Khushi (she/her) is an enthusiastic advocate for positive change through the intersection of politics, law, innovation, and equity. Currently in her final year of the Politics & Governance program at Toronto Metropolitan University, Khushi is truly committed to making a tangible difference in our world. With a deep interest in engaging youth in politics and a commitment to justice and ethical innovation, Khushi is a creative leader of change with unwavering dedication and conviction.
Beyond that, Khushi draws inspiration from the vibrant energy of the city and enjoys discovering new cafes, exploring Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods, and networking with like-minded individuals.
Marium (she/her) is the Manager of Partnerships at the Dais where she brings her skills in creating impactful relationships across industries and communities. She is deeply committed to reducing the complexities of making technology work for humans and our environment.
Before joining the Dais, Marium was at LinkedIn enabling the public sector to leverage technology to create economic opportunities for Canadians. She advised healthcare and workforce development organizations on strategies to better engage the communities around them. Previously, she was at the Business+Higher Education Round Table delivering large-scale work-integrated learning opportunities to students.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Anthropology from the University of British Columbia. Her passion for the two disciplines motivates her to approach complex societal transformations with optimism for a safe and sustainable future.
Christelle Tessono (she/her) conducts research at the intersections of digital technology, human rights, and governance. As a result, this has led her to work on a variety of projects related to political advertising on social media platforms, gig work, facial recognition technology, privacy and AI policy. Prior to joining the Dais, Christelle was an Emerging Scholar at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP) as part of a two-year research fellowship. Additionally, she worked at the House of Commons of Canada, where supported the legislative work of two Members of Parliament as part of the non-partisan Parliamentary Internship Program (PIP).
Christelle is from Montréal and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from McGill University. She is currently pursuing her graduate studies at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information.
Karim (he/him) is a public service leader who has worked for a better democracy, a more educated and engaged population, and better public policy throughout his professional career. In 2017, he co-founded the Leadership Lab at Toronto Metropolitan University, and took on additional responsibilities as Executive Director of the Brookfield Institute in January 2023. Karim also co-teaches SSH505, “Making the Future,” for which he has won two teaching awards from TMU’s Faculty of Arts.
Karim was previously Deputy Principal Secretary for Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and served as Executive Director of Policy for Premiers Wynne and Dalton McGuinty. He was a candidate in Parkdale—High Park in the 2022 Ontario provincial election.
He has worked as a journalist, as a politics and policy columnist for The Toronto Star, an editorial writer and business reporter at The Globe and Mail, and as an editorial assistant at Slate magazine. He also taught leadership at the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance. Karim holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
He is the son of immigrants from Egypt and England and grew up in Bathurst, New Brunswick. He and his wife are raising their two children in Toronto’s west end.If you are a former student and would like to book office hours with Karim, please click here.
Sam (he/him) has led public policy development throughout his career in government, non-profit advocacy and academia. As Managing Director of the Dais, Sam is responsible for coordinating its policy, leadership development and operations teams. He also teaches public policy and leadership at Toronto Metropolitan University and George Brown College.
Before joining TMU as the Leadership Lab’s Director of Policy and Research, Sam held a number of roles advancing equity in education. He was the Chief of Staff and Director of Policy to Ontario’s Minister of Education, the policy manager for the Ontario Student Assistance Program, and the Executive Director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.
Sam serves on the board of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and chairs its research and professional practices committee. He has an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BSc from the University of Waterloo. Sam grew up in Waterloo and now lives in Toronto with his partner and dog.
Mark (he/him) has spent almost two decades working with senior decision-makers across the private, not-for-profit, and government sectors to develop and implement innovation policy. As Senior Director of Partnerships at the Dais, Mark provides strategic advice, builds relationships and forges opportunities across all of the institute’s operations.
Prior to joining the Dais, Mark spent a decade with the Government of Ontario in senior political roles, including serving as the Director of Economic Policy for the Premier of Ontario. He also spent a year at Communitech, Waterloo Region’s innovation hub, which convinced him of the need to focus efforts locally, provincially, and nationally on supporting the vibrancy of Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystems.
Mark believes that the best ideas are developed in collaboration with a broad range of partners, and works every day to bring new perspectives into the work of the Dais.
Mark has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McMaster University.
Camara (she/her) has been chosen as one of 100 Black Women in Canada to Watch, she is a CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow, and was recognized as a national leader in The Philanthropist Journal.
Raised in England, Camara graduated with a Law degree from the University of Liverpool before pivoting to build her career in the non-profit sector. She was drawn to organizations that had a strong focus on equity and civic engagement which led her to lead a national policy program for Europe’s largest LGBTQ charity and eventually take on the role of Executive Director for Volunteer Toronto, Canada’s largest volunteer centre.
Her superpower is building relationships and her role at the Dais at Toronto Metropolitan University involves her creating community partnerships and designing leadership programs for the next generation of Canada’s leaders.
When not in the office, Camara spends her time leading the city’s first and only hiking community focused on inclusivity. She began the hiking group during the pandemic, and since then Let’s Hike T.O. has introduced over 1,300 people to hiking.
Rahel Appiagyei-David (she/her), a postsecondary educator, facilitator, and consultant, uses her skills and experience to structure and develop creative problem-solving regimens.
Her policy experience includes working with the City of Toronto on their Youth Engagement Strategy, the Toronto Youth Cabinet on various City of Toronto budgets and policy advocacy issues, Youth and Policing initiatives as well as as a Board member on the provincially-appointed Youth Challenge Fund.
Her leadership abilities earned her the honour of receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Community Leadership. She has been recognized by many prominent Canadian and international figures and institutions, amongst whom are: Ann and Ed Mirvish, Michael “Pinball” Clemons in partnership with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) for community leadership, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio, City TV’s “The Liveable City”, and FLARE Magazine, just to name a few. She comes with over 20 years of experience in industries such as social services, government, corporate, and academia.
Sabrina (she/her) was born near Lake Ontario in Toronto, and graduated from Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. She has spent 15 years working in the not-for-profit sector on environment, politics, and international health in Ottawa, San Francisco, and Toronto. She helped establish two organizations, has grown and managed teams, developed strategy, and implemented ambitious national projects. Sabrina is a trainer at the Institute for Change Leaders, the co-chair of the Reset Board, and a board member for the Canadian Environmental Leadership Centre.. She has volunteered on political campaigns, community projects, on bicycle advocacy, and has sat on several boards. She is a mentor and supporter of young leaders including through the Women in Nature program and is a part of the peer leadership Womxn’s Collective. Sabrina enjoys dance parties, co-housing, nature and cycling.
Tanya (she/her) leads marketing and communications strategy, branding and public positioning at the Dais, where she brings two decades of creative experience to inspire people to do their best work.
Tanya began her public service career as a speechwriter for Ontario premiers, Cabinet ministers and other senior officials. Drawn to new ventures, she then co-founded the provincial government’s first online Newsroom, content design practice, and the Ontario Digital Service, a tech startup in the heart of government, where she was Director of Engagement responsible for community partnerships. Before that, Tanya led narrative strategy for some of Ontario’s highest-profile public policy initiatives to help improve peoples’ lives.
Tanya is an active community member, serving on the Board of Directors of a Canadian-Lithuanian youth leadership camp and her local school council. Previously, she was Chair of the Board of Directors at the Queen’s Park Child Care Centre. Tanya holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Criminology, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations. She lives with her family in south Mississauga.
Nina (she/her) is a Communications and Marketing Lead on the Dais team, where she brings her experience in communications, copywriting and journalism in the non-profit and media sectors. She aims to find new and creative ways to engage the Canadian public with the institute’s critical insights and research in the ever-changing media landscape. Nina is passionate about challenging perceptions by amplifying historically marginalized voices and translating complex concepts into compelling and engaging narratives.
Prior to joining the Dais, Nina was at MaRS Discovery District, where she was the communications + marketing associate for a youth employment initiative that addresses systemic barriers to employment. She led all external communications efforts, and helped build and launch their first youth online jobs portal in response to the pandemic. Nina holds a Master of Media, Journalism and Communication from Western University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and French Literature from the University of Toronto.
Mariana (she/her) is a creative professional passionate about telling stories and promoting meaningful experiences through eye-catching designs. She develops compelling creatives for policy projects, programs, and marketing & communications initiatives.
Mariana has over 10 years of multimedia marketing experience in the private and non-profit sectors. She holds a Bachelor of Communications in Marketing and Advertising and a graduate diploma in Marketing.
Prior to joining the Dais, Mariana worked as a Communications & Marketing Associate at the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce and volunteered with the marketing team at the Federation of Canadian-Brazilian Businesses.
Zaynab Choudhry (she/her) is a Web and Graphic Designer at the Dais. She has been working as a designer, illustrator and marketer in the realm of public service by helping organizations rebrand, simplify communication and solve problems for over four years. Zaynab believes good design stimulates and motivates much of our everyday decisions; and through her design journey has developed skills in visual communication to accomplish just that. Zaynab is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Technology in Graphic Communications Management, with double minors in marketing and sociology from Toronto Metropolitan University.
Ana Petric (she/her) brings her academic background in politics and professional expertise in public relations to provide the Dais with the highest-quality insight and service through her diverse work experience in the world of public affairs.
She started her communications career working at public affairs agencies such as Brown & Cohen Communications and Public Affairs and Counsel Public Affairs, where she supported a variety of public and government relations needs for numerous client accounts.
Most recently, Ana comes to the Dais from the communications team at the Peel District School Board, where she worked as a Communications Assistant. In this role, Ana supported the reactive communications team and gained experience in media relations, crisis communications, and issues management. She also managed the PDSB social media channels and website and has written and designed materials for a wide variety of strategic communications campaigns.
Ana holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto, where she double majored in Political Science and French Studies, a Bachelor of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto and a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College.
André (he/him) has worked in a variety of roles at the intersection of policy, higher education and tech. As mission-driven consultant, offering strategic advice, research and other services to a range of clients. As senior advisor to Ontario’s deputy premier and minister of advanced education and skills development, and for digital government services. As chief operating & strategy officer with NEXT Canada, a national non-profit incubator for entrepreneurs and start-ups. As ed tech innovator, developing the Dive: Student Aid digital case learning model with TMU’s Leadership Lab and other partners. And as a director on the Board of eCampus Ontario.
He’s published many papers, reports and articles, including in other past roles with IMFG, a cities-focused research institute at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy; and with the Public Policy Forum.
André is a graduate of the Munk School’s Master of Public Policy (MPP) program and Queen’s University, and grew up in Ottawa.
Viet (he/him) leads economics research at the Dais as Manager, Economic Research. Prior to the merger, at the Brookfield Institute, Viet has done extensive work on the impact of technology in the labour market in Canada, the technology sector and workers, digital skills, and scale-ups.
His research has been cited widely in national media, and has impacted policies at all levels of government. He believes that research, when done rigorously, can not only help shape policy, but also bring attention to issues that impact those who have been left out of conversations about Canada’s future.
Viet holds a Masters of Science in Economics from the London School of Economics & Political Science, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Economics from the University of British Columbia. Being a queer immigrant to Canada, Viet also devotes significant attention to ensuring the field of economics is inclusive to all. He sits on the Canadian Economics Association’s Diversity committee, and co-chairs the Affinity groups working group.
Vivian Li (she/her) is a Senior Economist at the Dais at TMU. Her areas of focus include examining labour markets within Canada’s innovation economy and technology sector, and understanding the competitiveness of the Canadian landscape in a wider context.
Before joining the Dais, Vivian developed experience in a variety of roles. Most recently, Vivian worked in economics and policy consulting evaluating topics surrounding the Canadian economy. She is interested in analyzing the relation between economic factors and people, and the socioeconomic impacts of policies and events.
Vivian has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Waterloo, and a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Toronto.
Tianna (they/them) is a passionate analyst working at the intersection of anti-racism and education. Their own lived experience makes them a committed advocate for other students and families marginalized by systemic oppression. Tianna has conducted and supported research for education stakeholders such as People for Education and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). They also have experience facilitating youth programming and engaging a range of education leaders in anti-racism learning. Tianna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from McMaster University and a Master of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
As a Senior Economist, Graham (he/him) is a part of the research team at the Dais at TMU. At the institute, Graham explores educational and technological innovations in the Canadian labour force and its impact on occupational distributions and transitions.
In the past, Graham developed tools and insights designed to make labour market information more accessible and navigable for Canadians. His previous research topics include following taxable earnings of post-secondary graduates and Red Seal journeypersons to provide credible wage information to students, mapping the access of career service use among Canadian adults, and broadening access to skills and job demand through online job posting dashboards.
Graham has a degree in Economics and holds a Master of Arts in Economic Policy from McMaster University. He was also a sessional lecturer at the undergraduate health sciences program at McMaster, teaching the economics of healthcare. Graham grew up in Toronto and devotes his time outside of work to building courage, discipline, and resiliency through coaching and playing a variety of sports in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.
Angus Lockhart (he/him) is a Senior Policy Analyst on the Dais team. At the Dais, Angus researches the adoption of innovative technologies in both the public and private sectors and the role policy can play in accelerating uptake.
Prior to joining the team at the Dais, Angus worked in the market research and public affairs space, trying to understand the connection between the opinions Canadians hold and their behaviours. His research covered a broad range of topics from the health and energy sectors to public affairs and policy making.
Angus holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of British Columbia, and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Simon Fraser University.
Joe (he/him) has been conducting research and policy analysis at the intersections of surveillance, digital technologies, security and human rights for over six years. He has conducted research at the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University and the Canadian Forces College. He holds a Master of Arts in war studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, and a Master of Arts in sociology from Queen’s University, and has studied sociology as a PhD candidate from Queen’s University, specializing in digital media, information and surveillance.
Nour (she/her) has been working at the intersection of research, public service, academia, and social advocacy for four years. She is passionate about advancing innovative policy solutions in the realms of technology, cybersecurity, and digital inclusion. Prior to joining the Leadership Lab, she was a Political Assistant at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto, working to advance U.S.-Canada relations and provide research insights for the U.S. State Department’s technology and economic portfolio. Nour was also a Compliance Analyst at the G20 Research Group at the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Finance Director of the University of Toronto’s Amnesty International Chapter. She holds a Master of Arts in Political Theory and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toronto.
Lily (she/her) is an accounting professional with over 15 years of public accounting experience. She has worked extensively in the not-for-profit sector, driven by her passion for helping those who have a mission to help others. Her professional experience has provided her with the opportunity to work with many clients, including charities, foundations, healthcare, municipal organizations and religious and academic institutions.
As the Manager of Finance and Operations, Lily focuses on day-to-day operations, human resource management, and financial reporting. She believes that understanding the financial narrative of any organization by all team members is paramount to its success.
She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Toronto and has both a CPA and CA professional accounting designation.
Michelle (she/her) has spent time working with various executive teams to support strategic planning processes from beginning to end. As Manager of Strategic Initiatives at the Dais, Michelle spends her time focused on two strategic portfolios: people and culture, and student development. As part of the student development portfolio, she supports the Making the Future class at TMU and manages the Dais Internship Program.
Previously at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Michelle was responsible for project management and stakeholder partnerships on multi-million dollar research projects related to skills and future of work.
Prior to joining BII+E, Michelle dedicated her time to creating opportunities and supporting students at Toronto Metropolitan University and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Michelle has a Bachelor of Commerce in Retail Management from Toronto Metropolitan University.
Forward-thinking and passionate about improving outcomes for Canadians, Fahmida (she/her) is a strategist working at the intersection of tech, inclusion and policy innovation. Most recently, she was a Senior Advisor with the Ontario Digital Service. She founded ‘PS, I’m Muslim’ in 2018, to create a community for Muslims working in the public sector. Fahmida holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto. She’s previously worked at The Policy Innovation Hub in The Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the University of Toronto.
As the Administrative and Project Coordinator, Claire (she/her) supports the team at the Dais with day-to-day operations including vendor payments, reimbursement processes, HR on/off-boarding duties, office equipment needs and various other office requirements.
Prior to joining the Dais, Claire spent several years at KPMG and SECOR within the management consulting department in a similar administrative role. She is specifically well-versed in risk management procedures and client contract writing. As a trained interior designer, Claire was a consultant for leading art directors on various TV productions for Home and Garden Television.
Born in Québec, Claire is fluent in French and familiar with Spanish as well. Claire studied Interior Design at Toronto Metropolitan University and the International Academy of Design.
Mahmehr (she/her) is a keen learner and a policy research assistant at the Dias with a background in the financial services industry. Her work focuses on understanding the North American labour market and the key drivers behind the push and pull for skilled labour demand.
As a newcomer to Canada, Mahmehr is carefully unpacking the wealth of information the Canadian economy holds and aspires to become a subject matter expert. Currently, she is focusing on professionally upskilling herself in the field of data and financial analytics.
She hails from Pakistan, and has lived in many cities with Canada being (hopefully) her final destination-not to be confused with the movie. Mahmehr holds an MBA and is an Alumnus Fulbright scholar with a Master in Applied Economics from Duke University and likes to be outdoors as often as she can.
Tiffany (she/her) is a policy and research assistant at the Dais. She loves to learn about all things related to tech and urban policy, and service delivery. Prior to joining the Dais, she worked on modernizing social assistance pathways in the Ontario Public Service, and has undertaken research projects both in the public sector (service pathway improvement and digitization in UK healthcare) and the private sector (sociotechnical security in UK railway systems) in Canada and the UK. She has also worked on academic and on-the-ground research, through various roles with the University of Toronto, the City of Toronto’s SDFA, and with the NATO Association of Canada. Tiffany holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Urban Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Public Administration in Digital Technologies and Policy from University College London. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys travelling, trying new food spots, and being outdoors.
Policy and Research Assistant
Adams Aghimien (he/him) is a researcher and data analyst based in Toronto, specializing in climate change, data governance, and economic geography. A graduate of the University of Toronto with an HBA Specialist in Political Science, Adams has amassed substantial experience in various esteemed organizations.
As an Economic Research Assistant at the formerly Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, he contributed to quantitative research, focusing on the link between digital technologies and national decarbonization capabilities. At the Ontario Public Service, he served as a Business Finance Co-op, where he showcased his abilities in project planning and policy creation for a significant fintech project. Further enriching his profile is his role as a Policy Fellow at the Canadian Arab Institute, where he led studies on racial profiling and developed strategic trust-building strategies. As a co-president at the International Relations Society, he effectively led cross-functional teams and represented student interests. Adept at blending his professional endeavors with his passion for climate change and methodology, Adams is a dedicated professional poised to make impactful contributions.
Ibrahim (he/him) is a PhD candidate in Economics at the University of Ottawa, and an Innovation Policy Intern at the Dais. He has academic and professional experience in various areas in economics, as well as actuarial science, finance and risk analysis. Ibrahim has worked in several dynamic and challenging settings. He managed the solvency position of a major financial services firm, performing stress tests to incorporate the effects of various economic shocks at a time of great volatility and uncertainty in Egypt. He also worked as an assistant category manager in a grocery chain in Ontario during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, navigating supply chain problems, analyzing time series data, and designing mathematical optimization tools.
Ibrahim is passionate about monetary, public, and labour economics. He is interested in the effects of various economic policymaking tools on human lives and behaviour, and has experience working on several policy and labour economics projects, including with the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC), and at the University of Ottawa.
Ibrahim holds a Master of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science from the American University in Cairo. He has also successfully completed CFA level I.
The Innovation Policy Internship is made possible by a generous donation from Mark Zekulin (LL.B ’07) and is granted to a University of Ottawa student annually.
Jillian Gonzales (she/her) is a driven and passionate student, currently pursuing a Creative Industries degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). With a keen interest in positive changes and a desire to teach young people, Jillian has been actively involved in various creative and policy-focused practices that aim to create a better world.
Jillian’s commitment to making a positive impact is further evident through her involvement in various journalistic activities, including serving as a Met-TV news anchor and writing for CanCulture, a student-led magazine at TMU.
As a Leadership Development Assistant, Jillian plays an integral role in organizing and executing various projects including the CanStudyUS study experience in Washington, D.C. Through her work, she has contributed to the success of numerous projects, and has developed a reputation for being highly organized, detail-oriented, and dedicated to achieving results and the team’s overall success.
As a new team member, Kaylee (she/her) is bringing her passion for branding and communications to the world of policy and leadership. Kaylee has had marketing experiences in several fields, including environmental and entertainment industries, where she delivered interactive content across many digital platforms, monitored audience engagement through data analysis, and supported social media campaigns. With a belief that clear and interactive communication can help generate attention and promote changes, Kaylee aims to use her design and storytelling skill to bring the Dais’s quality research to the community.
Kaylee is a fourth-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Miles Clarke (he/him) is a passionate media student studying RTA: Media Production at Toronto Metropolitan University. As Communications and Marketing Intern at the Dais, Miles is enthusiastic to use his creative approach to storytelling and assist the communications team in marketing and visual work.
For the past two years, Miles has been working with non-profit organizations on the ground and in communications to drive engagement and mobilize support. He has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and, through lived experience, has a deep understanding of the challenges facing marginalized communities. Miles is committed to promoting inclusive messaging and creating content that reflects the diversity of the Dais’s audience.
Sanjana Shah (she/her) is a student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Science at McMaster University. She brings an enthusiasm for collaboration and a knack for forging new relationships to her role as a Business Development Intern at the Dais. Prior to working at the Dais, Sanjana was involved in various local political campaigns and worked in her member of Parliament’s constituency office. These experiences allowed her to see firsthand how policy decisions impact peoples’ lives in real and tangible ways. She is excited to learn more about how thoughtful and impactful policies are developed at the Dais.
Catherine is a communications professional with a passion for civic engagement and social impact. She has over five years communications experience in the political and post-secondary education sectors, and is an advocate for inclusive and accessible communications. Prior to joining the Dais, Catherine served as a program manager at the Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute where she worked on communications and events to mobilize research on inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship.
Catherine holds a Master of Arts degree in political and legal thought and a BAH from Queen’s University. She’s an avid runner and baker, and dotes on her dogs, Goose and Bean.