he was named Chair of the Expert Panel on Modern Labour Standards by the federal Minister of Labour.

Sunil has held senior executive and policy roles at all levels of government. He is frequently invited to speak at conferences in Canada and abroad. He has contributed expert commentary and advice to a range of organizations and media outlets, including the G-20, World Economic Forum, Brookings Institution, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, the CBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian and the OECD.

Tyler Meredith, Management consultant, think tanker, and former senior economic advisor to the Prime Minister

photo: Tyler MeredithManagement consultant, think tanker, and former 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.

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.

Tyler holds a Masters of Public Administration from Queens University and a Joint Honours in Political Science and History from the University of Ottawa.

Elizabeth Mulholland, CEO, Prosper Canada

photo: Elizabeth MulhollandElizabeth Mulholland is the Chief Executive Officer of Prosper Canada, a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. Elizabeth joined Prosper Canada in 2011, after a 25-year policy career in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including a decade of independent policy consulting, five years as Senior Social Policy Advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister, and five years directing United Ways of Ontario’s government relations program. She currently serves on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s Consumer Protection Advisory Council, the Canada Revenue Agency’s External Advisory Panel on Service, the Stakeholder Advisory Council of Payments Canada, and Finance Canada’s Open Banking Working Group on Liability.  Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geology and French from Wellesley College and successfully completed McGill University’s Graduate Summer Program in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Harvard Business School Executive Program in Strategic Management for non-profit leaders.

Robert Steiner, Director, Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto and former Communications Director, Ontario COVID 19 Science Advisory Table

Rob SteinerRobert Steiner is Director of the Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. The Fellowships are a fundamentally new type of post-graduate training in global journalism, for starting journalists with advanced knowledge of complex disciplines. Robert began his career as a global finance correspondent for The Wall Street Journal with postings in New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo, where he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, won two Overseas Press Club awards and the Inter-American Press Association Award. After leaving The Wall Street Journal he received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and then worked as a business strategy executive, first at The Boston Consulting Group and later as Group Vice President in charge of Strategic Planning for Bell Globemedia, parent of the Globe and Mail and CTV. From 2006 to 2010, he served as Assistant Vice President of the University of Toronto in charge of Strategic Communications. Robert has also held a number of senior campaign positions in Canadian politics. In 2003 and 2002, he served as health policy advisor and principal speechwriter for Hon. Paul Martin, during his candidacy for the premiership of Canada and during his subsequent tenure as Prime Minister-designate. In 2000, he managed the Liberal Party of Canada’s new media campaign in the period leading to and during the federal general election, working for Prime Minister Jean Chretien. He lives in Toronto with his wife, a social worker and psychotherapist; they have a daughter at Concordia University and son at McGill.


Garima Talwar Kapoor, Director, Policy and Research, Maytree

photo: Garima Talwar KapoorGarima leads Maytree’s policy and research strategy. Prior to joining Maytree, Garima spent several years with the Ontario Public Service in various roles. She focused on understanding how changes in the labour market and economy impact people living in poverty, and helped develop policy initiatives that could help strengthen the income security system. Garima is driven by a passion to understand how civil society organizations, governments and private industry can work together to strengthen communities. Garima holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management from Carleton University. She is also currently pursuing her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Toronto.

The program will also feature guest speakers and contributors from across sectors with a variety of experiences in public policy.

Hear from participants

“Maytree Policy School was an incredible program that has shifted my mindset and approach to advocacy and government relations work. The caliber of instructors and cohort members was exceptional. I highly recommend this program to non-profit folks looking to level up and deepen their policy knowledge to be more effective change leaders.”

Sasha Elford, National Manager, Public Affairs, March of Dimes Canada (MPS ’22)

Hear from participants

[Maytree Policy School] gave me excellent insight into the public policy landscape in Canada and an understanding of how decisions that impact me and my community are made, and how they can be influenced.”

Rebecca Stulberg, Board Director & Chair of the Advocacy Committee, The Neighbourhood Group (MPS ’22)

Hear from participants

Maytree Policy School is a must for leaders and activists looking to make greater impact to address the pressing issues in our communities.”

Pablo Vivanco, Executive Director, Albion Neighbourhood Services (MPS ’22)

Hear from participants

"Maytree Policy School was a fabulous opportunity to learn from and with peers in the non-profit policy sector. The connections made in the program have really advanced our work."

Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Association of Social Workers (MPS ’22)

Hear from participants

“Maytree Policy School is a deep-dive into public policy. It provides an environment of learning, networking and exposes you to critical insight into government decision-making. It was helpful at building individual and organizational capacity to advance public policy and strengthen your advocacy muscles.”

Michelle Westin, Senior Analyst - Planning, Quality & Risk, Black Creek Community Health Centre (MPS ’22)

Hear from participants

Maytree Policy School was an incredible opportunity to learn from exceptionally talented policy professionals and peers. The knowledge, tools, stories and inspiration will stay with me always and inform my work moving forward in meaningful ways.

Janet McCrimmon, CEO, Strides Toronto (MPS ’22)

Hear from participants

“[Maytree Policy School] is professional development par excellence! Changing the world does take “relentless incrementalism” and this program should be mandatory for every leader.”

Bruce Pitkin, Executive Director, ArtStarts (MPS ’20)

Hear from participants

“Maytree Policy School is a comprehensive package on all the nuts and bolts of policy advocacy for your organization. The faculty and speakers bring timely issues and real-world experience to illustrate how the complex world of policy advocacy works.”

Jonathan Lai, Executive Director, Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (MPS ’21)

Hear from participants

"[Maytree] Policy School represents a rare opportunity to learn how to successfully advocate for policy change directly from folks who've done it before. The program is worth it for the content alone. But what really has me energized is the community that Maytree is building through this work. The insights of those in my cohort not only rounded out the learning experience, but will also offer a wealth of experience, advice, inspiration, and friendship for years to come."

Terence Hamilton, Policy Specialist, UNICEF Canada (MPS ’20)