Betty Won, Chair, Facilitator
Betty is passionate about fostering political and civic engagement. She first got her start as an organizer with Olivia's mayoral campaign in 2014. Bitten by the organizing bug, Betty then went on to work on the federal campaign in 2015. Fluently bilingual in English and Korean, Betty is also an experienced freelance translator, and hopes to use her skills to help build a network of organizers in the city's Korean community. When she isn't hard at work organizing for progressive change, Betty can usually be found either with her nose in a book or shuffling in a zombie-like manner towards the nearest cup of coffee.
William Flores, Vice-Chair, Facilitator
William first became politically active in the lead up to the 2014 Toronto mayoral election in an effort to make an impact on its outcome. His time on that campaign working under veteran leadership towards a progressive mayor would inspire him to get more involved in his community. After getting his feet wet in the mayoral campaign where he learnt the basic skills of community organizing, William would eventually pursue further training with Project Organize and continue to work with the Spanish-speaking community in Toronto through the 2015 Federal Election. William looks forward to working with other community organizers to build power in their struggle for social justice.
Ben Donato-Woodger, Coordinator, Facilitator
Ben has been making today a too gay since 1993. Ben started organizing in 2006 after doing a project on climate change in school and feeling shocked with the magnitude of the problem. He felt betrayed thinking adults are supposed to know better. Ben spent the next 5 years volunteering for groups that organized protests and lobbied politicians. But he saw this strategy was not making changed. His understanding changed in 2014 when he attended the People's Climate March. In attending a crowd of hundreds of thousands, Ben saw how frontline communities were successfully organizing their communities to force politicians to act. Upon returning Ben committed to learning organizing and enrolled in Marshall Ganz's class People, Power, and Change. He then brought back his knowledge of organizing to train organizers in the queer, climate, and progressive movements in Toronto and Etobicoke. He is a bit of a dog person.
Brian Chang, Chair of Curriculum, Facilitator
Brian Chang is a ball of energy. Frequently bouncing off of walls, he's likely in the back of the room twiddling his thumbs while laughing maniacally. During the day, his normal hat is Campaigns Officer at the Ontario Public Service Employee's Union (OPSEU) where he focuses on citizen engagement on issues important to OPSEU members and wider society. A graduate of Innis College, University of Toronto and with a Masters from York University, he is at home in academic discourse or talking in baby-voice to cute puppies. His organizing interests are: ethno-specific, racialized, queer engagement; the environmental policy process; HIV/AIDS & STI/STD prevention; suburban organizing; choral music; and music theatre.
Susan Kwong, Chair of Communication, Facilitator
Susan Kwong knows that communities are stronger when people come together. From collaborating with diverse stakeholders to facilitate lasting success, to working one-on-one with newcomers and marginalized individuals, she is dedicated to helping build Toronto’s communities. During her eight-year tenure with former City Councillor and Member of Parliament Olivia Chow, Susan helped organize the National Public Transit Strategy; the Children’s Health and Nutrition Initiative; and mandatory side guards on trucks campaign. Throughout Susan’s organizing career, she demonstrated an ability and passion to build partnerships, develop leaders, and take action for social change - whether with fellow organizers to work for social justice, voters to act on their values at the voting booth or standing in solidarity for worker rights and economic justice. With her legendary enthusiasm, Susan has been instrumental in building networks of dedicated volunteers to collaborate many community development and outreach activities and political campaigns. Susan has a Masters in Social Work, a B.A. (Hons.) in Economics and Labour Studies and a B.A. (Hons.) in Social Work. In her free time, Susan and her camera can be found capturing the beauty of the Canadian outdoors or 36,000 feet in the air, on her way to a new adventure.
Paul Sahbaz, Chair of Administration, Facilitator
Paul studied Politics and Governance at Ryerson University. His working class background has shaped his passion for working toward an effective and accessible social safety net. His resolve for these issues were further solidified after a workplace injury caused his father to lose his job unexpectedly. He has worked on several campaigns for progressive politicians and continues to take an active part in politics. While working on the 2014 Toronto municipal election he witnessed first hand how some of the city's most marginalized felt powerless and hopeless about the political process but it's also where he learned the importance of organizing in effecting real change by empowering those very same people. A total geek polymath, Paul is well-versed in the world of video games, comic books and collectible toys. To his great dismay, his encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics characters has yet to come in handy while organizing.
Sabrina Bowman, Facilitator
Sabrina has spent the past decade working in the not for profit sector on environment, politics, and international health. She trained with organizer Marshall Ganz at Harvard in his Leadership, Organizing and Change course, and has facilitated several sessions training organizers working on a variety of progressive issues. Sabrina co-organized the 2014 Canroots East conference in Toronto, bringing over 150 people together to learn about different approaches to organizing, and is co-organizing Canroots East 2016. She volunteers at a do it yourself bike shop, and loves teaching people how to fix a flat tire.
Him Ranjit, Facilitator
Him Ranjit has been organizing since 2009. Him grew up as an undocumented immigrant in Texas [yes, he rode horses as a means of transportation and no, he did not own any guns]. Due to the circumstances, Him felt very alienated and disempowered until he met others like him in an organization called University Leadership Initiative in University of Texas. Working with others in similar circumstances, Him started to understand the power of organizing and how people outside the institutions of power can be empowered to create progressive change. Since then, Him has worked with numerous immigrant organizations and political campaigns in the United States and Canada. Currently, Him works as a campaign organizer for a union, Public Service Alliance of Canada. He has been lucky to be able to work with Project Organize to train others with the skills needed to organize communities here in Toronto.
Sandra Whiting, Facilitator
Sandra Whiting is an inspirational speaker who delivers her message through the power of storytelling, lived experience and practical examples to move people and teams to a YES WE CAN Attitude! As a charismatic storyteller, Sandra has told her tales on radio and television, spoken at hundreds of schools to thousands of children, in churches, in libraries, at festivals, special events and even prisons. She has shared her knowledge through talks at the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bank of Montreal and St. Joseph’s Centre. Sandra's involvement in many various community activities and associations such as the Jamaican Canadian Association is a testament to her boundless energy and commitment to helping others.
Abbas Ali, Facilitator
Abbas may not be much of a talker, but he is definitely a listener. Listening to the stories and experiences of all people, and learning from them, is what inspires Abbas to continue organizing. He has been organizing since 2014, when he helped organize the Toronto Muslim community for the Mayoral Election in Toronto. He continues to work within the Muslim community to advocate for better civic engagement during and outside of elections. Abbas is also super passionate about transit and has been organizing for transit issues in Scarborough for a number of years. His love of city building and urban planning may have contributed to that passion quite a bit. All this organizing lead to meeting some amazing organizers who encouraged him to learn the organizing skills of Marshall Gantz and teach it to others. And ta-da! That's how he got here.
Kat Horne, Facilitator
Kat's passion for speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves lead to an 8-year role with the Nova Scotia SPCA where she served on the board of directors and was elected Vice President. During this tenure, she collaborated with an amazing team of volunteer professionals to turn the organization from struggling to survive to becoming a 4-star internationally recognized charity (Charity Intelligence Canada) by revitalizing the organizations’ operations, donor relations, and financial transparency. After completing treatment for breast cancer in 2015, Kat chose to step out on the ledge and bravely walk a new path towards enlightenment and purpose. With more than 25 years of corporate experience, she brings to us her diverse background combined with her passion for change and a desire to walk the road less traveled. As an active member of the LGBT community, Kat has a hunger for equality and justice. Her focus on personal growth, yoga, cycling, and anything involving water and a paddle have been instrumental in this journey.
Frances Tufford, Facilitator
Frances is a life-long activist with a passion for social change that has motivated her through her education and professional career. She first started to learn organizing skills in the climate change movement, working with various student groups and environmental organizations at the University of Toronto and beyond where she completed a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies. Her vision for a sustainable and socially just future led her to pursue a Masters of Environmental Studies at York University, where she is currently studying. She has spent time working on political campaigns, as well as working closely with community organizations such as the Junction Farmers Market to imagine a more sustainable and just city. She holds a strong interest in a broad range of campaigns for social justice, and cherishes the opportunity to collect and impart skills as a facilitator with Project Organize.
Brandon Choi, Facilitator
Brandon was born in Canada to parents who emigrated from South Korea. Both Brandon’s parents were apolitical and the only thing they cared about was working hard enough to provide a better opportunity for him and his older sister. It was during his time volunteering at a First Nations reserve that he witnessed first hand social injustices such as people in contemporary society not having access to clean drinking water. This caused a paradigm shift in the way he viewed the world and lit in him a passion for social justice. Brandon has since worked on multiple elections and campaigns in support of progressive causes. He is now using his experiences of organizing to teach people who are fighting for progressive change.
Amanda Harvey-Sanchez, Facilitator
Amanda grew up hearing about climate change from her parents. She has been involved in environmental initiatives from a young age, but it wasn’t until joining her campus fossil fuel divestment campaign in 2014 that she learned to approach climate activism from a social justice perspective. Working on divestment, she has had the opportunity to engage with related social issues including Indigenous rights, anti-racism, and feminist activism. She came to Project Organize hoping to improve her skills and connect with the broader activist community; now, as a facilitator with the group, she coaches organizers in the skills they need to enact progressive change.
Spencer Jacklin, Facilitator
Spencer firmly believes that persistence is a suitable alternative to talent. Spencer also believes that persistence rarely emerges in the absence of strong relationships. Spencer strives to help develop these relationships in all his organizing projects, including his work on electoral campaigns, public health initiatives and youth education ventures. Spencer has organized in a number of diverse geographic communities. As such, he has knocked on a wide array of doors; from soundproof condo doors in downtown Toronto, to screen farmhouse doors in rural Ontario. When not organizing, Spencer can be found researching and developing various public history projects including; plaques, museum exhibits and even historically accurate raps. Spencer claims that he started writing raps inspired by historical events and figures prior to “Hamilton” sweeping the Tony’s. He has yet to prove that this statement is accurate.
Joshua Goodfield, Research Assistant
Joshua is a Master's of Applied Science candidate at Ryerson University in the Environmental Science and Management program. His research and professional interests are in transportation innovation and the commercialization of clean technology. Joshua formerly has held positions at the United Nations ESCAP and Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy. His work has been largely focused on working with vulnerable populations and advocating for environmental justice in contaminated regions.