Our Staff

Social Planning Toronto's staff team brings passion, skill, and decades of combined experience to our projects. We believe in our work and building lasting relationships with our partners and members.

Jin Huh

(she/her) Executive Director

From grassroots organizing to nonprofit leadership, Jin has supported and led change efforts in communities, organizations, and nonprofit sectors, and collaborated with residents and decision-makers across the city. Jin has over two decades of experience in the nonprofit sector, with experience in community development, civic engagement, settlement, housing, women’s and 2SLGBTQ+ health. She has also worked in adult and popular education, and community arts, and was co-editor of HanKut: Critical Art and Writing by Korean Canadian Women. She currently serves on the board of the Toronto Environmental Alliance.

Melissa Wong

(she/her) Director, Engagement & Strategic Initiatives

Melissa Wong is an experienced strategist and organizer with a passion for social justice and equity. For nine years, she worked at the municipal level for a Toronto City Councillor, leading campaigns and advancing policy to improve the lives of the city’s most vulnerable residents, including the initiation of the Downtown East Action Plan and the development of the Indigenous Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Melissa’s career in the community and non-profit sector has been dedicated to supporting intersectional gender equality and gender equity. In 2017, Melissa co-founded Women Win Toronto, a program to support and train progressive women to run for elected office. Prior to her work at city hall, Melissa held roles at the Toronto Women’s City Alliance and the North York Women’s Centre.

Mary Micallef

(she/her) Program Support

Mary brings decades of experience to Social Planning Toronto's offices. She provides program support to our staff operations.

Isaac Thornley

Isaac Thornley

(he/him) Acting Communications Coordinator

Isaac is a communications professional and PhD candidate interested in building a more socially and environmentally just future. He works on several projects with multiple organizations, including Social Planning Toronto, CUPE 3903, and Infrastructure beyond Extractivism. His work has centered on writing, research, web development, and communications for organizations that advocate for living wages and job security, affordable housing, support for caregivers in families affected by mental illness, and Indigenous and environmental justice. His current academic research focuses on energy infrastructure projects in Canada, specifically the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.

Community Planners

Israt Ahmed

(she/her) Senior Community Planner Scarborough

Israt Ahmed is Senior Community Planner at Social Planning Toronto, coordinating civic engagement initiatives and building resident leadership. She coordinates city-wide campaigns and local initiatives to make the city equitable, accessible, and affordable for Torontonians. She holds an MA and a PhD from the University of Sussex. She has taught courses on diversity, civic engagement, community development, and social planning at the University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson.

Saroja Ponnambalam

(she/her) Community Planner 
(Currently on leave)

Saroja has over seven years of experience in resident engagement in Toronto's diverse neighbourhoods. She is dedicated to reducing barriers to civic participation through local governance, and has worked with numerous community groups and networks across the city to organize around systemic issues, ranging from racial discrimination to housing inequity. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Geography from the University of Toronto. Saroja also has a media arts practice which utilizes community arts and documentary film as tools for advancing social justice and influencing policy.

Rima Athar

(she/her) Community Planner

Rima has over a decade of experience working to advance gender equity and the rights of women, girls, and 2SLGBTIQ+ people globally. As a facilitator, researcher, educator, and organizer, she has worked with community-led teams from every continent to strengthen advocacy around sexual and bodily autonomy, gender-based violence, digital rights and privacy, land rights and environmental justice, government and corporate accountability, and more. Rima also loves holding spaces for healing and well-being to support those at the frontlines of social change.

Jonella Evangelista

Jonella Evangelista

(she/her) Community Planner

Jonella is passionate about building equitable and inclusive cities with an interdisciplinary lens. Through her work, she aims to leverage community willpower and partnerships across neighbourhoods to implement city-level policy change, with an asset-based community development approach. She holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University, with a specialization in Social Planning. Jonella previously worked in the Regent Park community, which is undergoing a neighbourhood revitalization. Her work focused on enhancing organizational and resident capacity towards collective, coordinated, and sustainable community impact

Hazim Ismail

Hazim Ismail

(dia/they/them) Community Planner

Hazim has nine years of experience working with newcomers, refugees, and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. They hold an MA Anthropology and Contemporary East and Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Toronto with a research specialization on the intersections of migrant justice and discard, waste systems and how oppressed communities disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change. They have served on the board for Planned Parenthood Toronto, Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, and Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba.

Research & Policy

Beth Wilson

(she/her) Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst

Beth Wilson is our lead on policy and research at Social Planning Toronto, starting at our organization in 2002. She has a Master of Social Work (MSW), Policy, Organization and Community.

Sharma Queiser

(she/her) Researcher and Policy Analyst;
Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, Community Safety Networks Project

Sharma conducts community-based, action-oriented research and supports stakeholder engagement. Currently, her work focuses on academic streaming, access to recreation for equity-seeking groups, and community use of public spaces. A social worker by training, Sharma is dedicated to addressing the root causes of social injustices.

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