Staff and Board


Nadine Sookermany, Executive Director

Nadine Sookermany has been an anti-violence activist, advocate, consultant and educator for over 20 years.  Her professional experience includes frontline shelter work, harm reduction, community-based education and literacy, as well as coalition work across various disciplines with a focus on intersectionality and anti-oppression.  After over twelve years as a Community Literacy worker with Parkdale Project Read and almost eight years as a professor with the Assaulted Women's and Children's Counselor/Advocate and Social Service Worker programs at George Brown College, she is eager to join the team at Springtide Resources.

Nadine works from a community-based holistic, critical and social perspective; an approach that fits with her work in the community on various Boards of Directors and advisory committees relating to research, education, anti-violence and equity/anti-oppression.  She has a specific passion for exploring experiences that illustrate the impact of violence on learning and education, as is demonstrated in her work as co-founder of the Learning and Violence Collaborative.

Vilma Funes, Communication and Administrative 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 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.

Kaylen Fredrickson

Kaylen manages e-learning projects for Springtide Resources. She works with advisory committees, consultants, and colleagues to plan, develop, and deliver e-learning projects.

Outside of her work at Springtide, Kaylen works as a research and evaluation consultant. She has worked with a variety of community agencies to support program research and improvement projects. She has a particular interest in strategic planning, program evaluation and ongoing service improvement.

In 2013, Kaylen completed a Master's of Public Health in Health Promotion at the University of Toronto.

Tanisha Sri Bhaggiyadatta

Tanisha Sri Bhaggiyadatta’s professional experience includes community based research and education, as well as working in the area of gender based violence prevention, advocacy and response for over 15 years. She has performed front line crisis work, advocacy, outreach and program design and delivery. In her role with Springtide Resources she has created, developed and delivered workshops and training programs for immigrant, refugee and non-status communities and has designed multilingual, arts based message making campaigns, addressing and challenging violence at both individual and systemic levels. She works across disciplines and fields, educating community members and front line workers on the myriad issues that intersect with gender based violence such as immigration and mental health.

Tanisha is also a professor in the Assaulted Women and Child Counsellor Advocate Program at George Brown College and is passionate about the power of transformational social justice education within and outside of the classroom. Academically, Tanisha has an undergraduate degree in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto and Master of Environmental Studies from York University.

Melanie Marsden

At Sprintide 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.

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. 

Emily Gillespie

Emily Gillespie is a passionate social justice advocate who focuses on issues of feminism and intersectionality when considering approaches to community organizing. She is passionate about disability rights and ableism and the inclusion of a disability lens in social movements. Emily is particularly interested in mental health related activism, in relation to people knowing their legal rights around mental health, being treated with dignity, and having access to the services they desire. She is also interested in housing and poverty reduction, and has volunteered in this area.

Emily has a Bachelor’s degree in Gender Equality and Social Justice and English and because of her interest in disability issues, completed a Master’s in Critical Disability Studies. In addition to lived experience with multiple invisible disabilities, she has worked to support students with disabilities in the post-secondary environment. In her free time, she looks for creative outlets to explore issues around ableism, Gender Based Violence, and mental health. She enjoys creating stand-up comedy and fictional writing that engage with these topics. She is a daydreamer who wants to challenge every type of stigma, and help re-imagine what human interactions can look like. 


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.


deb singh

deb singh is a counselor/activist at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape. As a revoluationary who uses the pronoun 'she', an Indo-Caribbean anti-violence activist, deb has been working with survivors of sexual violence for the past 16 years. As a 37-year old, queer, working class, new mom, she uses interactive workshop tools, art-making and writing to try to get her messages across. She loves learning from others, walks on the beach, and being an ally to Black and Indigenous communities. Check out her monthly blog at

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.

Sara Mohammed

Sara is a communications, community-based research and community engagement professional with over 7 years of experience in the non-profit women’s and health equity sectors. She is a mixed-race cis-gender woman of colour, artist, trauma-informed yoga teacher, and writer which both inform and support her social justice and gender equity work. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, a Master’s in Environmental Studies from York University, in addition to a Graduate teaching degree specializing in participatory education towards decolonization.

Maggie Panighel

Maggie is currently the Employer Brand and Talent Marketing Consultant for the Canadian Tire Corporation.  She has a wide range of experience in diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, communications, employer branding, and program management which she gained through her current role at CTC and previous roles at TELUS.  Maggie has worked and volunteered for a number of not-for-profits, gaining over 15 years of experience in engagement work focused on inclusion, anti-oppression and social justice.  She has a Masters in Peace Studies from Bradford University in the UK and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies from Queen’s University. 

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.

Diana Grimaldos

Diana Grimaldos was born and raised in Colombia. Her experience has focused primarily in community and civic engagement, adult education, building capacity, volunteerism, advocacy and women’s issues. Diana has a B.A. in Social Psychology and is a former Fellow at the School for Social Entrepreneurs. She currently work as a Parent Engagement Coordinator at Working Women Community Centre and a trauma counsellor at the YWCA. She brings over ten years of direct engagement with immigrant communities in Toronto around topics of violence prevention, parenting, social and civic inclusion. Diana overseas over 200 volunteers at year and runs a leadership trainings for parents and newcomer leaders; promoting empowering opportunities for recent immigrants to share their stories of struggle, resilience and innovation.  As a community organizer, Diana often facilitates community discussions around leadership and community engagement with marginalized women and girls across the city.  She is currently part of the committee of a women-led network of adult educators for social change in the Southern Ontario region.

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.