Meet the mentors passionate about providing health services, community support, and counselling in the community!
Physiotherapist & Life Coach
I am so excited to be a part of the netWORKING mentorship program! My name is Alisha Morgan. I’m a born and raised Torontonian to parents from Trinidad. I went to the University of Toronto where I majored in Biology and minored in Psychology and French. I did my graduate degree in Physical Therapy and I’ve been working in a hospital as a paediatric physiotherapist for over 12 years. A few years ago, I decided to pursue my passion of helping people to live happier and more fulfilled lives and I became certified as a Life Coach. I then started my own coaching business. I love doing one-on-one coaching sessions and workshops where I support people with things like confidence, the inner critic, and finding fulfillment and joy in their lives. I have many interests outside of my professions including reading, watching movies, dance and travel. I look forward to getting to know the women in this program and I look forward to us sharing with and learning from each other!
Growing up my dad taught me that I will have to work twice as hard to get half as far but it took trying to get ahead in my career for this lesson to fully sink in. I believe there are two ways to handle these disappointments; you can either give up or, well, work twice as hard. Me, I’ve worked twice as hard (and as smart!) and trust me it has paid off. I have been working in progressive roles in health care for 12 years and now I am a Project Manager at Mount Sinai Hospital, responsible for ensuring a smooth transition helping critical departments move to their newly constructed spaces. This program is vital because without strong black female influences, I don’t think I would be where I am today. This is what made me want to be a mentor. I hope to offer this same influence to my mentee by listening, helping her navigate difficult situations, and showing her there are so many other career paths. I am proud of where I am today and look forward to helping a young woman navigate her path to success.
Community Health Worker
My name is Léa and I am a 25-year-old black woman with a vision and a purpose. As a woman walking in her purpose, I cease opportunities which allow me to help other women how to also walk in their own purpose, because I believe that the best leaders are those who teach others how to lead. Black women have been predisposed to self-hate through various platforms. The betterment and progression of black women is very important to me. I currently work in the field of health promotion as a bilingual community health worker with a focus on French Language Services. The community I work in is racialized and I see the impact that race has on people’s lives. I have a genuine passion for giving back to the community and helping people develop skill sets that will allow them to discover their purpose and the things about themselves that would make them excel in their lives & career. Through my mentoring skills, I would like to teach black women to love themselves unapologetically regardless of their skin tone, hair texture, body shape and anything else that anyone has ever belittled them for. This mentorship project is mutually beneficial for all participants, because the mentors can also learn from the mentees and not just the other way around. I am excited to meet the group of black women that are part of this project, and should this project ever come to an end, I hope it won’t be the end of the legacy that will come out of this.
Hi folks! My name is Brianna Nelson and I am a 23-year-old Jamaican Canadian woman (she/her). I am a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with a Bachelors of Life Science where I completed a double major in psychology and health studies with a minor in cultural anthropology. A lot of my work is rooted in community development coordination and research and I always strive to produce sustainable, and meaningful outcomes within my work. I currently work as the Community Development Coordinator for the Community Development Council of Durham as well as a Youth Program Leader for the Town of Ajax. I am also doing an internship with Skills for Change helping support their Building Welcoming and Equitable Communities Project.I currently live in the Durham region, but I was born and raised in the City of Toronto, and lived right off of Queensway and Windermere for 13 years. Living in my neighbourhood taught me to see the strength in people which inspired me to do more in order to protect and nurture that strength. When I moved to Durham it really challenged my black identity at the time, and I struggled to see the beauty in my skin. I was so used to seeing people who looked like me and shared my experiences. I had a hard time adapting and I faced many trials getting to the positive and unapologetic space that I am in now. My passion to work harder has always been inspired by my beginnings and I never take it for granted nor do I have regrets. My greatest wish within this experience is to make a life long friend who I can support through their trials, and use my own experiences to steer them in a positive direction. I want us to uplift each other, teach each other to protect our peace, and actively engage in deeper cultural connections as our beauty is unmatchable and we are powerfulS
Academic Advisor & Reiki Teacher
A student support services professional in academia by day, Sheena began her spiritual journey over 20 years ago, not knowing it was already in her blood. She is known to be a powerful conduit, sharing insightful messages at the right time. Always attuned to the unexplained, supernatural and ethereal, Sheena was unknowingly tapping into her ancestral knowledge before she even realized what was happening. Gone are the days when she used to be teased about her esoteric interests – those same people now call to discuss their dreams, goals and feelings. Sheena Ewan is a Reiki Teacher, intuitive astrologer, spiritual mentor, writer, artist and the founder of Raw Redemption and co-founder of Roots Movement Retreats – a self-care retreat for those needing to immerse themselves in self-healing. With experience in childhood trauma, Sheena is passionate about supporting others by holding space for those who are experiencing transformation. She encourages clients to take healing into their hands by becoming an expert of their own mind and body to foster an empowered relationship with medical health-care. This looks exploring their inner life in a spiritual way to build resiliency and redefine the lens through which they see the world.
My name is Chadell Andrea Phillip and I am an exuberant Canadian-Caribbean 26 year old passionate about supporting my community in health and happiness. During high school I participated in UofT Faculty of Medicine’s Summer Mentorship Program, and went on to receive my Bachelors of Arts Honors in Kinesiology at Western University, becoming the first woman in my family to graduate university. After taking 2 years to teach English as Second Language internationally and work as Office Manager at a very successful chiropractic clinic downtown Toronto, I enrolled at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, currently in my 3rd year of becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic. In my spare time you can find me either working part time as a server, indoor or outdoor rock climbing, painting anatomical or sensual artwork, exploring sustainable off-grid living, or planning my next international travel adventure. I believe we have the power to create extraordinary lives for ourselves when we follow our natural curiosities and desires. The happiest people I’ve met had a vision of their success so clear and courageous, that their journey of ups and downs was just as fulfilling as their achievements. With that in mind, I want to work with my mentee to set heart-centered goals around their health, education, and leadership, provide accountability, work together to manage life’s challenges, and above all encourage gratitude. We have to grow into the person who is capable of achieving the things we have yet to, and the love and support we receive and ways we view our challenges is key to this growth.
Community Health Worker
Hello everyone! My name is Denese Frans. I am of Ghanaian and Jamaican background and was born and raised in Scarborough. For a long as I can remember I have been passionate about women’s health. My early years were formed by the story-telling and mentorship of my late grandmother. Her experiences and lessons learned as a mid-wife and public health nurse in Jamaica were always shared with such passion, love and excitement. She instilled in me the importance of being a public health advocate. With every story, my desire to learn and fascination increased.
In high school, I was fortunate to participate in the University of Toronto’s Summer Mentorship Program, which helped guide my path into health care. Over the last ten years, I have been proactive in gaining experiences solidifying my decision to work in public health. While earning my Honours B.Sc. in Health Sciences at UofT, I volunteered with Mount Sinai Hospital’s Special Pregnancy Department, supporting their administration and department coordination, attempting to get a taste of my grandmother’s world. However, it was my international experience working with the Organization of Social Services for AIDS (OSSA), an NGO in Ethiopia, which led me to pursue work in HIV/AIDS prevention. I was ground-level, speaking and working with the young children supported by the program. Though it wasn’t always easy, the feeling of playing a role in helping the organization fulfill its mandate strengthened my drive to further my work.
This eye opening experience initiated my career in HIV prevention in Toronto. I completed the CITYLeaders program for program/leadership development, served as a board member for the Black Health Alliance, volunteered with the AIDS Committee of Toronto, and became a Community Health Ambassador with Women’s Health In Women’s Hands CHC (WHIWH-CHC) for two years, where I engaged black women in health promotion and HIV prevention. Currently, I work as the Community Health Worker with Women’s Health In Women’s Hands CHC where I coordinate HIV prevention programming serving African, Caribbean, and Black women in Toronto. I am also a member of the Toronto Urban Health Fund Review Panel for Toronto Public Health and I am a Master of Public Health Candidate at the University of Waterloo.
To be a mentor is a privilege and I am looking forward to supporting another young black woman build towards her future successes!
Hello! I am a family physician with a special interest in women’s health, especially sexual and reproductive health. I strongly believe that women should be armed with as much information as possible to be able to make the best decisions for their bodies. I decided to pursue a career in medicine at the end of high school and did a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. After going on to complete a Master’s Degree, also in Health Sciences, I was admitted to the University of Toronto for medical school.I love working with and for women and currently work at a community health centre as well as at a sexual health clinic. In my spare time I love to stay active but also love to eat large amounts of carbs. My hope is to empower young women to achieve their goals and to help them break down barriers that might be in the way. I’ve been a mentor before and am very excited to be a part of this program. Can’t wait to meet you!
Hello! My name is Neke Ibeh. My siblings and I were born in Bulgaria to Nigerian parents. In 2001, we immigrated to Canada (Scarborough), and my mom raised us as a single parent. Academics were always a major emphasis in the household, and I took a strong liking to Medical Science early on. After completing a B.Sc. in Mathematical Biology at Queen’s University, I completed my Masters of Science at the University of Ottawa. I conducted research on the Ebola Virus and its evolution, specifically, how its 2014 variant reached unprecedented transmission and mortality rates. I also worked on developing computational methods for predicting HIV transmission dynamics.I now work as a Bioinformatician at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. My career as a Bioinformatician challenges me on a daily basis and allows me to apply various skills to tackle the most critical questions in cancer research. During my free time, I love to play and watch basketball, read novels, watch horror movies, and most importantly- spend quality time with friends and family.As a mentor, I believe that I can offer mentees skills that would aid in their personal and academic success, such as: the ability to manage time appropriately, perseverance in the face of adversity, dedication to achieving one’s goals, collaborating with others, confidence with public speaking, the ability to access information and data across various platforms, and self-preservation. The sole factor driving my passion to be a mentor for young Black women is the need to expose young females to the vast array of possibilities when it comes to their future careers. I want to play an active role in encouraging young females to explore Science in ways that they might have never thought possible, and to help guide them as they develop their personal interests.
Early Child Education Supervisor
My name is Jamelia Gay and I was born and raised on the beautiful twin island of Trinidad & Tobago. I am a lover of the Arts, particularly theatre/musicals and thoroughly enjoy singing and dancing (I’m only an expert at home!) I have always loved writing poetry which has become a means of catharsis. Writing helps me make sense of the world and of myself. Having chosen to reside in Toronto 10 years ago, while my parents remained in Trinidad, I know what it feels like to be a foreigner both in my home country and my residing country, and sometimes even a foreigner in my own skin. Upon moving to Toronto, I began working in a factory; all day on my feet, becoming well versed in the concept of repetition, monotony and self-doubt. I then worked in retail, administration, and as a library assistant, all while going to university full-time. It was difficult, it was extremely lonely, but it was all worth it. Being a black woman who has frequently been cocooned in Darkness, both self-inflicted and not, I have become quite fluent in the art of trying, the art of failing, and the magnificence of recovery. I am currently employed as the Supervisor of Alphabet Treehouse Childcare Centre. I studied both Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Administration at Seneca College and have also attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business & Society from York University. My passion for childcare was expanded by my work with children who fell under the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella, and children who were globally delayed, as well as my opportunity to develop and facilitate an Early Years Learning Centre in a fly-in First Nations Reserve. My favourite quote was written by the late Audre Lorde, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” I frequently remind myself, and now I urge you, to never be afraid of being yourself, your true self and no one else. Do not allow the world to tell you who you are. There is no need to be someone you are not. The world has attempted to swallow us whole; be it past relationships, a family affair, personal afflictions or financial struggles. Yet, here we stand and onwards we march. Do not delve into survivor’s guilt. The fact that you made it out alive, that the pressures of this world allowed you to shed your coal skin to become that Diamond of a woman you are today, that is a feat to be celebrated! Who are you not to be Great.
Counsellor & Social Worker
My name is Simone Donaldson and I am a Registered Social Worker at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre. I have been in the field for over 10 years, and currently my focus is around both community and mental health. I provide supports in and outside of the center, where my role consists of advocacy, case management, brief therapy, facilitation and system navigation, infused with an anti-oppressive and ant-racist framework. Moreover, understanding culture is key to the work I do, as I believe it allows individuals, families and communities to feel more empowered. Mentoring has been an integral part of my career path, where I first experienced mentoring in high school through the University of Toronto Summer Mentorship program. It was at this time that I found my purpose and determination to become a Social Worker. I completed my BSW through Ryerson University and my MSW through Dalhousie University. My hope is, through this program, I will help individuals recognize both their potential, passion and build confidence towards the field they hope to enter.
Hey all! My name is Kavita Bailey, I am currently a full time registered nurse working at William Osler Health systems in their pediatric and neonatal ICU units; I also work part-time with the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation division. Both allow me to be involved in my community and give me access to opportunities within the hospital and community; I am also a part of a community support group at the University of Toronto that often posts volunteer and learning opportunities all of which I would love to pass on! Hit me up if you have any questions, about *anything*, let me know your interests so I know what opportunities might interest you. If you feel you need an ice breaker in your email, I love Disney movies and the Harry Potter series J #kidatheart. I went to a predominantly Caucasian high school, where in my experience, you could feel the awkward tension (that actually rose into incidents a few times, even with teachers!) between the white students and the black students as well as the underlying homophobia. We, the black students (at the time there was approximately 20 of us), didn’t feel represented so we did something – I helped create the Black History Everyday group and co-founded the school’s first Gay Straight Alliance. Both groups gave me the opportunity to help others and myself along the way. I helped create and present innovative educational campaigns to spread awareness regarding issues of racism, sexual orientation and marginalization. I continued to volunteer there after I went to University to help other students take the reins. I attended to the University of Toronto, twice, once for my Bachelor of Science degree (majored in Human Biology and Psychology, minored in French), then again for my nursing degree. Both degrees I did while volunteering with various organizations and working *several* part-time jobs including: City of Toronto Parks and Recreation where I teach science, creative writing, skating and karate. Work-life balance has been a persistent theme in my journey, it gets tough but I try to face every day it with positivity and give it my best! I don’t always succeed, but every day is a new day to do better! I was born and raised in Rexdale. I love my community and I see all of its potential so I take any chance I can to give back, whether it be in my work at the hospital and community center or volunteer opportunities. I’d like to share my experiences, pass on opportunities and see the youth in my community succeed! Many opportunities are based on access, who you know and how you were able to find out, so let’s get netWORKING and show them our amazing potential!
Social Worker & Entrepreneur
I am a believer, a dreamer, and a world seeker. I am a full time Master of Social Work candidate, working in the social service sector for over 6 years with individuals with dual diagnosis. I consider myself as an entrepreneur, as I own a bath and body company (@LoveCareNaturals) as well as the co-owner of a travel company. While becoming an entrepreneur, I have been able to teach myself the importance of financial literacy ranging from saving, budgeting, investing, and tax planning that has allowed me to make informed and effective decisions with my financial resources. I am passionate about empowering individuals to live their healthiest and most fulfilling life, both personally and professionally. I would like to utilize my experiences and skill sets to promote radical self-love and the fundamentals of self-care. My passion derives from the various obstacles I have been through in my life from living in a single parent household with no sense of security to learning how to take care of myself from an early age. Therefore, I knew I wanted to become a mentor to girls who have been through similar experiences, to be the person I always needed when I was younger.
Motto: Live Life – Have Faith – Love Hard
LIVE LIFE: life is too short not to live it to the fullest,
HAVE FAITH: believing in yourself and all that you do,
LOVE HARD: loving yourself as much as you want to be loved.
Natacha P. Pennycooke
Mental Health Therapist at WHIWH-CHC
From a young age as a Black woman of Caribbean parentage born and raised in Montreal, I was constantly reminded that I had three strikes against me: I am a Black woman and Anglophone.
Keeping this in mind as I navigated throughout my life, I became fascinated with human behaviour and culture. This fascination led me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (specializing in Culture Psychology with a minor in Biology) from Concordia University. Upon graduation I realized that I wanted to be in an educational setting where I was not one of the only Black faces in the classroom and that was more reflective of my cultural upbringing; and so I attended The University of The West Indies. There I completed my Master’s in Counselling Psychology at CaveHill Campus, Barbados, and clinical training at The University Hospital of the West Indies, in Kingston, Jamaica.
Upon returning home to Montreal, it quickly became apparent that the three strikes were still against me, even as an educated Black, Anglophone women. This forced me to make the difficult decision to relocate to the Toronto area, leaving my family and familiar community behind. In Toronto, I have worked in private practice, clinical, community and forensic settings, providing psychotherapy to individuals, couples and groups struggling with a range of mental health and interpersonal challenges. Additionally, I have spoken at international conferences on systemic racism, discrimination, oppression and resilience of POC from an applied clinical-counselling stand point. As a mentor, I hope to be able to help another young Black woman navigate the systems of inequality and oppression that lie ahead by nourishing her strengths and investing in her future goals for success.
Early Childhood Educator
My name is Emily Sagaria, and I am young professional working in Education. I was born and raised in Namibia and moved to Canada with my family shortly before my 13th birthday. I have a burning passion for children and their families. I am currently working in the Early Childhood Sector field. I have been a Designated Early Childhood Educator for the Peel District School Board, for about 5 years. My career allows me to communicate sensitively and effectively with children and families from diverse backgrounds, as well as form strong and respectful partnerships with families and communities in order to provide support for their child’s development.
My passion for being a mentor for young black women comes from not having a role model. As stated by Gandhi, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, the change I wish to see in the world is that all young black girls see themselves as confident, beautiful, smart, intelligent, powerful and capable.Once young girls view themselves differently, it creates a domino effect that leads to girls who are empowered and will take higher risks to become active members in school, with their peers, and in turn, within their communities.
Being a mentor to me is not about having a successful professional share their experience with younger children. It is about listening, respecting, spending time getting to know your mentee, displaying empathy and forming genuine relationships. As a mentor, I am prepared to expose my mentee to opportunities that broaden their thinking and make resources accessible and available to meet their needs.
I am extremely excited for this opportunity.
Social Worker, Writer, & Poet
Breanna Phillip is extremely passionate about youth, and has a very special place in her heart specifically for young black women.
A graduate from the University of Guelph-Humber’s Family and Community Social Sevices Degree program, Breanna has over 7 years of experience working with youth, families and community in various capacities.
Additionally, Breanna is a poet, spoken word artist and published author.She prides herself in living voice to stories often left untold and using her gift of writing to reveal the beauty and deficits of society.
Breanna’s current role is Project Coordinator for the Black Youth Resilience Project. Breanna is also the Founder of a community movement called Soultry Community. Soultry Community creates initiatives and events that encourage the building and healing of communities.
Breanna is excited about the opportunity to be a netWORKING mentor because she believes that the role encapsulates everything that she is and does; she will have the opportunity to learn, heal, share and listen to stories and assist in building a stronger black community.
Registered Nurse & Policy Professional
Najma Kahiye is a Registered Nurse (RN) and policy professional with the City of Toronto. Prior to joining the City of Toronto, Najma spent 7 years at the Ontario Government, where she held progressively senior policy roles in the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and most recently, the Ministry of Education. In addition to her broad public policy experience, Najma has extensive frontline experience; she has worked in various roles to support individuals and families seeking income support, housing assistance, and health and counselling services in Ontario. She is also the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Jessie’s Centre – The June Callwood Centre for Young Women and Jessie’s Non-Profit Homes. Najma is passionate about mentoring and supporting youth and is looking forward to partaking in the netWORKING Mentorship Program.
Communications Project Coordinator for the Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services & Women’s Issues
My name is Cherissa Collins. I grew up on the island of Antigua and migrated to Canada for university. My original major was Kinesiology at and one day in the middle of class I realized this wasn’t the field I saw my future in and instead graduated from York University with a bachelor’s in Psychology and International Business. I then went to George Brown where I completed my postgraduate in Human Resources Management. The majority of my career/work experience since then has been in Human Resources and Employee Relations. I am passionate about working with people, coaching, helping people figure out career goals and learning everyone’s stories. For the last two years I have been working inc communications project management for the Ontario government. This wasn’t anything I had studied in school but during my job search decided to give it a try and found I had a natural affinity for work in communications. When I’m not working,I enjoy spending time with my friends, discovering new restaurants in the city,taking my dog to the park or some good old Netflix.
Registered Social Services Worker &
Crisis Support Worker
I was very excited to be selected for the mentorship program. When I moved to Toronto, I felt like a little fish trying to navigate the ocean. With the help of my own mentors I was gradually able to plan and articulate where I wanted to be in life, build some great relationships, understand the challenges of being a woman of colour in this city and work through them while gathering many life lessons on my journey. I hope to do the same for others. I am excited for this new opportunity and cannot wait to meet you!
Chanda Chandalala was born and raised in Zambia and immigrated to Toronto, in 2000. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Toronto and later went on to complete a post-graduate diploma in Social Service Work at George Brown College. She is a Registered Social Service Worker by profession who works as a Crisis Support Worker at the Canadian Mental Health Association(CMHA) Toronto.
Chanda’s passion for mentorship led her to co-found the RISE Youth Mentorship Program for middle school girls at Pierre La Porte MiddleSchool in Toronto. She has worked on after school programs with the Toronto Foundation for Student success in the Malvern and Lawrence Heights communities and has volunteered as a Peer Educator with Planned Parenthood of Toronto.
Chanda self identifies as a feminist who is passionate about social justice, mental health and self care. As a mentor, she is hoping to support mentees to be confident, self aware, take care of their mental health, be a good communicator, team player and listener.
In her spare time, Chanda is a writer who expresses her creativity on her personal blog: www.chandalalaland.com and enjoys binge watching shows on Netflix.
Her mentors are Luvvie Ajayi, Trey Anthony and ChimamandaNgozi Adiche.
*Please note: Mentors will be added to the site until Saturday, December 15th! *
For further information on the process please contact Amma Gyamfowa :
(416)593-7655 (EXT 4884) OR email Amma@whiwh.com