Our Team

Staff

AGAPI GESSESSE – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

SHEREEN ASHMAN – OPERATIONS MANAGER

YAO TOGOBO – PROGRAMS MANAGER

HORACE SPENCE – PROGRAMS MANAGER

JESSICA ROBINSON – SOCIAL WORKER (MSW)

ADANNA PHILLIP – SOCIAL WORKER (MSW)

KYRA ESSUE – ALUMNI COORDINATOR

SHAKERA MITCHELL – ADMIN COORDINATOR / EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Board of Directors

EARL MILLER – CHAIR

Earl Miller is a consultant in private practice
and serves as Senior Advisor, Partnership
Strategy at Waterfront Toronto. Prior to his
current work, he was Director of Global
Initiatives at MaRS Discovery District. He has worked in senior leadership roles in human resources, workplace diversity and city planning for the Ontario Public Service, Scotiabank and City of Toronto. Earl is a professional facilitator and a certified partnership broker. As a volunteer, Earl is Board President of West Neighbourhood
House, Board Chair of CEE and a Board member of Artscape. He is a former Director of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, United Way of Toronto and Harbour front Corporation.

JENINE GREGORY – TREASURER

Jenine is action oriented by nature, passionate about adding value and keen on practicality. She is generous with her time, open-minded, transparent, holistic in her approach and collaborative in her work style. She likes to build, create and is drawn to new, complex and challenging environments and is an avid advocate of lifelong learning. Her eclectic background covers the areas of Internal and External Audit, Corporate Recovery as well as Financial Operations, grounded in Accountancy and Finance training. She is able to help an organization with building out and improving its Operational Infrastructure as well as its Financial environment.Her industry exposure includes Financial Services, Investments with particular exposure to Public Markets, Infrastructure, Private Equity and Real Estate investing, as well as Pension, Brokerage and Mutual Fund operations.

JOAN ATLIN – BOARD MEMBER

I am an experienced non-profit and public sector professional with a strong reputation as an impact-oriented consultant, executive, and manager and a trusted partnership builder. I have a strong blend of strategic and operational skills and a track record of over 20 years of experience leading and executing strategy, policy advocacy and program initiatives. I have worked extensively with collaboratives, multi-stakeholder initiatives and complex partnerships. I have led successful policy advocacy initiatives that have contributed to moving the needle on immigrant integration into the labour market and into regulated professions. In both consulting and staff capacities, I focus on helping organizations and initiatives to: frame strategic directions that are clear and lead to impact; design and implement do-able program and policy initiatives to translate those directions into action; and evaluate effectively to measure impact, to learn from experience and to adapt to evolving circumstances.

IKE OKAFOR – BOARD MEMBER

As a first-year student in 1999, Ike Okafor founded the University of Toronto Black Students’ Association, and he is a past president of the group. Eleven years later, the association is one of U of T’s most active organizations, with programming that engages students, faculty, staff, alumni and the local community. Since graduating from New College in 2003, Ike has remained active as a two-time president of the U of T Black Alumni Association, for which he has led membership drives and also organized galas and an international knowledge transfer program. Ike is currently organizing an alumni program for students who have completed the U of T Summer Mentorship Program.

ANDREW HUNTER – BOARD MEMBER

Over 10 years of international experience in the Real Estate and Sports industry. Competing as a professional athlete and travelling to over 40 countries, has developed an ability to build rapport, liaise with diverse individuals at all levels and gain valuable exposure to international Real Estate markets. In our group at RBC we provide financing for various property types including: Office, Industrial, Retail, Multi-Residential, CMHC-Insured Financing.
Below are some of the types of facilities we provide: Commercial Mortgages, Construction Financing, Revolving Lines of Credit, Equipment Financing, Margined Facilities.

CLAIRE FORSTER – BOARD MEMBER

Claire Forster is a seasoned HR professional with international experience in North America and Hong Kong. Her last position was Vice President of a major financial services organization. She is currently fully engaged in the not-for-profit sector and works with organizations to ensure alignment of strategy, governance and resources. Claire is the past president of the Alzheimer Society of Brant, Haldimand Norfolk, Hamilton Halton (BHNHH) and current Chair of the Alzheimer Society of Ontario Quality Committee (ASiO). She is a member of the Elizabeth Fry Board of Directors Toronto and Community Development Halton. She is also a volunteer at International Needs, an organization that helps women and children in countries where schooling for women is not a priority. She is also a volunteer counselor at CEE, an organization focused on employment, training and empowerment of disadvantaged black youth.

Aisha Francis – Board Member

Underscoring everything that Aisha Francis does is her love for people and her passion to live a purpose-infused life. She is a leader, published author, and public speaker with over 20 years of business experience across the pharmaceutical, marketing and non-profit sectors. Her proficiency is in developing people and relational equity, project management, market strategy and brand development, and end-to-end process mapping. In 2014, Aisha founded Project: Restore FIBI (Families Impacted By Incarceration) with the aim to swing the pendulum of critical supports toward families impacted by incarceration through increased awareness of their challenges and opportunities to refine resource allocation, improve community engagement, enhance service delivery, and inform public policy and scholarship. Aisha also owns a consulting agency that specializes in shaping personal and professional narratives into sustainable entrepreneurial business models.

Michael Coleman – Board Member

Michael Coleman is a commercial real-estate lawyer at a mid-sized law firm in downtown Toronto. From his early days as an undergraduate student at York University and also as a law student at Queen’s University, Faculty of Law, Michael has always focused on given back to the community and helping youth strive to break barriers. He has completed this goal in various ways including acting as a tutor for prison inmates in Kingston, Ontario, mentoring young males who were recent immigrants from the Caribbean islands and South America, and coaching at-risk youth in the sport of basketball. A lifelong learner and team player at heart, Michael is committed to applying his past experience to CEE’s board of directors and committees. 

Jestine Waterman – Board Member

Jestine Waterman is a social worker and librarian with a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Western Ontario. She is passionate about safe and equitable programming for marginalized youth and has extensive experience mentoring and working with young people. Jestine has served as the Chair of the UWO Chapter of Librarians without Borders and as an active volunteer with PEACH – Promoting Economic and Community Health. She is a determined, team-oriented person and in her spare time works as the social media coordinator at her church. Outside of work and volunteer commitments, Jestine enjoys hiking and rollerblading outdoors.