Maytree Policy School
Chief Executive Officer, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities
Jeanie Argiropoulos is Chief Executive Officer of Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities. Jeanie is an accredited senior executive with over 25 years of experience providing leadership to key organizations in Ontario’s healthcare delivery system. She has a master’s degree in health administration from the University of Toronto, is a designated Canadian Health Executive, and an Executive Member of the Canadian College of Health Service Leaders.
As an expert in system redesign, strategic planning, governance and organizational redesign, Jeanie is highly regarded for her strong values system and communications style that engages and motivates a diverse range of stakeholders.
Jeanie has driven a transformational journey that has resulted in a client-centered healthcare services solution that is proactively addressing the determinants of health and building a strong and connected community. As a strong advocate for health equity, she has focused her energies in helping to form an integrated health system to improve the health and wellness of Scarborough’s residents.
Beneficial Ownership Transparency Campaign Manager, Publish What You Pay Canada
Sasha Caldera is Beneficial Ownership Transparency Campaign Manager at Publish What You Pay Canada. Since 2017, Sasha has been managing a national, coalition-led advocacy campaign for Canada to create a publicly accessible corporate registry of beneficial owners. Sasha leads policy discussions with senior government officials and regularly lobbies federal, provincial, and territorial ministries across Canada.
Sasha brings over ten years of policy and advocacy campaign experience and has successfully secured policy and legislative commitments in British Columbia, Québec, and from the federal government.
His commentary can be found in The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Global News, CityNews Toronto, TVO’s The Agenda, The National Observer, iPolitics, the Hill Times, and the CBC. He has also appeared as a witness for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
Sasha holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Arts degree from Royal Roads University.
Director of Stakeholder Relations, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (the Centre)
Ashley Franssen-Tingley is Director of Stakeholder Relations at The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (the Centre), a national charity dedicated to ending human trafficking in Canada, and the operator of the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline. In her role, Ashley works to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration by developing strategic anti-trafficking partnerships with frontline delivery partners, survivor leaders, governments, police, anti-trafficking advocates and private sector companies. She works with a dedicated team to leverage collective knowledge and expertise from the anti-trafficking field to inform the Centre’s advocacy efforts, external partnerships, strategic engagement activities, and hotline operations.
Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment (CCFWE)
Meseret Haileyesus is the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment (CCFWE), the only Canadian organization addressing female economic injustice through ground-breaking research and system change. With over 17 years of experience in public health, equity, and international development, she provides leadership and expertise in areas of strategic and operational planning, monitoring and evaluation, quality improvement, and system change initiatives.
She is a Disrupter and Mother of one. Meseret is passionate about transforming vulnerable women’s economies through research, policy dialogue, and community engagement.
Meseret’s community experience includes serving on the Boards of Directors of the Centretown Community Health Centre and End FGM Network Canada. She is also the current public policy advisor at the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities Council, a member of the City of Ottawa Community Safety Well-Being Plan Governance Committee, and the chair of the YOLO Anti-racism Advisory Committee in Ottawa.
Chief Executive Officer, Daily Bread Food Bank
Neil Hetherington is Chief Executive Officer of Daily Bread Food Bank. Neil began his career in project management at Tridel Construction, Canada’s largest condominium developer, before joining Habitat for Humanity Toronto, at the time as the youngest CEO of a Habitat affiliate in the world.
Neil’s non-profit experience includes 16 years as CEO of Habitat for Humanity in Toronto, and then New York City, and two years as CEO of Dixon Hall, a multi-service agency serving thousands of people in Toronto.
Neil holds degrees and certificates from the University of Western Ontario – Huron College, Seneca College, Harvard Business School, and the University of Virginia – Darden Business School. He obtained his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School in 2013.
He is an active pilot and sailor. He enjoys furniture-making and in his spare time plays tennis terribly, snowboards poorly, and bikes slowly.
Associate Director for Communities Ending Poverty, Tamarack
Alison Homer is Tamarack’s Associate Director for Communities Ending Poverty. She provides leadership and drives excellence for the network — a national movement and learning community comprised of more than 80 members representing more than 400 communities across Canada and in the USA.
Alison became involved with Vibrant Communities in 2012, where as Director of Vibrant Abbotsford, she coordinated an affordable fruit and vegetable box program, a financial empowerment initiative, and a Living Wage campaign. Previously working in International Development, Alison researched HIV/AIDS in Nepal and rolled out a national data management system in Papua New Guinea.
She has supported individuals experiencing poverty, homelessness, mental health and addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, people with disabilities in the UK, and people living with HIV/AIDS in Uganda.
Alison holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in International Community Health, a Project Management Certification, and a Graduate Diploma in Public Policy and Program Evaluation.
Robin Liu Hopson
Director, Policy and Research, People for Education
Robin Liu Hopson is the Director, Policy and Research, at People for Education, an independent non-profit organization advocating for the re-imagination of public education in Canada. Prior to her current role, she has worked as a teacher, researcher, and policymaker in both the public and private sector. She has a PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts degree in French Literature from McMaster University.
Executive Director, First Light Friendship Centre
Stacey Howse is Executive Director of First Light Friendship Centre. Stacey is a Mi’kmaw woman and member of Miawpukek First Nation. As an active volunteer and peer counsellor in Conne River, the only recognized First Nation reserve on the island of Newfoundland, Stacey developed a deep passion for charitable work; this strong connection to community service remained a constant in her life as she moved to St. John’s to attend Memorial University. During this same period Stacey discovered First Light Friendship Centre, which supported her to rebuild a cultural connection previously lost due to the complexities of rural/urban transition.
Stacey is a mother to two children and a member of Eastern Owl, a group of women who blend the styles of First Nations drum music and contemporary folk to create their own sound.
Stacey has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memorial University and has recently completed an Executive Master of Business Administration degree.
CEO, Feathers of Hope
Betty is of Irish/ Ojibway descent. She is a member of Lake Helen First Nation and was given the Spirit name Minoweginiwaa, which means “Good Sounding Woman.”
Betty began her career in service to Canada as an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces (Navy). Subsequently, she was employed as a health care professional at McKellar General Hospital, a Program Director in community mental health, former Executive Director for Beendigen, the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario and the Ontario Native Women’s Association. She is currently the CEO of Feathers of Hope.
She was elected to Thunder Bay City Council in 1982 and served for seven consecutive terms. Betty’s strongest asset on City Council was her social justice perspective.
Betty is a graduate of Lakehead University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and an Honours Bachelor of Social Work degree.
National Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, United Way Centraide Canada
Anita Khanna is National Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for United Way Centraide Canada and a member of the National Right to Housing Network’s steering committee. Prior to this role, she was the National Coordinator of Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty in Canada and Director of Social Action and Community Building at Family Service Toronto.
Anita is deeply committed to social justice and equity. She has worked to make services and civic participation accessible to marginalized community members, serving on the board of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, as Executive Director of Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), as City-Wide Organizer at Social Planning Toronto, and as a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Community Advisory Group.
Anita holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and lives in Ottawa with her partner and their child.
Staff Lawyer, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
Jihyun Rosel Kim is a staff lawyer at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF). As a staff lawyer at LEAF, she contributes to the development and management of LEAF’s cases and drafts LEAF’s law reform submissions. She leads LEAF’s Technology-Facilitated Violence Project, which explores equality-centred legal responses to technology-facilitated gender-based violence.
Rosel has written about technology-facilitated gender-based violence, race, and identity for the Toronto Star, CBA National, and Puritan Magazine, among others. She serves on the Board of the Korean Legal Clinic, which aims to improve access to justice for Korean Canadians by providing culturally and linguistically appropriate legal services, education, and resources.
Executive Director, School of Cities
Ben Liu is Executive Director of the School of Cities, where he provides strategic and operational leadership, including programming and outreach, revenue generation and business administration. Ben is responsible for the School’s finances, human resources, communications and branding, IT, facility operations, capital project management, governance, and risk management.
He is a member of the Banff Forum and was a 2021-22 CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow.
At the University of Toronto, he served on the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs, Planning and Budget Committee, and the University Affairs Board. He has served on the boards of the then-Central Toronto Community Health Centres, Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development, and the Regent Park Community Health Centre. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Faculty of Arts & Science Council and a board director for Arts Etobicoke.
He lives in Etobicoke with his husband, ten-year-old son, and two-year-old chocolate Lab.
Senior Policy Advisor, Community Food Centres Canada
Anthony Musiwa is Senior Policy Advisor at Community Food Centres Canada. Anthony is trained in social work, human rights law, policy research, and development studies. He possesses 11 years’ combined experience in social work management, research, and teaching around poverty, social policy, maternal and child healthcare, and child welfare issues facing children, families, and communities in resource-constrained settings. He centres marginalized voices and experiences to inform equitable social justice policies and practice.
His work has earned awards such as the Doctoral Research Awards of the Fonds de recherche du Québec–Société et culture and International Development Research Centre. It has also been published in peer-reviewed journals like Child Indicators Research and the International Journal of Children’s Rights.
He is a fellow of the Community Solutions Program, Gender-based Violence Prevention Network, and Intercultural Leaders Initiative, where he collaborates with like-minded networks on projects around equity and social justice in Zimbabwe, sub-Saharan Africa, and internationally.
Appointed member, National Advisory Council on Poverty
Shane Pelletier is an appointed member of Canada’s inaugural National Advisory Council on Poverty where he carries the voice of lived experience.
Shane has dedicated his career and life to working with people living homeless in western Canada. For close to two decades Shane has trudged the road to happy destiny in his life and work. He started on the front lines working with people on the fringes of marginalization and today he is the coordinator for a national organization, The National Indigenous Homelessness Council, working to ameliorate urban, rural, and northern First Nation’s, Inuit, and Metis homelessness.
Senior Director of Public Policy, Government and Stakeholder Relations, United Way East Ontario
Preeti Prabhu is the Senior Director of Public Policy, Government and Stakeholder Relations at United Way East Ontario. Passionate about people and public policy, she has been with United Way for about two years with an aim to grow the impact of policy and government relations in the organization. She works with internal and external stakeholders to prioritize strategic policy recommendations for the region. She recently led her organization’s first-ever mayoral debate on a crucial election with the goal of finding common ground in the midst of division. She advocates for and facilitates dialogue and calls to action on policy priorities for her community.
Preeti has a graduate degree in Public Policy and International Development from Duke University’s Sandford School of Public Policy, Durham, USA. In her free time, she enjoys long bike rides and hikes, playing a variety of sports including tennis and swimming, cooking, and continuing to build her community.
Community Legal Worker, Black Legal Action Clinic (BLAC)
Khaldah Salih is Community Legal Worker at the Black Legal Action Clinic (BLAC), where she is responsible for BLAC’s law reform work, community outreach, and public legal education.
As an independent researcher, Khaldah has explored issues of surveillance, state violence and activism in Sudan. She has worked in several humanitarian and development organizations in Khartoum, Sudan, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where she was a caseworker with refugees and asylum seekers, and was a Project Coordinator working on housing rights policy at the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA).
Khaldah holds a bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Political Science and International Development, and a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.
Director of Policy, Social Capital Partners
Daniel Skilleter is Director of Policy at Social Capital Partners. He’s a policy wonk who’s worked in the public, private, and (currently) not-for-profit sectors. While he initially headed to Queen’s Park with aspirations of working on health policy, the twists of political fate led him to the world of fiscal and economic policy – files he spent most of his time working on and learned to love.
He’s motivated by a sense that individual circumstances are dictated primarily by chance and institutions (governments chief among them) properly calibrated can increase opportunities and mitigate unnecessary suffering.
His theory of change is heavily influenced by his time working in political offices – especially central agencies. The ways governments make decisions are tied to the underlying processes and their incentive structures. He brings this sense of institutionalism to all his policy work.
Director of Performing Arts, Metcalf
Michael Trent joined Metcalf as Director of Performing Arts in 2015. Over his thirty-year career, he has contributed to the development of the dance field as choreographer, performer, teacher, artistic director, curator, arts community activist, and volunteer.
Prior to Metcalf, Michael spent eight years as Artistic Director of Toronto’s Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation. Michael has frequently consulted and collaborated with artists and arts organizations at the local and national levels on issues including strategic planning, transition, curatorial expertise, artistic assessment, and training.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto in Physiology and Bioethics and was the co-recipient of the 2004 K.M. Hunter Artists Award in Dance.
Policy Lawyer, HIV and AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO)
Amy Wah is policy lawyer at the HIV and AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO). She has also provided direct advice and representation in areas of law related to HIV and AIDS at HALCO since 2010. As HALCO’s policy lawyer, she works on law reform initiatives. She has also acted as counsel on interventions in the public interest at various levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
She graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2005 and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2006 after completing her articles at ARCH Disability Law Centre.
Her legal work has focused primarily on advancing the rights of people living with disabilities and other socially marginalized communities.
Director, Engagement & Strategic Initiatives, Social Planning Toronto
Melissa Wong is Director, Engagement & Strategic Initiatives at Social Planning Toronto, where she leads the Community Planning team to work with residents and non-profit organizations in coalitions, partnership projects, and local initiatives to address systems change across Toronto.
She is an experienced strategist and organizer with a passion for social justice and equity. For nine years, she worked for a Toronto City Councillor, leading campaigns and advancing policy to improve equity for underserved communities, working on issues such as shelters, harm reduction, and accessibility.
Melissa’s career in the community and non-profit sector has been dedicated to supporting intersectional gender equity. In 2017, Melissa co-founded Women Win Toronto, a program to support and train progressive women to run for elected office. Prior to her work at city hall, Melissa held roles at the Toronto Women’s City Alliance and the North York Women’s Centre.
Director of Research in Social Policy, Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP)
Shaimaa Yassin is a policy-oriented economist, currently Director of Research in Social Policy, Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP).
She was a research fellow in the economics department of several institutions: McGill University (Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow), University of Lausanne, and University of Neuchâtel.
Shaimaa previously served as Senior Director of Analytics and Strategic Integration at the Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC). Shaimaa consulted for several governments and organizations such as the World Bank, Chaire “Sécurisation des Parcours Professionnels” in France, and the Economic Research Forum in Egypt.
She has an extensive record of publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, a Presses de Sciences Po book, Les Accidents de Carrière, and two Oxford University Press volumes on labour markets in the Middle East and North Africa.
She holds a PhD in economics from University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
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)