North York Women’s Centre (NYWC) is a not-for-profit corporation governed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected annually by its members. The Board plays a very important role in governing the organization and ensuring that its work benefits the community. The Board’s responsibilities are outlined in its Terms of Reference.
Shannon Persaud Tolnay, Chair
Shannon is a seasoned fundraiser with over 17 years of experience. She has supported various causes, ranging from education and social services to healthcare and diseases. A self-proclaimed nerd, she is extremely excited to be currently working at the Ontario Science Centre, a favourite childhood haunt. Shannon is also a great communicator, has a yen for good food and a weakness for dark chocolate.
Lenore Cabral, Vice-chair
Lenore Cabral, BSW, MSW, RSW has worked at VHA Home HealthCare since 1989, initially as Intake Social Worker in the Adult & Family & Child Division. Her current position is Manager, Community Support Department overseeing a number of charitable programs such as parent relief for at-risk families with children from birth to age 4, support for families dealing with medical and situational crises, extreme cleaning and hoarding supports to prevent eviction.
Lenore holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Windsor and has over 30 years’ experience working in the community sector. Her diversified experiences include working with and for youth agencies, seniors’ agencies, home support agencies, community and social services, and a health care setting. Lenore has sat on the Boards of three community-based agencies: Abrigo Centre, an organization helping women who have experienced abuse to one that helps everyone in the neighbourhood; Cecil Street Community, a multi-service community centre that offers a broad range of recreational, educational, social, cultural and capacity-building programs to local area residents; and Our Place Peel, an agency providing shelter, support and hope for homeless and disadvantaged youth aged 16 – 21 in the Region of Peel.
In addition to Lenore’s full-time job and ongoing volunteer work, she is a devoted Fitbit user and has daily walks to achieve 10,000+ steps a day for 365 days. Come rain, snow or hail – she’s walking!
Elissa has over 20 plus years of experience in the financial services industry. She is currently the Director of Operations at Manulife Financial, supporting the US Pension Market. Elissa has previous volunteer experience as a member of a local chapter for an international charitable organization supporting women and children.
In her spare time, Elissa is a proud hockey and theater mom of two very active children.
Kathryn J. Manning, Secretary
Kate is a lawyer who has practiced civil litigation in Toronto since her call to the Ontario Bar in 1998. Throughout her career, Kate has also been active in the community. She is a volunteer for Pro Bono Law Ontario, providing legal assistance to members of the public through a legal drop-in clinic at the Superior Court of Justice and acting as Duty Counsel for self-represented litigants at motions in the Court of Appeal.
Prior to joining the North York Women’s Centre Board, Kate sat on the Boards of two community-based agencies, Jessie’s Center for Teenagers (now the June Callwood Centre), and Margaret Frazer House. Jessie’s is a drop-in and resource center for pregnant and parenting teens. Margaret’s provides housing, counselling and other services to women living with mental illness. When she is not working or volunteering, Kate is kept busy parenting her teenage twins.
Maria can be called a newcomer to Canada since she hasn’t been living here long, but she is not new to the non-profit sector, and she brings international experience of being a member of the board and volunteer at various institutions. For example, she helped fight xenophobia in the European Union by running programs in Estonia, and promoted equal opportunities for youth in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as spread educational messages throughout the world by translating TED talks. She has a degree in Social and Political Geography, which explains her well-travelled history and the desire to make the world a better place. In her opinion, the best way to change the world is by empowering women, and that has become her passion in the last few years. Having had to deal with many challenges herself, she benefitted from the very programs NYWC is offering its clients. As an alumnus of the Women’s Empowerment Series and Reclaiming Yourself after Abuse, Maria has a unique perspective that allows her to relate to the women in the community, and she is making sure that both her daughter and her son adopt feminist principles as they are growing up.
Jenifer has over 30 years’ experience in the Investment industry. Currently Jenifer is the Head, Manager Research, Canada for Manulife Financial. Jenifer has an MBA from Queen’s University. She also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.
Jenifer has always been active in her community and would be honoured to sit on the North York Women’s Centre Board. Jenifer has actively participated in local affairs in her community and also in her industry. Jenifer has been active with the Bedford Wanless Ratepayers Association, multiple school committees over time, the Toronto CFA Society and Women in Capital markets.
Jenifer is a parent to two spirited teenagers.
The Board of Directors is supported in its work by the executive director.
Iris has worked in the public benefit sector since 1992. Her focus has always been women, including HIV-positive women, newcomer women and survivors of gender-based violence. Iris feels privileged to have served as NYWC’s executive director for two decades, working with a talented and committed team of staff, board members and volunteers.
Iris has a Master’s degree in Urban-Social Geography, York University-Maytree Foundation Certificate in Non-profit Management, and Executive Leadership Certificate from the Wellesley Institute. She is a peer reviewer with the Imagine Canada Standards Program and serves on the Advisory Circle for Kitchen Table Conversations for Action on Inclusion.
Despite having lived and worked exclusively in urban settings, Iris’ preferred mode of transportation is canoe. She shares her home with her two daughters, two cats, dog and guinea pig.