Board of Directors 2018
Jessica Aviva Anderson
Jessica is currently Director, Content Strategy and Communications, for Plan International Canada. She has held progressively senior positions in communications and fundraising, and has broad non-profit experience working and volunteering in several sectors, including health care, international development, and post-secondary education. Jessica is passionate about social justice, feminism, and using storytelling to fight all forms of inequality and marginalization.
Lindsay Brent, Vice-Chair
Lindsay Brent is a Senior Manager of Strategy Development at RBC, where she collaborates with business and functional leaders within the organization to develop integrated platform and line of business strategies. She is also responsible for various other organizational strategic initiatives, competitive intelligence and internal reporting. She has prior experience in Capital Markets Institutional Sales and in Wealth Management Portfolio Advisory roles. She holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science. Lindsay is an active volunteer with Camp Oochigeas, attending camp as a trip leader in 2017, and currently volunteering with the “Ooch on the 8th“ program at Sick Kids Hospital. She is also a Co-Chair of the Women in Capital Markets High School Liaison Committee, which provides free educational programming and mentorship to high school girls in the GTA, with the aim of creating opportunities to inspire young women to pursue careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM), as well as Financial Services and Capital Markets. Lindsay is grateful to have a seat on the Jessie’s Board, and the opportunity to give back to such an important community and organization within the GTA.
Lauren is a partner in the Litigation Group at Goodmans LLP where she carries on a diversified advocacy practice, specializing in commercial litigation. Lauren is an active mentor in her practice group and integrally involved in the associate and student programs at the firm. Lauren believes strongly in the power of opportunity, positive support and mentorship and is pleased to be a part of Jessie’s.
Sophie Chang, Treasurer
Sophie is a Senior Financial Analyst at Manulife in the Wealth & Asset Management division with expertise in finance transformation, business process improvement, and project delivery. After graduating from Western University’s Ivey Business School, she joined CPP Investment Board where she worked with the company’s investment teams in various finance and operations roles, followed by BlueCat Networks where she worked in the company’s accounting team. Sophie also has experience in business strategy & planning, data analytics, and cash & liquidity management in both the public and private sectors.
Susan Da Costa
Susan Da Costa is a former Jessie’s participant and a proud mother of five children. She has extensive experience working with Indigenous communities and currently works as a High Risk Infant Specialist and a traditional auntie, which in Ojibway is known as a “Ninoshe”. Susan takes great take pride in her role and is honoured to be an advocate and support to Indigenous families in Toronto. As a former Jessie’s participant, Susan understands the challenges young mothers face and is passionate about supporting young women and their children. She is excited about the opportunity to support Jessie’s as a Board Member. In her spare time, Susan loves to cook and spend quality time with her family.
Jessica is an Analyst in Regional & Community Engagement at the Independent Electricity System Operator. Jessica is heavily involved in pro bono doula work and provides one-on-one support for clients from St. Stephen’s Community House, Public Health and The Stop’s Healthy Beginnings Program. She holds a degree in Women’s Studies & Biology from Trent University, a Sales & Marketing Fundamentals Certificate from the University of Waterloo, and is currently working on a Strategic Public Relations Certificate at the University of Toronto.
Rebecca is Project Manager with the Rehabilitative Care Alliance. Trained as an engineer and a graduate of a Masters in Health Administration, she has applied her data-driven and systematic approach in various roles at Princess Margaret Hospital and Cancer Care Ontario. Rebecca has volunteered on the Board of a community arts organization in Toronto for the past 6 years.
Laurel is a lawyer with the law firm of Lenczner Slaght LLP. Laurel practices a broad range of civil litigation, including class actions,
commercial, intellectual property, and professional liability matters. Prior to joining Lenczner Slaght, Laurel worked at the Federal Court of Canada and as a caseworker in the Criminal Division of the University of Ottawa Community Legal Aid. For the past two years, Laurel has volunteered on the Board of Directors for Young Women in Law.
Najma Kahiye, Chair
Najma is a Registered Nurse (RN) and policy professional at the City of Toronto. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Najma worked for the Ontario government, where she held progressively senior policy roles in the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and the Ministry of Education. In addition to her broad public policy experience, Najma has extensive frontline experience; she has worked in various roles to support individuals and families seeking income support, housing assistance and counselling services in Ontario. Najma is passionate about social justice, and is a strong advocate for healthy public policy that focuses on reducing inequities. Najma is also the Chair of Jessie’s Non-Profit Homes Board.
Natasha is employed as a Senior Planner at the City of Toronto, in the City Planning Division. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the Toronto Public Service Women’s Network. In her current role, she works to advance the City’s broader building objectives by creating communities that accommodate growth and manage change, in determining the City’s best practices for the utilization of land, infrastructure and resources. Her passion for the “potential of people” has translated into a strategic objective, to promote positive social change. In furthering this objective, Natasha helps individuals harness their abilities to enhance capacity building in diverse working environments. Throughout her 16 year professional career in both the public and private sectors, she has also mentored countless professionals, and volunteered with various organizations.
Debi was a corporate and tax lawyer and a member of the bars of New York, Ontario and Quebec. She has spent the past twenty years raising her four children while consulting on finance and tax matters for a private enterprise. Debi strongly believes in the adage “it takes a village” and is proud of the work Jessie’s does to provide a community of care and support to its participants.
Nancy is a former Jessie’s participant. She believes that the services and support she received at Jessie’s were critical in helping her continue with her education, while raising two children. After graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Nancy received a post-graduate certificate in Human Resources from Humber College. Nancy currently works as a Senior Compensation Consultant at Foresters Financial and has over 17 years of human resources experience, specializing in Total Rewards. Nancy is thrilled to have an opportunity to support Jessie’s as a Board Member.
Sasha is a Management Consultant with Accenture Canada, with expertise in supporting large scale organizational transformations, behavioural and cultural change management, and digital transformation strategy. She has an MBA as well as a Bachelor of Commerce degree. She leads initiatives for the Inclusion & Diversity group, and for the Canada Women’s Network at her company. Sasha advocates for empowering women who face challenges in all areas of life, and hopes to do so through her work with Jessie’s.
Jane completed her undergraduate and Master’s degree in engineering. She worked for 17 years in engineering roles in the automobile and technology industries before making a major career shift to marketing. Jane went on to spend the next decade in a global marketing agency moving ultimately to the position of COO for North America.
After leaving The Marketing Store in 2014, Jane sent up her own Toronto based consultancy One-two-five inc. focusing on marketing and customer experience.
Jane has a passion for empowering women. Throughout her career, she has been a mentor to women in the work place and at any one time, will be coaching at least one young woman trying to begin her career.
Jane completed a Masters certificate in coaching in 2013 to fully give her the tools to be an effective non- profit coach. In addition to individual coaching, she has also coached a non-profit board for a battered women’s shelter (Nelson House).
Andrew Townsend, Secretary
Andrew is the Teen Programming Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Toronto, where he oversees the team behind HYPERLINK “http://TeenHealthSource.com” TeenHealthSource.com. He is also the Assistant Director of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.