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Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people. As the country’s virtual care expert, we give millions of youth a safe, trusted space to get support through phone or text and access self-directed tools in any moment of crisis or need.

Our team

Katherine Hay

President & CEO

As President and CEO of Kids Help Phone, Katherine (Kathy) Hay drives the strategic direction, innovation imperative and culture of Canada’s only national, 24/7 bilingual e-mental health service for young people. In 2020, Kids Help Phone’s team of counsellors and crisis responders made over 4.6 million connections with youth in every province and territory — with an ever-growing mandate to always be there for youth when, where and how they need mental health support.

Read more about Katherine Hay

Alisa Simon

Executive Vice President, E-mental Health Strategy and Chief Youth Officer

Alisa Simon brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in health-care access and support services to her role as Executive Vice President, E-mental Health Strategy and Chief Youth Officer at Kids Help Phone. As a champion of innovation, Alisa is integral to the organization’s development of virtual health solutions for youth. Using comprehensive data and research to provide knowledge management strategies, Alisa drives improvements in service and support that respond to evolving technologies and the changing needs of young people. These include Kids Help Phone’s Live Chat service, the Always There app, the organization’s community resource database of 30,000 local programs and services nationwide serving young people — Resources Around Me — and most recently, a texting service — Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone — which launched across Canada in 2018.

Alisa also oversees the organization’s national counselling program, providing leadership and guidance to more than 100 professional counselling staff working across three national counselling centres. In addition, Alisa leads Kids Help Phone’s government relationships activities, working closely with provincial and federal government officials and stakeholders to advance the organization’s thought leadership initiatives.

Prior to joining Kids Help Phone, Alisa had experience serving as Health Policy Director at Public Citizens for Children and Youth where she managed two helplines assisting children and families. She was also the Health Care Director at Citizens for Consumer Justice and Acting Director of Policy and Communications with the Association of Ontario Midwives. Alisa holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina.

Aaron Sanderson

Senior Vice President, Advancement and Chief Development Officer

Aaron Sanderson leads Kids Help Phone’s fundraising efforts, and, in partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Community Officer, is the senior liaison to the organization’s community of generous supporters. Aaron joined Kids Help Phone in 2020.

Aaron is an international award-winning fundraiser with over 13 years of experience at leading non-profit organizations, including BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Plan International Canada, SickKids Foundation and War Child. In addition, he has over a decade of senior volunteer experience with non-profit boards and committees, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Athletics Ontario, The Arthritis Society, Habitat for Humanity GTA, Heritage Toronto and the University of British Columbia.

Aaron also holds a Master of Arts in Philanthropy and Development, an Associates Certificate in Non-Profit Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations. He is the 11th Canadian to be awarded the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) designation, the top credential of the fundraising profession, and was inducted as a Fellow of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy (FAHP). He was named a Top 40 Under 40 in North America by AHP in 2018, and was named “Difference Maker” by the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Susan Morris

Senior Vice President, Operations and CFO

Susan Morris joined Kids Help Phone as head of Finance & Administration in July 1997. Prior to this, she ran her own accounting practice specializing in non-audit reviews, special projects and individual tax returns. She has a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in December 1987. While at Deloitte & Touche, she specialized in small business and not-for-profit.

An active volunteer, Susan served on the Board of Directors of the Jean Tweed Treatment Centre for nine years, participated in volunteer tax clinics, served as an active school volunteer throughout her children’s elementary and secondary school years, and remains a committed Kids Help Phone volunteer. She enjoys gardening, long walks and, travelling. Susan lives in Toronto with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she studies piano.

Michael Cole

Senior Vice President, Technology, Innovation, Data and Chief Information Officer

Michael Cole joined Kids Help Phone in 2022 as our Senior Vice President, Technology, Innovation, Data and Chief Information Officer. In this role, Michael unlocks all of our potential and amplifies our talented information technology team as we continue to meet unprecedented growth in the organization.

With more than twenty years of experience working across the continuum of care within Ontario and British Columbia, Michael possesses a wealth of knowledge in health-system strategy and operations to support evidence-based transformations regarding organizational digital and privacy portfolios. Michael has extensive knowledge and understanding around relationship and strategic development, as well as program implementation and service design.

Most recently, Michael comes to Kids Help Phone from Deloitte’s Digital CARE practice, a leading global professional services firm, where he led a wide range of services for health-care organizations in Canada regarding digital strategy, program implementation and operations review. Prior to joining Deloitte, Michael was a part of an Ontario community hospital’s senior leadership team as Chief Technology and Privacy Officer, as well as the Chief Information and Privacy Officer for their Ontario Health Team. He has held previous management positions at BC First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), as well as the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine.

In his spare time, Michael can be found either on a golf course or soccer pitch with his partner and two kids.

Jenny Yuen

Senior Vice President, National Partnerships & Government Relations

Jenny Yuen is the Senior Vice President, National Partnerships & Government Relations at Kids Help Phone. She’s responsible for strategic development of advancement that connects communities across Canada. She joined Kids Help Phone in 2005.

For more than 15 years, Jenny has specialized in signature event fundraising strategies and execution, influencing the height of the most successful campaigns for two industry leading organizations — the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation and Kids Help Phone.

Jenny brings a multidisciplinary approach that includes, but is not limited to, the following portfolios: philanthropy, corporate and community engagement, sponsorship, volunteer leadership development and establishing systems to implement cross-functional programs. She has played key roles in bringing an inside-out approach to community and national events and teams that are focused on both enhanced efficiency and increased fund development by leveraging online and community-based strategies. Holding leadership positions that have both regional and national oversight, Jenny has developed experience in planning centrally and executing locally — developing a team-centred approach and bringing synergies to event strategies (requiring leadership from staff and community-based volunteers).

Jenny is a proud mom of two little humans in elementary school — they fuel her commitment to evolving the community in which we raise our kids and continue to adapt with them.

Cindy Morris

Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

As the VP & Chief Human Resource Officer, Cindy is responsible for creating innovative ways to engage all employees and establishing the culture, systems and training that will develop leaders and empower employees to solve problems. This includes strategic workforce planning, day-to-day operations, labour relations, organizational development, compensation, training, recruitment, benefits, and pensions.

An experienced bilingual human resources executive with a background in private and public-sector organizations, Cindy was most recently employed at Ontario Health where she co-led major initiatives such as the roll-out of harmonized benefits and policies; working with the Ontario Health EIDA-R Committee in support of its commitment to equitable, inclusive and diverse practices and engaging staff in a survey on return to workplaces. Some of Cindy’s prior achievements include leading the shift to a coaching culture, launching a leadership program and building a strong values based culture during her tenure at the Ontario Telemedicine Network. While at Philips Lifeline (formerly Lifeline Systems Canada, Inc.), Cindy successfully shifted the culture in support of performance excellence and individual accountability. She implemented numerous employee centric initiatives designed to support employee development, recognition and engagement. Cindy has undergraduate degrees in English and Psychology respectively in addition to a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources as well as a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management.

Justin Scaini

Vice President, Strategy and Transformation

Justin Scaini brings extensive consulting, financial services and health care experience to Kids Help Phone as the Vice President, Strategy and Transformation. He joined the organization in 2021 and supports young people across Canada by leading the design and coordinated implementation of Kids Help Phone’s strategic portfolio of projects and initiatives.

Justin holds a Bachelor of Science, Honours from Queen’s University and a Master of Health Science in Health Administration from the University of Toronto. Justin started his career as a management consultant at Accenture. He then made the leap into health services where he designed and led Capitalize for Kids’ pro-bono consulting program. This enabled him to help 30+ mental health organizations and government partners build capacity. Most recently, Justin was a senior strategy consultant at Mackenzie Health, supporting the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic and the opening of the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital.

Outside of work, Justin was the founder of the Jack Summit and is currently the chair of the board for Progress Place. In his spare time, Justin has a passion for camping, photography, golf and reading non-fiction.

Rebecca Stutley

Vice President, Brand, Storytelling & Communications

Rebecca Stutley is the Vice President, Brand, Storytelling & Communications at Kids Help Phone. She joined the organization in 2018.

For over 20 years, Rebecca has honed her craft in agencies and as a client across a range of categories and brands from homegrown to global. She has a proven track record of building emotionally relevant and resonant creative platforms that people connect with and respond to. Her contributions have led to award-winning work for brands like TD and IKEA.

At Kids Help Phone, Rebecca leads an in-house marketing team who develop and deploy service outreach strategies including content development, innovation launches and revenue generating campaigns. Externally, she collaborates with dedicated partners to build the brand for the future, support fundraising goals and help ensure young people are aware of and can access support whenever they need it. She spearheaded the pan-organizational 30th anniversary campaign in 2019 and drove the pivot in our communication platform in 2020 to support youth and mobilize adults through the shared experience of social isolation during COVID-19.

Rebecca is a key driver of Kids Help Phone’s brand transformation, building upon three decades of pioneering virtual care and e-mental health services for young people in Canada. As a mother to two sons, she’s personally driven to improve the lives of all youth in Canada by normalizing conversations about mental health and destigmatizing seeking support. As a marketer, she’s humbled by the opportunity to make meaningful social impact through such a beloved and important brand.

Jamie Yoon

General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

As General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Jamie leads the legal and compliance function within Kids Help Phone. His mandate includes developing a robust and disciplined enterprise legal strategy spanning privacy, data security, contract management, labour relations and compliance and risk management. With extensive experience in both the private and public sectors, he brings a strategic and focused legal perspective to our leadership team and Board of Directors. Jamie joined the organization in 2022.

After several years of practising commercial litigation with a national law firm, Jamie moved into in-house practice with a Crown corporation and was most recently senior counsel to Deloitte Canada. Along the way, he has built a distinguished track record of delivering guidance to leadership that is actionable, pragmatic and change based.

Jamie is also an active volunteer in his community, where he serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Homes First, a Toronto-based provider of long-term housing options for people experiencing homelessness.

Juanita Gledhill

Leadership Development Facilitator and Strategic Advisor

Juanita Gledhill is an award winning Human Resources (HR) professional who’s provided public, private and broader public sector organizations with strategic and operational business solutions to improve organizational effectiveness. As Principal of MCC Group Inc., Juanita has worked with many clients on projects related to varying HR and general operating functions. Juanita brought her skills and experience to Kids Help Phone as an HR consultant in 2018, and took on the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer in 2020.

Juanita holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from McMaster University and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Mohawk College. She also holds both a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) designation. Juanita is the recipient of many awards and honours, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Community Service and the Ross A. Hennigar Memorial Award from the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) for her academic, career and community service achievements.

Juanita’s community volunteerism includes, but is not limited to, her roles as past Chair of the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA (HBSPCA) and Board Member of the Healthcare and Municipal Employees’ Credit Union (HMECU).

Lindsey Coulter

Associate Vice President, Philanthropy and Donor Relations

Lindsey Coulter is the Associate Vice President, Philanthropy and Donor Relations at Kids Help Phone. She joined the organization in 2018.

For over 15 years, Lindsey has been employed in the field of communications in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, working on global brands in youth engagement and international development. Lindsey was responsible for creating and implementing strategic communication plans, telling brand narratives through appropriate channels reaching targeted audiences. Over the course of her career, Lindsey has developed a track record of success in both traditional and digital media. She specialized in media strategy and holds deep relationships with Tier-A media across Canada. As the communications landscape has evolved, so has she. Throughout her career, she has worked in multistakeholder environments and held leadership roles. At Kids Help Phone, Lindsey leads communications both internally and externally through earned and owned channels. Lindsey has led earned campaigns for the one-year anniversary of Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone and managed all external earned communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindsey holds a master’s degree in communications, but her biggest accomplishments are her twin daughters. They’re the reason she’s working at Kids Help Phone ⁠— to help end the stigma attached to mental health and encourage anyone in need to reach out for help!

Andréanne Deschamps

Associate Vice President, Service Programs

Andréanne Deschamps, Associate Vice President of Service Programs, brings more than 10 years of combined experience in counselling and youth support program management and development to Kids Help Phone. In her role, she oversees service and youth mobilization programs such as Resources Around Me, Counsellor in the Classroom, Good2Talk and the National Youth Council (NYC). She also brings leadership to services for the organization’s focus communities through Kids Help Phone’s Indigenous Initiatives and Equity Programs. She’s also responsible for the clinical training and quality assurance of counselling services.

Andréanne has dedicated her career to leveraging her passion for mental health support and skills to advance young people’s rights to autonomy and self-determination in help seeking and receiving support. Holding a master’s degree in clinical sexology, Andréanne uses her experience in providing counselling and therapy to young people and adults in service program design and development.

Andréanne has also been involved in the development of several youth mental health and wellness services and projects such as Live Chat counselling, resource development and more. She has promoted and advocated for the understanding of diverse perspectives in order to achieve positive outcomes while maintaining an open and empathy-driven environment. She has a passion for learning, believes in values-based work and is keen to imagine and action new and improved ways for youth to get the help they need, in the way they need it most.

Darren Mastropaolo

Associate Vice President, Innovation & Data powered by The Lang Family Foundation

Darren Mastropaolo joined Kids Help Phone in 2020 as our Associate Vice President, Innovation & Data powered by The Lang Family Foundation. Darren’s portfolio includes both innovating within Kids Help Phone’s existing services, as well as strategy and implementation of new services. He works with our advancement team to raise funds for our innovation pipeline and also manages our data team to help us continuously enhance our service offerings for young people across Canada.

Darren holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Bucknell University. Over the past 10+ years, Darren’s career focused on innovations that support young people. He began his professional journey in New York City, working on digital products in entertainment, publishing and education. He left the corporate world to feed his soul and joined DoSomething.org, and later, Crisis Text Line. As the former Director of International at Crisis Text Line, Darren worked in partnership with Kids Help Phone for three years. At Crisis Text Line, Darren found his passion for mental health and helped bring Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone to fruition in Canada in 2018. Outside of work, Darren stays active with tennis, golf, skiing and surfing. He practices self-care by being outside in his garden, travelling, writing music, fly-fishing and spending time with his partner and their dog.

Krista MacMurdo

Associate Vice President, Clinical Operations

Krista MacMurdo is the Associate Vice President, Clinical Operations at Kids Help Phone. She joined the organization in 2022. In her role, Krista supports our counselling and texting teams and our management folks. She hopes to build upon our successes as we continue to be there for young people and support staff and volunteers across our service programs.

Krista, who started out as a registered nurse, comes with 10 years of progressive leadership experience and in-depth knowledge of diverse clinical areas and portfolios, offering expertise in operations, quality and safety, policy formation, process improvement and strategic planning. She has extensive experience in partnership development and broad strategies. Krista has worked in mental health and addictions, emergency services and other areas such as childbirth, children’s services and ambulatory care. She has an impressive background in paediatrics, from the frontline at SickKids to different leadership roles.

Krista possesses a Bachelor and a Master of Nursing in addition to numerous certifications.

Allison Riva

Associate Vice President, The Story Studio

Allison Riva combines storytelling, innovation and data to reach and support people in Canada as Kids Help Phone’s Associate Vice President, The Story Studio. She joined the organization in 2019 as a creative, adaptable and empathetic leader. Allison has since encouraged Kids Help Phone to turn a page by transforming our mental health library. Through The Story Studio — a powerful house of immersive, interactive digital experiences anchored by technology — Allison champions the organization’s brand voice and draws on her curiosity about human behaviour to open a door to our websites and content for young people, caring adults, staff, supporters and other key audiences.

Allison’s narrative includes a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto and certifications in publishing and leadership. During her 20 years in professional services marketing, communications and content, Allison has made her mark through integrated strategies and a consultative style. This mix of skills allows her to create genuine connections that drive results, including empowering people to navigate each chapter of their wellness journey. She strives to amplify vibrant voices, particularly those from equity-deserving groups, by collaborating with trusted partners with heart.

Allison is a proud mom to her young daughter who she describes as the light of her life. She loves to travel, laugh, dance and share her ideas for interesting new inventions.

Winnette Sampson

Associate Vice President, Community Partnerships

Winnette Sampson is the Associate Vice President, Community Partnerships. She joined Kids Help Phone in 2022. Winnette supports the organization in preserving and unlocking partnership opportunities for young people across Canada.

Winnette has over 14 years of expertise in establishing strategic corporate partnership programs, fundraising initiatives and marketing campaigns to drive new and sustained investment from donors. She hopes to build upon Kids Help Phone’s previous successes by deepening relationships and developing philanthropic opportunities with new and existing partners.

Photo credit: Kevin Van Paassen

Brian Ross

CEO, Jackman Reinvents Chair

Mike Davis

CEO, Davis Pier Consulting Vice Chair

Carolyn P. Everson

President, The Everson Company Inc. Vice Chair

Neil Manji

National Energy, Utilities, Mining and Industrial Products Leader, PwC Canada Treasurer

Tracy Sandler

Partner, Insolvency & Restructuring, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP Secretary

Lynn Roger, MBA, ICD.d

Chief Human Resources Officer, Bayshore HealthCare Past Chair

Tony Cugliari

VP & General Counsel, Lactalis Canada

David Fan

Co-Chair, Kids Help Phone’s National Youth Council

Claire Gillies

EVP Marketing & President Consumer, BCE Inc.

Scott Goodman

Chief People Officer, Traffix

Michael Green

President & CEO, Canada Health Infoway

Paul Griffith

CEO, Over The Edge

Lianne Hannaway

Founder, Wealthnuvo

Katherine Hay

President & CEO, Kids Help Phone Ex-officio

Gordon Hicks, C.M.

CEO, BGIS

François Hudon

Head, North American Customer Contact Centers (CCC) (retired), BMO Financial Group

David Kines

President & Co-founder, Hollywood Suite

Jayne Payette

President, Ice Cream Division, Nestlé

Brett Pitts

Head, North American Treasury and Payment Solutions, BMO Financial Group

Jennifer Publicover

Incoming CEO of RBC Insurance

Dr. Valerie Taylor

Department Head, Psychiatry, University of Calgary & Alberta Health Services and Head of Mental Health, Calgary Zone

Bianca Fusco Zanatta

Principal, M. Zanatta Homes & Designs

These courageous young people are championing youth mental health and well-being across Canada as members of Kids Help Phone’s 2021 – 2022 National Youth Council (NYC).

Anjana Sudharshan

she / her

Anjana Sudharshan (she / her) is passionate about collaborating with other like-minded individuals to help spread awareness about mental health and well-being. Her own experiences have led her to want to connect with and help other youth and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Anjana’s work with various equity committees within her school board and region led her to having many conversations with students and youth about their struggles, in many cases regarding the impact of inequities in school on the well-being of marginalized students. Her involvement in youth-led organizations has led her to joining Kids Help Phone’s National Youth Council this year. Anjana is trained in Carnatic vocals and loves to sing and bake in her spare time.

Breanna Laggo

she / her

Breanna Laggo (she / her) hopes for more, equal and affordable access to care for marginalized communities, and that makes her passionate about youth mental health and well-being. As a soon to be teacher, she wants the students in her class to feel free to be themselves, without stigma. She is a coffee enthusiast, dog lover and enjoys creating art.

David Fan

he / him

David Fan (he / him) is passionate about youth mental health and well-being because of his experiences volunteering, and his own personal use of Kids Help Phone. He has volunteered for Kids Help Phone since he was in Grade 6 (eight years). It really helped fuel his love of working to promote youth mental health. In his free time, his hobbies are dog walking and playing baseball.

 

Laetitia Satam

she / her

Laetitia Satam (she / her) has lived all across the country from British Columbia to Newfoundland and has observed the inequalities in mental health resources across the country. As a person of colour, she is especially passionate about improving mental health care for members of marginalized populations and remote communities. She has been volunteering with Kids Help Phone since she was 12 and on Kids Help Phone’s National Youth Council since she was 14 years old. She is planning to study neuroscience in university to continue learning about mental health. She loves playing rugby in her free time on her school team and loves going out to eat.

Maxine Joly-Chevrier

she / her

Maxine Joly-Chevrier (she / her) cares about mental wellness and well-being. She believes mental health unites us all. She is passionate about community engagement. At school, Maxine studied health sciences and biology, which brought her to study medicine at the University of Montreal. She believes mental health is as important as physical health. Therefore, she strongly advocates for that cause. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports, and she loves outdoor activities. Fun fact about her: she is also bilingual – she speaks both English and French fluently.

Myles Mattila

he / him

Myles Mattila (he / him) first became involved with promoting mental health and well-being as a hockey player growing up. At the age of 14, Myles recognized the limited resources in his community and wanted to ensure individuals knew where to get support if they were struggling. He worked with BC Hockey and various hockey clubs to provide mental health awareness events to raise awareness and break down the stigma surrounding mental health. When Myles turned 19, he started a not-for-profit called “MindRight for Athletes Society”, which is designed to educate players, coaches, parents and supporters about their mental health and how to support one another. Myles is currently enrolled in the MBA program at Thompson River’s University. In his spare time, you can usually find him on Lake Okanagan in Kelowna promoting water sport activities and operating an instructional wake surf company.

Paniz Arbabi

Having gone through a pandemic as a youth, Paniz Arbabi knows first-hand the toll it has taken on us, and many other demographics. This is what motivates her to help as much as she can, hoping that more and more people get the help that they need. Paniz first got connected to Kids Help Phone through a poster at her school. She reached out to see if there were any opportunities to help others, and decided to join the National Youth Council. Paniz enjoys art and figure skating on her free time. She also likes going to the gym and trying new things.

Parth Patel

he / him

Parth Patel (he / him) realized a few years back that he wasn’t actually comfortable talking about mental health and has worked to change that for him and others in similar situations ever since. Parth first became involved with Kids Help Phone by volunteering for Crisis Text Line where he saw how much of an impact an everyday person can have on someone else. He joined the National Youth Council to expand that impact to more than just one person at a time. Parth enjoys playing volleyball and camping when he has free time.

Paula

she / her

Paula (she/ her) is invested in mental health advocacy because of her own personal experiences, and she became very involved with youth through teaching rock climbing. This led to her continuing passion for youth well-being. Her work with youth for around five years as a rock climbing instructor and camp counsellor allowed her to have a diverse perspective to youth experiences. In her Bachelor’s degree, she did a project on inclusivity and figure skating. This, combined with her work experience, led her to join the National Youth Council. In her spare time, she enjoys video game reselling, soccer and scrapbooking.

Rebecca Sellars

she / her

Rebecca Sellars (she / her) became really passionate about youth mental health and well-being through experiencing her own mental health struggles and not knowing how to help others at a young age. Due to this, she decided to educate herself to not only understand her own mental health but to help and understand others. Raising awareness and breaking the stigma is what she cares about most! Rebecca has received her Mental Health First Aid Certification and has worked with kids! She is a trained singer of 14 years! She loves musicals and she is a big performer in her province!

Rick Aiyer

he / him

Rick Aiyer’s (he / him / il) youth on the move — across Canada as well as Europe, East Asia and the Middle East — exposed him to the continuing inequities and barriers in access to mental health services on both a national and global level, particularly among marginalized and rural communities. He first began advocating for improved services and destigmatizing mental health in high school, as the student representative on his school’s Board of Governors. He has continued his advocacy through Kids Help Phone since 2019. A university student studying law, Rick is a “Big Brother” mentor to first-year students, which often sees him having conversations about finding a healthy balance between academics and wellness. Outside school, Rick has recently been involved with a Western Québec non-profit that supports immigrant and racialized women. He previously served on the RCMP’s National Youth Advisory Committee, where he supported the development of the RCMP’s youth engagement programs. Rick is fluently bilingual in English and French, and functional in Mandarin, Hindi and Tamil. He is an avid skier, and enjoys touring farmers’ markets in the summer.

Rukshika Krishnamoorthy

she / her

Rukshika Krishnamoorthy (she / her) is passionate about cultural diversity. She has seen people face racism and seen the way it affects people’s mental wellness and well-being.  She wishes to help people facing racism so it doesn’t affect their mental health and well-being. At school, she is the president of a cultural club, Zaga-Gon Cultural, which shines light upon diversity and allows people to celebrate their culture. Rukshika’s hobbies include dancing, painting and reading. She also dances a cultural-dance called Bharatanatyam and loves to put on mini shows with her siblings.

Sanjeevani Kumar

she / her

Sanjeevani Kumar (she / her) is passionate about mental health through her own mental health struggles and wants to be able to give back and support other youth. She wants youth to be a part of the conversation when it comes to making services for them. Sanjeevani’s work on the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC) and many other youth initiatives led her to being a part of National Youth Council. Sanjeevani loves art and dance! She has had art exhibited in Europe before and performed a dance called Odissi on Parliament Hill.

Serena

she / her

Serena (she / her) wants to make the world a more inclusive place for all, and she believes that helping others is a way to do so. She joined the National Youth Council to extend her reach and have a bigger impact, and she is so excited to be a part of it! As an activist, she has volunteered for many other organizations and is passionate about making a difference. In the future, she plans to further her education in university and pursue a career which helps others. She loves swimming, ice skating and reading. Serena has also had her art displayed in an art gallery!

Sophie Krokhine

she / her

Sophie Krokhine (she / her) has always been passionate about mental health, especially after conducting neuroscience research at her university. Her experience researching neurological disorders such as brain injuries and Alzheimer’s connects her to the mental health cause. Sophie has a papillon / butterfly dog that she loves!

Tara Briar

she / her

Tara Briar (she / her) is passionate about advocating for youth mental health with other like-minded peers, in order to raise awareness, seek community engagement and aid in educating others surrounding this topic. She hopes efforts like these will help to eradicate the stigma that is often associated with accessing mental health services in her community. Being a psychology major, Tara has always had academic interests rooted in mental health education. Having previously been involved with other youth councils, she recognizes the importance that young voices play when advocating for change and the breaking down of barriers, which limit others from accessing important resources. Tara was specifically drawn to Kids Help Phone’s National Youth Council for their promise of advocating for all youth nation-wide. Tara currently competes on her university’s fencing team, and enjoys hiking and gardening in her free time.

Kids Help Phone recognizes the importance of Indigenous leadership in all of our work. Under the direction of the Manager of Indigenous Initiatives, and with the collaboration of our internal Indigenous Initiatives Committee, our Indigenous programs are also led by an external, Indigenous Advisory Council.

Our Indigenous Advisory Council is composed of Inuit, Métis and First Nations experts, half of whom are youth, who’ve demonstrated a strong commitment to the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of Indigenous young people. We invite you to learn more about Finding Hope: Kids Help Phone’s Action Plan for Supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis young people and how you can support this important work.

  • Ashley Cummings
  • Brooke Supernault
  • Daniel King
  • Emily Bennett
  • Evan Sault
  • Jadyn Normore
  • Jules Arita Koostachin
  • Delaney Drachenberg
  • Michael Redhead Champagne
  • Robert Henry
  • Shania Young

Kids Help Phone is committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of African, Caribbean and Black youth. We know this work must be done with the guidance of Black leadership. Our Black Advisory Council is made up of 12 members from across the Afro-diaspora with an incredible diversity of experiences and a shared commitment to Black excellence and joy. Half of our members are youth 29 and under, and the council has a dedicated space for Kids Help Phone board membership. 

The Black Advisory Council operates under the leadership of our Manager of Black Youth Initiatives, a program supported by The Slaight Family Foundation. The council provides expert insight and feedback on RiseUp powered by Kids Help Phone, Canada’s first national, 24/7, bilingual e-mental health support service for Black youth.

Photography credit: Cesar Ghisilieri

Three kites flying above a beach

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer

she / her

Dahabo Ahmed-Omer (she / her) has a wealth of experience and accomplishments in performance measurement, policy development, HR planning analysis and employment equity and diversity sectors. Ms. Ahmed-Omer has been the recipient of notable awards over the years, including the exceptional service within the Federal Public Service, the Canada150 Community Builder Award, the Hope Academy community contribution award, the Ottawa Black History Community Leadership Award, the top 100 under 40 Most Influential Person of African descent in support of United Nations decade and the Globe and Mail’s Inaugural Business Changemakers Award (2021). Most recently, she was named as one of the 40 most Influential Women Leaders by Bay St. Bull.

In professional realms, Dahabo is the Executive Director of the BlackNorth Initiative. In her previous role, she was the Human Resources Specialist within the Public Sector and primarily responsible for the Visible Minority Advisory Steering Committee of the Agency and working in the agency-wide Employment Equity Action Plan and Anti-racism Strategy. Dahabo is Chair of the Federation of Black Canadians, a national non-profit organization driven by Black organizations across Canada, which advances the social, economic, and cultural interests of Canadians of African descent. Among the many other organizations she has been a part of, Dahabo also played an instrumental leadership role in the Ottawa Mayor’s task force combating anti-Black racism.

Dahabo is a strong role model, particularly to members of Black communities, and has played a transformative role in improving the quality of life of Canadians of African descent and the community at large.

Hannan Mohamud

she / her

Hannan (she / her) is an award-winning policy researcher with a successful track record in citizen engagement and mobilization. As an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta 2019, Hannan studied a dual BA in Psychology and Sociology. Her research explored the importance of understanding the impacts of historical and contemporary oppression and trauma on policy development and decision-making.

Currently, Hannan is a law student at the English Common law faculty. Hannan has advised political parties, consulted organizations and writes about the need for an intersectional and critical race analysis on a freelance basis. She has been elected by her peers to be a board member on the University of Ottawa’s board of governors and has recently also joined the Canadian Council of Muslim Women’s board of directors.

Evelyn Bradley

she / her

Evelyn Bradley (she / her) is the owner of the diversity, equity and inclusion consulting company Bradley Consulting. She works with non-profits, businesses and universities to develop materials that centre on culturally competent programming. Her passion for food, cultural diversity and the community is rooted in every aspect of her personal identity.

Kafiya Mudey

she / her

Kafiya Mudey (she / her) was born in Somalia and grew up in Toronto. Kafiya is an activist who organized with Black Lives Matter – Vancouver, created and held events like Know Your Rights, A Night of Black Magic, and March on Pride. Kafiya has also organized with the Hogans Alley Society and held discussions and art tours. Kafiya has a strong interest in advocacy, protection of people’s privacy, rights, the arts and so much more.

Lianne Hannaway

she / her

Lianne Hannaway (she / her) is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), an experienced financial executive and an investor. Lianne helps first-generation business owners bringing in six figures or more (but not seeing that in their bank account) achieve financial freedom by taking control of their business finances. She is a Board Member and Treasurer at The Equality Fund, a groundbreaking collaboration that supports women’s rights organizations and feminist movements globally with a backing of $300 million from the Canadian government. She is also a board member of Kids Help Phone, Canada’s only 24/7 national support service providing professional online and telephone counselling and volunteer-led, text-based support to youth across Canada in both English and French. Previously, Lianne was an advisory partner at KPMG and held a variety of senior finance roles at TMX Group.

Martha Nduwayo

she / her

Martha (she / her) is a Black organizer passionate about activism, community empowerment and mental health, especially among the Black community.

Martha is currently based in the Anishinabe / Ottawa region, although her heart is in Tio’tia:ke / Montreal. As a member of the Black Healing Fund, she focuses on translation, finance administration and grant application.

Mdu Mhlanga

he / him

Mdu (he / him) is a current Master of Global Affairs candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. He works at the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity helping support the creation and enhancement of infrastructure to support black youth pursuing and in the employment space. Outside of school he enjoys reading about finance and economics, and looks to become a strategy consultant in the long-term.

Melissa Booker

she / her

In 2019, Melissa Booker (she / her) completed her MHE at the University of Waterloo, following the completion of her BA in Health Studies at the University of Toronto, St. George campus. To fulfill her graduate requirements, Melissa completed her practicum at the AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario and obtained a teaching assistantship for the Foundations for Program Evaluation course (HLTH614). Her core research interests include: mental health and access to culturally safe care for black and LGBTQ+ populations, as well as HIV and sexual health care epidemiology.

Melissa’s undergraduate research focused on the barriers to the utilization of sexual health care services faced by women who have sex with women living in Canada. She then began working as a research assistant at St. Michael’s hospital with the Centre for Global Health Research, supporting large-scale epidemiological studies that aimed to prevent mortality and improve health outcomes in lower and middle-income countries. Today, she continues to strengthen her research skills and demonstrate her commitment to health equity and social justice by volunteering at CANVAS Arts Action Programs, an arts-based not-for-profit organization that promotes the unlearning of gender-based violence, sexual violence, homophobia and transphobia.

Neyna Dansoh

he / him

Neyna (he / him) was born in Ghana and raised in Toronto where he currently resides. He is a Consultative Digital Media Professional with 10+ years of experience within Advertising and Media industries – including Rogers Sports & Media, St. Joseph Media and now currently at Spotify, to name a few. His areas of expertise include strategic media consultation, identifying revenue upselling opportunities, cultivating key relationships and growing an organization through new business development. As a young Black man having worked in corporate for most of his career, Neyna is fully aware of the lack of Black representation within the corporate environment, specifically within leadership positions at Advertising and Media companies. As a leader, mentorship is a key focus area for Neyna. He’s helped out numerous BIPOC folks who’ve reached out to him as they navigate their own careers around Advertising and Media. His hope is to one day see more diverse representation across the Director-level roles and above within corporate organizations.

Tee Garnett

they / them

Tee Garnett (they / them) has been developing equity and inclusion-based services with marginalized communities and programs for over two decades. Tee’s roles have all been in support of bringing attention to inherent systemic barriers. Tee’s work as a senior executive provides the expertise required when supporting leaders in change management, yet their genuine openness invites anyone to be comfortable and feel included and belonging. Tee is committed to offering transformational equity, which involves providing the psycho-educational cognitive support to leaders who are interested in creating more equitable and safer workplaces.

Tyjondah Kerr

she / her

While completing her Psychology Degree at the University of Windsor, Tyjondah started her career in gaming in 1994 with Casino Windsor. She began working for OLG in 1999 and has held management positions at OLG Slots at Mohawk Racetrack and OLG Slots at Woodbine Racetrack. During her 20+ years with OLG, Tyjondah has had progressive leadership roles.

She is currently the Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within People and Culture. She oversees OLG’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and other Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Tyjondah is accountable for the Equity Diversity and Inclusion strategy for the organization and helps to create a sense of belonging for OLG’s employees.

In 2019, Tyjondah received the Vaike Murusalu Empowerment Award at OLG. Her dedication for leadership and empowering people to reach their goals has been her driving force with every position she undertakes.

In 2020, Tyjondah became one of Canada’s 100 Accomplished Black Women by 100ABCwomen authored by the Honourable Jean Augustine.

Tyjondah is a married mother of two and resides in Brampton, Ontario.

Winjoy Nyariaki Tiop

she / her

Winjoy Nyariaki Tiop (she / her) was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to South-Sudanese and Kenyan parents. At five years of age, her family immigrated to Canada. Currently, she is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s in Chemistry with a minor in Computer Science at the University of Calgary.

Winjoy is an active member of her community. She currently volunteers with The Football Hockey Link (FHL), the South Sudanese Youth of Canada (SSYC), Centre for Newcomers and is the founder of Golden Mti. The FHL supports new Canadian youth using sports as a tool to assist in integrating a sense of belonging and leadership development. SSYC is an organization that connects South Sudanese youth across Canada to support a holistic integration in their local communities while creating a strong base of youth leaders. The group has organized and executed a series of nationwide conferences in multiple provinces for the South Sudanese Youth. Winjoy is involved in community research for the Centre for Newcomers, specifically, their Regional 5-year initiative aiming to standardize the coordination of newcomer youth settlement services. Lastly, Golden Mti attempts to address barriers to post-secondary education for BIPOC children by equipping youth with resources to succeed through professional tutors, workshops and mentorship.

Being a first-generation immigrant that arrived in Canada as a refugee, Winjoy understands the significance of having services available to youth. As a result, she is committed to helping fill gaps she has seen.

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