- Olivia Chow - Distinguished Visiting Professor
- Ben DW - Coordinator
- Kat Horne - Financial Administrator
- Angélique Bernabé - Project Assistant
Distinguished Visiting Professor
In a political career that began in 1985, Olivia Chow has been one of Canada’s most effective and well known public figures. She now leads the Institute’s educational initiatives. In 1991, Olivia became the first Asian-born woman elected as a Metro Toronto Councilor. She was re-elected to city council five times, serving with distinction for 14 years. While at City Hall, she served as Chair of the Community Services Committee and Vice Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), among other senior responsibilities. First elected to Parliament in 2006, Olivia won re-election twice. In Parliament, her Early Learning and Child Care Bill laid the legislative foundation for a universal, high quality, affordable and non-profit national childcare program. She also pushed for faster family reunification and giving a chance for immigrants to succeed through recognition of foreign credentials and employment initiatives. Throughout her career, Olivia has been at the forefront, working for progress for all. She has reached across party lines and travelled across the country, forging alliances with municipal and provincial leaders, business and advocacy groups. Outside the political sphere, Olivia is known as a tireless spokesperson, fundraiser and champion of numerous charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society and related charities, Centre for Victims of Torture, Asian Community AIDS Service and Culture Link.
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.
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. Kat lives in East York with her partner and two dogs.
Born and raised in France, Angélique moved to Toronto in 2011. After going through the struggle to learn a new language while completing her undergraduate education at Glendon College (York University), she started volunteering in communities and learnt more about social issues in Canada. Angélique believes passionately in social progress by organizing campaigns efficiently. Being a research and project assistant at the Institute for Change Leaders taught her how to empower people with the skills they need to make the change they want. Her thirst for knowledge led her to start her PhD in Economics at Ryerson University, with emphasis on Labour Economics and Behavioural Economics. She is focusing her Economics research towards Economics issues that our world is facing, which will help design policies and programs to alleviate poverty, at home and abroad. After finishing her PhD, she wants to teach future policy-makers how to use economics for inclusive growth.