Current Role: Small Business Owner, Chocolate Concepts Inc.
Phyllis began Alternatives in 1998 as Alternatives Integrating Special People. With a combination of efforts with a collective group of families, Chocolate Concepts Inc. provided financial support to begin Alternatives as an incorporated private not for profit organization. Alternatives was incorporated in 2002, and Phyllis joined the board in 1999, separating Chocolate Concepts Inc. as a separate retail entity. The two still work in conjunction providing an environment that hosts work skills training.
Phyllis’ specialties and interests:
• Small business operation
• Management and operations
• Job identification and role specifics
• Special event planning and execution
Ron graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from York University, with that went on to work for Canada Customs where he additionally received French training. Ron spent the majority of his career in Consumer & Corporate Affairs, which was later subsumed under the Competition Bureau. Retiring in 2009, Ron now is a dedicated board member of the York Support Services Network, where he is currently Chair, and Alternatives.
Ron’s specialties and interests:
• Detail orientated
• Consumer based competition analysis
• Experience as Union Local President and member of two school councils
Pat Di Francesco
Current Role: Sr. Financial Analyst, Novo Nordisk Canada Inc.
Pat has been in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years in various roles within finance. He is a two time Circle of Excellence award winner, in recognition of his accomplishments. Pat is very involved in the Caledon Senior Hockey League where he sits on their Executive.
Pat’s Specialties and Interests:
• Strategic Planning
• Budget Development and Management
• Coaching and Mentoring
• Providing balanced oversight in support of Contract Negotiations
Current Role: Director of Public Relations, Communications and Marketing, LiUNA!
Victoria’s current portfolio focuses on communications strategy, digital and social media marketing, content creation, video and Web design, press releases, strategic planning, business development, all aspects of social media management and various channels, event planning and correspondence and community outreach.
A capacity builder in her own right, Victoria is a effective fundraiser and community activist. Causes that promote positive and progressive social change for members of marginalized populations are always close to Victoria’s heart. As an activist, equality for persons with special needs, has been the driving force behind most of her philanthropic initiatives. Victoria has used her skill set in strategic communications and event management as a catalyst for such social changes. Causes including Ephraim’s Place Community Centre, Down Syndrome Foundation Toronto, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Kidney Foundation of Canada, Down Syndrome Foundation Hamilton, United Way of Greater Toronto and SickKids Foundation have all benefited tremendously due to the countless hours of tireless work put forth by Victoria.
A hands on approach to charity makes it evident that Victoria’s compassion is only matched by her deep, soulful sense of empathy. She is not one to just lend a helping hand. Victoria’s true gift is that she sees the potential in every person she meets. Be it a child diagnosed with a terminal illness, a new immigrant to Canada or an adult with Downs’ Syndrome, Victoria’s bond is instant – as her personal vision is to ensure that every human being has the opportunity to thrive, to feel included, to be embraced with dignity – and to belong.
Current Role: Head of Philanthropy, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders
Kimberley Gadwah is a development strategist who thrives on supporting programs driven around social impact, humanitarian relief and capacity building. In her current role as Head of Philanthropy at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders, she leads the Philanthropy division of the Canadian fundraising department, with a focus of raising private funds to support 400+ humanitarian missions in 70+ countries.
During Kimberley’s 15 year portfolio in the charitable sector, she has successfully developed and delivered optimal fundraising strategies for national and international immigration, refugee, settlement programs, poverty alleviation projects, children’s charities and health care organizations. Her areas of specialization include developing and implementing best practices for sustainable programs for marginalized and displaced populations; targeted fundraising campaigns, ongoing revenue generation and organizational growth plans.
Kimberley is a champion of building inclusive societies and is committed to vision of Creating Alternatives – to transform the landscape of social services by developing integrated support systems and community resources that are optimal, accessible and sustainable.
Current Role: Director Employee & Labour Relations at William Osler Health System
With over 15 years of progressive Human Resources and leadership experience, Shavone is a passionate and award-winning leader and philanthropist. She is committed to driving better business outcomes through well designed and executed people mobilization plans grounded in sound operational knowledge. She believes HR effectiveness is rooted in leadership committed to doing the right thing for people, stakeholders and the environment.
Her broad Human Resources and People Leadership experience comes from her roles in Public, Not for Profit and Private sectors such as Board of Directors, Human Resources Business Partner and Human Resources Leader.
Shavone brings diligence, kindness and a commitment to superior service to her work. Her strength in people strategy, HR effectiveness and stakeholder relations are respected by everyone she works with.