2013-2014 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SHELLEY CRAIG, PhD, RSW – Co-Chair
Shelley has been fortunate to have served on several Boards of Directors, including the PFLAG National Board in the US, which represents volunteer chapter leaders doing amazing work in their communities. Shelley brings a passion for organizational growth and evaluation to her commitment to Pride Toronto. Prior to her hire as an assistant professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, she started and sustained several organizations for queer youth. As a Board member for Pride Toronto, Dr. Craig would strive to represent the needs of the volunteers and active community members, while creating opportunities for growth.
SEAN HILLiER – Co-Chair
Sean has been involved with Pride Toronto for numerous years, most recently as Coordinator for the Public Safety Committee in 2011. Sean is member of the Qalipu Mi'Kmiq First Nations Band and identifies as gay & 2-spirited. He is completing his PhD in Policy Studies at Ryerson University, his research focuses on both First Nations and Trans People and the impact policy has on healthcare issues affecting them. Sean is also a Director of the Board for Our Place Community of Hope, a mental health drop-in centre located in midtown Toronto.
Sean has focused a great deal of his attention on governance and community outreach. As someone who identifies as a youth, he has worked alongside high school students to strongly advocate for GSA's, in addition to LGBT educational outreach programs in numerous low income communities throughout the city. Sean also worked with First Nations Communities through his research (MA 10' in Critical Disability Studies) and has forged many relationships with two-spirited and LGBT members, he hopes to bring these relationships to the discussion table in Prides ongoing efforts to improve outreach and participation within the festival.
KENT CHURN – Treasurer
Kent is a partner at Accenture – a global management, technology services and outsourcing company. He has managed large scale IT projects in excess of $300M and teams of over 600 resources with very diverse backgrounds across global locations. He is the executive sponsor of Accenture’s Canadian LGBT group with 150+ employees including straight allies. Accenture is a leader in workplace diversity and equality. He has been the President of his condo board for four years at the Pantages Tower. Kent emphasis while on the Pride Toronto board is to connect with the business community and promote workplace diversity.
PAUL JONATHAN SAGUIL – secretary
Paul Jonathan Saguil is Counsel in the Legal Department of TD Bank. He previously practiced litigation at Stockwoods LLP, a premiere boutique in Toronto. His experience includes regulatory and professional discipline matters, appeals and applications for judicial review, class actions, defamation and media law, and general civil and commercial disputes. He has appeared before all levels of courts in Ontario, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court, and various administrative bodies, including the Ontario Securities Commission, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
He is the Vice Chair of the Ontario Bar Association's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Section and the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada, a Board director of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and a member of the OBA's Equality Committee. He has been involved in various advocacy initiatives, including drafting public statements and submissions, regarding the impact of legislative and policy proposals on equity-seeking communities. He hopes to contribute to Pride Toronto's work particularly regarding legal and governance issues, outreach and communication, and strategic -planning.
A very active member of the LGBTTIQQ2SA* community Kerry is a leader who works to bring voice to those who feel they don't have one. She has been engaged in social activism for many years and is a past Board Director of The 519 Community Center, Executive Board Secretary of Pride Toronto and is currently the Chair of the Board Recruitment and Development Committee, where she strives to improve the diversity and gender parity on the Board. Kerry also serves as one of the Central Regional Directors for Fierté Canada Pride (FCP).
Originally from Jamaica, Kerry was a business owner who helped hone the skills of LGBTQ youth in the performing and visual arts. With a background in entertainment and a degree in hospitality and tourism management, Kerry has over 12 years experience in Event Management, and is strongly dedicated to the community she serves. She is a Human Rights Activist, thriving for equity and acceptance of all peoples, building a community that is more inclusive.
"34 years ago we did not have a Pride festival. My goal is sustainability, to ensure that the festival will be around for decades to come, and a model for festival emulated worldwide."
Susan transitioned on September 28, 1999 to fulfill her lifelong dream of living as a woman while working as a George Brown College student placement at Toronto City Hall. Susan quickly became a trans activist joining the Board of EGALE Canada, and helped develop their trans portfolio. In December 2004 Susan was recognized for her work empowering transsexual and transgender communities when the City of Toronto awarded her the Pride Award.
In 2001, Susan Gapka helped found the Rainbow Health Network (RHN). Ms. Gapka also founded and is Chair of the Trans Lobby Group, a former committee of RHN, which was formed to advocate for public funding of Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS). The Lobby Group was recognised as Pride Toronto's 2011 Honoured Dyke Group.
Ms. Gapka graduated with Honours from the Community Worker Programme at George Brown in Spring 2000. Since then Susan has been studying Public Policy and Administration at York University and graduated June 2009 with a degree in Political Science. Susan received several awards while at York including; the Ellen Baar Award for Public Policy twice, and the Ross McMillan Award for student leadership three times, and the 2005 Deborah Hobson Award for Student Leadership from the Vice President Students’ Office. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health recognized Susan’s leadership when she received the 1999 Courage to Come Back Award.
On October 27, 2011 Susan was elected to Pride Toronto's Board of Directors. She is the first out trans person elected to its Board.
Aaron is a self-proclaimed Toronto ‘booster’ who believes in building communities through strong partnerships and effective stakeholder relations. He speaks French and has a B.A. from the University of Toronto. Aaron began his career as an assistant to a Toronto Councillor and spent two years as a policy and outreach advisor to the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing.
He has spent the last three years with the Toronto 2015 Pan American & Parapan American Games (TO2015). As a senior member of Toronto 2015’s public affairs team; Aaron serves as the point of contact for twenty-two levels of government, including all of Toronto City Council. He has developed strong relationships with government, and become a trusted representative of a once-in-a-lifetime event. While working with TO2015, Aaron spearheaded an effort to bring together thirteen different LGBTTIQQ2SA organizations in the city around the creation of a Pride House during the Toronto 2015 Games.
Aaron also brings considerable experience in grassroots program and volunteer development working across diverse communities and is now honoured to serve as a member of the Pride Toronto Board of Directors.
Lauryn brings more than three years of experience organizing in the queer community in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Lauryn was a member of the organizing collective with Dyke Marches in Toronto and Ottawa and was the Vice-Chair of Communications with Capital Pride in 2011 after joining the festival as Media Relations Coordinator in 2010. An active participant in Fierté Canada Pride Conferences Lauryn has connected with many different Pride organizations across Canada, forming invaluable connections that strengthen the grassroots commmunity-based model that inspires her to keep working on initiatives in the queer community. Lauryn is bilingual and helped bring more French communication to Capital Pride, is a self-professed social media and news connoisseur, loves networking at community events and covering herself in glitter.
Chad is delighted to be able to work for the queer community and intends to make a positive difference for Pride Toronto. Chad's volunteer experience goes back to the 90's when he first started as a volunteer for the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Festival.
After moving to Toronto, Chad became involved in the Ontario Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce where he sat on the Board of Directors from 2004-2005. He also sat on the Board of Directors for his condo corporation from 2002-2006. Chad was also involved with Fashion Cares for 2 years.
Chad has extensive experience in production and promotion. For the past 12 years he has been involved in production and promotion for Unity (now called Prism), the largest series of queer dance events at Pride. Chad also owns his own promotions company, from which he produced a number of events for the queer community in the early 2000's. Chad's strengths are communications, budgeting and strategic planning.
For seven years, Chad has been involved with project management in a variety real estate companies, at one point managing several new condominium sites throughout the city with revenues of over $150 million. He currently works at Ryerson University in logistics and support.
Elected to his 3rd term to the Pride Board, Mark Smith is an Event Planner, Strategic Communicator, Logistics Manager, Community Advocate, Free-speech Activist, and Personal Chef.
Former Music Industry executive, he now dedicates 60% of his day to community and NFP work and has been active helping raise over $40m for education and outreach. Mark was a producer and the director of the 3 Kumbaya Concerts for People Living With AIDs, Canada's first large scale national awareness concert.
He is a tireless Pride supporter and in the 4 years since last on the Board he has been a key participant in The Pride Coalition for Free Speech and facilitated the founding of Proud of Toronto campaign to save Prides funding at City Hall.
His understanding of international events and marketing, are a required asset as we rebuild and develop a lasting legacy for the community, post World Pride 2014. Mark led the Pride Toronto Team to jerusalem for World Pride in 2006.
Dana Suvagau was born in Timisoara, Romania. She earned her LL. B. from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 2007. During her final year, she participated in the Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments Intensive at Osgoode; a program which explores legal issues relating to indigenous people and indigenous rights. She also completed an Honours Baccalaureate in Social Sciences with a specialization in Criminology from the University of Ottawa.
Dana has pursued a career in public service working for the Office of the Correctional Investigator in Ottawa and most recently as a Staff Lawyer with Legal Aid Ontario. Her commitment to providing advocacy for marginalized people led her to pursue a career in social justice and to seek opportunities within the Toronto community to protect and sustain diversity.
Dana currently sits on the Board of Octavia Films a non-profit organization which serves to address the gender disparity in film by supporting a new generation of aspiring young women who seek viable careers as filmmakers.
As a Board member for Pride Toronto, Dana’s experience and skills allow her to connect with diverse members of the community in order to foster partnerships and develop member engagement.
CHRIS TREMEER, CPA, CA
Toronto Pride Week festival played an important role in Chris’s personal development and coming out as gay (a 20 year saga he is happy to share). Chris brings a variety of unique personal perspectives to every conversation including “recently out” and “gay parent”. Chris is committed to find ways to support members of the LGBTTIQQ2SA communities to celebrate their sexuality and to support people coming out.
At work, Chris is the Director of Corporate Services & Project Management at the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. Chris has extensive experience in financial management, board governance, government relations, fund development, and stakeholder management for not-for-profit organizations.
In the community, Chris has served recently on two volunteer boards. As a board member with Kindle Communities Organization (2008-2013), Chris worked to develop properties and provide socially responsible rental properties to not-for-profit organizations serving at-risk children and families. As President of the St. Joseph’s Guelph Rehabilitation Corp. Board of Directors (2009-2013), Chris assisted this new organization through the strategic and operational plan development.
Chris is excited to have this opportunity to refocus his volunteer efforts in support of Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA communities. Chris is committed to representing the views of the members and volunteers during WorldPride 2014 and beyond WorldPride 2014 to make the Pride Toronto Festival the premier Pride event.