The Employment Champion for Youth Canada’s Employment Champion for Youth
YES is Canada's leader and has helped hundreds of thousands of youth find employment

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall governance of YES. A talented group of qualified community volunteers provides our strategic leadership and stewardship. The following individuals are the current members of our Board of Directors.

Susie Hendrie, Chair

Susie HendrieSusie Hendrie holds a BA from Queen’s University and an MSc from the London School of Economics.

Susie currently works in the Corporate Affairs Department at Rogers Communications, where she is in charge of stakeholder management for public policy related issues. Previous to that she worked at the GSMA, the global trade association for the mobile phone industry, where, among other things, she led industry policy and activity around the role of mobile technology in the lives of young people. Susie has worked in Canada, Europe and globally. She has extensive experience working with different cultures.

Susie is a former board member of a Scottish based charitable trust focused on the youth and elderly.

Youth are the future of our city, and country. We need to ensure young Canadians have access to the best tools and resources to enable them to succeed in employment. Being involved with YES is my way of contributing to youth and my community.

James O’Reilly, MBA, CFA, Vice Chair

James O’ReillyJamie O’ Reilly is employed at Citibank Canada and serves as a Director in the Corporate Solutions Group within Citi’s Capital Markets team in Canada. He provides leadership to a team of professionals with responsibility for consulting and transacting with Citi’s key corporate clients across all major asset classes in order to achieve their strategic financing and risk management objectives. Prior to joining Citi, Jamie was Vice President, Institutional Client Group at another global bank in Toronto and previously held positions in both Investment and Corporate Banking at a Canadian bank.

Jamie holds an undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University, where he graduated with Distinction and was honoured as an Academic All-Canadian athlete. He completed his formal education with an MBA from Saint Mary’s University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

YES Empowers Canadian youth through Employment.
One of the foundations for youth’s long-term success is employment, which provides self-reliance, on-the-job education, and opportunities for advancement. YES plays a critical role in helping young Canadians establish this foundation for lifelong success.

Patricia E. Wright, Past Chair

Patricia E. WrightPatti Wright obtained a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the University of Western Ontario and an LL.B. from the University of Windsor. Patti was called to the Ontario Bar in March 1983. Patti owned the Toronto law firm of Wright & Associates from 1994 to December 2011, sold her practice and is now a sole practitioner in Etobicoke specializing in corporate law. She is also a graduate of the Directors Education Program at the Institute of Corporate Directors – Rotman School of Management, U of T, and earned the ICD.D certification in March, 2011.

As a Corporate Lawyer, Patti has extensive experience in advising For Profit and Not for Profit Corporations and Foundations. Over the last 34 + years, she has sat as a Director and Officer on many Not for Profit Boards and Private Foundations including the Etobicoke General Hospital and Foundation, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce . She was a past appointee to the College of Respiratory Therapists. In additional to YES, Patti is a director and officer for two (2) private foundations and is also a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Toronto West. She is also an Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 7070.

Patti was awarded a Canadian 125th Anniversary Commemorative Medal by the Governor General of Canada in 1992 for significant contributions to the community.

I have been a long-time supporter of YES and its commitment to assisting our youth in the obtaining of long-term and fulfilling employment.
I have been and continue to be enormously impressed by the staff’s determination to improve the overall well-being of our youth through the diversified programs run by YES. The success rate is remarkable, largely due to the dedication of the volunteers and mentors and staff. As a Lawyer practicing for 30+ years, and as an Employer for more than 25 of those years and as a mother of 2 children who have now entered the work force as University graduates, I am aware of the hardships awaiting youth when seeking employment. I hope that, as a member of the Board of Directors of YES, I can bring my skills to YES to assist in any way that I can to continue to improve the services provided by YES, both in fundraising, general advice and mentoring.

Kofi Achampong

Kofi AchampongKofi is a practicing lawyer with Achampong Law and previously Kofi was the Senior Policy & Stakeholder Relations Advisor with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Kofi was the lead Minister’s Advisor concerning the development of small & medium enterprise procurement policy. Kofi was previously with the Law Office of J. Bogle and John Christie & Associates, the International Lawyer’s & Economists Against Poverty, and the World Trade Organization (Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation).

Kofi has done extensive research in various areas including with the Osgoode Hall Law Black Law Students Association, and has published work including “ A Law & Economics Approach to the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement “, “You Are Your Brother’s Keeper: the Related Employer Provision of the Employment Standards Act, 2000”, and is an Active Member of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Advocacy Team. And is a founding member of the Black Muslim Initiative, a grass-roots advocacy, research and social services non-profit.

Kofi holds a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and a B.A. Hons. in International Relations from the University of Toronto.

Kofi has extensive experience working in communities and helping disadvantaged youth and he feels passionately about the vision of YES which in turn will help create a great Canada.

Amanda Balasubramanian, B.A., LL.B.

Amanda BalasubramanianAmanda Balasubramanian is the Chair of the Governance Committee of YES. Amanda is a Partner with Tory’s LLP law firm in Toronto and leads a diverse practice primarily in the debt financing area, including domestic, cross-border and international transactions, private equity and acquisition financings, syndicated banking transaction and public and private offerings of debt securities. Amanda was selected as a leading lawyers in banking and finance by the “Best Lawyers’ in Canada and by Chambers & Partners. Active in the community, Amanda has been a volunteer speaker, fundraiser for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a Director and Vice Commodore of the Island Yacht Club, and has fundraised and supported the Bequia Reading Club, a children’s literacy program. Amanda received her Bachelor of Arts and Law Degree from the University of Manitoba.

Helping make Toronto stronger
I am so pleased to be a part of YES and help change lives to thousands of youth each year. This has an important impact on all of us: our community, our nation, and our future. YES is leading the way in helping create a stronger safer Toronto.

Julie Crothers

Julie CrothersJulie Crothers holds an MBA in Finance from the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto and a B.A. from McGill University.

Julie is currently Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Coleford Investment Management. She was previously Vice President at Jones Collombin Investment Counsel Inc.. Julie is active in the community and has volunteered with several not for profit organizations. She is the Chair of Annual Events for the Havergal College Old Girls Committee and is a member of the Michael Wilson Society at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

As a Board Member of YES I wish to contribute advice and provide positive creative strategies for promoting youth employment.
I have seen first-hand what a little help can do to make a significant difference to lives. At YES, it is inspiring to see the vast amount of support and help they give to change so many lives each year.

Christine Discola

Christine DiscolaChristine is the Country Human Resources Officer for Citi Canada. She is a member of Citi Canada’s Executive Leadership Team. Christine leads the company’s human capital strategy including leadership and talent development, diversity and inclusion, organizational development, culture and engagement, franchise risk management and total rewards. Christine is the Chair of the Citi Canada Pension Committee and participates as a contributing member of the Citibank Canada Board of Directors in line with her governance and leadership mandate. Over the past decade, Christine has led her team through several major business transformations, including acquisitions and diverstitures activities that resulted in significant changes to the Canadian franchise. Christine has also led significant global projects related to communications and change management within Citi’s HR function.

Christine has over 25 years of experience in HR, and prior to that, had spent several years in Consumer Banking at Citibank. Christine studied Economics and Sociology at the University of Toronto, and holds a Global Professional Human Resources designation (“GPHR”) as well as a Certificate in Leadership Development from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Christine is passionate about the mission of YES as it speaks to her commitment to developing tomorrow’s leaders and citizens of our communities. As a Mom with 2 grown children, she is eager to help an organization provide opportunities to youth and support their well being so they can thrive.

Rami El Jurdi

Rami El JurdiRami is Vice President, Corporate Finance with Brookfield Asset Management and oversees Brookfield’s global liquidity, financial risk management and banking relationships including managing the company’s three credit rating agencies. Rami led over $3.5B of public corporate bond issuances, spearheading Brookfield’s targeted growth in the U.S. bond market and raised one of the lowest cost bonds for the company and completed an inaugural $100M Yen equivalent bond issuance. Rami has been in numerous strategic roles at Brookfield since 2009 and prior to that was with Deloitte.

Rami is a Chartered Accountant and part of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario as well as the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuator. Rami holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance & Accounting from Sprott School of Business, Carleton University.

Rami has volunteered for several not for profits including the United Way and involved in the Ride to Conquer Cancer and is passionate about the YES mission to change lives forever and help create more prosperous and safer and stronger communities.

Jamil Jivani

Jamil JivaniJamil Jivani is a Canadian social entrepreneur and community organizer. He is the founder of the Policing Literacy Initiative and co-founder of Teachers Beyond the Classroom. Jivani founded the Policing Literacy Initiative, a youth-driven public education and advocacy group focused on community safety issues. In April 2014 Jivani co-produced with Dan Epstein a documentary about police-community relations titled “Crisis of Distrust: Police and Community in Toronto.”

Jivani was a 2013-14 Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance DiverseCity Fellow. As a Fellow he co-founded Teachers Beyond the Classroom, which seeks to “help thousands of unemployed teachers transfer their skills to non-school employment opportunities across the Greater Toronto Area.”

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. On February 13, 2014, Jivani was named Yale Alumni Magazine’s Newsmaker of the Week. He recently published the book “Why Young Men”. He has a law degree from Yale University and practiced at Tory’s Law firm in Toronto.

Michael Kavanagh, CPA, CA

Michael KavanaghMichael Kavanagh is the Chair of the Audit Committee of YES. Michael is a Partner within KPMG’s Financial Services practice in the GTA with a focus on funds and private equity. His group is dedicated to providing services relevant to companies in these sectors and markets. Michael has significant and varied experience involving matters of financial reporting, regulatory compliance and public market offerings, and transaction related assistance. Previous to this role, Michael led KPMG’s Technology practice in the Greater Toronto Area and has worked with several private equity and venture capital firms during his tenure with KPMG.

His professional background includes working with and leading multi-disciplined teams, including advisory and tax professionals specializing in a range of disciplines that contribute to the assessment of internal control over financial reporting. He has been frequently called upon to speak and moderate at various technology related events and roundtables over the years and is a great supporter of the technology community in the GTA.

YES is an employment champion for youth in our community – a clear and purposeful mission statement.
Dig a little a deeper and you will find that YES is a champion for elevating youth to new and better personal outcomes, building self-esteem and self-confidence, and creating a personal path to success through employment where one did not previously exist. I can recall how employment opportunities in my youth shaped my life and lifted me to new heights. As a member of the board of directors, I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with the team at YES in their efforts to assist disadvantaged youth reach their full potential.

Luzita Kennedy

Luzita KennedyLuzita Kennedy has a BA in Accounting Science from the University of South Africa, and Diploma in Accountancy from the University of Natal-Durban.

Luzita obtained her South African CA in 2001 and her Canadian CA in 2004. She is a Partner at KPMG, Accounting Advisory Services, and also the Real Estate Accounting Advisory Practice Leader.

Luzita is a member of the: (1) Women’s Executive Network (WXN), (2) Toronto Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), and (3) RealPac’s Financial Best Practices Committee. 

Nicole Musicco

Nicole MusiccoNicole Musicco is the Chair of the Development Committee of YES. Nicole leads the global fund investment program overseeing all of Teachers Private Capital externally managed private equity and venture capital fund positions, and emerging markets co-investment and co-underwriting activities. Teachers’ Private Capital is the private equity department of the C$130-billion Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. Since joining Teachers’ in 2002, Ms. Musicco has assumed positions of increasing responsibility within Teachers’ Private Capital, with roles on both the Direct and Fund investment teams. Ms. Musicco graduated from the HBA and MBA programs at the Richard Ivey School of Business, and from the Bachelor of Science Kinesiology program at the University of Western Ontario.

When youth believe in their own potential, they can achieve amazing things.
YES provides the tools to achieve this, and I am excited to contribute to this great organization.

Sarah Nixon-Suggitt

Sarah Nixon-SuggittSarah Nixon-Suggitt is the Executive Director, Human Capital Management of Timbercreek Asset Management Inc. Sarah’s responsibilities include all aspects of Human Capital for Timbercreek including: Organizational Design and Development, Employee Relations, Talent Management and Acquisition, Total Rewards, Performance Management, Legal Compliance, Payroll and Benefits Management and Administration, Learning and Development, HRIS, Employee and Office Services. Prior to joining Timbercreek, Sarah was Vice President, Human Resources at Gluskin Sheff + Associates and Assistant Vice President, Talent Acquisition at Manulife Financial. Ms. Nixon-Suggitt also spent a number of years in the executive search industry in both Canada and the United States.

Sarah is a member of the YES Development Committee. Sarah is a graduate of the Advanced Program in Human Resource Management at The Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and The University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Political Science.

Ravi Nookala

Ravi NookalaRavi is President & CEO of Glentel Inc. and leads the management team in establishing long-term strategic vision for the organization, while building distinct strategies for the GLENTEL business units encompassing Wireless Wave, T Booth and Wireless Etc. (@ Costco), that will help position GLENTEL as a leading connected retailer in the Canadian wireless industry. Prior to Glentel Ravi served as President – Sony Mobile Communications (U.S.A.) Inc., based in San Francisco U.S. Ravi began his career at Sony in 1991. Since then he has held senior management roles across Sony’s worldwide operations spanning the Middle East, India, Canada and the U.S.A

Ravi was recently named amongst “The top 25 CEO’s in Canada” and holds an MBA and an Institute of Corporate Directors certification from the Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto.

Ravi has been involved in charitable efforts focused on children at Sony through “Make a Wish Foundation” and supporting Hospitals for Sick Children’s across Canada through Glentel. Ravi is also passionate about skills for youth employment and community service. YES provides youth with the tools to succeed in their career & life which in turn helps to build a stronger community & country. “If we are to reach real peace in this world… we shall have to begin with youth.” — Mahatma Gandhi

John Taylor

John Taylor

John Taylor is the Chair of the Investment Committee of YES. John is a graduate of Bishops University, BA History and Concordia University in Montreal where he received his MA in History. John has been employed by ScotiaMcLeod since 1995 where he works as a Portfolio Manager overseeing investment portfolios for individuals, trusts and corporations. In addition to his role at YES, John also currently sits on the Investment Committee for the Presbyterian Church of Canada.

Strong youth Employment = A strong Canadian Economy.
Having come out of school during a recession in Canada I know how difficult it can be to find employment and those memories have stayed with me. Today’s economic environment is even harder on youth looking for employment and the role of YES helping those youth is even more important. Having built a career as a portfolio manager with ScotiaMcLeod over the past 17 years I feel honored to give back my time and energy as a board member and chair of the Investment Committee for YES helping the Youth of today.

Timothy Lang

Timothy LangTimothy Lang is President & CEO of Youth Employment Services YES, Canada’s leading youth employment service provider, and is an accomplished leader in the private and not for profit sector with a record of inspiring organizations to achieve results and growth. Tim holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history from StFX University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Manitoba. As President & CEO of YES, Tim lead’s a strong team who annually empower and inspire thousands of youth through training and skills development to become contributing members of society through employment. Tim previously held senior management and executive positions with Xerox Corp., Bell Canada, Energy Savings Income Fund, and St. Francis Xavier University. Tim has served on several not-for-profit boards, food banks and youth organizations. Tim speaks and lectures frequently at national events, corporations and universities on topics of leadership, motivation, sales, marketing, communications, fundraising, and more. Tim received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012 for outstanding contributions to the community.

YES changes lives and communities every day
There are so many talented youth who have dreams of a fulfilling and complete life for themselves and their families, yet some do not know how to get there. YES training and programs have been incredibly important in giving youth the skills, confidence, ability and a plan to succeed. For every dollar in our programs, it returns as much as $24 dollars back to economy in wages, taxes, and more. But more importantly, it is the right thing to do and helps change lives…forever.

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