Maytree Policy School
Partnerships Manager, Canadian Programs, Right to Play International
Micah is a non-profit management professional with experience in policy, strategy, and development for small and large organizations. He is Partnerships Manager, Canadian Programs at Right To Play International, an organization that protects, educates, and empowers children using the power of play. Micah also serves as a board member for a non-profit housing corporation in Toronto.
Executive Director, Pillar Nonprofit Network
Michelle is Executive Director of the Pillar Nonprofit Network, an organization that supports more than 610 non-profits, social enterprises, and social innovators by sharing resources, exchanging knowledge, and creating meaningful connections across the three pillars of non-profit, business, and government.
Michelle currently serves as Vice Chair on the board of the Ontario Nonprofit Network and recently joined the board of Atlohsa Native Healing Centre. She is also a past member of the province’s Advisory Committee on Community Hubs, and a past board member of Huron University College and the London Health Sciences Community Advisory Council. Michelle is the recipient of an Honorary Diploma from the Faculty of Media, Arts, Design at Fanshawe College and a Green Umbrella Award from the Urban League of London for demonstrating outstanding community citizenship.
Executive Director, Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation
Alyssa is a lawyer and public policy professional with experience in legal service, public policy, and politics. She is Executive Director of the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA), a charitable organization dedicated to preventing evictions and ending housing discrimination across Ontario.
Prior to joining CERA, Alyssa served as the health, social, justice, and labour policy advisor to the President of the Treasury Board of Ontario and as the Director of Policy to the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure. She has also been an advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, and a lawyer and policy analyst at the Ontario College of Teachers.
Executive Director, Transparency International Canada
James is an anti-corruption expert with a background in international development and security. He is Executive Director of Transparency International Canada.
James’ work has included program management and design, training, research, and fundraising for several organizations including the United States Institute of Peace, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, the Global Organization for Parliamentarians Against Corruption, the International Committee for Transitional Justice, and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. He also worked for Transparency International’s Defence and Security Programme from 2011-2013 where he focused on corruption risk to military, police, and peacekeeping, as well as advising governments and civil society.
Executive Director, Houselink Community Homes
Brian has worked in various leadership roles within non-profit housing in Toronto for the past 20 years, and is dedicated to providing community-based housing and supports for people living below the poverty line and specifically individuals who have experienced serious mental health or substance use challenges, often coupled with homelessness. He is Executive Director of Houselink Community Homes, a community-centred charitable organization that provides supportive housing and programs for people living with persistent mental health challenges and addiction issues.
Over the past few years, Brian has taken on leadership roles such as actively supporting the Toronto Mental Health and Addictions Supportive Housing Network (chairing the Quality Improvement Committee and assisting in writing position papers), being on the steering committee of the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (chairing the Development Working Group), and chairing the Homecoming Coalition, which is focused on advancing human rights in the City of Toronto’s planning processes.
Executive Director, United Way of Bruce Grey
Francesca has built a life’s work speaking out for those who cannot or will not be heard. Francesca is Executive Director of United Way of Bruce Grey, a critical community convener that mobilizes its partners — including business, labour, community leaders, government, and community residents — to create opportunities for a better life for everyone in the community.
In 2016, Francesca was selected to participate in a fellowship with the Banff Leadership Centre on income inequity. She returned to Banff in 2017 to complete the one-month “Getting to Maybe” residency at the Leadership Centre. Francesca is a tea drinking, Paleo-eating kayaking enthusiast and community advocate. She approaches life with a sense of compassion laced with dry British humour.
Program Manager, Women Abuse Council of Toronto
Lieran has a background in community and international development with a focus on women’s rights and gender justice. She is Program Manager at the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WomanACT), a policy development and planning body that coordinates an efficient and effective approach to providing services for women experiencing violence.
Lieran began her career in the UK as a women’s advocate and went on to establish several community-based women’s centres across the north of England. Prior to joining WomanACT, she was a Gender Equality Specialist in the international development field working on programs across the Middle East and Africa. She has experience in research and policy, gender mainstreaming, and program development.
Kay Dyson Tam
Impact & Innovation Manager, Eva’s
Kay works towards durable systems change and justice for young people experiencing homelessness. Kay is the Impact and Innovation Manager at Eva’s, a Toronto-based youth shelter and housing provider. Through her leadership of Eva’s social innovation lab, Kay works on market solutions, policy change, and capacity building initiatives to eradicate youth homelessness and housing precarity.
Kay brings a cross-sector approach to her work as she knows that addressing the root causes of poverty and affordability will take a collaborative approach. She joined Eva’s from the labour rights sector, where she coordinated the Better Way Alliance, an advocacy network of decent work employers. Kay previously held progressively senior roles at the MaRS Discovery District where she designed and delivered programs that helped teams accelerate systems-level change.
Executive Director, Canadian Roots Exchange
Max FineDay is a nêhiyaw napew from the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory. He is currently serving as Executive Director of Canadian Roots Exchange, a recognized leader in delivering reconciliation programming to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth across the country. He is based in Toronto and in his spare time Max can be found serving as an advisor to the President of the Economic Club of Canada, and the Laidlaw Foundation. He also serves on the interim-National Council on Reconciliation.
Executive Director, CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals
Agapi is Executive Director of CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, an organization dedicated to addressing economic issues affecting Black youth. She is passionate about CEE’s mission-driven and evidence-based work.
Agapi also served as Executive Director of POV 3rd Street, an organization that helps marginalized youth break into the media industry through training, mentorship, job placement, and professional development opportunities. Through prior work as a fundraising professional, social enterprise manager, and coordinator of youth leadership programs, Agapi has established a record of accomplishment in operations management, program implementation and evaluation, financial stewardship, partner development, and community engagement. Her experience includes positions with United Way of Greater Toronto and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
Policy Analyst, Ontario Nonprofit Network
Teshini has worked in government relations, policy analysis, research, and policy advocacy, as well as in project management, communications, and event management. She is a Policy Analyst with the Ontario Nonprofit Network, the independent network for the 58,000 non-profits in Ontario, focused on policy, advocacy, and services to strengthen the sector as a key pillar of our society and economy.
Teshini previously worked as the Policy Coordinator for the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) and is the co-founder and former Communications Director of the Young Leaders Advisory Council (YLAC), an Ottawa-based non-profit supporting racialized youth and communities through education and mentorship.
Executive Director, People for Education
Annie is an expert on policy education policy and funding. She is Executive Director of People for Education, an independent, non-partisan charitable organization working to support and advance public education through research, policy analysis, and public engagement.
Annie regularly provides advice to policy-makers and government and is often cited in the media as an expert on education issues. Her writing on education has been published widely and she is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ontario Principals’ Council Outstanding Contribution to Education Award in 2004, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Public Education Advocacy Award in 2005, and an Honourary Doctorate from York University in 2018.
Senior Manager, Advocacy & Girl Engagement, Girl Guides of Canada
Myna is the Senior Manager, Advocacy & Girl Engagement at Girl Guides of Canada, an organization that provides a safe space for girls to challenge themselves, find their voices, meet new friends, and make a difference in the world. Her work focuses on generating knowledge on the lived experiences and opinions of girls in Canada, creating opportunities for girls to share their views on policy issues, and amplifying girls’ voices through public communications and stakeholder engagement initiatives.
Prior to Girl Guides, Myna worked for Goodwill Toronto where she engaged government and community leaders to provide financial and political support for employment programs for youth from priority neighbourhoods. In her volunteer life, she has been active with civic engagement initiatives to improve Canada’s political culture.
Senior Coordinator of Public Relations, DeafBlind Ontario Services
With a passion for connecting individuals from vulnerable populations with the services and supports they need to thrive, Karen has worked in various communication roles across the non-profit sector after starting her career in advocacy and event planning. She is currently Senior Coordinator of Public Relations for DeafBlind Ontario Services, an organization that helps individuals who are deafblind increase their independence and improve their quality of life through specialized services.
Karen is an internationally certified Communication Management Professional (CMP). She served on the Marketing and Communications Sub-Committee of the Intervenor Services Human Resources Strategy and currently serves on the National Deafblind Awareness Month Working Group.
Policy Manager, Community Food Centres Canada
Sasha’s work centres on poverty reduction and food and health policy. She leads policy and advocacy at Community Food Centres Canada, an organization that works to build vibrant and welcoming Community Food Centres in low-income neighbourhoods to improve people’s ability to access healthy food in a dignified way. Sasha previously worked at Food Secure Canada, where she focused on school food advocacy and food policy governance, and was a member of the Toronto Food Policy Council.
Director of Operations, Inner City Health Associates
Shivanee is a healthcare executive who has worked in a variety of roles in community health, government and senior care. She is Director of Operations at Inner City Health Associates, a group of over 90 physicians working in more than 50 shelters and drop-ins across Toronto to provide primary, mental health, and palliative care to those who do not otherwise have access to care.
Shivanee has extensive knowledge of clinical operations with her experience as the Director of Primary Care at Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre (formerly Queen West Community Health Centre), where she led the development and delivery of health care programs and services for vulnerable communities in Toronto’s west end. Shivani is a certified Lean Green Belt in Health Care.
Executive Director, TTCriders
Shelagh is Executive Director of TTCriders, a membership-based organization of transit riders that campaigns for an affordable, world-class public transit system. She has worked with a range of non-profit community and arts organizations in Toronto and Winnipeg, including the UW Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies, Negative Space collective gallery, Winnipeg Copwatch, and TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. Shelagh is a supporter of Grassy Narrows First Nation’s struggle for mercury justice and self-determination.
Executive Director, Springtide Resources
Leila has worked in the non-profit sector for 20 years in a number of roles: in the shelter system for women survivors of violence, in the community development sector, and in community organizing. She is Executive Director of Springtide Resources, an agency working to end gender-based violence through education, training, research, and advocacy.
Leila is passionate about connecting and engaging community voices in public policy to achieve systemic change. She has provided strategic planning and leadership on projects both locally and internationally, with a focus on working with women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence.
Manager of Policy & Strategic Communications, YWCA
Anjum is a public policy professional based in Toronto with a focus on gender equity, health equity, and civic engagement. She is Manager of Policy & Strategic Communications at YWCA Canada, the country’s oldest and largest women’s multi-service organization working to strengthen women and girls’ equality.
Anjum has worked in the fields of community development, strategic communications, and advocacy to facilitate social action and systemic change. Through her experience in applied research, social policy analysis, and knowledge translation, her work to date has focused on improving equitable outcomes for women, newcomers, immigrants, refugees, and racialized communities.
Anjum is a board member with the Regent Park Community Health Centre and the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, and a Founding Advisor with Progress Toronto. She has also completed a Fellowship at the Wellesley Institute.
Jake Tobin Garrett
Manager of Policy and Planning, Park People
Jake is a writer, illustrator, and park advocate in Toronto. He works as Manager of Policy and Planning for Park People — a charity that helps people activate the power of parks — where he leads the organization’s research, policy development, and planning. Jake is passionate about the ability of parks to make physical and social connections in cities, bringing people together through shared experience.
Jake has managed several large-scale public life studies for the City of Toronto, led community engagement walks for projects such as Toronto’s Rail Deck Park, developed governance models for new public spaces such as Toronto’s Bentway, and developed leading research into creating inclusive public spaces.
Director of Community Initiatives, Raising the Roof
Elisa has managed and evaluated community projects for youth facing barriers, both as a manager and as a director in various community organizations. She is currently Director of Community Initiatives at Raising the Roof, a national charity dedicated to preventing homelessness across Canada.
Elisa is passionate about developing social justice initiatives and programming that are firmly rooted in an anti-oppressive framework. In her professional career, she has supported youth facing multiple barriers such as homelessness, addictions, and mental illness in both rural and urban programs. Most recently Elisa was the Manager of Youth Support Programs at Eva’s Phoenix, a transitional housing program for homeless youth, located in Toronto. She acted as the Chair of Eva’s Mental Health working group and brings with her immense knowledge and skills in the field of mental health.
Director of Community Engagement, North York Harvest Food Bank
Sarah’s work has centred on non-profit organizations that focus on poverty and food security with a commitment to both immediate emergency support and long term solutions. She is Director of Community Engagement at North York Harvest Food Bank, the primary food bank for all of northern Toronto. NYH’s mission is to engage their community in meeting the food needs of northern Toronto by providing dignified food assistance, education, and long-term food solutions.
“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)
“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)
"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)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“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)