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Meet Our Board

Carmen Allen, CHRP

Professional (CHRL). Carmen is an active contributing member of the Board of Directors and advocate of the aims and objectives of The Redwood.  She has served on The Redwood Board of Directors for seven plus years as the HR Lead, providing advice on Board Governance, Strategic and Succession Planning, and has continued to provide critical leadership support to the Executive Director.  Carmen is also currently serving as the Board Vice President and Co-Chair. Carmen has been an ambassador for The Redwood for many years and has represented the Organization at various charitable events to accept donations.

Sonya Bourgeois

Sonya Bourgeois is a policy professional with the Ontario Public Service, leading projects in the areas of violence against women, health policy, community and social service delivery, and gender-based policy and program development. She holds a Masters in Social Work from York University, and has published in the areas of women and HIV, and access to abortion in Canada. Early in her career, she worked as a fundraising professional in the areas of human rights, mental health, and community development. She is a former staff member of The Redwood and loves to ride her bicycle.

Piyush Gandhi

Piyush is an executive in the field of aviation currently with Sunwing Airlines as the Vice President Flight Operations.  As a proficient Captain, he continues to fly whenever he can.  Previously, he held the same role at Porter Airlines where he was a founding team member from its inception in early 2006.  Piyush has Chaired committees and participated on Advisory Boards for Colleges, Universities, and notably, the Northern Lights Aero Foundation which celebrates the accomplishments of women in aviation.  Piyush is a graduate of the Seneca Aviation Program (1993) and earned an MBA from the Rotman School of Business (2014).  One of Piyush’s proudest accomplishments was co-founding the Women Soar at Porter program whose mandate was to attract top female talent and develop women leaders from within.  Piyush is married with two daughters, who inspire Piyush every day to break glass ceilings and other obstacles they may face as visible minority young women.

Amy Nhan

Amy was born in Brantford and moved to Toronto at young age with her mother and sister. Raised by a single mother, she always had strong women as role models, nurturing not only her passion to help others and pay it forward, but also to achieve ambitious goals to grow personally and professionally. She will graduate from Ryerson University in June 2017 with a Bachelors of Technology, where she majors in Graphic Communications Management and minors in Human Resources, along with an elective focus in overall Politics. At 22 years old, she has already progressively grown in her career managing an entire Production Department in a printing company. Amy’s goal is to be a champion for diversity in a predominantly male industry and concurrently be a role model to foster women to be their own champions and bring forth ideas to create a positive change in the industry.

Leah Odle-Benson

Leah is a social development specialist who is both passionate about gender equality and committed to supporting social justice and community-building.  Born in Barbados, Leah has spent the last six years working throughout the Caribbean on gender and development issues, including violence against women, leadership and empowerment, HIV and AIDS, and gender mainstreaming.  Leah holds an MA in International Communications and Development and is looking forward to supporting the work of The Redwood.

Michael Pelz, PhD

Michael is a Senior Advisor within the Ontario Public Service, leading work on poverty reduction and gender-based analysis. He is deeply committed to advancing policy that raises awareness and supports survivors of gender-based violence and discrimination. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, with research and publications focused on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in Eastern Europe. He has also worked to advance minority rights issues within Canadian foreign policy, and has led human rights training for Canadian officials.  Michael previously studied at the London School of Economics, and is an avid swimmer.

Komila Rakhimova

Komila is a passionate development professional and equality advocate with 10 years’ experience in policy, research, and project management on education, diversity, gender equality, women’s empowerment, gender mainstreaming and disability inclusion with public, private and not-for-profit sectors as well as international organizations in Canada, Eastern Europe, East Africa, and Central Asia. In her current position with Ontario Ministry of Education, she engages in policy analysis and policy development, plans and conducts research, studies and assessments and contributes to the development of program standards relating to teaching policy.

Ashleigh Saith

Ashleigh is a fundraiser and nonprofit leader with over 10 years of experience working with small and mid-sized charities. She’s passionate about social justice and equity. Ashleigh is currently the Manager of Annual Programs at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, and also consults with nonprofits on their fundraising and communications needs. She was formerly the Director of Development and Partnerships at Interval House, and is a graduate of the Humber Fundraising Management Program and the University of Toronto.

Allyson Samuel, CPA, CMA

Allyson has been a CMA for over 20 years; she obtained CMA designation from the Society of Management Accountants of Ontario and holds a Bachelor of Administration degree from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. Allyson is currently employed as the Senior Accountant at the Stephen Lewis Foundation where she reviews audited financial statements and reporting from partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. Previously, she was previously employed as the Accounting Manager at Verdiroc Development Corporation where she spent 12 years overseeing construction accounting and the day-to-day accounting functions of the organization. An avid basketball fan, Allyson is currently a treasurer and collective member of Rainbow Hoops, a recreational women’s basketball league providing a safe queer-positive space for players of all skill levels to enjoy the game of basketball. She previously volunteered as a financial representative at the United Way of Greater Toronto where she reviewed member agency submissions regarding continued and increased funding.

Malini Singh

With a background in social work, settlement, equity and advocacy, Malini has over 15 years’ experience in the not for profit sector.  Her dedication to sustainable and inclusive change for women and girls is guided by a strong anti-oppression feminist framework. Prior to moving to Toronto in 2006, Malini resided in Calgary and Winnipeg after emigrating from Guyana at a young age. She is committed to positive futures for families and looks forward to contributing to The Redwood’s vision and mandate.

Ivana Vaccaro

Ivana is a partner at RV Law LLP and has been practicing exclusively in the area of family law since 2004. She is both a mediator and parenting coordinator. She has authored various articles in the area of Family Law and Domestic Violence. She is a member the Family Lawyers Association, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Family Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario and Ontario Association for Family Mediation. She is also the mother of three children who keep her busy outside of her practice. She enjoys painting, theatre and skiing.

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