Staff and Board


Caitlin Smith, Administrative Coordinator

Caitlin has a Bachelors of Journalism from Ryerson University and is a current student in the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate Diploma Program at George Brown College. Caitlin has been involved in the fight for free, accessible and equitable post-secondary education for over 10 years and is humbled to bring her skillset and experience into the violence and trauma sector. She has a passion for administrative and operational clarity as a way to strengthen social justice and advocacy work and is excited to be a member of the Springtide Resources team.

Vilma Funes, Program Coordinator

Vilma is the Communication and Administrative Coordinator at Springtide Resources. She has a Bachelor of Sociology from York University, a Human Resource Certificate from Humber College and an Assaulted Women's and Children's Councillor Advocate certificate from George Brown College. For the past decade, Vilma has focused on providing administrative and coordination support to various sectors as well as volunteering and working as a tutor, translator, ESL teacher, and course instructor. She values contributing to community and is passionate about inclusiveness, education and process efficiency. She enjoys working on the diverse projects and groups that encompass Springtide Resources.

Project managers

Ainsley Brittain

Ainsley is an idealist who imagines and works towards relationships and communities of care, justice, and flourishing.  Ainsley has an academic background in Women and Gender Studies, Sexuality Studies, and Education, with a focus on foregrounding the creative resistance of people and communities harmed by historical and current conditions of inequity and violence. She has extensive experience in project coordination, supporting people in designing and actualizing self-directed solutions to challenges in their lives, and facilitating anti-oppression learning and community building - work she is grateful to be able to do here at Springtide.

Melanie Marsden

At Springtide Resources, I enjoy networking with other organizations, as well as providing education and awareness through a cross-disability lens. In the future I look forward to making Springtide a household name by expanding upon our networks.  

Currently, I serve as Chair on the community board for Ethno-Racial People with Disabilities Coalition of Ontario. I also serve on the Accessibility Consumer Advisory Committee at Nellie’s, a Toronto women’s shelter and a community based feminist organization and am a current member of the Health Standards Committee for the AODA.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and hope to complete my Master of Social Work, studying aboriginal elder teachings. 

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, listening to music, playing the piano, singing, cycling and traveling. 


Azza Abbaro

Azza is a Visual Communication/Graphic Design Consultant with an MA in Professional Communication from Ryerson University, and an Hon. B.A. in Visual Studies from University of Toronto.

Combining her passion for art and social justice, she has worked alongside non-profits and grassroots groups for over eight years to help design materials/develop visual communication strategies that brand and promote their various initiatives and reflect their values and missions. With three years of experience as a Community Health Youth Worker, she also brings a unique "insider's" perspective to her work, which she approaches from an inclusive, anti-oppressive framework.


Issy (Istiliana) Vlaykov

Issy Vlaykov is an experienced Financial Industry professional, with over 15 years of experience with the Bank of Montreal in a Finance and Risk and Compliance capacity. She has also worked in consulting capacity across North America and in Investment Banking in Europe, prior to coming to Canada in 1994. She holds a MSc in Economics and a BA in Linguistics.  Issy has a passion for women’s issues, protecting the most vulnerable in the community and driving forward positive change. Issy brings her high level of enthusiasm and energy in support of the amazing work done by Springtide Resources.

Bailey Griffin

Bailey Griffin is a health services professional focused on new models of care that leverage technology to improve the way health systems work. She is currently Manager of Management Consulting in Accenture's Health and Public Services practice in Toronto. Prior to her role at Accenture, Bailey was the Program Manager of Virtual Care at the Women's College Hospital, where she managed evaluations of provincial digital health projects across Ontario. Bailey has a BHSc in Health Science & Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a MSc in International Health & Development from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

Katie (Kathryn) Lynch

Katie (Kathryn) Lynch is a staff lawyer at west-end Toronto community legal clinics. She practices in the area of immigration law. Prior to law school, she studied political science and worked in refugee settlement in Toronto. She brings to Springtide a perspective on immigrant and refugee legal issues from her daily work with non-status and others who encounter difficulties with immigration authorities.

Liora Sobel

Liora is a highly enthusiastic and motivated, Strengths-Based Manager who has dedicated her education and career to improving the lives of others through social justice initiatives, advocacy and program development. Committed to achieving the highest success through hard work, initiative, problem solving and education, Liora is currently in the process of developing the first feminist social enterprise in Ontario. Additional areas of specialty include fund development through grant writing. Liora is passionate about ending gender-based violence to make this world a better place for everyone.

Nicole Desgagnes

Nicole Desgagnes, Senior Human Resources Business Partner at BMO Bank of Montreal, has over twenty years of experience in various human resources functions, including compensation, performance management, talent management and employee relations. In her current role, Nicole supports senior executives in implementing effective employee programs. 

Nicole has held a number of volunteer positions in the non-profit sector, including various committee roles in human resources professionals associations and board membership roles and is a former board chair of Volunteer Ottawa. 

Nicole has a Bachelors’ Degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa and a Certifie‎d Human Resources Leader Designation.

Stephanie Wang

Stephanie is an experienced strategy and finance professional. Most recently, she was Director of Strategy and Business Improvement at Sears Canada. Previously, she was Senior Consultant with Deloitte Canada and Finance Manager with Manulife Financial. She holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Richard Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Science from University of Toronto. She also holds a certificate in Psychology from Ryerson University. She is passionate about women’s issues and is very excited to be part of the Springtide Resources Board.

Sydney Piggott

Sydney Piggott is a dynamic, results-oriented not-for-profit manager and researcher with professional experience in international development, corporate social responsibility, and gender advocacy. She is the Manager of Programs and Projects at YWCA Canada where she oversees national initiatives with a vision to see women and girls empowered in a safe and equitable society. Sydney is also member of Gender Equality Network Canada and a research fellow for the Reach Project. Sydney is a graduate of the Master of Global Affairs program at the University of Toronto - Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy where she co-founded the Intersectional Feminist Collective and was a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee scholar. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from McGill University.