Anu Radha Verma, President
Anu has lived and worked in both Canada and India. She has a BA from Trent University, and an MES from York University. Her work and community organizing is focused on issues of social justice, including race, gender, sexuality, migration, health, poverty and the environment. Anu Radha is a skilled facilitator and trainer, a community programmer and agitator. She identifies as a queer diasporic sometimes-femme, and as someone with lived experience of mental health issues.
Karen Charnow Lior, Vice-President
Karen is the Executive Director of the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group (TWIG). TWIG conducts research, disseminates information and convenes stakeholders to address workforce development issues in Toronto. Karen has been involved with workforce development programs and policy for 20 years. Before joining TWIG, Karen was the National Representative on Training at the Canadian Labour Congress, responsible for apprenticeship, sector councils, workforce adjustment and lifelong learning. Karen was the Executive Director of A Commitment to Training and Employment for Women, an Ontario umbrella group of women’s training and employment services, with a year off to work at the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities as a senior policy advisor to the Labour Market Agreement negotiation team. Karen is the author and/or editor of numerous articles on labour force development. Karen is a community activist and popular educator.
Lisa Druchok, Secretary
Lisa brings experience working as an educator, youth worker, in harm reduction and working with people who are homeless. She currently works as a Constituency Assistant with Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo, Member of Provincial Parliament of Parkdale – High Park. Having previously worked for Rosario Marchese, MPP Trinity-Spadina, and the Youth Community Health Worker at Scadding Court Community Centre, Lisa is familiar with the Pakdale and Queen West communities and is knowledgeable of local issues.
Lois Fine, CPA, CGA, Treasurer
Lois has over 30 years of accounting experience in the non-profit and charitable sector. She is the Director of Finance and Information Technology at YWCA Toronto, and has consulted widely in the sector, serving agencies, private and public foundations, as well as government funding bodies. Lois has taught financial workshops for the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, the Maytree Foundation, United Way of Greater Toronto and for the Emerging Leaders Program at the Schulich School of Business. She is a member of Imagine Canada’s Advisory Council, the Accounting Standards Oversight Council and is Treasurer of Playwrights’ Guild Canada. Lois is committed to issues of social justice and building strong social movements and community services.
Bernard King, Member
Bernard is a Staff Representative/Negotiator with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). A Labour activist skilled in facilitating the collaboration between employees and management, Bernard has over fifteen years of industrial relations, conflict resolution, and mediation experience in the private and public sectors. With a Master’s degree in Philosophy and a Certificate in Project Management, he has worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in its Knowledge Transfer and IT departments. Bernard is a proud resident of Parkdale.
Kate Hammer, Member
Kate is a policy advisor for the Ontario government and a former journalist who has worked for The Globe and Mail and The New York Times. She advises Ontario’s Minster of Education on child care policy, family supports and school board governance. She is also an award-winning writer and reporter. She has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Roots of Empathy and for harm reduction clinics in Windsor and Kingston, Ont. She and her family live in Parkdale.
Marc-Andre Hermanstyne, Member
Andre has been creating harm reduction programs for African, Caribbean, Black adult and youth communities for the past 5 years. He currently works at Ve’ahavta delivering poverty alleviation programs that break down barriers, restore human dignity, foster capacity-building, and empower marginalized individuals to break the cycle of poverty. Andre previously worked as a Program Coordinator at Black – Coalition for AIDS Prevention (CAP). Andre is the director of Hermanstyne Consultation Services where he travels across the province training staff teams who work with people who use drugs. He has trained many diverse groups including aboriginal, LGBT and youth. Andre is the current vice chair of the Toronto Urban Health Fund and he sits on the Provincial Harm Reduction Advisory Committee reporting to the MOHLTC. He is also the chair of the Stigma and Discrimination working group where he is responsible for reporting to the Toronto Drug Strategy Implementation Panel. He conducts harm reduction 101 trainings across the city with Toronto Public Health.
Shelina Ali, Member
Shelina is a lawyer with Iler Campbell LLP where she practices in the areas of corporate law and civil litigation. She assists non-profit organizations and co-operatives on a range of corporate, governance and human rights issues. She is a contributor to rabble’s Pro Bono column. Shelina’s university education includes a degree in International Development Studies, focusing on gender inequality in developing countries and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Public Administration, where she explored the impact of gender equality policy and programming on human security and failed and fragile states. Prior to law school, Shelina worked for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in the Gender Equity Division and later as a Research Intern on the Human Security in Cities Program with the Department of Foreign Affairs. These positions motivated her to find a career where she could further her commitment to social justice. Law school and practicing law at Iler Campbell LLP offered her a way to contribute to building healthy communities focused on social justice. While completing law school at Queen’s University, Shelina also worked with Queen’s Legal Aid.
Angela Robertson, Executive Director
Angela joined the Queen West Centre as Executive Director in 2013 and continued as the Executive Director for the merged PQWCHC. Angela brings with her over 20 years of leadership experience fostering partnerships with CHCs, social services organizations and hospitals to improve access and delivery of better primary care and community services to homeless and low-income communities. Grounded in broad determinants of health analysis and anti-discrimination frameworks, the work she has led in the health and social services sectors has been recognized and modeled by other organizations. Angela is also a committed social justice advocate working to increase equity for a range of marginalized populations.
Prior to joining Queen West, Angela was the Director, Equity and Community Engagement at Women’s College Hospital. Angela provided strategic leadership in the development on health equity initiatives and partnerships to increase health care access and service responsiveness, including providing leadership for development of clinical programs targeted to support under-served populations, notably the creation of the Crossroads Refugee Clinic. Prior to Women’s College, Angela was the Executive Director at Sistering — A Woman’s Place for over 11 years, an organization focused on providing basic needs, housing and counselling service to low-income, homeless and at-risk women. Angela has also worked in government at the Ontario Women’s Directorate, in the supportive housing sector and in feminist publishing.
Angela is also an organizer and activist in the black, women’s and LGBTQ communities and a past Board member for Houselink Community Homes and current member of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. She is co-editor with Ena Dua of the book Scratching the Surface: Canadian Anti-Racist Feminist Thought, published by Women’s Educational Press. In 2017, Angela was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from York University for her social justice activism for women’s and low-income people’s rights.