Ed Smith & Edeva Smith

Underscoring everything that Aisha Francis does is her love for people and her passion to live a purpose-infused life. Aisha is a seasoned professional with twenty-five years of diverse leadership and business experience across the private, corporate and non-profit sectors. Called upon as a thought-leader, creative visionary and prolific speaker, Aisha is also an author who has the gift of connecting narratives, experiences and ideas seamlessly with structure and strategy to energize, motivate and inspire purpose-driven action and achievement.

In 2014, Aisha founded Project: Restore FIBI (Families Impacted By Incarceration), an organization that is pioneering a ‘family-first, family-focused’ approach to address the traumatic and collateral effects of incarceration. Aisha brought critical ingenuity into the sector prompting movement towards best practices informed by lived experiences and grassroots leadership, the advancement of Canadian research and scholarship, and ongoing policy review, analysis and development.

Aisha is currently at the helm of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives as its Executive Director. KAIROS brings together many in faithful action for justice and human rights, globally through programs that focus on ecological, gender and migrant justice and Indigenous rights.

Aisha is also recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women for 2020 and even with all her achievements to date, she is most honoured in her roles as mother of her six phenomenal children and Gigi (aka grandma) of two.

Jessica Hardy-Henry is Legal Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel and Board Secretariat at Toronto Metropolitan University. She provides legal and strategic advice in a variety of areas, including policy, corporate and commercial law, privacy, practicum, and information technology.

Jessica is actively involved in her community, and in addition to serving as Vice Chair of Eva’s Board of Directors, she volunteers with a variety of organizations in the city, including the Black Female Lawyers Network, Law in Action Within Schools, and Black Future Lawyers.

Prior to joining Toronto Metropolitan University, Jessica worked as a corporate lawyer in private practice and also in-house at an international law firm. She received her Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration (Organizational Studies) from Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business at York University, and is also a proud alumni of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University, where she completed her Bachelor of Commerce (Law and Business).

Corporate Banking

“Giving back is something that I’ve always believed in. I was privileged to be raised in a loving and stable family and have been in a position to give the same to my two beautiful daughters. Unfortunately, too many youths find themselves in hostile environments with no one to turn to for guidance and often leave home and end up on the streets. Eva’s offers shelter and provides them with the support they desperately need to help them get back on their feet and lead a fulfilling life. I’ve heard many stories from youths that have passed through Eva’s and they are always so inspiring. I wanted to be a part of this amazing organization and help where I could.”

Torkin Manes LLP

“Everyone needs support at some point in their lives. Some lean on family, others on their friends or mentors. Eva’s is a wonderful organization that supports the unsupported by not only providing shelter to at risk youths, but also giving individualized and focused attention to aid them in their journey to becoming successful and reaching their goals.”

Employment Lawyer
McDonald HR Law

Michelle Wagner is a passionate leader serving small to medium sized organizations and start ups.  After spending almost two decades in both for- and non-profit sectors proving strategic oversight in finance, human resources, and operations, she truly sees the opportunities, risks, and the human connections needed to drive change.  Michelle has successfully spearheaded several initiatives including leading organizations to becoming data-driven entities, introducing cyber and privacy governance and incident response preparedness, and helping companies stabilize and grow financially.  She connects brilliant minds to foster collaboration and creativity that still results in disciplined, measurable decision making.  Currently, as the Director of Finance and Operations at the IFSE Institute, a non-profit company providing financial services education, Michelle oversees the finances and operations of a fast-growing organization navigating change.  Previously, as Director of Finance and Administration at Fighting Blindness Canada, she spearheaded initiatives to add new funding streams and transition to new ERPs allowing for enhanced data mining and fundraising opportunities.  Michelle is a Chartered Professional Accountant and holds a BA in Arts (Economics) from York University.

Brian brings a refined approach to value creation at the intersection of business and technology.  He brings experience from leading global consultancies (Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, Accenture) across several industries from financial services, consumer goods, to the public sector.  Brian’s project experiences have created competency in strategy development, capability assessments, building business cases, defining operating models, and creating execution roadmaps.

Brian is now working to scale growth at Owl.co, a venture-backed fintech start-up leveraging an AI-powered technology platform that detects insurance fraud and uncovers evidence at scale, without bias.

Brian holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Law and Business & Economics) from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University.  Outside of work, Brian is passionate about politics and the impacts of public policy on the lives of citizens.

Yasmin Kassam is a Senior Advisor, Strategy at Ontario Health where she provides strategic insight and direction for projects across the enterprise. Yasmin has previously held roles in healthcare in a wide variety of organizations, spanning both municipal and provincial scope including the former Toronto Central LHIN, Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and the former Ministry of Community and Social Services. Prior to engaging in public sector work, Yasmin was a Consultant with the Deloitte healthcare team in Toronto.

Complementing her extensive work experience in the healthcare sector, Yasmin received her Master of Public Health with a specialization in Epidemiology, and completed the CIHR Public Health Policy program, at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Yasmin is also a proud alumni of Wellesley College in Boston, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Neuroscience and Peace & Justice Studies.

Outside of work, you can find her spending time with her family and friends, trying to perfect the chocolate chip cookie, and exploring the GTA.

Rick Headrick is president of Capital International Asset Management (Canada), Inc., part of Capital Group. He has 22 years of industry experience and has been with Capital Group for two years. Prior to joining Capital, Rick was president of Sun Life Global Investments, Canada. He holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and law from the University of Saskatchewan. He also holds the Certified Financial Planner™ and is a member of the Ontario Bar. Rick is based in Toronto.

Ogenna Maduekwe is an Associate Vice President, Finance at Equality Fund. She provides leadership in the areas of reporting, forecasting, risk management, treasury and financial operations etc.

Ogenna Maduekwe is an Innovative Senior Finance leader with over ten years of managerial experience having worked for both publicly traded and private organizations. She has strong skills and extensive experience in financial reporting, operational, accounting, internal controls, budgeting, forecasting, and cash management.

Prior to joining Equality Funds, she worked in the real estate and senior housing sectors where she led system upgrades and implementations as a subject matter expert. She is a strategic thinker and is known for business process re-engineering and improvements.

After earning her Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation from CPA Canada, she earned her Executive MBA from IE Business School, Spain. Ogenna currently serves on the board of two non-profit organizations which gives her the opportunity to support her community.

Ogenna has a passion for mentoring others, especially young adults and new immigrants. Though Ogenna only speaks two languages, she appreciates listening to different languages. In her spare time, she loves to read and watch international shows and movies.

Gerald W. Schwartz
Louise Smith, Executive Director
Founder, Eva Smith
Learn more about our Founder Eva Maud Smith

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