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Advisory Board

Drawing from extensive knowledge and experience, the Toronto Youth Cabinet Advisory Board provides strategic insight to the Leadership Team on a variety of projects and initiatives.  

Nam Kiwanuka | @namshine

Nam Kiwanuka is a Canadian journalist and TV personality and recently joined The Agenda as an alternate host for Steve Paikin and the host of The Agenda in the Summer. She was also named the ReelWorld Film Festival’s Emerging Filmmaker in 2013. You can see her work on the BBC’s Focus on Africa Magazine. She directed a TV pilot in 2010 on the diversity and celebrated faces and places of Africa and gave a Tedx Talk called the Power of One in 2012. She was also an Ambassador for the Canadian Red Cross, and was named one of Chatelaine Magazine’s Women to Watch in 2008.

Jonathan Goldsbie | @goldsbie

Jonathan Goldsbie is a journalist and public space activist, he writes about politics, media, local news, and the various intersections between those things. Jonathan is passionate about relevance and entertainment value of civic affairs, and has covered urban issues for Torontoist, Eye Weekly, Spacing, OpenFile, and The Grid, and spent five years as a columnist for the National Post. Jonathan is probably best known for his Twitter feed and has been profiled by many as a must-follow. He once arranged to have pizzas delivered to a moving streetcar.

Tanya De Mello | @tjdemello

Whether acting as a United Nations Field Officer or as a local student volunteer, Tanya De Mello’s work has always been focused on building communities. Whether it's through creating community service initiatives at universities, managing humanitarian aid donations in Senegal and Colombia or assisting with refugee relocation planning, she has been committed to bringing people together around shared ideas. This year, she ran for the Federal NDP in Etobicoke Centre and before that worked at the University of Toronto Scarborough as the Equity and Diversity Officer. She attended the University of Waterloo and then Princeton University where she earned her Masters of Public Policy as a Fulbright Scholar.

Parthi Kandavel | @parthikandavel

Parthi Kandavel is the Toronto School Board Trustee for Ward 18, Scarborough Southwest. Before being elected in 2014, Parthi taught at John A. Leslie Public School as well as Regent Heights Public School. Parthi has a Masters of Education and is an active member of the Scarborough Southwest neighbourhood having lived and worked there for 25 years, and been appreciated greatly as a community member, a Big Brother, a tutor, a playwright and director.

Cynthia Vukets

Cynthia Vukets is a Winnipegger who has been living in Toronto for the past seven years, after working in Quebec, New Brunswick, Ottawa, Rwanda and Kenya as a reporter and TV producer. She's currently the Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity for the Ontario Public Service, as well as the co-chair of New Collection, a members program for young professionals that supports the Toronto Public Library Foundation. She's a dedicated East ender and loves going for walks at Woodbine beach, swimming at the Earl Beatty community centre and having drinks at the Wren.

Arrathiyah Thirukkumaran

Arrathiyah Thirukkumaran, MSW Candidate, has been working and volunteering nationally and internationally in the area of youth engagement, mentorship, anti-oppression and social change since the age of 15. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree (double major in Sociology and International Studies) with the University of Toronto and is currently completing her Masters of Social Work (Working Professional Program) degree from the University of Windsor. Arrathiyah is currently a Provincial Youth Outreach Worker (PYOW) Systems Coordinator with East Metro Youth Services which is a province wide program supporting most vulnerable youth. Arrathiyah has worked internationally in Costa Rica at the National Children’s Hospital of San Jose. She received the Manny Mitchell Award in 2013 for Excellence in Volunteerism. Over the course of her 9+ year career, she has worked in multiple roles advocating for and empowering most vulnerable youth and children.

Saeed Selvam

Saeed is the Laidlaw Foundation’s new Manager of Public Policy. He was the former Director of Public Affairs with the Canadian Centre for International Justice. He brings with him private and non-profit sector experience having served as the Executive Director of the Spark Initiative, and previous work with all three levels of government along with the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Tom Gleason

Tom Gleason is passionate about building a more prosperous and equitable Toronto through progressive policy and meaningful civic engagement. Tom served as Executive Director of the Toronto Youth Cabinet from 2015 to 2017, during which time the organization saw a marked increase in engagement and such achievements as the addition of financial literacy in the Ontario high school curriculum, an enhanced youth voice in the TTC, and the creation of a City of Toronto Youth Week. He currently serves as Board Secretary of Planned Parenthood Toronto, having just finished his term as Treasurer. As a Studio [Y] Fellow at MaRS Discovery District, Tom was recognized as one of the top young leaders in Ontario and worked to develop solutions to make municipal budgets more youth-friendly and co-founded CreateSpaceTO, an initiative that taught tech skills to youth facing barriers. He most recently served as Chief of Staff to a City Councillor.

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