Laveza Khan is a political staffer for the New Democratic Party of Canada. She is passionate about gender equality, social justice and community development. Laveza completed her postgraduate studies at Humber College in International Development and has an Honours BA from McMaster University in Labour Studies and Sociology.
Laveza previously worked in the development sector where her portfolio focused on policy and advocacy, public engagement, and advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She was selected as an official representative for the Canadian delegation at the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations in July 2018. Laveza is an alumnus of the Women Deliver Young Leaders program.
As a woman of the South-Asian diaspora, Laveza is eager to support other immigrant and refugee women and hopes to change the discourse on gender and cultural norms. Laveza serves on the board of the Mosquers Film Festival and is an advisor to a start-up called Spontivly.
Saman is the Project Manager at Progress Toronto. She believes that meaningful change cannot be achieved unless actions that address and remove systemic barriers are taken and is particularly interested in how large policy decisions affect everyday lives. Saman currently serves on the board of The Platform, an organization working to reshape the political landscape to advance the priorities of young Black, Indigenous, and racialized women and gender-diverse youth. She also serves on the board of the Iranian Canadian Congress.
Previously, she worked at the DUKE Heights BIA and the Downsview Advocate, as well as served on the executive of Roofs for Refugees. She also founded the Willowdale Advocate, a local newspaper. In 2018, Saman ran for office in North York, ON. Her educational background includes degrees in Political Science and Anthropology. Saman is dedicated to building a progressive city and making room for women, especially young racialized women, to take space, influence policymaking, and run for office.
Blessing Timidi Digha
Blessing identifies as a Black woman, Feminist, Advocate, Storyteller and Community Based Researcher who brings all her intersections and ideologies to the work she does on issues that concern, affect and impact girls and women ranging from gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health and rights, while kickstarting or contributing to uncomfortable conversations. She has 15 years professional experience working on issues such as female genital mutilation, rape, domestic violence, unsafe abortion to mention a few using research, community mobilization and engagement, sensitization, focus group discussions, advocacy and liaising with policy/decision makers at different levels.
Blessing works at a not-for-profit organization at the intersections of community, technology and case management and as a community researcher at the University of Toronto, volunteers at a crisis help line at one of the shelters in Toronto and uses offline, online and media platforms to contribute to conversations on issues that impact her community.
Jasmine Ramze Rezaee
Jasmine is an experienced public affairs leader. She is the Director of Advocacy and Communications at YWCA Toronto, one of Canada’s leading women’s organizations. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors at Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services.
An advocate for gender equality, racial justice, and poverty reduction, Jasmine has more than a decade of non-profit experience in progressive leadership roles spanning Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. Her work has been published in leading Canadian magazines and newspapers. She has also appeared as a media commentator on gender equity issues.
Jasmine is committed to working with government, media and civil society partners to build inclusive, livable communities. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an MA in Political Science in 2009.
Mina is an experienced CEO with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Mina has led and guided a number of socially focused organizations including serving as the President and CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, The Canadian Women’s Foundation and as CEO of the Aga Khan Council for Canada. She is also adjunct Faculty at the Schulich School of Business. Mina is a creative, innovative and agile leader, guiding organization from vision to strategy, to results.
Mina has served on several not-for-profit boards some of which include Women’s College Hospital, Seneca College, the Health Charities Coalition of Canada and currently serves on the Board of Pine River Institute. In recognition of her remarkable achievements, involvement, and contributions to communities across Canada, Mina was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2019 by the Women’s Executive Network.
Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Governance from Ryerson University focused on social justice, gender equity and policy studies. Throughout her professional career, Jessica has worked primarily in the non-profit sector coordinating programs, on a personal mission to advance the social, political and economic position of women and gender diverse peoples in Canada.
Jessica works as a principal consultant supporting private and private profit organizations and the public sector to strengthen individual and organizational capacity to address racism and gender inequity. Jessica is the director of advocacy and public policy with the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Shireen is a fluently bilingual, first-generation Palestinian woman, and the Executive Director of the Canadian Arab Institute (CAI), where her strategic leadership is amplifying the voices and policy priorities of Arab-Canadian youth.
Shireen’s own lived experience is complimented by a Master’s in Public Policy, Administration and Law and a Graduate Diploma in Judicial Administration from York University. These academic pursuits have fueled her passion for meaningful reform of the systems and policies meant to support the “Arab” experience in Canada—including newcomer resettlement, social capital, education, and labour market access. Some past successes include managing Ontario Public Service programs that reduced systematic barriers to education for marginalized students; leading advocacy strategies on Indigenous, mental health, cannabis, and accessibility policies for the Council of Ontario Universities; and working across party lines to write private members’ bills and learn about governance at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s non-partisan Internship Programme (OLIP).
Ruby has over 15 years of experience leveraging research and strategic partnerships in service of community initiatives. As Principal Consultant with Milieu Strategy and Consulting and a previous political staffer with the Offices of Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mayor John Tory, Ruby has collaborated with over 1,000 community groups to ensure better and more responsive policy making. She has also engaged with hundreds of ethnic media outlets and has organized over 300 community and political events.
Ruby believes that today’s policy challenges require creativity, building bridges, bringing diverse stakeholders together, and applying an intersectional lens so that policy decisions are informed by those most impacted. Her research on workplace diversity and organizational change management has been published in academic journals including the Journal of Management and Organization. In her spare time, Ruby is a contributing columnist for the Toronto Star, a mentor to numerous young racialized leaders, and an avid wearer of sparkly sneakers.