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 is a corporate lawyer at Dentons Canada LLP. She helps established and emerging companies navigate a wide range of critical issues including company formation, corporate governance, commercial contract drafting, share and asset acquisitions and divestitures, and regulatory compliance. Jessica uses her business background and her MBA to assist clients with their practical business problems and to provide legal advice that meets their needs and aligns with their vision for the future.

Jessica is a graduate of the JD/MBA program at Osgoode Hall Law School and Schulich School of Business. During her studies, Jessica was an elected representative of Student Caucus and a member of the Admissions Committee. She also acted as Treasurer for the Black Law Students Association of Canada, planned events such as Opportunity Day aimed at encouraging black youth to apply to law school, and worked with the Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights on initiatives related to mental health and advocating for inmates held indefinitely at Kingston’s General Penitentiary.

Outside of work, Jessica enjoys staying active, discovering new music, and indulging in a good book

Colliers International

“Eva’s is taking the conversation about youth homelessness from the issue of shelter and expanding it to include job training, education and life skills on a national partnership scale.”

Ontario Securities Commission

Bill Furlong (Ivey MBA ’87) is a senior financial services Executive and Regulator with 25+ year track record of Leadership, Innovation and Success in Canadian and International Capital Markets. In January 2019 he completed his final term as a Commissioner at the Ontario Securities Commission where he held responsibilities related to Board Oversight, Policy and Adjudication, and was Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. He previously held global, senior leadership roles at TD Securities where he retired in 2012 as Vice Chair. Bill is currently an Executive-in-Residence at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Ivey Business School, writing, presenting and lecturing on Leader Character to students and business leaders across North America and the U.K.



“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.”


“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.”

York Heritage Management

“I have volunteered with Eva’s for about 20 years. Intrigued originally by the passion of the management and staff, I soon learned that Eva’s was providing youth with so much more than food and shelter. Providing youth with skills and resources to become self-sufficient, complete their education and to find employment are key. That’s how lives are changed and that’s why I am committed to working with Eva’s.”

Taylor Advisory Services

“It is truly an honour to be a part of Eva’s. As we look to our young people to contribute to our world around us, we must provide support and services to those who have found themselves in unfortunate circumstances. Eva’s provides more than shelter services; it provides transition support, life skills, a sense of community and belonging. It elevates the conversation beyond temporary and emergency shelters – this is what makes it unique and at the same time so critical and important.”

Hays Specialist Recruitment Canada

Royal Bank of Canada

Equity & Stakeholder Relations Specialist, Toronto Police Service

Head, Alternative Funding at MCAP

Dr. Brown is a Vascular and Interventional Radiologist at Niagara Health and Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University. His research interests include the use of machine learning to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. He has been an advocate for addressing issues of diversity in the medical profession and has created programs across the province to encourage youth from under-represented communities to pursue a career in medicine.

Nadine Watson is a lawyer with the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic working specifically with the Hamilton Legal Outreach (HLO). The HLO prioritizes community outreach to provide accessible legal services to clients with mental health and substance issues. She provides legal services out of a family healthcare unit, a youth shelter, a crisis centre and an Indigenous friendship centre. She practices in the areas of social assistance, housing, human rights, employment and immigration law. During the COVID-19 pandemic, both in and out of court, she has been involved in advocating that the City of Hamilton take a human rights based approach to encampments/encampment residents in Hamilton.

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.

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

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