Mide Akerewusi, CSR-P, CDEP

Founder and CEO


Mide Akerewusi is an inspired and energetic fundraising specialist with a uniquely diverse perspective. He has led major gift fundraising teams in a variety of the UK’s most successful charities, including the British Red Cross. His Canadian journey began in 2008 when the YMCA of Greater Toronto sought him to be their Chief Development Officer.  

His inspiration to establish AGENTSC, a fundraising consultancy specializing in major gifts and sustainable income came after he served almost five years as Director of Leadership Philanthropy at Canada’s pioneering and award winning social innovation - Pathways to Education. At Pathways, Mide led the leadership philanthropy strategy for the charity’s successful $180 million Graduation Nation campaign, which saw the rapid expansion of the program across Canada.

Mide is a board member at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Toronto Chapter, and sits on the Board of Save The Mothers. He is a Certified Corporate Social Responsibility Practitioner, has a designation as a Dialogue Education Practitioner, and is an Instructor in Major Gifts fundraising at George Brown College.

Mark Blumberg, B.A., LL.B., LL.M., TEP


Blumberg Segal LLP

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm Blumberg Segal LLP (Blumbergs) in Toronto and works almost exclusively with Canadian non-profits and registered charities on compliance issues.  Blumbergs has 9 lawyers, of which 5 lawyers focus on non-profit and charity law issues. Mark is the editor of www.CanadianCharityLaw.ca and www.globalphilanthropy.ca ™ – two blogs dealing with Canadian charities and compliance issues.  Mark is on the Executive of the Canadian Bar Association National Charities and Not-for-Profit Law Section and is also on the Executive of the Ontario Bar Association Charity and Non-profit law section.  Mark is quoted extensively in the media relating to charities and non-profit governance and regulation. 

Carlo Bos


Bos & Company Leadership Inc.

As Founder of Bos & Company Leadership Inc., Carlo draws on more than a decade of experience coaching leaders and executives from a wide range of backgrounds and on four continents. He also designs and facilitates custom leadership development programs and consults with entrepreneurial companies on creating values-based cultures and products. Carlo is a Faculty member for the globally-renowned Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and Duke Corporate Education.  Prior to starting Bos & Company, Carlo was part of the Leadership Solutions Team at Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions, one of Canada’s foremost leadership companies.  Before consulting, Carlo held line and leadership roles in Financial Services, Professional Services and Hospitality.  He has degrees in Economics and Psychology and is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), holding the PCC coaching credential.  He volunteers in his community with Scouts Canada and his local Soccer Association and sits on the Board of Directors of an Ontario Independent School.

L. Robin Cardozo, FCPA, FCA

Chief Operating Officer

SickKids Foundation

Robin Cardozo joined SickKids Foundation in April 2012 as Chief Operating Officer. In this position, Robin’s responsibilities include Finance, Legal, Information Technology, Human Resources, and support to the President on governance and strategic issues. Other than government, SickKids Foundation is the largest funder of child health research in Canada.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Robin served for twelve years as Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), one of Canada’s largest grant-making foundations with a mission to help build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and during Robin’s tenure more than $1 billion in grants were made to deserving not-for-profit organizations across the province.

For a decade before that, Mr. Cardozo served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of United Way Toronto. During those years, Mr. Cardozo’s leadership earned him the United Way movement’s highest national honour, the André Mailhot Award.

Mr. Cardozo was born in Pakistan, and was educated in Pakistan and in Britain. He was trained as a Chartered Accountant in the 1970’s, and was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (FCPA) in 2000. He is also a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D).

Samantha Cooke

Senior Manager, Direct Response

Canadian Cancer Society

Samantha Cooke is the Senior Manager of Direct Response for the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. Samantha leads a large, mature Direct Marketing program that continues to see revenue growth year over year as well as improvements in donor retention. A fundraiser for over 14 years, Samantha also has experience in managing the Society’s mega Lottery program, special events and volunteer engagement. Samantha is a passionate supporter of other charities, including Evergreen Brickworks where she and her daughter, Matilda encourage children to learn more about their environment and how they can help build a sustainable place to grow!

Anil Dilawri

Managing Director

Save it like Sully

Anil is the Managing Director of Save it like Sully - a professional presentation training and coaching company (See www.saveitlikesully.com).  Anil has worked with many individual leaders and groups from various industries including technology, non-profits, financial services, healthcare, industry associations, government and mining. Prior to Save it like Sully Anil held senior positions in research & development, product marketing, communications, and consulting with Hill & Knowlton Strategies, March Networks, and Cognos Inc. (now IBM).

Anil is a regular guest lecturer at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. In 2013 he was selected as one of the Ottawa Business Journal’s Top Forty Under 40.

Chuck English


English Marketing Works

Chuck English is an expert in strategic marketing and branding, providing authoritative counsel and effective solutions to clients for over twenty years. His successful firm, English Marketing Works, has improved the capacity of dozens of fundraising organizations, independent schools and businesses by producing measurable results from their marketing investment. Chuck speaks at seminars and conferences, is an accomplished writer, and is a deeply passionate volunteer having served in leadership positions for many organizations.

Mena Gainpaulsingh, MInstF (Cert)


International Fundraising Consultancy

Mena is a fundraising consultant specializing in strategy, individual giving, capital campaigns, grant writing, prospect research and event management. She has worked in the sector for 17 years, initially at Freedom from Torture, where she ran a capital campaign to build a new treatment centre for torture survivors.

In a voluntary capacity Mena has sat on the boards of the Institute of Fundraising, the Institute of Fundraising's National Convention 2010, the Ottawa Steering Committee for Starlight Children's Foundation and served as Co-Chair of the Fundraising Committee for Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. Mena has delivered training around the world on strategy, major gifts international fundraising, relationship development and grant writing and runs the award-winning First Fridays Seminar series in Ottawa. 

Mena is currently on the Board of AFP Ottawa and chairs their Fundraising Day committee.  She is dedicated to supporting the professional development of fundraisers and enjoys helping charities navigate their way through their various fundraising challenges.


Tara George, MBA

Senior Vice President & Lead Search Consultant

KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.)

For the past nine years, as the lead consultant for KCI’s executive search and talent development practice Tara has partnered with a wide variety of non-profit organizations across Canada. She has interviewed, advised, and guided hundreds of leaders at a variety of levels, and through her work brings a unique perspective on leadership development and effectiveness.

Tara has invited several Executive Leadership Coaches to join us for this session, and will moderate a panel discussion on developing leadership skills and qualities. These professional coaches work with senior executives, boards, and teams in the not-for-profit and corporate sectors to help people fully develop their potential and results in the areas of transformational leadership, transition to new roles, effective communication, and professional and personal growth.


Alex Gill

Social Innovator in Residence

Ryerson University and Principal, Mendicant Group Ryerson University / Mendicant Group

Alex Gill is a social entrepreneur who founded and leads Mendicant Group. Over the past ten years, he and the Mendicant team have brought new thinking to such issues as sustainability, foster care reform, newcomer settlement, military-civilian transition, youth entrepreneurship, community health services and university innovation. He has also moderated the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance since its inception in 2010. Alex was one of 50 nonprofit leaders to be invited to attend Stanford University’s Business School in 2013.  He teaches in the Graduate School of Politics and Public Administration at Toronto’s Ryerson University and, in 2014, co-founded its SocialVentures Zone incubator and was named that university’s first-ever Social Innovator in Residence. Alex was also named one of Canada’s “Social Justice All-Stars” by This Magazine in 2015.

Ashley Good

Founder and CEO

Fail Forward

Ashley Good worked in Cairo with the United Nations Environment Programme and as a management consultant in Vancouver before founding the consulting firm, Fail Forward, to spark a shift in how we perceive and talk about failure, and to help organizations learn, innovate and build resilience. She is well known for leading the Engineers Without Borders Canada annual Failure Report and launching Canada's first ever conference dedicated to intelligent failure.

Ashley is a contributor to the Globe and Mail Leadership Lab, Public Sector Digest, and World Economic Forum Agenda. Her work on failure has received coverage in a wide range of media and news outlets, including National PostThe Globe and Mail, CBC Radio and TelevisionThe New York Times, and Fast Company

Ashley is recognized by Harvard Business Review and McKinsey as the prestigious recipient of the Innovating Innovation Award, is a half-marathon runner and triathlete, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia with honours.



Shannon Gorman, MBA, CFRE

National Director, Community Affairs


A leader in corporate philanthropy, Shannon Gorman is the National Director of Community Affairs for TELUS, responsible for delivering the company’s innovative community investment strategies. Shannon leads a team of 15 Community Investment personnel across Canada and Internationally. She is responsible for 11 Canadian and four International Community Boards, which engage community leaders in allocating funds to address local needs. Shannon was instrumental in TELUS being the first Canadian company to be recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the most philanthropic corporation in the world.

Prior to joining TELUS, Shannon was a senior executive with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation for more than 13 years, where she played a key role in raising more than $30 million to increase cancer survivorship in Ottawa.

Shannon holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA), is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), and has certificates in Corporate Social Responsibility from both Harvard Business School and Boston College.  Shannon is currently a candidate in the Masters of Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership with Carleton University’s Public Policy and Administration Program and is a popular speaker in the areas of Corporate Social Responsibility and development. 

Shannon has served as a director on many boards of both local and national charities including; the Ottawa Humane Society, Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre Foundation, and Canadian Women in Communications & Technology.  Shannon enjoys volunteering her time at the Ottawa Mission and Youville Centre where she recently developed a mentorship program.

Shannon resides in Ottawa with her husband Mike. 

Sharilyn Hale, MA, CFRE

Founder and Principal

Watermark Philanthropic Advising

As Founder & Principal of Watermark Philanthropic Advising, Sharilyn helps charities and philanthropists raise more money, give with purpose and lead effectively.  With noted expertise in women’s philanthropy, Sharilyn has also worked with organizations in diverse cultural contexts including Bermuda and the Caribbean.  She is author of ”Giving in the Caribbean” (Palgrave Handbook on Global Philanthropy, 2015); and co-author of “Achieving Excellence in Fundraising” (2011, Wiley), and “Excellence in Fundraising in Canada” (2011, Civil Sector Press).

An invited teacher by professional communities around the world, Sharilyn is Past Chair of CFRE International.  She is a leadership volunteer with Imagine Canada’s Accreditation program, as well as the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  Sharilyn holds an MA in Philanthropy & Development, and was among a group of sector leaders to initiate Canada’s first graduate degree in Philanthropy and Non Profit Leadership at Carleton University.  She is currently earning a doctorate in leadership.

Mark Hallman


Evergreen Digital Marketing

Mark Hallman is the President of Evergreen Digital Marketing and has worked with charities and non-profit organizations across North America to help them strategize and execute their digital marketing plans. As a Google Partner, Mark helps organizations to ensure they get the most out of their Google Ad Grants. This work has focused on volunteer recruitment, promotion of programs and services, brand awareness campaigns, and fundraising. He also helps organizations collect, analyze and understand their data. An expert in his field, Mark has presented to numerous organizations, including the Google Partners Community. Mark has over 15 years of experience within the nonprofit sector as a consultant, volunteer, staff member, and board member.

Brady Hambleton

Director, Direct Marketing

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada

In the 14 years of experience that he has gained working with some of Canada’s largest not-for-profit organizations, Brady Hambleton has been exposed to nearly every facet of fundraising, including donor services, stewardship, annual giving, major gifts, digital and multi-channel. In his current role as Director, Direct Marketing at the Heart & Stroke Foundation (HSF), Brady oversees one of Canada’s largest, national multi-channel fundraising programs, raises over $21 million annually through digital, direct mail, tele-marketing, monthly and mid-level donors, with a staff compliment of 10.  His experience at HSF also spans beyond his core program, where he serves as a business unit lead on two significant enterprise-level projects: CRM implementation; and the National Organizational Email Marketing Strategy. Prior to joining the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Brady was Manager, Annual & Planned Giving at Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation (University Health Network), where he drove growth and innovation within the Annual & Planned Giving programs. He started his career at the University of Toronto, first as a donor services coordinator in the Division of University Advancement, followed by a role as Senior Development Officer, Annual and Major Gifts at Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Brady is a 2005 graduate of the University of Toronto, with a Bachelor of Science degree, and is a passionate lifelong learner and champion of professional development for the fundraising profession.  He is currently an active member of the CAGP Toronto Education Committee, the Canadian Marketing Association’s Not-For-Profit Council and mentors undergraduate students from the University of Toronto.

Rickesh Lakhani, MBA, CFRE

Executive Director

Future Possibilities for Kids

Rickesh Lakhani passionately believes that every donor deserves to feel excellent about giving, and that the duty of a fundraiser is to bring passion towards enhancing the donor experience every day. He is adamant about always putting people first, then process, and that fundraisers, charities and social profit groups should not be afraid to have a personality. Rickesh is the Executive Director at Future Possibilities for Kids, where they provide leadership and life skills development programs for children and youth from underserved communities. Prior to this, Rickesh was the Director, Campaign at United Way York Region, leading an $8M annual fundraising campaign. He serves as VP Governance on the Board of Directors for the Association for Fundraising Professionals of Greater Toronto and is an organizer of Be Good Be Social York Region, a conference promoting social media for social good.





Emma Lewzey, CFRE

Emma Lewzey is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) with a deep commitment to working towards social change. A strategic fund development professional with 12+ years of experience on senior management teams, Emma is the Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion on the board of directors of AFP Toronto, and a director on the board of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada. She is proud to co-chair the AFP Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy, and is excited to work towards a future when our fundraising leaders truly reflect the diversity of our communities.

Mo Lidsky

Managing Partner

Prime Quadrant LLC

Mo is a Partner and Senior Managing Director at Prime Quadrant. Prior to Prime Quadrant, Mo was the co-founder and owner of TMX Inc., a group of automobile restoration companies in Northeast Ohio, co-founder of CharityBids LLC, an online auction platform serving the non-profit sector, and founding partner of Apex Global Capital, a regional micro-finance company in the Caribbean.

Mo also spent five years as the national director and chief executive officer of Yeshiva University (Canada) and Chairman of the THJ Foundation. He continues to sit on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including CJPAC, Jerusalem College for Technology, Hebrew University, and CAF Canada. He also serves as an Investment Policy Advisor for Canada Gives Foundation and the Chair of the Prime Quadrant Foundation.
Mo is co-author of The Philanthropic Mind, profiling Canada’s most generous philanthropists, In Search of the Prime Quadrant: The Quest for Better Investment Decisions, and is now completing his third book entitled, Partners in Preservation: The Uses and Misuses of Investment Advice.

Mo holds multiple degrees, Magna Cum Laude, in Economics and Psychology, from Yeshiva University, and has an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Andrea Luchini

Development Officer, Major Gifts

Trinity College, University of Toronto

Andrea is currently a Development Officer, Major Gifts at Trinity College, University of Toronto, with a focus on major gifts and stewardship. Prior to this, Andrea held several roles within the Oakville Hospital Foundation during their $60 million capital campaign, where she was responsible for major gifts, sponsorship, stewardship and the annual staff giving campaign. She has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Guelph Humber and has completed the Fundraising and Volunteer Management Post Grad Program at Humber College.

Bruce MacDonald

President & CEO

Imagine Canada

Who would have thought that operating carnival games and rides would lead to a career in social good? Nobody, really. Well – over 30 years later, Bruce is still at it. From having served as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada for ten years and prior to that as the organization’s Vice-President of Marketing, Bruce has led major change initiatives and developed long and innovative partnerships with corporations and other charities. A wide and varied career, working with different parts of the sector has lead him to Imagine Canada – working with young people, older adults, sports and recreation and community service clubs. Bruce holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Sports Administration, a Masters in Management in the Voluntary Sector and a Guinness Book of World Records.



Marjorie Malpass


Nerve Strategic

Marjorie Malpass is a professional actor, writer, corporate coach and founder of Nerve Strategic.As an actor, Marjorie began her career at 14 with a tiny part in the CBC film, "The Private Capitol" in Ottawa. Career highlights include: touring internationally with Axis Theatre's "The Number 14"including stops in Italy, Finland, Denmark and on Broadway, playing three stalkers in one year for a play, a TV show and a film, and being the voice of the first ever female Mini Wheat. Marjorie creativity delivers bold communication, presentation and performance skills to the corporate sector. Businesses such as GM, Xerox, Royal Caribbean, TD Bank and senior personnel at various levels of government have learnt from her. Combining her knowledge of the corporate world and the entertainment industry, Marjorie recently provided On-Camera coaching for all three of the new Dragon's on the CBC hit show, Dragon's Den.

Rahima Mamdani

Vice President, Human Capital

United Way Toronto & York Region

Rahima is responsible for developing and implementing long-term human capital strategies for employees and volunteers. She has introduced programs in areas such as recruitment, performance management, professional development, compensation and recognition, and has been a leader in United Way’s diversity and inclusion initiatives for the last 7 years.

Rahima began her career in the corporate sector working for telecommunications and technology companies. She has also provided Human Resources consulting services to not-for-profit organizations including Right To Play and Greenpeace Canada and volunteered with the Toronto Children's Aid Society, the Aga Khan Development Network, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Toronto Public Library, the HR Council for the Voluntary/Non-Profit Sector, and AFP’s Inclusion and Equity committee.

Rahima holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology and a Masters of Library Sciences from the University of Toronto. She is a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) a member of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA).

Ken Mayhew

President & CEO

William Osler Health System Foundation

Ken Mayhew is President & CEO of William Osler Health System Foundation (the Foundation).  The Foundation has just finished its third consecutive year of significant revenue growth and is currently in a $100M Campaign supporting the redevelopment of Peel Memorial, Etobicoke General and Brampton Civic hospitals.

Prior to joining Osler, Ken spent over 20 years with the MS Society of Canada and was responsible for all aspects of marketing, communications and fund development for a program with almost 1 million active donors, raising over $50 million annually.

Ken is President of the GTA Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).  Ken is a frequent contributor to media and industry discussions on fundraising trends, costs and evaluation and serves as a member of Ketchum Canada’s National Advisory Board.

Most recently, Ken received a CEO in Action award from the prestigious Diversity Journal for his work in inclusive fundraising.  

Ken, his wife Suzanne and two young daughters are long time, active Etobicoke residents.

Heather McDonald

Director, Events & Sponsorship

The Foundation Fighting Blindness

Heather McDonald is a fundraising professional specializing in Sponsorship, Individual Giving, Event Management and Volunteer Management and has raised millions of dollars for a number of not-for-profit groups in Scotland and Canada. She began her fundraising career 13 years ago at the Edinburgh International Festival followed by positions with the Canadian Opera Company, Luminato Festival, and most recently as Director of Development at Canadian Stage. Heather is now Director, Sponsorships & Events at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, securing corporate partners and overseeing a wide range of gala and pledge-based events across Canada. Prior to her fundraising career Heather worked in the film industry in Toronto and New York City in PR and marketing. She is a Queen’s University graduate where she majored in Stage & Screen Studies. Heather’s passions are live music, theatre, opera, and travelling with her husband.

Janna Miller

Senior Manager, Donor Services

Canadian Cancer Society

Janna Miller is the Senior Manager, Donor Services for the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. The two things that make her happiest (aside from her family) are efficiency and creativity. Janna leads the Donor Services Department in providing gold-standard customer service, efficient gift processing and targeted acknowledgement to donors across the province, as well as developing innovative and exclusive donor recognition and stewardship opportunities. Prior to this role, she spent 10 years in corporate fundraising and account management and two years in special event support. She holds a Master’s of Business Administration in Marketing and Business and Sustainability from York University.

Mary Murphy, CPA, CA


Creaghan McConnell Group Ltd.

She’s focused on delivering CMG’s consistent process – but suited uniquely to the needs of accomplished lawyers, accountants and investment managers.   Many of these professionals also serve as advisors to CMG’s business family clients.

In addition to her substantial financial and analytical skills, Mary brings to her professional clients a thorough appreciation of the demands that busy careers place on them.

Mary lives in Toronto with her three daughters and husband David.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the Scarborough Hospital Foundation.

Patricia Page

Associate Director, Principal Gifts

University of Toronto

A fundraiser with nearly a decade of experience, Patricia has had the opportunity to work with fantastic donors and talented teams on capital campaigns that transformed arts & culture and education in Toronto. Currently, as an Associate Director in the Division of University Advancement at the University of Toronto, she has the privilege to work on Boundless – the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian university history. Prior to this, she spent several years building and executing annual and major giving campaigns, and continues in her current role with a special focus on stewardship and high-impact engagement of donors. She  is a member of the AFP Ethics Resources Committee, and graduated with an HBA from the University of Toronto as well as the Fundraising & Volunteer Management Program at Humber College.


Doug Pawson

Executive Director

Centre for Innovative Social Enterprise Development

Doug is currently the Executive Director of the Centre for Innovative Social Enterprise Development.  Based in Ottawa, CISED supports social enterprises, most of whom come from the charitable sector, through all phases of business development.  He carries significant experience in building and managing social enterprises and microfinance programs.  In addition, he is currently a PhD student at Carleton University, where his interests reside in economic and financial geographies, particularly the ways in which financial intermediaries intentionally deploy finance capital to generate positive social impact.  Doug also is a Fellow with the Impact Investing Policy Collaborative and the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation.

Doug holds an MBA in Community Economic Development from Cape Breton University, a Master of Philosophy in Policy Studies from the University of New Brunswick, and a B.A. in Political Studies and English from Bishop’s University.



Rob Peacock, MA, CFRE


Peacock Philanthropic Counsel Inc.

Rob Peacock is a Certified Fund Raising Executive with 30 years of fundraising experience. For the past 10 years, Rob has served as CEO of Peacock Philanthropic Counsel Inc., providing strategic counsel to more than 75 charities in Canada. Previously, Rob fulfilled a number of senior development and leadership roles at Habitat for Humanity Canada, Junior Achievement of Canada Foundation, PC Canada Fund, Mt. Sinai Hospital Foundation, the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. Rob is Past Chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Canada, and served on the Board of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Rob holds a Masters degree in Philanthropy and is a faculty member for the Masters in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University, Canada’s first Masters program in Philanthropy, where he also sits on the Advisory Committee

He has authored two books:
Face Time: Relationship Philanthropy
Engagement: A Resource for Volunteer Boards

Hilary Pearson


Philanthropic Foundations Canada

Hilary Pearson is President of Philanthropic Foundations Canada, a national network of family, independent and corporate grantmakers in Canada, representing many of the largest private charitable foundations in the country. Since 2001, when she was appointed President, she has grown the organization to become a significant voice in Canadian organized philanthropy. Ms. Pearson has a particular interest in nonprofit governance, serving as a director on major non-profit boards, including national organizations such as Imagine Canada, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada, CARE Canada and Indspire.

William Petruck

Founder, President and CEO

FUNDING matters Inc. , Giftabulator and iShare Inc.

Founded in 1997, FUNDING matters Inc. set out to find a new way to build sustainable solutions for charitable capacity and in the end, transform philanthropy. Since then, organizations, financial institutions, corporations, individuals and governments have sought our counsel and have benefited from our unique and hands-on approach in helping them achieve their vision. FUNDING matters capital campaigns have the lowest costs and highest ROI’s of any competitive organization providing great value and sustainable results.

FUNDING matters is focused on providing solutions to increase the size and number of major and planned gifts for all organizations small and large, through uniquely developed products such as Giftabulator and services to the not-for-profit sector across North America.

FUNDING matters studies and invests in the area of behavioural philanthropy understanding what buttons should be pushed to increasing philanthropic giving and as such FUNDING matters is considered an innovator in the field of fundraising and philanthropy.

Jacob Porpossian

Chair of the Board of Management

The 519

Jacob Porpossian is Chair of the Board of Management for The 519, Canada’s largest LGBTQ Centre, and is an award-winning marketing communications specialist at FleishmanHillard Canada. In 2014, he was listed as Marketing Magazine's Top 30 Under 30 industry professionals in Canada. As a leader within both Toronto’s LGBTQ and Armenian communities, his impressive board and strategic planning experience has allowed him to successfully develop programs, execute events and fundraising efforts that not that help inspire and celebrate authentic identities, but cultivate a passion for community leadership.

Michael Prosserman

Founder & Executive Director

UNITY Charity

Michael Prosserman found his passion for break dancing at a very young age. By the time he was three, Michael was already standing on his head while watching Saturday morning cartoons. Since then, he has performed for over 300 audiences, has spoken at over 100 schools, and has taught hundreds of workshops all over the work from Canada to Italy to Asia to the Arctic. Michael has competed world-wide, placing first in over 22 competitions. Michael is the founder and Executive Director of UNITY Charity, an organization that uses art to empower youth with the confidence and skills for success through after school programs in break dancing, graffiti art, spoken word poetry and beat boxing. UNITY has reached over 100,000 young people across Canada. In the past year UNITY was featured in over 50 major media outlets in Canada including Maclean’s, Toronto Star, CBC, CTV, Citytv, and many more. UNITY teaches youth to use urban arts as a powerful outlet to relieve their stress and anger in a positive way.    

Jill Proud

The Proud Group

Jill Proud has forged her career in a series of high-pressure management roles, holding multiple Sales and Marketing positions at international training firms. Through all of these assignments, Jill witnessed first-hand the power of coaching, and the discipline necessary to coach effectively while under pressure. Jill has successfully brought this experience to bear in workshops for thousands of managers across the world, combining energy and enthusiasm with the practicality that comes from real, lived experience. Jill oversees a thriving executive coaching practice, where she coaches senior VP and C-Level clients. Jill is also actively involved in not-for-profit work, acting as the Chair Women in Philanthropy for Providence Healthcare Foundation’s Advisory Group.


Liz Rejman, CFRE

Database and Research Manager

Pathways to Education Canada

Liz Rejman. CFRE is the Database and Research Manager at Pathways to Education Canada. Prior to her current role, Liz worked as Head of Development for Museum London (Canada) and as a development researcher for London Health Sciences Foundation. She has instructed at Western University and Georgian College on the topics of prospect development, database management and technology.

She has shared her knowledge and expertise on prospect research, database management, ethics in prospect development and using social media for prospect research at numerous Canadian and International conferences including AFP Congress, APRA International, APRA Canada and AHP Canada.

She sits on the board of directors for APRA International; is a contributor to the book The Vigilant Fundraiser and is currently working with APRA Canada to write a book on the topic of prospect development in Canada.

Caroline Riseboro

President & CEO

Plan International Canada

Caroline Riseboro was appointed President & CEO of Plan International Canada in January 2016.  As CEO, she is responsible for leading one of Canada’s largest international development and child-rights agencies, working with children, families, communities and governments in over 70 countries to bring about positive change.

Caroline is passionate about engaging everyday Canadians to create a better world so that every person and child can thrive.  She is considered a sector thought-leader and is a sought-after speaker and commentator.  She is well respected for being a champion of innovation and is credited with launching numerous ground-breaking and award-winning campaigns that have engaged Canadians in new ways on some of the world’s toughest issues.

Before joining Plan Canada, Caroline was Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Development at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, where she played an instrumental role in expanding CAMH’s reach among Canadians, pioneering new engagement initiatives, and helping to reduce the stigma of mental illness.  Prior to CAMH, Caroline also held several senior executive, most recently as Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Engagement at World Vision Canada where she was responsible for raising $270 million annually, stewarding 700,000 donors and oversaw a team of over 250 people. Before joining the non-profit sector, Caroline began her career in advertising and communications.

Caroline’s influence also extends into the sector through her voluntary leadership roles.  She chairs the Canadian Marketing Association’s nonprofit council, has sat on various tasks forces with Imagine Canada, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals GTA chapter.  She is also chair of its government relations committee which is dedicated to promoting a more philanthropic Canada.  Caroline holds a Bachelor (honours) degree from McGill University, and is currently pursuing her Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University.  She is based in Toronto, Canada.

Jason Shim

Associate Director, Digital Strategy and Alumni Relations

Pathways to Education

How can we harness technology to make a difference in the world? That’s the question Jason loves to answer for organizations. With over 10 years of experience spanning the nonprofit and academic sectors both as an employee and a consultant, Jason has consistently helped organizations stay ahead of the technology curve. In 2013, Jason led Pathways to Education to become the first charity to issue tax receipts for Bitcoin donations, opening access and awareness of the organization to a brand new tech-savvy audience. Jason teaches Digital Marketing at George Brown College, where he finds it rewarding and inspiring to help students understand the power and potential of digital media and gain the confidence they need to succeed. In addition, Jason speaks and writes about digital marketing strategy, digital fundraising, online youth engagement, website analytics, and digital currency. Jason volunteers his time serving on the boards of Ontario 211 and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN).

Alana Silverman

Executive Director, Development and Alumni Affairs

Trinity College, University of Toronto

Learning how to be an effective major gifts officer has been a 20 year journey. Alana spent her early career building strong annual giving programs and developing opportunities for individual donors. She worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario and then moved to Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. She returned to the arts in 1994 at the Royal Ontario Museum, holding several key positions in what was then the ROM Foundation. Between 1994 and 2006 Alana raised capital funds for several new galleries as well as operating support for ROM exhibitions and programs. Between 2002 and 2006 Alana directed the major gifts team charged with raising over $200 million for Renaissance ROM, and managed the ROM’s gift planning program. In 2006 Alana left the ROM to raise funds for The National Ballet of Canada. In her three years at the National Ballet, Alana raised over $9 million for the Company’s endowment and doubled revenues for Company’s the major gifts program.

Currently the Executive Director, Development and Alumni Affairs at Trinity College, University of Toronto, Alana enjoys working with alumni and volunteers to bring new programs and support to the College’s students.

Kulvir Singh Gill

Chair, Board of Directors

William Osler Health System Foundation

Kulvir Singh Gill is a Senior Principal with Clareo Partners, a corporate strategy and innovation management consultancy. He has over 15 years of consulting and mining industry experience. Mr. Gill started his career with Oliver Wyman as a management consultant before holding several positions with Barrick Gold Corporation’s supply chain and organizational effectiveness teams.

Mr. Gill serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for William Osler Health System Foundation and was previously on the board of Habitat For Humanity Brampton. He is also the co-founder of the Seva Food Bank and coordinates the annual Toronto Sikh Retreat for Sikh-Canadian youth. Mr. Gill holds a B.Sc. and a B.Comm. from the University of Calgary. He was a 2010/11 Action Canada fellow and is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Mr. Gill currently lives with his wife, two young sons and parents in Brampton, Ontario.

Brent Stirling

Brent is experienced in social media strategy, community management, content creation and SEO. From incisive strategy to pitch-perfect execution, he finds or creates ways to capitalize on opportunities that educate, inspire, entertain and convert followers. Creative and versatile, Brent has helped design and execute numerous social campaigns - paid and organic - to enhance brand and build a loyal following. Though his own company, Secret Weapon Media, Brent has worked with tech startups, not-for-profits, government, as well as small- and medium-sized businesses. As the DMZ’s social media strategist, Brent revised the entire approach to increase followers, raise engagement rates and establish a strong and compelling brand. He also advised the DMZ’s over 70 startups on their own social media strategy.

Maeve Strathy

Fundraising Strategist

Blakely Inc.

Maeve Strathy is a passionate fundraising professional, focused on inspiring donors to make an impact on the causes they love through philanthropy. Her full-time work is as a Fundraising Strategist with Blakely, providing strategy for charities on integrated direct response campaigns. Previously, she developed the mid-level giving program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and built a young alumni giving program at Trinity College School. Maeve also supports the fundraising efforts of independent arts and culture organizations, including MYOpera. In her spare time, Maeve likes to work out, watch TV and movies, read, cook, and write for her fundraising and philanthropy-focused blog, www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com.

Layne, The Auctionista, BAS


Layne Talent Inc.

Layne Talent Inc. is a leading-edge company that brings the power of philanthropy, humanity, energy and entertainment to every endeavor.

Layne is “The Auctionista”; Canada’s “Philanthro-tainer” and fundraising powerhouse who is devoted to “moving the dial on philanthropy”. Dedicated to exercising creative instincts to inspire giving, Layne delivers intuitive and entertaining live fundraising experiences as well as professional development, training and talent development.

Layne’s professional fundraising career includes six years as Director of Development in the NFP sector and almost a decade as a Certified Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (National Auctioneer’s Association).

With niche expertise and innovative strategy, Layne has helped raised millions of new found dollars to organization’s bottom lines.

“After discovering the power of improvisational techniques, my communication outcomes improved and now I allow my instincts to guide me self-expression”.

Alex Tom

Director, Annual and Mid-Level Giving

St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation

Alex Tom is a seasoned marketing professional with over 15 years of experience within various industries.  He is currently the Director of Annual and Mid-level Giving at St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation.  Alex started his career in the Corporate Sector at Staples - Business Depot as an Analyst.  He then had several senior marketing positions at CIBC. However, his love for building relationships and championing the underdogs coupled with his passion for philanthropy led him to move from the Corporate to the non-profit sector beginning with Plan Canada, where his team was responsible for acquiring over 40,000 donors then to World Animal Protection, where his team increased revenues by 25% over 3 years. 

Sahar Vermezyari

Program Manager, Inclusive Giving Fellowship

AFP Foundation for Philanthropy - Canada

Sahar Vermezyari is the Fellowship in Inclusion and Philanthropy Program Manager. She is responsible for meeting the strategic objectives of the program by overseeing the development and execution of the fellowship program. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University. She has worked for over 10 years in the not-for-profit sector in a variety of settings and positions. Previous to her work with AFP, Sahar was the Manager of Partnerships at the East Scarborough Storefront. Sahar has worked extensively with equity-seeking groups and in under-served communities across the Greater Toronto Area. Her focus has been on project/program management in complex, multi-stakeholder projects. Sahar has been working on making social change and her passion for working within the social profit sector comes from her own experience of being a refugee and immigrant as well as growing up in a service-oriented home. Sahar is also a volunteer Dance Instructor and Event Coordinator for Tabriz Music and Dance Ensemble in Toronto.

Stewart Wong

Vice President, Communications, Marketing and Advocacy

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Stewart has over 14 years of marketing, communications, fundraising and strategic planning experience in the charitable health sector. He currently serves as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s vice president, communications, marketing and advocacy where he provides executive leadership and management to all hospital communications activities. Prior to joining Holland Bloorview, he held a variety of marketing, strategy and communication leadership roles at The Arthritis Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. He brings significant skill in leading teams using collaborative processes to advance organizational growth.

On a volunteer basis, Stewart serves as the vice chair of the GTA Association of Fundraising Professionals government relations committee. He has also volunteered with Imagine Canada as a peer reviewer for their Standards Program and in the summer of 2015, served as a press operations supervisor for the Toronto Pan Am Games.