Board of Directors

Elizabeth McIsaac
Chair of the Board & President of Maytree

Elizabeth is the president of Maytree, a private Canadian charitable foundation focused on poverty and human rights in Canada. A committed leader in the not-for-profit sector, she also has extensive experience in research, teaching and working in direct service provision. Elizabeth has been instrumental in developing initiatives such as the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) where she served as Executive Director from 2007 to 2012. Following TRIEC, Elizabeth established and led Mowat NFP (Not-for-Profit Policy) at the Mowat Centre, Mowat NFP, a research hub focused on public policy options for strengthening the not-for-profit sector. Elizabeth holds an MA in Sociology in Education from the University of Toronto – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Cécile Arbaud
Executive Director, Dans la rue

Cécile Arbaud has been Executive Director of Dans la rue since mid-2013. Cécile has a degree in engineering, an MBA from the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris and a certificate in psychology from the Université de Montréal. Throughout her career, she has successfully resolved a number of challenges as a manager and consultant for private, public and non-profit organizations in Paris, Vancouver and Montreal. Her responsibilities have extended to auditing, strategic planning, management systems implementation, process and structural overhauls, organizational development and change management. The three pillars of her management approach are sharing experience, collective intelligence and individual development.

Cécile Arbaud sits on the Board of directors of RAPSIM (Réseau d’aide aux personnes seules et itinérantes de Montréal), a network of 105 community organizations of the homelessness sector in Montreal. She represents Dans la rue on the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness and is also a member of the Board of A Way Home Canada, a national coalition to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness across the country. These engagements led her to develop  a vast knowledge on homelessness and specifically youth homelessness. One of Cécile’s main recent initiative was/is to launch Jeunes+, a Quebec coalition aiming at making a shift in preventing youth homelessness in the province. Still in its early stages as of April 2019, the coalition is gaining a lot of support.

Stephen Gaetz
President & CEO of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Dr. Gaetz is the President & CEO of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, one of his key projects is the Homeless Hub, an innovative web-based research library internationally recognized as a leading example of innovation in knowledge mobilization. In 2016, Dr. Gaetz was awarded a Research Impact (Connection) award by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and in 2017 he received the honour of Member of the Order of Canada.

As a scholar, Dr. Gaetz has had a long-standing interest in understanding homelessness – its causes, how it is experienced, and potential solutions. His program of research has been defined by his desire to ‘make research matter’ through conducting rigorous scholarly research that contributes to our knowledge base on homelessness and is mobilized so that it has an impact on policy, practice and public opinion.

As an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the area of knowledge mobilization, Dr. Gaetz has pioneered efforts to bring together researchers, practitioners, policy makers and people with lived experience of homelessness to participate in a broad agenda of community engaged scholarship and knowledge creation designed to contribute to solutions to homelessness.

Jasmine Hayes
Executive Director, Capacity Building Center for States

As Executive Director of the Capacity Building Center for States, Jasmine leads a diverse team committed to advancing the Children’s Bureau’s vision for preventing child abuse and neglect and keeping families healthy, together, and strong. Most recently, Jasmine served as Deputy Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness where she oversaw the policy team and led implementation of the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. Jasmine championed the Council’s work to prevent and end youth and family homelessness, ensuring connection to national goals to end homelessness. Jasmine has spent more than 15 years strengthening state and local child welfare practices, including over 10 years at the District of Columbia’s child welfare agency where she led efforts related to planning, policy, quality improvement, and resource development. Jasmine holds an MSW from the University of Toronto.

Michael Herrera

Michael is the former VP, Finance and Administration with United Way Greater Toronto. Michael joined United Way in August 2009. In his tenure as vice-president, Finance & Administration, Michael provided strategic leadership in accounting and financial management, and supervised the department’s day-to-day operations as well as the development and delivery of accurate and relevant reports to United Way stakeholders. Michael has spent a career in service to the not-for-profit sector, having worked with social services, religious and arts organizations. Prior to his work with the United Way, Michael was the interim treasurer at the Anglican Church of Canada. He has held similar positions at YMCA of Greater Toronto and National Ballet of Canada. Previous to these roles, Michael was a manager at EY and, as an independent consultant, he supported arts and heritage organizations through the development and delivery of financial and governance training to a variety of organizations throughout the province. Michael’s community involvement includes past governance roles with organizations such as Social Planning Council, Toronto Foundation and Ontario Museums Association. He currently serves on the board of directors for Crow’s Theatre and on the Finance and Property Committee of Sherbourne Health Centre. Michael holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and has been a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario since 1996.

Amy E. Horton-Newell
Director, American Bar Association Center for Public Interest Law

Since 2001, Amy E. Horton-Newell has led high-impact, interdisciplinary law and policy initiatives at the American Bar Association—as the Director of the Commission on Homelessness & Poverty for 17 years, and now as the Director of the Center for Public Interest Law. Leading a team of 150+ staff and 11 entities dedicated to improving outcomes for vulnerable populations through law and policy solutions, she collaborates with advocacy groups, associations, funders and government agencies to implement bipartisan solutions to complex social issues. She designed and launched the ABA Homeless Youth Legal Network, a national network aimed at increasing legal services and removing legal barriers. She chaired the Montgomery County Interagency Commission on Homelessness from 2014-18, and was honored by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in 2014 for her outstanding leadership in ending veteran homelessness in the United States. She currently chairs the International Advisory Board for the emerging Canadian National Centre of Excellence “Making the Shift – Youth Homelessness Innovation Lab.” Amy received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Maryland, College Park, and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law where she focused on poverty law and street outreach.

Melanie Redman
Co-founder, President & CEO of A Way Home Canada

Melanie Redman is the co-founder, President & CEO of A Way Home Canada, a national coalition reimagining solutions to youth homelessness through transformations in policy, planning and practice. A Way Home Canada has inspired communities and countries around the world to adopt the A Way Home brand as a way to participate in a growing international movement for change. Melanie also leads the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness in Canada, which is a pan-Canadian community of practice for youth homelessness service providers.

Kenn Richard
Director, Indigenous Spirit Fund

Both sides of Kenn Richard’s family come from the original Métis and Francophone settlements along the Red and the Assiniboine River in Manitoba. He is of the first generation in his family to be raised in an urban environment and graduate from university. He holds a Masters in Social Work, University of Manitoba, and has been practicing social work, principally within Aboriginal child welfare, since the mid-seventies. Kenn is founder and until recently was Executive Director of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, a mandated Children’s Aid Society and Children’s Mental Health Center, since 1989. Kenn has been the recipient of multiple awards including the Toronto Civic Award of Merit, The Aboriginal Affairs Award, The Chief of Police Community Award, and the Salute to the City Award for outstanding civic contribution, the Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of HRH Elizabeth 60 years on the throne. Kenn is a strong children’s advocate at both the national and the local level and is often called to lend advice to government in the field of Native Child Welfare and its related issues. He has appeared as expert witness to the courts and Parliamentary/Legislative committees on matters associated with Native children. He has also been active in the both the print and the visual media on issues associated with the welfare of Native children. He has been a consultant on a diverse range of projects focused on the interface of Native peoples and the human service system.

Amir Asif, PhD
Vice President of Research & Innovation, York University

Dr. Amir Asif is the Vice President, Research & Innovation at York University. Previously, he served as Dean of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science (GCS) and professor at Concordia University. Dr. Asif is the recipient of several prestigious teaching awards and has published extensively in scientific journals and international conferences, with his research focusing on developing next generation technologies for a variety of everyday applications, including health and medical devices. Furthermore, his extensive academic experience and university service have contributed to his reputation for thoughtful decisive leadership aimed at training the next generation of engineering and computer science leaders. To this effect, Dr. Asif notably developed an EDI plan to promote a greater gender balance in engineering during his time at Concordia University. As the principal investigator of the Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data Driven Design (CIV/DDD), he led a multi-million, multi-institutional research project funded by the province of Ontario under the Ontario Research Foundation/ Research Excellence program. Asif received M.Sc. (1993) and Ph.D. (1996) in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a registered professional engineer in Ontario.

Suzanne L. Stewart
Director of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at U of T

Dr. Stewart is a member of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation. She is a registered psychologist and the Director of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at U of T, where she is an Associate Professor in the Division of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences. Dr. Stewart’s research and teaching interests include Indigenous health and healing with specializations in psychology (homelessness, youth mental health, identity, and work-life development), Indigenous determinants of health, Indigenous pedagogies in higher education and health sciences, and Indigenous research ethics and methodologies. She is also the Chair of the Aboriginal Section of the Canadian Psychology Association and is committed to advancing Indigenous healing issues in health practice and policy.

Mark Tonkovich
Partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Mark Tonkovich is partner with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, one of Canada’s top business law firms. For the past decade, Mark’s practice has focused exclusively on resolving tax and related public law disputes with the Canada Revenue Agency and provincial tax regulators. He has experience and expertise in a wide range of tax and regulatory fields, and he has served as trusted tax controversy counsel to select individuals and many of the world’s largest and most-sophisticated businesses. He is recognized as a leading tax controversy lawyer by several legal publications, and he has successfully represented many clients in hotly-disputed tax audits, administrative appeals, and before all levels of federal and provincial court in Canada. He is also a frequently-published author on tax law matters and is a regular speaker at events for tax professionals. Mark is dedicated to his young family and to lifelong learning, is active in several professional and community organizations, and has provided many hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services to charities, non-profits, and low-income individuals.

Alina Turner
Principal, Turner Strategies

Dr. Alina Turner is recognized as a leading researcher and thinker on social issues, particularly as result of her work on systems planning and integration. Her drive and passion for this work is grounded in her lived experience of the social issues she continues to challenge in her professional work. She is a Fellow at The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary and serves on the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network on the Future of Cities and Mental Health. She is also a member of the Rural Advisory Board on Housing and Homelessness for Alberta.

Dr. Turner co-founded as a BCorp social enterprise focused on systems mapping and realtime data to support systems change while connecting people with the help they need, fast. She has also led Turner Strategies since 2012, a consulting firm that supports leaders in large-scale social change through community engagement, data analysis and visualization, best practice research and evaluation. We provide change-makers with technical and strategic support to meaningfully and measurably accelerate social impact initiatives. Working with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada, Turner Strategies established the Systems Planning Collective – dedicated to building capacity nationally to implement systems approaches to prevent and end homelessness.

Dr. Turner has worked at an executive leadership level at both management and board of directors levels for the past 15 years, including as VP Strategy at the Calgary Homeless Foundation, where she led the implementation of Canada’s first Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) and designed the homeless-serving system, its performance management, quality assurance and funding strategy. Prior to this, Alina worked at the Poverty Reduction Initiative of the United Way of Calgary & Area, and a variety of front-line immigrant and homeless-serving agencies.