Paul Byron, Chair
Paul is the founder of Cielo Consulting- a boutique firm specializing in assessing and mitigating risk for small social enterprises.
Prior to this, Paul worked for over 30 years with one of Canada’s largest multi-line insurers. In his last role (before founding Cielo), he worked directly with large national federations and associations in the co-operative and voluntary non-profit sectors, leading a team responsible for building insurance and risk management solutions for them and their members. His work developing and launching Community Guard and Co-op Guard- insurance and risk management programs designed to meet the needs of small and medium sized voluntary non-profits and co-ops- has been recognized nationally and internationally.
Paul has been working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada in a professional and volunteer role for more than 15 years and currently serves on the national board as Vice-Chair and participates on both the Executive Committee and on the Governance and Board Effectiveness Committee.
In addition to his involvement with BBBS, he volunteers with a number of other provincial and local organizations focused on meeting community needs through co-operation and volunteerism.
Paul has a master’s in management (St. Mary’s University) with a specialty in co-operatives and credit unions. He is married to Lise and together they reside in Elora Ontario.
Rizwan Kanji, Treasurer
Rizwan Kanji is a Chartered Professional Accountant and is currently the Vice President of Finance and Operations at Concordia University of Edmonton. Rizwan is an avid volunteer and has been the Big Brother Big Sister organization for a number of years, first as a mentor and now as a Board Member. Rizwan is passionate about youth and helping them succeed, especially those at risk.
Jeff Benjamin, Vice-Chair
Having been a Little Brother/Mentee, Jeff has firsthand experience with and been a steadfast proponent of Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada since childhood. He attributes his experience with the organization, including the relationship that he built with his Big Brother/Mentor, as critical foundation blocks for his life.
Jeff attended the University of Saskatchewan for both Commerce and Law. He currently serves as Associate General Counsel for Canpotex Limited, based in Saskatoon, SK. He is heavily involved with the Canadian Bar Association, serving on the Executive Committee of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association and as Chair of the Saskatchewan section. Having a background in accounting, Jeff holds a CMA-CPA accounting designation. Jeff has also been actively involved with BBBS of Saskatoon, serving on the Board for the member agency from 2017-2020.
He and his dog Gryphon live in Saskatoon, though they try to go on travel adventures as often as possible.
Jeff is excited for the opportunity to work with the talented slate of volunteer Directors serving on the National Board of BBBS Canada.
Liz Falco, Secretary
Liz has enjoyed a 30-year career in education – as teacher, advisor, coach, admissions director, Head of School and non-profit executive director – and currently as an Independent Consultant (for schools and non-profits) and Career Coach to young adults (www.lizfalco.ca). Based in Montreal, she supports individuals and organizations throughout Canada by bringing structure and clarity to their thinking and inspiring them to take strategic action to achieve their goals.
Liz holds a M.Ed. from Columbia University and an MBA from Ivey School of Business, Western University. She has a life-long interest in mentoring young people and a sincere passion for fostering potential.
The mission and vision of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Canada resonates strongly with Liz’s values and she joined the National Board in June 2019. She is committed to amplifying the voices of young people, to supporting a spirit of continuous improvement and to facilitating equitable opportunities for realizing human potential.
Shalomi Abraham, Past-Chair
Shalomi currently acts as Senior Vice President and Head of Legal – Canada for Invesco Canada, a leading investment management firm serving Canadian investors and financial advisors. At Invesco, he is primarily responsible for the delivery of legal advice for Invesco Canada’s business lines and the oversight of the Canadian legal tam. Prior to joining Invesco, Shalomi practiced in the corporate and securities law group at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP in Toronto.
Shalomi obtained his BBA (2003) from the Schulich School of Business at York University, his JD (2006) from Osgoode Hall and his LLM (2011) from the University of Toronto. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007 and became a member of the National Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada in 2016. Shalomi is also a director of the Canadian ETF Association.
Monica Chohan, Director at Large
Monica Chohan is an Ottawa-based strategic planning consultant, facilitator and lawyer, with 12+ years of diverse experience. She spent the first several years of her career as a regulatory lawyer and public policy advisor in both the federal government and private sector, including DFAIT, the CRTC, Shaw Communications and TELUS. In 2017, she transitioned out of the corporate world to build her own legal, facilitation and consulting practices, with a focus on the not-for-profit and social innovation sectors. Today, through her legal practice at Chohan Law, Monica advises not-for-profit boards on a wide range of governance and risk management issues and provides informative and engaging board training workshops. She also provides trauma-informed workplace investigation and workplace assessment services.
Alongside her legal work, Monica pursues her love of strategic planning, team building and facilitation at Wilbrod House Consulting. She enjoys putting her creative and strategic side to work on projects with not-for-profits, social enterprises and entrepreneurs who are trying to do better by their teams, communities, and the planet. In addition to working with well-established clients, Monica frequently works with groups and organizations at nascent stages of their development. In so doing, she draws on her hands-on experience as Co-Executive Director at Dandelion Dance, an innovative organization whose mission was to provide safe creative spaces for children and youth identifying as girls, and which reached over 1000 students over the five years she co-led the organization. Ultimately, she is grateful to work with people and organizations in a variety of ways to help them find strategic clarity, strengthen their governance frameworks, improve their operational foundations, and build healthy relationships with their stakeholders.
Monica is excited to join the board at Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada. She is also currently a board member at Impact Hub Ottawa. In the past, she has been active on the boards of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Center, Harmony House, and Prime Minister’s Row. She has also volunteered in various capacities with Planned Parenthood Ottawa and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization.
Alison Evans, Director at Large
Alison Evans is an executive and consultant with 25 years of public, private and not-for-profit leadership experience. Her passion is creating synergy between an organization’s vision and the stakeholders, members, customers and public who are essential to its success. Most of her career has been in the higher education sector—working with Canadian universities to advance their interests and to promote the societal value of research and higher education. As Vice-President of Member and Public Relations, she oversees all programming for Canada’s university presidents, leads the organization’s award-winning print and digital magazine, and coaches senior management and Board members on contentious issues management and crisis communications.
Prior to this, Alison served as the Interim President of the Hotel Association of Canada, the national organization representing more than 8,000 hotels of the $19 billion industry. She also served as Vice-President of Communications, Volunteers and Information Management at CHEO,the pediatric health centre of Canada’s capital. As Director of Corporate and Public Affairs for Egg Farmers of Canada, Alison had the privilege of representing the more than 1,000 family-run egg farms across Canada and the beloved Get Cracking brand.
She is a proud graduate of the University of Guelph and is committed to life-long learning, having completed many courses, diplomas and certificates, including the Niagara Institute’s Leadership Development program. Outside of work she volunteers, including taking on governance roles, writes comedy, coaches, teaches at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute, plays hockey and golf.
Angela Hantoumakos, Director at Large
Since 2015, Angela has been a member of the Board of Directors of Bellwoods Centres for Community Living and currently serves as Treasurer, Finance and Audit Chair. She is a volunteer with the Halton Distress Centre and has served on numerous other Boards over the past three decades including: Oakville Food for Life, Artists’ Health Centre Foundation (Treasurer), My Sister’s Place (Treasurer).
She has over four decades of senior leadership experience specializing in finance and administration. She held the position of CAO/CFO with the Ontario Oncology Association where she supported the Board of Directors in negotiating the largest Alternate Payment Plan in Ontario with the Ministry of Health. Other senior leadership roles include VP Finance with Bombardier Aerospace, CFO of William Osler Health System, Senior Manager with Deloitte Consulting and Executive Director of the Diocese of Toronto.
Angela holds a M.Sc. in Human Resource Management in Economics and a B.A. in Economics
Matt McGowan, Director at Large
A born and bred New Yorker turned Torontonian who has lived on 3 continents, Matt has worked alongside founders, executives, venture capitalists, private equity professionals, lawyers, accountants and others representing some of the world’s best known and thousands of lesser known companies. Matt’s experience has led him to believe that a focus on building strong diverse teams can mean the difference between a successful business and one that struggles to attain its KPIs. Ensuring decisions are made that build on operational excellence within agreed upon strategic swim-lanes is the first and most important ingredient to achieving growth and prosperity.
Matt is the Director and General Manager of Snap Inc Canada, the camera company that owns Snapchat, Spectacles, Toronto based Bitmoji, and Zenly. He serves as an advisor to CPA Ontario, the governing provincial body that represents chartered professional accountants, on the board of the Banff World Media Festival, a marketplace and conference designed to help you create new development and production opportunities, and on the board of StrawberryFrog, the world’s first Movement Marketing, Advertising & Design agency.
Jamileh Naso, Director at Large
Jamileh is a community leader whose own experiences as a refugee shape her personal and professional endeavors. She is an award-winning refugee activist, media commentator, accomplished public speaker, and researcher with expertise in gender equity, refugees, migration, peace, youth engagement and civic engagement.
Jamileh is a Manager, Community Investment at Bell Canada. She leads Bell’s charitable initiatives in Western and Northern Canada and supports Bell’s national campaign, Bell Let’s Talk, strategy for partners, non-profits, and mental health experts to promote awareness and action within 4 key pillars: fighting stigma, improving access to care, supporting world-class research, and workplace mental health.
Jamileh has delivered lectures at the University of Manitoba, Canadian Mennonite University, Scranton University, New York University, and University of the Aegean; participated in panel discussions across Canada and globally and given keynotes at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, Women Deliver, International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocides in the East in Lesvos, Greece, and at the House of Commons, Standing Committee on Citizenship, and Immigration. In addition, she represented Canada at the 2019 Global Diplomatic Forum in Brussels, Belgium.
Since 2015, she has served as the President of the Canadian Yazidi Association. A non-profit organization working collaboratively with governments, businesses, multifaith organizations and civil society partners to design and support projects that promote education, private sponsorship, refugee resettlement, services for women and children, with a special focus on trauma recovery and community based psychosocial services, economic empowerment, community reintegration, and healthcare.
Jamileh is an MBA candidate, with a concentration in Finance at the Australian Institute of Business. She holds a Certificate in Public Policy Analysis from the London School of Economics and Political Science and pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Winnipeg with a specialization in Political Science and Human Rights.
Karine Pomilia Gauthier, Director at Large
Karine Pomilia is a Political Science and Communications graduate from the University of Ottawa, as well as a former Little Sister. She has remained engaged in the organization since the end of her match, speaking at BBBS events at the regional and national levels and chairing the National Youth Mentoring Advisory Council (NYMAC). She has offered insight on her mentoring experience on numerous occasions, most notably before the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector. She currently works in Canada’s public service, focusing on increasing diversity and inclusion, and looks forward to continuing to share her knowledge to make mentorship accessible to everyone.
Since joining the National Board in 2020, Karine Pomilia has contributed the Strategy and Vision, and the Governance and Board Direction Committees.
Susan Tarves, Director at Large
Susan’s twenty-five year career with a leading Canadian multi-line insurance and financial services cooperative began in Mississauga Ontario, and has spanned five provinces in various client facing and leadership roles. Currently, as Senior Manager for Atlantic Canada, she provides leadership, and innovation within the Region, to achieve overall corporate strategic objectives and deliver a superior client experience.
Susan’s passion for volunteering, social justice, and youth mentoring began at the age of 10 when she started door to door canvassing for the Canadian Cancer Society. She has supported numerous non-profits in each community she resided in since that time.
Susan holds an undergrad in Commerce from Memorial University, NL and an EMBA from St. Mary’s University, NS where she was the recipient of the Presidents Gold Medal for Highest Academic Standing.Currently residing in Halifax, NS she is excited to dedicate her time, knowledge and experience to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada.