Registration Accommodation Program Speakers
Tim Begin is a Human Service Supervisor with Ontario Works in the City of Hamilton’s Healthy and Safe Communities Department. He has worked the last 15 years for Ontario Works in various roles such as Case Manager, Supervisor of Special Supports and Supervisor of Human Services. Tim was instrumental in leading the implementation of Employment Services Transition within the City of Hamilton. Tim takes great pride in leading dynamic, passionate and successful teams.
Connor Bell is the Program Coordinator with the Integrated Neighbourhood Services Team within the Gender, Race Equity, Inclusion, Indigenous Relations, and Social Development branch at the City of Ottawa. Operating under the mandate of maximizing the impact of the City’s community development efforts to improve equitable access to programs and services, Connor plays a role in identifying service gaps, informing City stakeholders of opportunities to overcome barriers and leverage existing resources to respond to needs, and collaborating with internal and external partners to create sustainable solutions to complex needs. Working in 27 priority neighbourhoods Connor has developed intrinsic knowledge of community issues, entrenched barriers, and system navigation needs.
Leilani is the Global Director of The Shift, an international movement to secure the right to housing, and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing (2014-2020). The Shift was launched in 2017 with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Cities and Local Government. It works with multi-level stakeholders around the world, including with several city governments in North America and Europe.
Leilani’s work is animated by the principle that housing is a social good, not a commodity. She has helped develop global human rights standards on the right to housing, including through her topical reports on homelessness, the financialization of housing, informal settlements, rights-based housing strategies, and the first UN Guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing. She is the central character in the award-winning documentary PUSH regarding the financialization of housing, directed by the Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten. PUSH is screening around the world and, to continue its momentum, Leilani and Fredrik now co-host a podcast – PUSHBACK Talks - about finance, housing, and human rights.
Sharad Kerur has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and Master of Industrial Relations from Queen's University, with a focus on negotiation theory and alternative dispute resolution methods.
For over 30 years, Sharad held senior level positions in the union and association sectors. His most recent position was Executive Director of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA), Canada's largest non-profit housing association. As a result, he has a strong grasp on the business of non-profit organizations and associations, and real-world experience in negotiation and mediation.
Sharad is Harvard-trained, having obtained a Certificate in Mediating Disputes and a Certificate in Negotiating Difficult Conversations from the Harvard Negotiation Institute (Harvard Law School) and also holds a Certificate in Dispute Resolution and an Advanced Certificate in Dispute Resolution, both from the York University in Toronto.
Amongst his credentials, Sharad is:
Sharad also leads his own consultancy firm known as Resolution Pathways, which assists people and organizations to transform conflicts into collaboration. With his knowledge, expertise, and experience, he currently provides services in:
Chris Kindy is a Case Manager for Haldimand Norfolk Health and Social Services and a Mental Health Worker for Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk. He studied Sociology at The University of Guelph and Addictions Studies at McMaster University. Chris feels privileged to have a job where his goal at the end of the day is to advocate for those who need it the most in our community and provide the best resources to those individuals. When Chris is not working, he loves walking his Dog, Penny, and travelling the world with his wife Emily and daughter Maren.
Meredith Mandryk-Kelly is a Human Service Manager with Ontario Works in the City of Hamilton’s Healthy and Safe Communities Department. She has worked in the social services field for most of her career, including time spent working for both provincial and municipal governments in the General Welfare, Family Benefits, Ontario Disability Support and Ontario Works programs. Providing sensational and accountable service to the residents of the City of Hamilton is something Meredith is passionate about.
Jennifer McCabe is a Strategic Procurement Advisor in Supply Services at the City of Ottawa. She leads the City’s sustainable procurement initiatives and authored the 2021 report: Economic Recovery Efforts: Social Procurement which describes the City of Ottawa’s social procurement efforts to date. As a lawyer, she is interested in how social benefits are integrated in contracts. As a community member, she is interested in bringing the City together with industry and community to maximize the benefits the City receives from its contracts.
Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity and inclusion. In April 2016, Ms. Omidvar was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an independent Senator representing Ontario. Currently, Senator Omidvar is the Chair of the Senate’s Social Affairs, Health and Technology Committee and the Vice-President of the Canada-Germany Interparliamentary Group. She previously served as Deputy Chair of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector.
Senator Omidvar is a Director at the Century Initiative, a Councillor on the World Refugee and Migration Council, a Founding Committee Member of Lifeline Afghanistan and Chair Emerita for the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council. She is also a Juror for the Global Centre for Pluralism’s annual Pluralism Award.
Previously at Toronto Metropolitan University, Senator Omidvar was a Distinguished Visiting Professor and founded the Global Diversity Exchange. Senator Omidvar received a Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws, from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2018 and from York University in 2012.
Senator Omidvar is co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (2015) and co-editor of Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success (2011).
Senator Omidvar was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada. In 2014, Senator Omidvar received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.
Andrea Personnic is a Case Manager for Haldimand Norfolk Health and Social Services and a Mental Health Worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association. She studied Psychology at the University of Guelph and Management Studies at McMaster University. Andrea is a community driven leader. Her mission is to empower and elevate other women and girls to flourish in her community
Andrea’s charity 100 Women Who Care recently reached a milestone of raising over $100,000 that went back into supports and services in her local area of Haldimand County. Andrea is also an Auxiliary Officer with the Haldimand OPP running community and safety events. When Andrea is not working, she enjoys being out in nature, biking, playing baseball, traveling and spending time with her family and friends.
Working with children has always been Melissa’s passion. Melissa is graduate with honours from the Early Childhood Education program at Canadore College. She is a registered Early Childhood Educator with over 30 years experience in Early Learning services.
In 2000, Melissa joined YMCA Sudbury as Manager of Licensed Childcare Services. Melissa took on the role of licensed childcare expansion and Director for Outdoor Camping Services. She is a graduate of YMCA Canada’s Management Institute.
In 2013, Melissa moved to Child & Community Resources and has taken on various supervisor positions within the agency. She is currently the Supervisor of EarlyON Child and Family Centres for the past 3 years. While with CCR, she has had the incredible opportunity to graduate from the Northern Leadership Program with a certification in leadership and completed her certification through the Mehrit Centre for foundations of Self-Regulation. She is co-facilitator for the Child & Community Resources Self Regulation Series for early learning educators and leads. Melissa continues to work with Community Partners and EarlyON providers to offer creative, early learning opportunities for parents, caregivers and children.
Alissa Savage is Senior Manager at the Transformation Secretariat in the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development (MLITSD). She has over a decade of experience working in Social Assistance in various roles including as an ODSP caseworker, in analysts roles supporting the SAMS implementation, and as Manager for the Business Technology Solutions team. Since 2019, Alissa has been working on Employment Services Transformation for Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services where she lead the implementation of prototypes catchments and Phase 1 for Social Assistance offices. More recently she has moved to MLITSD to continue working on EST supporting the Transformation Secretariat with Project Governance and Stakeholder Engagement. Alissa is passionate about developing client-centred solutions and about working collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders across the province.
Karine Silverwoman, MSW, is a passionate practitioner, consultant and educator with over 20 years of experience in the social work sector. Her work is informed by an understanding of how trauma and oppression how impact our bodies and communities. She has extensive training in trauma-informed therapeutic approaches, clinical supervision and leadership and in applying strategies to assist front-line workers and other practitioners to deepen their skills and align their work with their values.She has worked in a wide variety of settings and roles including, Director of Counseling for a gender based violence clinic, consultant , street outreach worker, therapist, youth worker and social work instructor at Toronto Metropolitan University and George Brown College. Her approach is guided by a social justice, anti-colonial, queer/trans affirming and strength-based lens. As a trainer, she embeds a trauma-informed lens and creates brave, reflective learning spaces. She interweaves practical examples, a sense of humour and an ethic of care into all her training, believing, as she does, in a world where everyone should be able to live with dignity, safety and belonging.
Chris Simmons is a Program Manager in Technology Services at the Ottawa Public Library. He is interested in promoting digital inclusion within the City of Ottawa and is involved in several projects that aim to increase digital connectivity between clients and the library.