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 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.
Brigitte is an experienced not-for-profit sector professional, including 15 years in social housing. She is a passionate advocate for social justice and has had personal experience with poverty. She currently works with Toronto Community Housing as a Community Services Coordinator in the Resident and Community Services Division.
Daniel’s family immigrated to Toronto in 1996. His parents came with no education or job prospects and relied heavily on volunteer and charitable organizations such as soup kitchens, food banks, and community daycare services. In three years, and thanks to the generosity and advocacy of such organizations, his parents thrived and grew into prospering citizens. Daniel’s goal is to advocate on behalf of new immigrants so they can receive greater social opportunities, access to jobs, and other services.
As a lawyer who advocates on law and policy issues, and who has experience with board and corporate governance, he provides necessary strategic legal insight to our Board.
Donald has been on the boards of many co-operatives, most recently the Co-operators Insurance Company, Alterna Savings and Credit Union, Church Isabella Housing Co-operative, and the Ontario Natural Food Co-op. He sits on the boards of Home Ownership Alternatives Non-Profit, chairing the governance committee, and Karma Food Co-op, where he is treasurer. He was treasurer of the City of Toronto non-union staff association.
In a 35-year career with the City, Donald held several positions in the finance department, retiring as the manager of corporate financial strategies, responsible for the City’s long-term fiscal plan and reserve fund policies.
He has received the Co-operative Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Co-operative Association and is an honorary lifetime member of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto.
Celia is very pleased to return to the Board of SPT. 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 member and Board Chair of Social Planning Toronto.
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.
John is Executive Director of Ralph Thornton Community Centre, which provides a range of services for children, seniors, and marginalized residents of the South Riverdale community. John was the executive director of Social Planning Toronto for 11 years, providing leadership to stabilize and rebuild SPT’s relationships, reputation, and staff and board teams; developing strategic partnerships with other community organizations, other social planning councils, academia, foundations, and other funders; and building SPT’s capacity to challenge poverty, inequity, and indifference in the city of Toronto and beyond.
Previously, John was a teacher with the TDSB, a school trustee in the downtown area, and a consultant with the International Children’s Institute, supporting the development of inclusive, child-centred programming and curricula in post-war Bosnia.
John has extensive experience in governance issues. Currently he is treasurer of the Toronto Neighbourhood Centres board and a member of the Triangle Program Advisory Council.
Alina has been Senior Director, Redevelopment & Innovations at Scadding Court Community Centre since 2016 and has held various posi-tions with the Centre, including manager of development and fundraising. Previously, she worked as a neighbourhood team lead at United Way To-ronto, was executive assistant to a downtown City Councillor, held various positions with Toronto Community Housing, and acted as interim execu-tive director of the Regent Park Neigbourhood Initiative. She also has ex-tensive experience working with settlement agencies.
Alina has been a board member with numerous nonprofit organizations including SPT, New York City’s Participatory Budgeting Project, Drum Artz, Laidlaw Foundation, CAMH, Dixon Hall, CASSA, and UARR.
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.
John Joseph Mastandrea
Rev. Dr. John Joseph Mastandrea seeks to meet people where they are and build relationships across the diverse spectrum of society. John Joseph has served United Church congregations across Canada for 31 years. After 19 years at Metropolitan United Church, he is now Minister at Manor Road United Church. The son of a police officer, John Joseph also serves as police chaplain for 51 Division. He and his husband reside in Cabbagetown.
John Joseph has BSc., M.Div., M.R.E, and M.A.M.S degrees from the University of Toronto and completed his Doctorate at the Chicago Theological Seminary. In 2012, John Joseph was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal honouring significant contributions and achievements.
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 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.
Hana currently holds the position of evaluation and implementation lead for psychiatry at SickKids, supporting programs that address the mental health needs of children and youth. A nurse before coming to Canada, Hana completed a PhD in Education from Queen’s University and has worked in both the education and healthcare sectors. She has volunteered in a variety of organizations both in Belleville, Ontario, and in Toronto. Hana and her family fled civil war in Lebanon. The hurdles she faced as an immigrant and visible minority have informed her professional and volunteer commitment to equity and social justice.
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 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.
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.