Board of Directors
HUGH ADAMS, CHAIR
Hugh has extensive experience in community service. He has been involved in the Lion International organization for over 30 years and currently serves as District Manager in Richmond Hill.
SUMAYA ALI, VICE-PRESIDENT SOCIAL MEDIA
As a Third Culture Kid (TCK) with a passion for connecting with people, I have always found it inspiring to learn about different food, music, art, and literature from around the world. My interests in Business and Economics have lead me into the corporate world, naturally gravitating towards Human Resources for most of my career. I believe that the arts connect us regardless of any other barriers that may exist culturally, politically, or religiously and hope to share that with others through Project 99A.
MARIA CHONG TON, VICE-PRESIDENT CARIBBEAN DISTRIBUTION
GURPREET DHALIWAL, SECRETARY
Gurpreet is a Branch Manager of TD Bank. He recommends reading Scaling Up Excellence written by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao.
SUE FOERSTER, VICE-PRESIDENT ART
Sue hosts life drawing sessions at her home studio and teaches art in Richmond Hill, Aurora and Vaughan. Her favourite book is, “Horse Museum” by Dr. Seuss.
KAMALA-JEAN GOPIE, VICE-PRESIDENT FUNDRAISING
After a successful career as an elementary teacher, Kamala-Jean was recognized for her extensive community work with The Order of Ontario, the province’s most prestigious official honour. In 2017, Kamala-Jean built a primary school called The Gopie Community School Dealing In Sewing and Youth Organization in Malawi, Africa which focuses on educating young children, women and young men. She recently wrote a book titled The Story Of Our School which will be given to the students as a gift.
ROCHELLE GREAVES, VICE-PRESIDENT RESEARCH & GRANTS
With over a decade in the financial sector, Rochelle used her technical knowledge to help businesses measure key metrics and trends, driving strategic decision making. Currently, as the Co-Founder and Director of Analytics and Strategy at Story Point Consulting, Rochelle continues to use her skills to help nonprofits increase their fundraising capacity and revenue, and her favorite book is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
As a Toronto-based journalist who specializes in geopolitics, Shenaz is a former producer and writer with BBC News, Al Jazeera English, and CBC News. Her work has been published in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, CTV News, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Independent and the Ottawa Citizen. She teaches journalism at Ryerson University and her favourite book is Life Of Pi by Yann Martel.
AUN JAPANWALA, VICE-PRESIDENT RISK MANAGEMENT
ANITA MCBRIDE, EVENTS CO-ORDINATOR
Anita may have retired in 1999 after close to 30 years working in the Student Programs Office at the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University, but she’s never been busier. Since then, she has contributed countless hours to a range of volunteer pursuits, including acting as Volunteer Coordinator at Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto, serving several years on the Board of Directors at YouthLink (two as President), and continuing to act as a liaison with FES alumni. Anita’s efforts were recognized in 2014 when she was honoured with the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Volunteerism. She graduated with a B.A. from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and in 1999 was granted the first (and, to date, only) Honorary Master in Environmental Studies.
SIRAJ MEHDI, TREASURER
Siraj is Head of Structured Finance and Deal Management at Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. He has spent the last 24 years in Finance with large public companies in the Aerospace, Consumer Goods, Automation and Pharmaceutical sectors. He has established a track record of applying creative thinking and exceptional analytical skills to problem solving and continuous improvement initiatives. Siraj has a number of passions: his lifelong love of tennis, his continuous mission to find the best steakhouse in Toronto and his unconditional affection for his two teenage daughters. Siraj’s favorite book is “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.
JOSEPHINE VACCARO-CHANG, FOUNDER & CHIEF LITERACY AMBASSADOR
Josephine delivers interactive workshops to primary students based on books she has written and illustrated. She is currently creating a collection of 11 mosaics based on characters from her popular children’s book titled, “We Are Colourful Friends”. Her favourite book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl includes all her passions — family, chocolate and literacy.
Thank you to our dedicated team of Literacy Ambassadors & supporters!
Freya Abbas, Sheri Andrunyk, Daniela Bevacqua, Blue Nile Transportations Inc., Christine Carrington, Brian Chamberlain, Jacquelline Chang, Russell Chang, Clutterbugs, Laura Cormaggi, Liz Couture, Maryam Ebrahimi, Tarra Tamang, Tomas Tamang, Sydney Griffiths, Cathy Izzo, Ruth James, Alice Jevdokimova, Lidia Kafieh, Mary Kot, Anna Lato, Sahara Mehdi, Cathy Miles, Janine Purves, Cristina Racco, Opal Rowe, Adrien Ruiz, Andrea Simonetta, Sunwing Airlines, Paola Tamang, Jenny Wiesel, Joanne Witt, Winnie Wong, Angela Yasoubi, Melissa Zhou, etc.