Board Profiles

Ryan Acayan:

Ryan Acayan first moved into the Rivertowne area three years ago. He and his son were searching for a neighborhood to call home and developed a connection to Riverdale after meeting many passionate residents and business owners in the area. They both frequent the Queen/Saulter Toronto Public Library, and his son is enrolled in the ITF Taekwon-do classes at RTCC.

Ryan has been working in the non-profit space for over 15 years. He has worked at his current non-profit management company for the past nine years and has held positions with the Canadian Cancer Society and Heart and Stroke Foundation. He is a CPB Certified Professional Bookkeeper and recently completed a Not-for-Profit and Charity Finance Leadership certificate through CPA Ontario. This gives him a unique perspective on how a wide range of non-profit associations operate and their use of best practices. Ryan brings his varied finance/operations management experience to RTCC, where he has been a Board member since 2017.

 

John Bradford:

John Bradford loves the East end of Toronto and has lived here, in the Bain Co-Op and Greenwood-Dundas neighbourhood, most of his life. His work has been focused on employment counseling, income support, disability issues, accommodation, and training.

For the last 16 years of his career, John was the Ontario Training Coordinator with Indigenous and Northern Affairs, where he gained an understanding of the challenges facing aboriginal communities, even as he was frustrated by inadequate bureaucratic response. While on staff with the Metro Labour Education Centre, he traveled the province delivering educational workshops to Labour-Management committees facing plant closures and layoffs. He witnessed the devastation caused by job loss but also saw first-hand how well-targeted programs can provide relief and hope. In addition, John served on the board of the Bain Co-op and was elected Secretary/Treasurer of the CEIU.  He joined the RTCC Board in 2020.

John has recently retired and is looking forward to using his skills to support the efforts of the Ralph Thornton Community Centre to enable all the voices in our community to be heard. He has a passion for music, local history, and municipal affairs. He is looking forward to finding folks to play piano or guitar with once it is safe to do so.

 

Caleb Edwards:

Caleb Edwards, his wife, and two children have lived in the neighbourhood since 2014. Originally from Scarborough, Caleb spent time in New York City and London before returning to Toronto. Caleb and his family enjoy the neighbourhood and want to give something back to the community. Caleb hopes for RTCC to both serve our marginalized neighbours and draw newer arrivals in so that their energies and resources are directed at including the marginalized.

Caleb has a JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM from University College London. During the day, Caleb practices class action litigation at a firm downtown. He hopes to continue to work with the board in strengthening the Centre, helping the centre rebuild after Covid, and preparing it for new challenges.

Caleb joined the RTCC Board in 2017, serving on the Finance, Fundraising and Marketing, Personnel, and Executive Committees. Caleb has learned about Ralph Thornton’s role in the community, welcoming new neighbours, providing space for older neighbours, and providing access and opportunities for those with needs.

 

Ex Officio Board Member Councillor Paula Fletcher

Paula Fletcher has a long record of service to Toronto-Danforth residents. She first became involved as a leader in the East End Parent Network and was then elected as the TDSB Trustee in 2000. Paula was elected as City Councillor for the former Ward 30 in 2003 and has served as Councillor since. She was re-elected in 2018 to represent the new Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth, with the expanded boundaries from the Don Valley Parkway to Coxwell Ave and from Lake Ontario to just north of O’Connor Drive. She currently represents over 106,000 residents.

Paula is focused on creating affordable housing, improving community and road safety for all users, fighting the climate crisis, parks and public realm improvements and improving public transit. She works with residents, business owners and community agencies to build vibrant, healthy neighbourhoods and she is a strong progressive voice at City Hall.

Paula is Vice-Chair of Toronto and East York Community Council and Vice-Chair of the City’s Planning and Housing Committee. She is also the Chair of the Film, Television and Digital Media Advisory Board and Chair of the Subcommittee on the Protection of Affordable Rental Housing. She serves on the Boards of the Toronto Senior Housing Corporation, Canadian Stage Company, CreateTO, Heritage Toronto, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.

Locally, she is also on the Boards of the Applegrove Community Complex, Eastview Neighbourhood Community Centre, the Ralph Thornton Community Centre, and all seven Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) in Ward 14.

 

Amy Grenon:

Amy is an intellectual property lawyer and Partner at Aird & Berlis LLP. She has previously supported fundraising at RTCC and has used the South Riverdale Child Parent Centre. She’s experienced in consensus building, governance and financial stewardship. She has previously volunteered with pro bono legal assistance and various access to justice initiatives. Amy has lived in the catchment area since 2017, and joined the RTCC Board in 2020.

 

Sree Nallamothu (she/her)

Sree first came to the RTCC community as an immigrant in 2004 and has lived and raised her family in this area ever since. Sree is a passionate connector and storyteller, with extensive experience in network building, community engagement and participatory filmmaking. Her lived experience as a woman of colour deeply informs her commitment to and work in social justice. She is currently the Associate Executive Director at Toronto Neighbourhood Centres (TNC), a network of 26 multiservice agencies in the GTA, and joined the RTCC Board in 2021.

Sree is a member of the Centre for Connected Communities’ Brain Trust and serves on their Evaluations Committee. She also sits on the Steering Committee at the Toronto Nonprofit Network (TNN). Her work as a filmmaker and at TNC focuses on supporting various advocacy campaigns and research in the areas of 2SLGBTQIA+ inclusion, community development, and people-centered civic engagement practices. With her experiences and expertise, Sree is looking forward to helping RTCC and being part of strengthening how we work and learn from each other within the community.

 

Abraham Plunkett-Latimer:

Abe Plunkett-Latimer is an urban planner with expertise in community engagement and facilitation, research, and policy development and analysis. He currently works as a senior planner with the City of Cambridge’s policy team.

Abe’s work is shaped by his core goal of working toward social justice and equity. His previous projects have included research into the social justice implications of pop-up land uses, including Scadding Court Community Centre’s Market 707, and research for Artscape and Sidewalk labs on sustainable and socially responsible development.

Abe is proud to have called the east end home since 2011, where he lives with his partner and young daughter. He joined the RTCC board in 2020 hoping to serve his neighbours by assisting with the important services and programming that RTCC provides to help make the neighbourhood work for all its residents.  Since joining the board, Abe has served on the Organization Planning and Evaluation, Membership and Outreach, and Executive committees.

 

Lisa Pottie:

After her PhD in English literature and a number of years teaching at various universities in Ontario, Lisa was bitten by the nonprofit bug. For 25 years she worked as a fundraiser for a wide variety of arts, health, and community organizations. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, responsible for facilities and operations, government relations, HR, and finance. She was previously the Director, Development and Donor Relations at the McMichael. She also served as Executive Director for Muscular Dystrophy Canada’s Atlantic region for five years before returning to Toronto. Lisa is a life-long volunteer and passionate about helping to make a practical impact in her community. She and her partner Laurie and their three cats have lived in the RTCC catchment area since 2015, and she joined the RTCC Board in 2020.

 

Maggi Redmonds:

Maggi has lived in the catchment area for over 40 years and in that time has served on boards and committees of community-based agencies, including Ralph Thornton Community Centre, South Riverdale Community Health Centre and Boulton Child Care. She has also been active in other community initiatives, most recently with the “Save Jimmie Simpson” Campaign.   With experience in governance, community organizing & outreach, Maggi strongly supports principles of collaboration, inclusion, equity and social justice.  She was re-elected to the RTCC Board in 2020.

 

Dianne “D” Surman

Dianne Surman has been a resident of South Riverdale since 2012. She values our great community and has a  passion for joining the RTCC to be part of creating an even stronger community.  She joined the RTCC Board in 2021.

Dianne has 35 years of corporate experience. She was a board member for many years for The Yorkminstrels and Alexander Singers. She has experience managing and leading events including Nuit Blanche and volunteering with Rogers Cup, The Weekend to End Breast Cancer and PanAm. Dianne has extensive career experience supporting others to be their best. She wishes to share her expertise and knowledge to be of service to others, to support initiatives, to collaborate and learn from like-minded members within the community, and positively affect change.

 

Heather Simpson

Heather Simpson is a consultant who works exclusively with nonprofit and social purpose organizations. Her work is focused on supporting the development of earned income strategies (through social enterprise feasibility and business planning), strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, evaluation and grant writing.

Heather has over 20 years of experience working in and for non-profit organizations. She has previously served in the roles of Board President and Treasurer at Elizabeth Fry Toronto, as a Board member of the Canada Africa Partnership, a Councilor for the Toronto council of the Canadian Red Cross, as a member of the Grant Review team at Ontario Trillium Foundation, as an Agency Reviewer for United Way Toronto, and as a Peer Reviewer for Imagine Canada’s standards program

Heather has an MBA from Schulich/York University, a certificate in Fundraising Management from X University, and a certificate in Non-for-Profit & Charity Finance Leadership from CPA Ontario. As an RTCC Board member elected in 2021, she hopes to put her skills and expertise to use in order to give back to an organization that is an important part of the community in which she resides.

 

James Topham

James Topham returned to Toronto, Canada, after spending two decades dedicated to assisting children in war zones. In the early ’90s, he worked in the music industry, where he once accidentally hung up the phone on Bono.

Joining the RTCC Board in 2021, James has two decades of non-profit experience both as a fundraising and communications director. He was a member of the Crisis Management, Gender and Diversity, and Safeguarding Committees at War Child Canada. He was also part of War Child Canada’s senior team that oversaw the organization’s growth from $5M/year to over $20M over just five years. James is looking forward to using his expertise and experience to help and give back to a community that is closer to his home, and seeing the impact with his own eyes.

 

Ejay Tupe:

Ejay has been a member of the RTCC Board Management since 2018. He has been serving marginalized and vulnerable people for over 16 years, working for the Yonge Street Mission as a Case Manager, serving as the Community Chaplain at Cornerstone Dinner in Regent Park and was employed as a Youth Minister for Church in the City in the St. Lawrence area, piloted a youth Outreach program with Our Place Peel and regularly works to advance Urban Ministry initiatives.  Ejay started his own not for profit work serving and advocating for marginalized people in cyclical poverty.  His extensive experience in public speaking, fundraising, and teaching has served him well in his past experience and current role at RTCC.