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!
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.
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 27 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.
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!
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!
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.
Paulysha De Gannes
Senior Coordinator for Policy and Engagement
Hey Queen! My name is Paulysha De Gannes I am a 25-year-old woman of Trinidadian and Jamaican descent working as a public health and health policy professional.
Just like you, a year ago, I was also scrolling through mentor descriptions trying to decide who I would like to be matched with through the netWORKING program. It was not long ago that I noticed I was the only black employee in an entire organization and turned to the netWORKING program for guidance. I found the program and the mentorship it provided to be so helpful that I decided to return as a mentor! As a fellow alumnus of the netWORKING tribe, I understand what the program looks like and will be able to cater to your needs as a mentee.
I initially went to the University of Ottawa for my undergraduate degree in health sciences, with the intent of applying to medical school. During my undergrad I worked as a mental health promotion team leader. It was during this experience that I fell in love with systems-level thinking and realized I didn’t want to pursue medicine to please everyone else, but wanted to pursue public health to please myself. I then went on to complete my Master’s of Public Health in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences (Health Promotion) at the University of Toronto. I now work as a Senior Coordinator for Policy and Engagement at Prostate Cancer Canada. Previously, I have held a variety of health policy and public health roles at prominent organizations including: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Davenport-Perth Community Health Centre, Ontario Ministry of Labour, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Durham Region Health Department, and the Canadian Red Cross. In my volunteering, I have been actively engaged in anti-sexual violence advocacy, combatting anti-black racism, and mental health advocacy. In my spare time, you’ll usually catch me playing basketball or soccer, bumping to R&B, attending poetry slams, watching Netflix, or baking!
Gerri Nakirigya Lutaaya
Gerri Nakirigya Lutaaya (she/her) is an influential convener in pursuit of truth and justice. She belongs to the Ngonge clan within the Buganda kingdom.
With 8+ years of professional experience, Gerri has gained an in-depth understanding of the nonprofit sector working for internationally recognized charities including Invisible Children, the United Nations Association in Canada and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. A sought-after public speaker, Gerri has been invited by Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration, the Ontario Student Trustees Association (OSTA-AECO) and TVO’s The Agenda, among others, to share her expertise. Furthermore, Gerri is the Chapter Lead with Women and Color, planning and hosting speaker bootcamps in Toronto that equips women, people of colour and LGBTQA+ folks with the skills and confidence to amplify their voice.
Gerri has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Global Development Studies at Queen’s University and a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (MPNL) degree from Carleton University. She holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Algonquin College and was a 2016 Inclusion and Philanthropy Fellow administered by the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada. Gerri has also completed a certificate in Program Evaluation for Youth Wellbeing from the Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX) housed at York University’s School of Social Work.
To complement her academic accomplishments, Gerri is grounded in Nelson Mandela’s challenge that “a degree means nothing unless you go out into the community to prove yourself”. She is an active grassroots volunteer working closely with CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network and People for Education’s NextGen Committee. Across her involvement in these, and all volunteer opportunities, Gerri is persistent in building awareness and strengthening relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Most recently, Gerri was recognized as a 2019 Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award Nominee for her outstanding volunteer work.
Gerri’s leadership is centred on the belief that people are naturally social beings, seeking interactions built on respect, trust, honesty and joy. She blends these values to advance the cultivation of collaborative environments, delivering quality results that exceed expectations and spark action for greater impact.
Born in Halifax, raised in Ottawa, and currently residing in Toronto, Gerri is a daughter, sister, singer and baker working on her laugh lines.
Mental Health Therapist
Hello wonderful Black community! My name is Joelleann (Joelle) Forbes and I am a Mental Health Therapist at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands Community Health Centre (WHIWH-CHC). I hold a Master of Social Work degree from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto and I am a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. My social work model integrates anti-oppressive, strengths-based, anti-racism approaches. In addition to frontline work, I have experience as a researcher on a project at the University of Toronto that aims to explore how mental illness impacts relationships and caring in families throughout Ontario.
I’m a firm believer that we need to bring each other up through adversity and success. I absolutely love working with racialized women and trans individuals in my current role. It is vital that we are visible in various spaces and support each other through each generation! My lived experience, education, spirituality, ancestry, and connections with people have been instrumental to where I am today. As a mentor in this fabulous program, my hope is to empower individuals to highlight their strengths, passions, and goals for the future.
For further information on the process please contact Amma Gyamfowa :
(416)593-7655 (EXT 4884) OR email Amma@whiwh.com
African Caribbean and Black Program Coordinator (Moyo Health & Community Services)
My name is Kaminda Musumbulwa and I was born in Lusaka, Zambia. 15 years ago, my family migrated to Canada and thus began my journey navigating life as a black woman in the Western world. My conclusions are this: I will be my black self wherever I am and whoever I’m with. I will no longer hide my blackness to placate those who are uncomfortable with it.
I am a recent graduate of Wilfrid Laurier’s Public Health program (Honours). I focused my studies on the relationship between race and health and developed an undergraduate thesis reporting on the prevalence of HIV amongst African, Caribbean, and Black women in Ontario. I am currently the African, Caribbean, and Black program coordinator at Moyo Health and Community Services in Brampton, using health promotion principles to improve the HIV outcomes of the community in Peel region. I aspire to study epidemiology at the graduate level and bring light to the lack of representation of our community in health research, as this results in poor delivery of health and social services.
Beyond my academic and career goals, I am a big sister at heart. I am privileged to be a part of any young black woman’s journey, giving what wisdom I can and guiding you to access the confidence you possess. I am solution-finder so whatever it is that you’re looking for, I’m committed to helping you all the way. We are on this journey together, figuring it out, albeit fumbling at times, but together nonetheless. My desire for this experience is that we build a community that will extend beyond the program – that when we complete the year, we remain connected and continue to support one another. That is community and that is powerful – sharing what we learn and cheering each other along this journey called life.
In my spare time, I enjoy books, music, nature, and exploring my creative side through painting. I’m looking forward to learning more about you!
My name is Sarah Meteke and I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario! I studied Biology at the University of Western Ontario and obtained an Masters of Science in Control of Infectious Diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK. Currently, I’m working as a Researcher at the Centre for Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children where I am systematically reviewing the evidence base of public health interventions in conflict settings. I’m also working remotely as a Knowledge Translation Consultant at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands for the MSAFIRI (“Understanding HIV Transmission in African and Caribbean Black (ACB) communities following arrival in Canada”) cohort study. Overall, I’m interested in topics that thematically tie into infection control and global health policy, with a strong passion for promoting health awareness, education, and equity. Outside of work, you could usually find me exploring new restaurants in the city with friends, or attending concerts or art shows in Toronto’s bustling creative scene!