Our Facilitators

Bushra Ahmed

Bushra is an immigrant-settler located on the unceded territories of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabek, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. They completed their Master of Social Work degree at Wilfrid Laurier University. They also hold an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Buddhism Psychology from the University of Toronto. They have worked as a therapist primarily with racialized and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, and also as an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion educator and researcher.

Bushra’s professional and personal practice is rooted in anti-oppression, anti-racist, anti-colonial, disability justice, body positive and trauma-informed frameworks. They strive to create a non-judgmental and safe space for those they connect and work with. They strongly believe in the power of community and collective liberation, and that much of one’s healing and growth comes from collaborative experiences. Outside of their work, Bushra likes to spend their time reading, writing, hiking, and exploring the local food and art scene.

Much of Bushra’s commitment to social justice and equity, as well as personal values align with that of Common Compass. It is an organization that is engaging in groundbreaking work and helping facilitate youth mental wellness and resilience, and creating better leaders of tomorrow. Bushra is excited to collaborate with Common Compass and create meaningful connections with youth across the GTA.

Tsa Alexander

Tsa Alexander grew up in Toronto, Ontario playing competitive soccer for her province, before earning a scholarship in the United States. Tsa Alexander graduated from the University of Akron, (Akron, Ohio) earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice. She then returned to Ontario and completed a diploma in Social Service Work at Loyalist College in Belleville, ON.

After graduating, Tsa began a career in social services, where she worked directly with children and families facing a wide array of challenges for over 10 years in the field. Using solution-focused brief therapy and mindfulness-based approaches, she aims to empower her clients with the skills they need to overcome obstacles.

She is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto—OISE, earning her Master of Education, in Counselling Psychology. Tsa is a Registered Psychotherapist (Q) and also a certified guided meditation facilitator. Her passion is working with youth and helping those in need.

Laura Cooper
Laura Cooper is a social worker in healthcare, with experience in managing chronic illness and mental health. She has a longstanding history of working with young people to support their mental health — from running junior leadership programming in summer camps, to mentoring university students in residence life, and more recently working in youth psychiatry and facilitating groups for teens whose parents have cancer. She champions acceptance, empowerment, and values-based therapeutic work. She was one of the original facilitators at Common Compass, and enjoys bringing a sense of authenticity and play to facilitating workshops on challenging and thought-provoking topics.

Jenna Dolly

Jenna Dolly wants to live in a world where people are free to live, work and play without systemic oppression and discrimination and where social systems actually work for people not against them. Balancing a family with two young children, Jenna openly navigates the challenges of work/life balance in her roles as a social worker, policy advisor, therapist, and labor movement activist. With a Bachelors and Masters degree in Social Work, Jenna’s career expands 15+ plus years of frontline community work, direct client support, and policy analyst experience.  A true advocate at heart, Jenna lives and breathes community, disrupting structural oppression and values meaningful dialogues.

Jenna is one of the founding members of CUPE Local 905’s BIPOC Collective, the first human rights committee within the Local. She also was elected as an Executive when she became the first Black Lead Steward for her unit in 2020. Through her work within the BIPOC Collective, Jenna continues to work to dismantle and eradicate anti-Black racism and other forms of discrimination within the labor sector.

In her free time Jenna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, completing DIY projects, baking and jamming to 90’s R&B and Hip Hop<

Ava Ghods

Ava (she/her) is a registered Social Worker (MSW RSW). She received her Honours Bachelor of Science and Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto.

In her current role, Ava provides psychotherapy treatment in the healthcare sector. Ava has experience working with children, youth, and adults to support them with system navigation and their psychological health. She has over 5 years of experience curating and facilitating engaging mental health workshops for adolescents and adults. Ava is passionate about preventive, accessible, and equitable mental health care; therefore, she resonates deeply with the goals of Common Compass.

In her free time, Ava enjoys hiking to new and old places, travelling, striving to make the perfect cup of coffee, and painting.

Esmeralda Ismaili

Esmeralda Ismaili holds a doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Tirana (Albania) with a focus on child problem behaviours and parenting styles. She has extensive experience in teaching and research, in public and private universities in Albania. Esmeralda has taken part in national and international studies, conferences and publications, both as leading author and coauthor, with a focus on assessing children and youth’s emotional and psychological well-being and recommending intervention strategies.

Before coming to Canada, Esmeralda had developed a rich portfolio of training and workshops in raising awareness on mental health issues, domestic violence, bullying in school settings, diversity and inclusion, as well as empowering youth and women. Esmeralda believes that raising mental health awareness and training resilience skills in children and youth is an important conversation to be held in schools. She is excited to continue her work and professionally grow with the Common Compass community.

Julianna Kerepcich

Julianna recently graduated from the Bachelor of Social Work program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly known as Ryerson University). During her studies, she discovered her love of working with youth and supporting LGBTQ+ communities.

Julianna is passionate about mental health, self-care, and ending stigmas found in day-to-day life. She is hoping to soon complete her Masters of Social Work, but first would like to travel in order to find her calling.

Currently, Julianna is working at a queer cookie shop in downtown Toronto (and she love love loves it)!


Kate Lee

Kate Lee is originally from Calgary, Alberta, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in psychology. She is a recent Master’s graduate from York University and is currently a PhD student in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program. She is completing her clinical practicum at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, where she completes complex psychological assessments with adolescents. Kate has always been passionate about working with youth and hopes to practice as a therapist for children, adolescents, and families in the future.

Kate’s goals are to conduct clinical research to inform and develop evidence-based interventions and programs, with the aim of helping youth achieve positive development and psychosocial health. She joined Common Compass because she resonated with the organization’s goal of delivering research-informed workshops to enhance mental health and positive well-being for youth.

Lisa Malinowski Kamran

Lisa Malinowski Kamran (she/her) seamlessly integrates her expertise as a Registered Social Worker, yoga instructor, mindfulness educator, crafting and transformative experiences for individuals and groups. Nurtured by a heartfelt connection with nature, Lisa leads with attuned, grounded, and compassionate energy to foster connection and wellbeing. Her offerings are rooted in trauma-informed practices, working to create more welcoming and accessible wellness spaces.

Lisa’s always found solstice in movement, and through practicing mindful movement and meditation since 2013, she has since immersed herself in contemplative practices around the world through fellowships, specialized training, and retreats and continues to integrate these teachings and experiences in her work today.
Lisa’s calling to support communities through mindfulness, led her to work in Flint, Michigan with a team and community of incredible leaders at the Crim Fitness Foundation, working collectively towards systemic transformation through accessible and equitable wellness offerings across Flint. Lisa’s years of sharing mindful practices with young people in school settings, including University of Toronto, community centers and organizations, Yoga Ed., and iBme teen meditation retreats has led her to both create and facilitate teacher trainings as well.

Having relocated from the U.S. in 2020, she currently shares her life with her partner and their Italian greyhound in Toronto. She continues to share mindfulness practices that are rooted in neuroscience to support communities, organizations or businesses interested in nurturing their culture and climate. Her playfulness and authenticity allows her to be a dynamic and compassionate space holder. She is excited to continue to bring her passion for facilitating practices that support leadership and health initiatives with the team at Common Compass.

Sharon Nolan

Sharon is an OCT registered teacher, a Mindfulness teacher and is currently completing a Diploma in Psychotherapy. She is passionate about promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in youth, equipping students with tools and skills needed to navigate life’s challenges so that they can reach their full potential. She is also passionate about supporting parents wellbeing so that they can be emotionally healthy adults who can raise emotionally balanced kids.

Sharon is originally from Ireland and moved to Toronto 11 years ago after teaching in Abu Dhabi for 6 years. In her spare time she loves to play sports, spend time outdoors and go for coffee with friends.

Sharon’s work and values resonate profoundly with Common Compass’s mission, and she is thrilled to collaborate with them in fostering positive mental health and wellbeing among students, parents, and teachers.

Rachael Pascoe

Rachael Pascoe (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in Social Work at the University of Toronto and a social worker with over ten years of experience in the fields of concurrent disorders, violence prevention, and trauma-specific therapy. Rachael is passionate about social work groups, having served as an executive member and, more recently, co-chair, for the Ontario Regional Groupworkers Network, a chapter of the International Association for Social Work for Groups since 2014. Rachael’s social work passion involves delivering psychotherapy to clients seeking mental health services, teaching social work practice to university students, and conducting research on social work interventions with historically underserved youth (like Project Youth AFFIRM, an affirmative CBT group intervention for LGBTQ+ youth developed by Dr. Shelley Craig and Dr. Ashley Austin). Rachael enjoys spending time with her family and pets, reading novels, and going for walks in the city.

Rachael is passionate about providing education around mental health issues and coping to students in Ontario, making Common Compass a perfect fit for her. She is excited to meet students, educators, school staff members, and parents in her upcoming workshops!

Jill Pulford-Thorpe

Jill Pulford-Thorpe is a recently retired high school teacher from the Toronto District School Board. Jill is fortunate to say that she loved her job for over 30 years as a phys ed and science teacher. The best part of the job included the challenge of motivating young people to strive to achieve. It is not uncommon to feel distracted and overwhelmed in high school. As a teacher, Jill attempted to follow the subject curriculum but managed to fit in as much about life and coping skills as time allowed. Much of her focus over the past few years has been in developing the grade 12 leadership course and thereby, mentoring seniors to lead workshops aimed at encouraging healthy social and emotional learning with attention on gender-based relations. She feels that there is more information and support needed at the high school level and hopes to share some of that research based knowledge during the workshops that she leads.

When not involved with Common Compass or occasional teaching back at her high school, Jill enjoys physical activity like skiing, running and fitness training at home or at the cottage. She has two children, both at university and a new black lab puppy that makes her family complete.

Nour Ramzi

Nour Ramzi is a first-year Master of Social Work student at Wilfrid Laurier University, with an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Studies, Political Science, and equity studies from the University of Toronto. She graduated with an International Baccalaureate diploma from the American Community School in Abu Dhabi, where she was born and raised before immigrating to Canada at the age of 18. She is also currently an intern at Common Compass and a Research Assistant at Laurier. Nour is passionate about working with immigrant and racialized communities to navigate and critique systems and institutions and improve access to essential resources. In her free time, Nour enjoys working in theatre and caring for her growing plant collection!


Amy Rankin

Amy Rankin is a mental health consultant, educator, program developer and therapist. Amy holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology from Concordia University, an MSW from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MA in Sustainable Peace from the UN Mandated – University for Peace. She spent more than a decade working in China rebranding mental health from a negative to a positive, pioneered the first counselling and psychoeducational programming in schools that focused on mental health and wellness. Beyond her passion for mental health awareness and services in China, Amy has worked in Canada and South Korea, with an emphasis on human rights advocacy, social justice, trauma recovery, counselling, and crisis management. She has worked in many different settings including shelters, corrections, probation offices, schools, crises lines and private practice. Amy currently teachers at a local college and runs Maple Mental Health out of Toronto, which provides mental health consultancy, education and counselling. She is excited to work with Common Compass as she deeply believes in the role education plays in changing reducing stigma and start necessary conversations. In her free time she loves travelling and exploring new cultures, playing basketball, reading and being with her family!

Karan Sharma

Karan (he/him/his) is a Registered Social Worker (RSW) with a completed Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto. Karan has experience working with individuals, couples, and families experiencing a wide range of issues.

Karan completed his clinical internships at St. Michael’s Hospital and York University and worked with the Family Services of York Region, where he supported individuals, couples, and families experiencing mental health and health concerns. In his current work, Karan provides psychotherapy services in private practice to adults, adolescents, and couples covering a wide range of mental health concerns including, anxiety/stress, interpersonal concerns, emotion dysregulation, and trauma. Karan is also passionate about working with the two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer plus (2SLGBTQ+) and Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) community; however, he strives hard to create a peaceful space for folks from all walks of life.

Outside of his private practice and work at Common Compass, Karan enjoys being active – which includes, tennis, running or hiking; spending time with family and friends, and traveling as much as possible.

Nisha Vashi

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Nisha Vashi is currently a PhD student in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program at York University. She has completed clinical practica at Hamilton Health Sciences and the Syl Apps Youth Centre, where she has provided assessment and intervention to children and adolescents with a range of mental health challenges. She is also passionate about conducting research exploring the factors that promote the positive mental health and well-being of autistic youth. She has a particular interest in supporting ethnically and linguistically diverse families through both her clinical and research endeavours.

Nisha is excited to collaborate with Common Compass because she is passionate about fostering positive outcomes for children and youth through working within multidisciplinary teams of teachers, administrators, and co-facilitators. She hopes that through this work, she is able to build upon her clinical skills while learning about providing equitable, accessible, and supportive care to students across Ontario.

Maria Wallis

Dr. Maria Wallis is a community capacity builder, an academic/scholar, and a registered Social Worker. Dr. Wallis is also currently in the second of a three-year Program at the Toronto Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in her eventual certification as a Psychotherapist. She has over twenty years of community engagement experience in the immigrant and settlement sector and in feminist organizing in Toronto. Dr. Wallis has a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University, a Masters of Sociology from McMaster University, a PhD, and a Master of Social Work from York University. In 2019, Dr. Wallis completed a Master Certificate in Project Management through The Schulich Executive Education Centre, The Schulich School of Business, York University.

Dr. Maria Wallis has over twenty years of academic teaching as a contract faculty at York University and has co-edited three academic books. Dr. Wallis has also taught at Ryerson, McMaster, Wilfried Laurier, Western, and the University of Calgary. She has conducted diversity, discrimination, and social inclusion work including Diversity training in organizations that include the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), the City of Hamilton, Centennial College, and the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Dr. Wallis is a subject matter expert in systemic/ institutional discrimination and harassment, and interventions to address these barriers. She has also worked with individuals from marginalized communities to build resilience and the capacity to develop to their full potential despite systemic, structural barriers.

Dr. Wallis has worked with “at-risk” youth and children at the Toronto and North York District School Boards and the former Ontario Anti-Racism Secretariat. She has worked to be both a mentor and role model to students as she works with them on projects to develop their full potential and, specifically, their anti-racism skills and leadership capacities. Dr. Wallis identifies as a South Asian-Canadian woman for Employment Equity purposes.