Homes First Society Board of Directors

Homes First Society Board of Directors 2018



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 and Communications Committees, as well as on the Finance & Audit Committee.


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 Administration 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 endeavor and build capacity to help more of the homeless. Jose joined the Board in 2014 and chairs the Finance & Audit Committee, the Shutter Task Team, as well as serving on the Governance & Nominating Committee.

Merav Jacobson, Community Director

Merav is a business development professional with over 15 years of senior level experience in the private and public sectors of health care. She is a passionate and dedicated advocate for clients in supportive housing. As Program Director for Operations and Business Development for Baycrest Residential Properties, Merav leads teams from multiple disciplines, working with business leaders to develop strategies to improve operations and the market position of Baycrest in the GTA, Ontario, and beyond. She received her Masters in Marketing at Kingston University in London, England. Merav joined the Board in 2017.

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 Shuter Task Team.

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 was elected by the residents of Homes First as their Resident Representative and joined the Board of Directors in 2012 and sits on the Governance & Nominating 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. Shelagh joined the Board in 2015 and serves as the co-Chair of the Communications Committee.

Paulina Salamo, Community Director

Paulina Salamo has worked for 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 many NGOs including the United Way. Paulina joined the Board in June 2015, and serves as the Chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee.


Samantha Sukuma, Community Director

Samantha joined the Board in July 2016, and presently serves on the Shuter Task Team. Samantha’s education includes a Bachelors of Arts Combined Honours Law with a concentration in Business Law and Communication Studies with a Minor in Business at Carleton University. And her professional experience as a Senior Sales Associate with CBRE Limited has included managing several large accounts with institutional landlords and corporate tenants on a local and national level, as well as involvement in the execution of acquisition, disposition, expansion, and relocation strategies for landlords, tenants, and purchasers.

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, as well as a Master of Accounting 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 & Audit Committee, and serves as the Society’s Finance Crossover Member with the Foundation.


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 18 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 elected by the residents of Homes First as their Resident Representative and joined the HFS Board in June 2011 and serves on the Finance & Audit Committee.

Carla Whillier, Community Director

Carla Whillier is a civil and criminal litigator, whose practice has evolved with a focus on mental health law in the context of forensic and administrative law issues. She is cross-appointed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board and the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. Carla has an undergraduate degree from Lakehead University, a law degree from The University of Buckingham, and a Master of Laws specializing in Health Law from Osgoode Hall Law School. Ms. Whillier recently spoke in Prague at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health Congress and completed a certificate in National and Global Health Law from Georgetown University. Carla has been an executive member of the Ontario Bar Association Health Law Section since 2010 and has been Chair of the section since March 2017. Carla is an active volunteer with Camp Trillium, Ontario Justice Education Network Mock Trial, and Girls E-Mentorship. She joined the Board in 2017 and sits on the Governance and Nominating Committee.

Abiodun Ayinla 

Warren Booth 

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