Our Board


Our Board team is committed to providing governance and guidance to support our staff and strategic direction. Our Board members bring depth and experience to Social Planning Toronto, and are driven to create a more equitable and inclusive Toronto.

Shannon Wiens

Shannon Wiens

Chair

Shannon is Vice-President, Strategy & Systems at South Riverdale Community Health Centre. She has worked in the community health sector for 26 years in a variety of roles, including working for three of the social planning councils in Toronto early in her career. She believes that the determinants of health are critical to achieving health equity for all. 

A change agent, perpetual learner, and natural leader, Shannon has a demonstrated ability for creative and strategic thinking, planning, inspiring, and critical decision-making. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto Planning Program (MscPl) and the Rotman School of Business Community Health Leaders Program.

Max Zhu

Max Zhu

Vice-Chair

As a young immigrant growing up in one of Toronto's priority neighbourhoods, Max experienced the impact of poverty and inequality first-hand. These experiences profoundly shaped Max’s identity and his desire to serve Toronto’s marginalized communities. In 2018, he co-founded a nonprofit organization called Time to Talk to support racialized youth in Scarborough, which has since tackled systemic barriers in food insecurity and civic engagement. Over 300 children and youth benefit each year through Time to Talk's programming. 

Max is a Chartered Accountant and brings over five years of finance experience to the Board, including four years leading multinational public audits at Deloitte Canada. Combined with his community and lived experiences, he is well-positioned to contribute to the Board’s vital work advancing impactful change together.

Michelle Dagnino

Michelle Dagnino

Treasurer

Michelle is currently the Executive Director of the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre. Previously, Michelle held positions as the Canada Director for Ashoka’s Youth Venture, Executive Director of Youth Action Network, and was in private practice with one of Canada’s leading labour and human rights law firms.

Michelle holds a Masters of Arts in Political Science, and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Osgoode Hall Law School. Michelle is a Loran Scholar, a recipient of YWCA Toronto's Young Woman of Distinction award, and was named by The Globe and Mail and the Women’s Executive Network as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. She is a frequent commentator in the media on matters related to engagement of Millennials and workforce development strategies.

Erica Chan Glueck

Secretary

Erica is a sustainability consultant working with companies making an environmental or social impact, and the Operations Lead at Efficiency Canada, a national think tank and advocacy organization working to advance energy efficiency policies in Canada. Erica was a founding team member of Tapestry Community Capital, which focuses work on social finance. At Tapestry, she structured alternative and community-based debt financing for capital projects in renewable energy and social purpose real estate in Canada, managing $80 million of community financing during her tenure. She is a University of Toronto alumna and holds an Honours BA in Political Science and a Graduate Diploma in Sustainability.

Erica feels that her cultural background and upbringing taught her the importance of social structures and their effects on inclusion and livelihoods. When her family immigrated to Toronto, she learned how the built environment of a city and its communities can contribute to a sense, or lack, of belonging and security.

Amin Ali

Amin is a Public Policy & Sociology undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. Amin’s lived experiences have motivated him to become a social policy professional, and he will contribute lived equity perspectives to Social Planning Toronto’s core social research and policy analysis areas. Amin's governance experience applicable to the nonprofit world includes service on the Board of Trustees of the Toronto District School Board and the Federal Council of the New Democratic Party, approving budgets and leveraging governance processes to advocate for change.

Celia Denov

Celia Denov

Celia is very pleased to return to the Board of Social Planning Toronto. Celia has over 30 years of experience in the social services and health fields. She served in the Ontario Public Service in the Ministries of Community and Social Services, and Health and Long-Term Care, as well as the Ontario Women's Directorate. She retired as an Assistant Deputy Minister. Celia has served on a number of community boards, including as a member and Board Chair of St. Stephen's Community House and as a member, Chair, and Secretary of SPT's Board.

Celia holds a Master's degree in Social Planning, Policy and Administration. She taught at the Aga Khan Boys Secondary School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, under the auspices of CUSO.

Sharmini Fernando

Sharmini Fernando

Sharmini is currently the Executive Director at Syme Woolner Neighbourhood & Family Centre. Over the course of more than 20 years in the social justice and social service communities, she has been privileged to serve in multiple strategic and leadership capacities, including as a nonprofit consultant.

In particular, as a senior nonprofit administrator, Sharmini brings a deep knowledge of on-the-ground realities in the sectors serving marginalized communities as we struggle to rebuild. Her work is the work of collaboration with nonprofits, community networks, health, government, education, the private sector, and the arts, focused on developing and sustaining programs for communities challenged by economic, social, and cultural barriers. 
Rhonda Frizzell

Rhonda Frizzell

Rhonda is an innovator with extensive experience in forging resilient, inclusive communities. While dedicated to the creation of governance foundations, she is also committed to nurturing human nuances and contributions.

Since Rhonda’s recent relocation to Toronto, her professional endeavours have addressed barriers faced by underserved communities within the GTA. Her involvement with the Canadian Cancer Society’s “Underserved Roadmap” provided a targeted, person-centered approach to the information and support needs of marginalized individuals with cancer.

Prior to her move east, Rhonda was the executive director of a nonprofit based out of the University of Calgary. Her team garnered key academic partnerships, enabling neurodivergent individuals/those with intellectual disabilities to experience inclusive higher learning in post-secondary environments — as well as pathways to inclusive employment — and her work resulted in the organization’s first binding agreement with U of C.

In previous years, Rhonda was fortunate to lead several organizations, teams, and projects — each with defined contributions towards a more pronounced voice for those who aren’t always heard.

Roselin Minj

Roselin has more than 13 years of international leadership experience in sustainability and social impact. She has worked across development consulting firms and nonprofits, and has extensive experience in providing strategic support to nonprofits, social enterprises, and international foundations.

Her diverse experience ranges from working with an education nonprofit for strategic design of a project that impacted learning for 1 million public school students, to advising an international foundation on designing a health solution portfolio for COVID-19 health services delivery. She also supported nonprofits for fundraising multi-year project proposals of up to $2M USD and helped design ambitious and forward-looking organizational strategies. As a Linkedin Top 200 Creator, she proactively used her writing voice to draw attention to the need for equity and sustainable development goals. Over the last few years, she has also shared her experiences as a speaker and facilitator across industry events. She also writes a newsletter for nonprofit and philanthropy professionals on becoming better purpose-driven leaders.
Jean Olemou

Jean Olemou

Jean Olemou is Co-Founder and Principal of GreenDev, a Toronto impact investment management firm dedicated to investing in the circular economy transition in countries in the Global South and the OECD.

Through his domestic and international work on strategic investments in sustainable infrastructure and energy assets, Jean translates challenging circumstances into opportunities to foster economic and social inclusion for diverse communities.

Jean is passionate about youth empowerment and has mentored racialized Canadian youth interested in finance and sustainability. Jean also provides strategic advice on sustainability for a range of stakeholders such as UN agencies, international NGOs, and the private sector. As a Torontonian, Jean is committed to addressing the inequitable distribution of economic opportunities for racialized, Francophone, and newcomer communities. Jean is interested in how we can connect global and local conversations about UN sustainable development goals to facilitate civic engagement municipally.

Jean believes organizations such as SPT are critical pillars to ensure that Toronto is an equitable, just, and inclusive city for all. Jean holds a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics, a Masters in Finance and has completed executive education at Harvard Business School.

Neil Parmar

Neil Parmar

Neil has worked for more than a decade as a journalist and editor. His community research and social reporting on food insecurity, human rights abuses, and marginalized workers has been featured in the Solutions Journalism Network’s database of “rigorous reporting on responses to social problems” and the Aspen Institute’s “best ideas of the day.” His social change reporting has been published by Entrepreneur and HuffPost, and he spent eight months reporting for The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize–nominated “Waste Lands” series, which revisited the little-noticed aftermath of the U.S. nuclear-arms buildup. He has also copyedited community reports such as the Alberta Diabetes Atlas.

Neil’s long-time interest in covering social issues and mentoring intersected when he joined a team of students for the Hult Prize — a global competition that helps nonprofits tackle the world’s most pressing problems — and spent months creating a human-centric support model for SolarAid. His team’s concept was one of three chosen from 4,000 proposals. Neil subsequently created and taught a course on social entrepreneurship at Humber College then later worked in marketing at Shopify, where he led teams of video producers, content marketers, and content strategists. He now works with a team of development writers on donor stewardship initiatives and impact reporting at SickKids Foundation.

Melanie Rodriguez

Melanie Rodriguez

Melanie is a passionate nonprofit and early childhood education advocate who has worked with over 20 nonprofits in North America, Central America, and South America. Her work experience ranges from evaluating the risk of a 200-million dollar banking portfolio to delivering post-graduate sustainability curricula to managing business development as an Executive Director of an international children’s foundation.

Melanie has completed training courses from Ivey Business School, Harvard University, the British Council, and the United Nations Association in Canada. She is a recent MBA graduate from the Schulich School of Business, previous Head Delegate for Canada at the Youth7 Summit, and Manager of Communications and Network Engagement at the Ontario Nonprofit Network.

Leila Saragi

Leila Sarangi

Leila is a leader in the nonprofit and charitable sector, with a range of experiences working with boards and a demonstrable commitment to the values of social justice, equity, and inclusion.

With nearly 25 years in the field, she’s considered a subject matter expert on issues related to gender equity, anti-poverty, equity, and inclusion. Her work is grounded in the lived realities of people and communities marginalized by systemic barriers. She’s a senior leader at Family Service Toronto, responsible for the organization’s non-partisan public policy, social action, and government relations work, and she serves as the National Director of Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty. She leads the organization’s equity and inclusion work at both the operational and governance levels. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Child Care Now, Canada’s national childcare advocacy coalition. Although she specializes in governance and equity as a board member, she has a diverse skill set. She’s familiar with all aspects of board functions including financial oversight, risk assessments, auditing processes, strategic planning, fundraising, and funder and donor relations.
Nazia Shahrin

Nazia Shahrin

Nazia has a strong background in the financial industry, with a focus on strategy and transformation to build new operating models for the Royal Bank of Canada. She is a senior director for regulatory programs at RBC, with a strong focus on consumer protection, and has been leveraging her position as Diversity and Inclusion Chair for one of the operating committee members for personal and commercial banking to bring awareness to marginalized communities and what the company can do to help move things in the right direction.

Nazia is also a lecturer at the graduate level at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information. This summer she supervised COVID-related research relating to AI capabilities and privacy within Canada.

Nazia wants to be a part of SPT because she feels its vision strongly aligns with her views — especially as someone with elderly immigrant parents, and a woman who has had to work very hard to build a network in Canada for her career. With her financial industry and transformation experience, she feels strongly that she would be an asset to SPT in approaching post-COVID impact on the communities that need us the most.

John Willis

John is a veteran campaigner and nonprofit organizer, active in the environmental, social justice, and labour movements for over 40 years. He has professional experience in social policy and political research, evaluation, fundraising, public engagement, communications, and service design.

After an early career as an activist, making contributions to local government action on climate, and helping to found the local grassroots climate justice group Greenest City, John helped to create consulting firm Strategic Communications, Inc., where he was Director of Campaigns from 1997 to 2013. Since then, he has been a City of Toronto analyst in local economic development and social service delivery, and he is currently a Team Lead/Senior Program Analyst for business innovation in the Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services. John identifies as a person with a disability and at the Ministry he applies participatory design and rapid prototyping to improve public services for people with disabilities and low-income Ontarians. 

John has served as Board Chair of Greenpeace in both Canada and the US, and was previously an SPT Board member and Chair. He holds a Master’s Degree in Inclusive Design from OCAD.

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