Homes First Society Board of Directors

L-R:  Alan Mak (past Director), Ram Singh, Wes Gerlee (past Director), Samantha Sukumar, Kitty Tsang, Jose Querubin, Jeremy Roach, Patricia Mueller (Chief Executive Officer), Paulina Salamo, Shelagh O'Donnell, Beate Bowron

Not pictured: Mo Ettehadieh, Mark McMackin, Alexis Van Halen, Marsha Haga, Eugenia Cappellaro Zavaleta, Gabriele Grach, Ange Valentini   

Jeremy Roach, Chair

Jeremy Roach is an arts and culture executive and has been involved in marketing entertainment in Canada for more than 10 years. With previously held positions within CTV, Nielsen, and DreamWorks, his experience ranges from consumer behavior to creative management. Jeremy is interested in social wellbeing and egalitarianism. He holds a Commerce degree in Marketing Management, and is currently pursuing his Civic MBA. As a part of his social commitment, Jeremy is also associated with the Out of the Cold Program and the United Way of Greater Toronto. Jeremy was elected to the Homes First Society Board in June 2011, as Chair in 2015, and serves on the Executive, the Communications, and Finance Committees.

Beate Bowron, Secretary

Beate Bowron is a professional planner and mediator with a Canadian and international consulting practice.  She leads large-scale public engagement processes and is currently the Project Lead for the City of Toronto Ward Boundary Review (TWBR).  Beate worked for over 25 years with the City of Toronto in urban planning and economic development, and was the planning director responsible for the City’s downtown district.  She was a member of the Board of Conflict Resolution Network Canada for nine years, two of them as Chair.  Beate is a Senior Associate of the Canadian Urban Institute and joined the HFS Board in June 2011, having previously served on the Governance & Nominating Committee.  Beate is the HFS's Secretary and serves on the Executive Committee and as the HFF Crossover member.

Jose Querubin, Treasurer

After almost 30 years, Jose retired in 2007 from the banking industry as President and CEO of UCPB in the Philippines. Prior to working at UCPB, he was Senior Vice President and Asia Regional Sales Director for Bank of America based in Singapore.  Jose has Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics degrees from the De La Salle University (Philippines) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the Univ. of Pennsylvania (USA).  He is currently the Vice Chairman & Treasurer of Gawad Kalinga Canada whose vision is to eradicate poverty and restore human dignity by building homes for the poor in the Philippines. Jose also helps in providing social services that protect children as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Admin committee for the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.  Jose believes that poverty is not so much the lack of money but rather the lack of respect and dignity a human being deserves.  By providing homes to the homeless, HFS gives them the dignity and respect for them to become productive members of society.  Jose wants to contribute his experience and skills to help HFS further this endeavour and build capacity to help more of the homeless. Jose joined the Board in 2014 and chairs the Finance Committee.

Eugenia Cappellaro Zavaleta
Community Director 

Eugenia is an immigration law lawyer. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Women's Studies from the University of Toronto, and a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, at York University. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2003. Since her call to the Bar, she has worked in the areas of immigration, refuge law, and criminal law. She practiced criminal defence litigation in Nunavut, Canada, where she learned to love the Arctic winter cold. In 2009, she opened her own immigration and refugee law practice where she represents and advises clients from all over the world in matters related to economic class immigration programs, family reunification programs, as well as under the different refugee immigration streams. She has represented clients before different federal and provincial administrative tribunals as well as Superior and Federal Court. She is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada,the Refugee Lawyers Association, the Hispanic Ontario Lawyers Association, and the Centre for Social Innovation. Eugenia joined the Board in June 2015, and serves on the Governance & Nominating Committee.

Mo Ettehadieh
Community Director

Mo Ettehadieh is the President and CEO of METTKO. He is an experienced executive, compassionate entrepreneur and professional engineer who serves on the boards of companies, charities and institutions. Mo is now the CEO of METTKO, a firm specializing in leadership and management of infrastructure construction projects. As an engineering and construction professional, Mo has led teams that have built some of Canada's iconic and heritage buildings, such as the Ryerson University Campus Development from 2001 - 2004, the Canadian War Museum and Ottawa's Lebreton Flats revitalization. Mo is very active in early planning of projects with the policy makers and loves building and working with great teams of professionals of diverse backgrounds. Mo earned his B.Eng at the University of Westminster, UK and is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario and of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.  He serves on the Connect Legal Board and was elected to the HFS Board in June 2013 and serves on the Portfolio Committee.

Gabriele Grach
Resident Representative and Resident Director

Gabriele Grach is a professional trainer, consultant, life, business and success coach, writer, editor, program developer, mediator, seminar leader, and keynote speaker. With over 30 years of experience in learning and change psychology, process and application thereof, she is cognizant and supportive of the high potential of all human beings notwithstanding life’s many challenges.  She has a highly successful background in executive management and has served as a public speaker with the Canadian Mental Health Association making other professionals (lawyers, ministers, police) aware of mental health issues so that they might gain a healthier and clearer understanding of those afflicted.  Committed to excellence, the well-being of others and all great and worthy initiatives she is honoured to serve on the board of Homes First offering her many skills to the benefit of all.  Gabriele joined the Board of Directors in 2012 and sits on the Communications Committee.

Marsha Haga
Resident Representative and Resident Director

Marsha joined the Board in July 2016. 

Mark McMackin
Community Director

Mark McMackin, a senior lawyer at Harris + Harris LLP, has a broad, vibrant real estate, development and general business practice. Mark’s client base is comprised mostly of closely held, owner-operated companies ranging from family-owned businesses, multi-jurisdictional businesses and a host of entertainment clients from various music genres. He is actively involved in day-to-day issues that arise in competitive, growing business and development enterprises as well as managing the complex business transactions. Mark’s business background has also led him into involvement with the CRTC and he has written on various topics concerning the do not call list, illegal downloading and the protection of rights holders to music and film, and the new Canadian Spam legislation. Mark is not your “typical Bay Street lawyer” he comes from a rural background and possesses a talent for communicating with, appreciating and understanding the concerns of individuals from all walks of life. It is that grounded platform and intermingling of humor in appropriate situations that has separated Mark from the pack when it comes to individuals seeking a humble yet  streetsmart business advisor/lawyer. He joined Homes First Society's Board of Directors in June 2014 and sits on the Portfolio Committee.

Shelagh O'Donnell
Community Director

Shelagh O’Donnell is a communications executive with over 20 years’ experience in non-profit, government and cultural sectors, specializing in Corporate Communications, Stakeholder Relations, Issues Management, and Media Relations.  Shelagh is Director, Corporate Communications for CNIB, where she leads a team of communications professionals at the national office in developing and executing multi-channel communications plans and strategies that support CNIB’s vision, priorities and business goals.  Previously, Shelagh was Head of Communications at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) where she directed and developed both the Museum’s public affairs and media relations mandates, ensured the ROM's international profile was enhanced through its exhibitions, galleries, public programs, research and collections.  At CBC-TV, Shelagh implemented national public relations projects to enhance the image of CBC English Television Networks, fostering relationships with diverse stakeholders, managing contentious issues and enhancing corporate image.

Paulina Salamo 
Community Director

Paulina Salamo has worked over 20 years in the public health field at the local, provincial, national and international levels.  For the past 11 years she has been working at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.  More recently her work has centered on systems, standards and performance.  Paulina also has extensive volunteer experience with a number of NGOs including the United Way.  She was born in Chile. Paulina joined the Board in June 2015, and serves on the Governance & Nominating Committee.

Ram Singh 
Resident Director and Resident Representative

Ram joined the Board in July 2016. 

Samantha Sukumar
Community Director

Samantha joined the Board in July 2016. 

Kitty Tsang
Community Director

Kitty is a finance manager at Birch Hill Equity Partners, a private equity firm based in Toronto. Prior to that, she was at Manulife Financial, in the mutual fund reporting group. Kitty is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA), and holds a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance (BAFM ‘11), as well as a Master of Accounting (MAcc ‘12) from the University of Waterloo. She hopes to contribute to the cause through her professional experience by making sound financial decisions for Homes First Society. She joined the board in June 2016, and serves on the Finance Committee.

Ange Valentini
Community Director

Ange Valentini is a government relations professional, political advisor, strategist, and community organizer. The focus of Ange’s work and advocacy is social inclusion, housing, and the needs of cities. Ange currently works as a Senior Public Policy Associate for Canada with Airbnb.  Previously, she has worked in all orders of government in Canada – in the public service and as political staff. Ange Valentini has over 25 years of experience building creative solutions to complex challenges that drive social change and public good, bringing together stakeholders, influencers and decision makers across the private, public and third sector — with a focus on building relationships and stronger communities. Ange joined the Board in July 2016. 

Alexis Van Halen
Resident Director and Resident Representative

Alexis Van Halen is a resident of Pleasant Manor. She has lived in Homes First facilities for 16 years, having first been a resident of Street City – an innovative Homes First Society housing project on Front Street East which has served as a model for many similar projects in Canada and the United States. Alexis has successfully conquered addictions and depression. She volunteers at a local drop-in centre, is experienced and approachable, and has strong leadership and communication skills. Alexis attends Pleasant Manor tenant meetings, and wants to expand her contribution to include all Homes First Society residents. Alexis was appointed to the HFS Board in June, 2011 and serves on the Finance Committee.







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