Meet the Young Directors
Launched in 2017 with the support of Department of Women and Gender Equality (formerly Status of Women Canada), Girls on Boards is challenging the status quo of low female representation on governance boards across Canada. Girls on Boards places community-minded, motivated and trained young women on non-profit governance boards in their communities. We’re thrilled to introduce the 2019 Cohort!
Anika Mehta is a Strategic Planner at CGI, based out of the Toronto office. She studied Science and Business at the University of Waterloo where her passion for leadership and gender equality flourished. As she launches her career, this passion continues to grow as she aims to solve social injustices in everything she does. In her role as a Strategic Planner, she helps shape the direction of the Financial Services business unit, with a special focus on creating a diverse work environment where people are motivated and included. Her ambition is to drive change in the workforce to ensure that people, regardless of their race, gender or social status, have equal opportunities. Her hobbies include reading fiction thriller novels, travelling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Brianna is an Impact Advisor at Cove Continuity Advisors, where she works with for-profit companies to maximize their social and environmental impact. She examines organizations’ governance, environmental stewardship, workforce and community impact, and supply chain relations to unlock triple bottom line success. Her mission is to use impact to build stronger businesses and foster a more diverse, resilient, and climate-just economy.
Prior to her work at Cove, Brianna has focused her career on how business can be leveraged as a force for good. Her experience includes research for UBC’s Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics on trends in responsible investment and philanthropy, developing values-based operations for a package-free grocery store, Nada, and supporting IT and Operations projects as a management consultant at KPMG.
Brianna is an active volunteer with Surfrider Foundation, and is an Activator with SheEO. She holds a Master of Management (UBC Sauder), where she was recognized with the Community Impact Award and Award for Women in Business Management, and B.A. in Political Science and Economics (McGill University), where she held the Gold Medal for Political Science.
Christina Radyo is a fifth year civil engineering co-op student at the University of Alberta.
She has been an active member of the University of Alberta chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada since 2016, serving as a Junior Fellow, Returned Junior Fellow, and Local Work Lead. For her 2017 Junior Fellowship placement, she had the opportunity to work in Malawi with an EWB venture called WASH Catalysts, which aims to shift the rural water and sanitation sector away from a series of “projectized” approaches to a system that is institutionally sustainable. Christina has been able to use EWB as a platform to promote the importance of institutional sustainability and the importance of social awareness in engineering design on her campus. Throughout her undergraduate degree, Christina has also served on the executive of the Ukrainian Students Society at the University of Alberta. Christina enjoys volleyball, snowboarding, hiking, and music in her spare time.
Danni Olusanya, is a 20-year-old woman who grew up in the UK. She loves pasta, pizza and a really good podcast. Danni is dedicated to changing the world, in her local and global community, by making sure that in her lifetime all girls are able to attend school all across the world!
Habiba Cooper Diallo
Habiba Cooper Diallo is a ten-year women’s health advocate and writer. In 2015, she
self-published Yeshialem Learns About Fistula, a children’s book about a devastating maternal health condition called, obstetric fistula. She has contributed short stories and articles to several anthologies including a chapter titled, “High School and the Black Body in Canada” for the anthology Education of African Canadian Children, ed. Awad Ibrahim and Ali Abdi (Queen’s University Press). Most recently, she was highly commended for the prestigious Manchester Fiction Prize and in 2018, she was a finalist in
the London Book Fair The Write Stuff pitch competition for a novel she is writing. She has had features in the CBC, Forbes, and the HuffPost. Habiba is the founder of the Women’s Health Organization International (WHOI), a on-profit dedicated to eradicating obstetric fistula and she holds a Bachelor’s degree in African Studies from the University of London (SOAS).
Situated on the East coast of Canada, Elizabeth Tuck hails from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Being from one of the smallest and most geographically isolated parts of the country has helped to shape her unique perspective on feminism, policy, and cultural identities.
Elizabeth is in her 3rd year of university where she studies Human Rights, Political Science, and Great Ideas (a combination of English and Philosophy). She is especially interested in politics and its influence on human rights, non-western perspectives on individual liberties, and colonialism and its relation to human rights as a Western concept. Her thesis research is concerned with the legal implications of the #MeToo movement, and other online activist movements. Elizabeth is also a competitive public speaker, competing for 2 years with the St. Thomas University American Moot Court Team.
In her spare time Elizabeth volunteers with English-Second-Language students, enjoys watching Black Mirror, and is an orchestral violinist. You can find her on Instagram @elizabeth_tuck98 and on Twitter @ElizabethTuck1.
Erika Tsang graduated from Ivey Business School and is currently working at Bain & Company as a management consultant with experience working with non-profits and strategic projects. Erika has been heavily involved in social impact work through leading campaigns, volunteering, and revamping fundraising strategies for a top Canadian charity.
Outside of work, Erika has been actively involved in the outdoor and creative communities, she collaborated with other entrepreneurs in designing inclusive ways to get people outdoors and co-created content to support an online publication on creative pursuits of the global generation.
In her free time, Erika loves learning about sustainable tourism, hiking and traveling to new places. Her next dream trip would be going on an eco-tourism expedition in Antarctica.
Fiona has over 2 years of experience working in the Financial Services industry and is passionate about delivering impactful strategic initiatives that add value and drive strong results for business partners. At RBC Capital Markets, Fiona works in the Strategy and Transformation team and in her current role, she worked on a variety of initiatives focusing on digital transformation, process enhancement and cross-enterprise regulatory-driven programs. She has experience working with senior stakeholders across various RBC businesses and has a proven track record of going above and beyond expectations.
At leisure, she loves snowboarding and contemporary dance. She loves spending quality time with family and playing with her dog – Toffee.
Fiona has a Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and Accounting from the Schulich School of Business. Fiona is a CFA Level II candidate.
Hamdi is a Masters of Public Policy Candidate at the Munk School of Public Policy and Global Affairs Masters program at the University of Toronto.
As the Director of Internal Affairs with the Toronto Youth Cabinet, Hamdi works towards a youth-friendly and equitable Toronto. In this capacity, Hamdi saw the power of advocacy at City Hall and the need to create spaces where youth can meaningfully participate in policy development and civic affairs. Hamdi has also worked as a Program Analyst under the City of Toronto’s Social Development Unit. She is an Advisor with Progress Toronto, a not-for-profit organization that organizes for a more progressive city. Hamdi is a former fellow with the Muslim Youth Fellowship and worked for a Toronto City Councillor on initiatives related to housing.
Prior to to beginning her Masters, Hamdi earned a B.A in Forensic Psychology at UOIT, where she served as the President of the largest student government on her campus. Here, Hamdi successfully executed issue-based campaigns, ensured stable funding for student services during times of cuts, and worked towards collaborative governance. She also completed an honours thesis at the Clinical Affective Neuroscience Laboratory for Discovery and Innovation at UOIT, studying the relationship between psychopathy and empathy.
Hamdi is an active volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross as a Disaster Management Supervisor. In 2017, Hamdi was the recipient of an Award of Recognition by the Parliament of Canada for her youth advocacy work. In 2018, Hamdi was the recipient of the President’s Award of Excellence in Student Leadership and the UOIT Human Rights Award. Hamdi was also honoured with Social Planning Toronto’s Frances Lankin Inspiring Leadership Award.
A childhood spent living across the globe sparked a natural curiousity for the world around
her, giving her a diverse array of passions. A recent graduate from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, Hana Chaudhury spends her time at the intersection of innovation, tech, and policy. She is currently a consulting analyst at Accenture where she is developing her skills in the technology and consulting world. Outside of work, she is passionate about women’s empowerment and co-founded an online women’s career portal called GenW with two colleagues. Her interest in entrepreneurship was sparked by co-founding a sustainable plant-based food company in 2017. She held several leadership roles while at university including being the Vice-President of the International Affairs Association, serving on a Principal’s Committee focused on diversity and inclusion, and being involved in QHacks (university hackathon) and the Queen’s Female Leadership Politics Conference. She is passionate in the ways business, tech and innovation can come together to expand opportunities for all.
Kate grew up in Calgary before moving to Lethbridge to complete her BSc neuroscience degree. While pursuing her BSc Kate was involved in numerous board leadership positions with the Alpha Iota chapter of Kappa Beta Gamma international sorority where she developed her interests in leadership and mentorship. Currently, Kate is a MSc neuroscience student at the University of Calgary and is focusing her research on investigating the potential mechanisms producing intense personal interests in young children with autism spectrum disorder. She hopes that she will be able to continue to build her leadership abilities through participation with the Girls on Boards program to be involved at the leadership level academically and in her community.
Kate is pursuing her final year of studies in political science and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies at McGill University. Her work with community-based organizations has incited her passion for community development and inclusive governance.
Growing up, Kate was highly involved in the outdoor adventure community, and continues to champion accessibility in her work with the McGill Student’s Outdoors Club. She has represented women varsity athletes and outdoor enthusiasts as a panelist at the No Man’s Land film festival, and strives to motivate young women to take on leadership positions within the outdoors community. She brings these values to her work consulting on university sexual violence policies and scholarship and bursary programs.
After graduation, Kate plans to pursue a career in social policy, working with non-profit organizations within Canada after completing a combined degree program in law and social work.
Kate Pundyk is a Canadian studying at Wellesley College and MIT as a Davis United World College Scholar focusing on technology policy. In September, Kate organized a youth roundtable on the mrgins of the G7 environment ministers meeting in Halifax. She co-led the Commonwealth youth policy team for the London 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and she was a researcher in the MIT Little Devices Lab researching the policy implications of do-it-yourself medical devices. Kate was recently featured in Alberta’s to 30 under 30 for Global Cooperation. Prior to this, she worked on a start-up at MIT that uses lab analytics and robotics to fight the opioid epidemic. She currently is taking a year off to be a policy researcher in the Office of the Premier of Alberta.
Manal Meer is currently an MBA candidate and a UX strategist with a desire to use behavioural science to design innovative solutions for business and social problems. She previously graduated from University of Toronto with double majors in science and psychology.
Manal was born and raised in the Middle East and is passionate about being a global citizen and giving back to her community. She actively volunteers with organizations like Syrian Canadian Foundation supporting refugees, Project Ramadan feeding underprivileged families, was the past President of UofT’s Blood and Stem Cell Society organizing donation clinics and currently acts as the Vice President of her MBA Consulting Association. She enjoys participating in hackathons, learning about emerging technologies, engaging with youth and aims to support initiatives to advance sustainable development goals.
In her personal time, Manal loves to travel through books and documentaries, and enjoys kayaking and horseback riding!
Maria de Fatima Lazo
Maria de Fatima Lazo is a recent graduate of the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia with a double major in Economics and Political Science. Originally from Ecuador, her passions lie in the fields of international affairs, education and economic development in the global south. Intrigued by the intersection between innovation in higher education and economic development, she has developed extensive experience with non-profits, community and student-led organizations as she builds her career in public administration and policymaking in the education sector. Maria de Fatima will start her M.Ed. in Higher Education at UBC this September.
On her spare time, Maria de Fatima enjoys physical activities such as working out, doing yoga and hiking in the summer. She is also an avid traveler, concert-goer and a fan of Latin American and Mediterranean food.”
As a fourth-year student in International Economics and Development with a Minor in Management at the University of Ottawa, McKinley Richards is an advocate for global quality education, social entrepreneurship, and women’s economic empowerment. McKinley has pursued these interests in both Canada and abroad, living in Paris, France for semester exchange at Sciences Po, and conducting research on access to education for young girls in Senegal. Through her numerous leadership roles on Enactus uOttawa, including her current position as the Director of R&D, she has helped develop, launch, and expand innovative social enterprises that address issues in Canada.
McKinley has received various recognitions including the Top Economics Student Award, the Top Co-op Student Award for her faculty, and the Africa Community Service Scholarship for her research in Senegal. This year, she represented her riding at Daughters of the Vote and will be formally representing Enactus uOttawa’s accomplishments at the National Competition in Vancouver. McKinley has worked as a Page in the House of Commons, at FINTRAC, Global Affairs Canada, and Cuso International, a non-profit where she now continues to work as an external consultant.
Pranavi Cheemakurti is a Finance and Political Science student at Western University who is passionate about leveraging her private sector experience to create large scale social impact. Recently having completed an internship at global investment bank RBC Capital Markets in Sales & Trading, she is looking forward to continuing to pursue her full time career in Finance while pursuing her passion for non profit work and sustainable development. She has represented Canada in a variety of UN assemblies and has been recognized as the Top 10 Outstanding Youth in Summer 2017 from the same. While on hiatus from her undergrad, she is currently working with a startup accelerator that is focused on growing female cofounded startups and working full time on her non-profit MilkyWay. She hopes to learn how non profits work from the ground up while contributing her experience to boost efficiency and performance in furthering their mandate of whatever organization she is a part of.
North York, ON
I’m a first year engineering student with a passion for helping others. I’ve had experience organizing events related to science and technology and engaging with high school students. In the future, I hope to take on leadership roles within my profession and inspire younger girls to do the same.
I am a JD student at the University of Ottawa, and I have a BAH in history and French from Queen’s University. I am very grateful to be a student. The most important skills that I have learned at school are focus and empathy.||I see the world through a creative and academic lens: I am a trained dancer, a language lover, and a book hound. I use creativity to problem solve and innovate. I use my research and collaboration skills to consider new perspectives and reconcile competing ideas.||My most memorable work experiences have been Human Resources internships, where I worked on workplace diversity and inclusion. I have a particular interest in accessibility and gender equity, which I hope to continue to learn about through school, community engagement, and work experience.||I am an intersectional feminist. I am a dog lover. Grey weather, houseplants, and the Oxford
Featured as a “Youth Leader” in the Entreprendre Magazine, that also features 99 other inspiring women such as Canada’s General Governor Julie Payette, I am an eighteen year old that looks upon the world with wonder. At the dawn of my life, I dream of making a difference, to go off the beaten track and make my way in this world. In high school, I studied under the International Baccalaureate enriched science program and I was also studying classical music and I worked as president of the board of a Fairtrade business. I now study applied sciences in CEGEP and I have had the chance to sing all over the world and with rockstars. I also have had the chance to meet people from all across Canada for seminars and internships. At the SHAD program I attended at Dalhousie University, we had to find a way to make Canadian communities more resilient to natural disasters.
Spyri Karasavva is originally from Santorini, Greece, and is an Investment Analyst at CPP
Investment Board where she is involved with making investments across various
sectors and geographies. Spyri graduated from the University of Western
Ontario, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Honors Business
Administration from the Ivey School of Business. Spyri dedicates a
significant portion of her time to causes she cares about including
sponsoring and mentoring refugee students in Canada, reducing environmental
waste, and advocating for women advancement to leadership roles. She recently
spent five months living in Hong Kong and working for Soap Cycling, an
international soap recycling NGO that collects used bars of soap from hotels
in Asia, recycles them, and distributes them, to communities in need. In
addition, Spyri is passionate about building inclusive communities, and as
part of BMO’s Millennial Leaders Advisory Council, a council of millennial
women from all over Canada, has had the opportunity to work with BMO
executives and Catalyst Canada to develop inclusion and diversity
I am Tabitha Mirza, and I am a champion of sustainable development that critically considers cross-cutting issues including gender and minority rights within a transforming globalized environment. As an activist, I have played a central role in community organizing with non-profits, student organizations, and political offices of representatives as an equity and inclusion advocate, strategist, and leader. With a long-time interest in the empowerment of women and girls, my story takes place in settings working within community-based organizations all across the world. As the first Vice President of Equity and Activism for the Development Student Association at the University of Ottawa, I advocated for and implemented innovative programming and events that strengthened the leadership of minority groups across campus. Most recently, as the Knowledge Management Officer for the Tanzania Tourist Board, I worked alongside powerful stakeholders in the responsible tourism sector to identify and scale-up best practices that improved the remuneration of youth and women as competitive, technical and creative industry moguls. I look forward to my growing and learning journey with G(irls)20.
Tatheer Ali is a policy analyst with a passion for multilateral engagement and global youth advocacy. She is member of the Ottawa Youth Council and chairs the Subcommittee on Youth Unemployment. Previously, She was the Head Delegate of the Youth Canadian Delegation to the OECD 2018 Forum and was a delegate on the Young Leaders Canadian Delegation to Germany in December 2018.
She has held several positions in the Federal Government of Canada, Currently, she works at the Privy Council Office providing strategic policy support on Canada’s foreign and defence bilateral relationship with the United States and Mexico. Previously, she worked at the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in the Strategic Policy and Program Sector.
Tatheer holds a Masters of Science in Migration Studies from St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford and a Bachelors in Public Affairs and Policy Management with a specialization in Economics and Development Studies from Carleton University.
As an avid intersectional feminist, Ushma founded the first Canadian chapter of the
organization, She’s the First. Now a recipient of multiple awards, this group
champions the education of girls in low-income countries. Ushma’s sense of
responsibility to alleviate social issues is also apparent through her
extensive involvement with organizations such the Canadian Mental Health
Association. As the Co-President of UNICEF McMaster, Ushma has supported the
creation of a safe and nurturing environment for children around the world.
As currently an MD Candidate at the University of Toronto, Ushma aims to
combine her career in medicine with her passion for humanitarianism to
advocate for improved access to quality healthcare for globally marginalized
As a Political Science and Communications student at the University of Ottawa, my field of choice is diplomacy and sustainable development. I have a passion for sustainable development policy, as evidenced by my research on birth registration systems for refugees. I am also a woman of colour. Throughout my life, I have faced prejudice and racism, which have resulted in me giving a TedTalk titled, “Your Survival Guide on How to Talk to Ethnic Women”. I pride myself on being a busy bee and I achieve this lifestyle choice by pairing my schooling with work in my field. In my free time, I like to cook, discover new restaurants, find the best london fog drink in Ottawa, and listen to true-crime podcasts.
Passionate about the intersection of media and politics, and a firm believer that business can be the biggest force for social change. I’m a Business Development Strategist for WE Charity, coming from the Corporate Partnerships team at TIFF. As a recent RTA School of Media graduate, I learned how to connect with audiences, pitch an idea and project manage. Outside of class I was deeply involved in student advocacy and off campus in the creative worlds. I’m a big fan of Google Calendar, Twitter comedy and good coffee paired with great conversation.
Yasmin Dini is an undergraduate student studying Global Health at York University with a
specialization in E-Health. She is heavily involved in grassroots organizing
and youth empowerment. She has been apart of Peel Girls Empowerment movement
for 3 years creating opportunities to fill gaps for young women in the Peel
Regions. She is also an executive of FBPI York an organization aimed at
fostering opportunities for underprivileged students who are interested in
the healthcare field. Her research at Toronto General Hospital focusses on
hepatocellular carcinoma and building a database that which will be a data
repository for future studies and artificial intelligence applications. She
has had unique life experiences that drive her dedication to different
causes. Her interests lie at the intersection of social justice, healthcare,
Zara Hirani is currently a student at McGill University pursuing a major in Economics with a minor concentration in International Development. Having had a multicultural upbringing in Pakistan and Singapore, she hopes to pursue a career with a great social impact.
Zara has been actively involved in numerous civil society endeavours such as leading the McGill Ismaili Students Association, P[h]assion, a student run non-profit that raises funds for the awareness of HIV/AIDS, as well as being chosen to serve as an Associate Consultant for the McGill Not-For-Profit Consulting Program with McKinsey and Company.
She is passionate about the economic empowerment of women, providing access to education for girls and improving access to healthcare in the developing world. She is an aspiring social entrepreneur who hopes her work can impact the lives of millions. Zara enjoys dance, travelling and being a mindful advocate of making a difference.