Leisha Zamecnik is a masters-level, professional who has been engaging young people in the areas of leadership development, social emotional learning, violence prevention, mental health and social justice for the past 12 years. She possesses knowledge and experience working from various counseling approaches including, for example, narrative, cognitive behavioural and solution-focused. Leisha has an extensive background in program and training development and facilitation for young people as well as youth-serving professionals and educators. She excels at building relationships with people from diverse backgrounds using anti-oppressive and empowerment approaches to achieve results. She is motivated by a genuine belief in the power of young people to make a positive contribution to the world.
Leisha’s experience is underscored by a Masters degree in Social Work: Dean’s List, Specialization in Children & Families (University of Toronto), a Certificate in Leadership (College of Management & Economics, University of Guelph) and a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Science: Social Psychology & Biology (University of Guelph). Leisha has authored two peer-reviewed academic articles, has developed and implemented numerous impactful youth-led programs, and has been the recipient of numerous community leadership awards, including the YWCA Young Woman of Distinction.
Board of Directors
President & Chair
Vinidhra Vaitheeswaran holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McMaster University and a Juris Doctor from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. She completed her articles in the areas of constitutional and administrative law and served as a judicial law clerk for the Justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She will be pursuing a legal career in Toronto in Fall 2019. Prior to law, Vinidhra worked in marketing and communications in the healthcare field. Vinidhra’s contributions to Common Compass draws from a diverse background of volunteer experience in youth leadership, human rights advocacy, pro bono and legal aid work. In her spare time, Vinidhra enjoys travelling, ultimate frisbee, hiking, and live music.
Anna has worked in social services for over seven years, specializing in youth services. She currently works as a mental health counsellor in mid-town Toronto. Anna attends graduate school at York University, where her research focuses on issues of youth equity and inclusion through a lens of hip-hop culture. Anna’s previous board experience includes acting as Vice-Chair for the Squamish Public Library Board and the Squamish Board of Public Art. She also sits on the Board of Family Services Toronto. Anna’s areas of expertise include: policy analysis, board development, and organizational management.
Ted Steenburgh has worked in finance and marketing roles for OpenText for over thirteen years and currently serves as Pricing Manager. Ted holds CMA and CPA accounting designations, an honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree, and a Bachelor of Education degree. He a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers and is working towards the Certified Professional Pricing (CPP) certification. Ted’s past years of working with teenagers as both a high school teacher and a church youth leader inspire him to invest time in this age group. In his free time, Ted is participates in recreational dodgeball, softball, and assorted other sports, and also enjoys traveling.
Katelyn Clay is a teacher with the Toronto District School Board. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in History, and from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education with a Bachelor of Education. As an educator, Katelyn believes she has an important role in supporting students by creating a caring school culture and a healthy physical environment. This can be achieved by providing high-quality services and programs which focus on mental health and social-emotional learning. In her spare time, Katelyn likes to take on creative DIY projects, travel, and spend time with her husband, family, and friends.
Mayuren is currently an Analyst in the Diversified Industries group at BMO Corporate Finance Division where he is involved in structuring and arranging financing solutions for mid to large public and private companies. Mayuren has also worked in business restructuring at the Business Development Bank of Canada and cross-border tax at Deloitte. He is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Professional Accountant. Mayuren’s interest in youth empowerment and the education sector stemmed from teaching and community development experiences in Indonesia and Nicaragua. In his spare time, Mayuren enjoys travelling, basketball and continuously growing his Spotify playlist.
Matthew Badali is a Junior School Teacher at The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. He completed his BA (Hons) from the University of Toronto in Equity Studies, his B.Ed at Trent University in Primary/ Junior Education, and his M.Ed at OISE in Social Justice Education. Matthew is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. He is a holistic educator who believes in valuing the body, mind, and spirit of each child he teaches. Matthew has many years of experience working with children and young adults, from being Director of Kids Camp at Upper Canada College to teaching karate. He believes that children and youth are capable and full of potential to create a bright future for themselves and others. In his spare time, Matthew practices reiki, enjoys running, writing, and spending time with friends.
Lauren Faria-De Lima
Lauren Faria-de Lima holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Arts and Contemporary Studies – Philosophy Option with a Minor in Psychology from Ryerson University. Lauren is passionate about mental and physical health, education, social justice and public policy development. Currently, Lauren works as an Administrative Assistant at Arrowsmith Program, an international cognitive-based program for individuals experiencing learning difficulties. Lauren brings her experience in policy development and marketing skills to contribute to help Common Compass achieve its’ goals and vision. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys biking (and generally being outdoors), music, and travelling.
Hava Goldberg is a fundraiser and community builder. She holds a BAH in Political Science from the University of Guelph and a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Spertus College. Hava has worked in the non-profit sector for over ten years and is currently Senior Development Officer, Major & Corporate Giving at Habitat for Humanity Canada. In addition to being one of the founding board members of Common Compass, Hava is the National Growth Manager for Lean In Canada. In her spare time, Hava enjoys yoga, dragon boating, live music and scouting out Toronto’s best brunch.
Nancy John is an experienced Learning & Development Professional and Coach with 15+ years of experience and a focus in the areas of Sales Training, Business Planning, and Leadership Development. Nancy is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation as well as a Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP) through the Institute for Performance and Learning. She holds an Honours BA from York University and a Certificate in Adult Training & Development through OISE/University of Toronto. Nancy is the co-founder and CEO of Seed Leadership, an organization dedicated to helping companies address the risk to their growth and innovation by providing their emerging leaders and pre-executives with the tailored coaching and support needed to increase their confidence, leadership, and results within the organization.
James Tiong holds a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from The University of Toronto, a Master of Business Administration from McMaster University, Specialization in Management Information System and completed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management Executive Program: Artificial Intelligence – Implications for Business Strategy. He has two academic publications to date and possess years of executive experience in corporate strategy development, implementation and operational management. James is currently an advisor for Harvard Business Review. He believes in empowering children to be confident about their abilities and taking actions to make the world a better place. In his spare time, James enjoys running, travelling, listening to music, and spending time with his family.
Jeff is currently an Analyst at InstarAGF where he applies his skills in financial analysis and modelling to the evaluation of investment opportunities and asset management. Prior to InstarAGF, Jeff was an Analyst at the Boston Consulting Group, serving global investors on due diligence and fund strategy & operations projects. Through his experiences as a member of the Alumni Steering Committee at Rotman Commerce, as well as a member of the Investment Committee at his high school, Jeff is tremendously inspired by the educations sector and wishes to apply his skills to help Common Compass achieve its goals and vision. In his spare time, Jeff enjoys basketball, golfing, and video games.
Ciara Williams has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Master of Science in Evidence Based Social Intervention from the University of Oxford. Ciara has worked in a number of roles in the social service sector both in direct social work practice as well as in research, program evaluation and quality improvement. She enjoys cycling, board games and spending time with her cairn terrier, Kheeda.