Meet the GenNext Cabinet
The GenNext® Cabinet is a group of volunteers who work with United Way Toronto to engage twenty- and thirty-something Torontonians with the community through giving and volunteering.
The Cabinet helps by planning fundraising events, volunteer activities and opportunities for GenNexters to meet and connect with each other. Cabinet members also provide guidance on how best to encourage young Torontonians to get involved in the community.
Our two GenNext Cabinet Co-Chairs also sit on the United Way Campaign Cabinet and provide guidance for United Way Toronto’s annual fundraising campaign.
You can meet the members of the GenNext Cabinet below. We would also like to invite you to come out to our events to meet them in person!
GenNext Cabinet Members 2012-13
- GenNext Cabinet Co-Chairs
Tim Poon and Danielle Arnold
- Community & Agency Engagement Officers
Kejina Robinson, Shatabdi Sarker, and Sydney Blum
- Member Agency Representative
Fernando Lusvarghi and Rochelle ten Haaf
- Leadership Program Officers
Marianne Tai and Farah Qasemi
- Ambassador Network Officer
- Activities Support Committee
Rebecca Cohen and Larena Dowsett-Cooper
Sarah Stallan and Aida Shahbazi
Tim Poon, Cabinet Co-Chair
Tim Poon is a Technology Strategy Manager at TELUS Communications. In this role, he leads a technical team that develops and performs quality assurance on TELUS’ wireless infrastructure.
Tim’s career has led him to opportunities on national and international projects, having worked on activities in Australia, France, and the United Kingdom. Tim has also completed studies at the University of Alberta and the University of Cambridge.
Tim first joined United Way Toronto’s GenNext in 2008, volunteering with the organizing committee for United Way’s Great Neighbourhood Race. He joined the GenNext Cabinet in 2010, focusing on community and agency engagement, and linking our energetic GenNext cohort with the vast array of United Way agencies.
Danielle Arnold, Cabinet Co-Chair
Before joining Toronto’s GenNext Cabinet in 2010, Danielle was involved with several programs at the United Way of Winnipeg, including the Youth Connections Council, Community Investment Committee, and was a founding member of several youth initiatives. Danielle is also currently an Allocation Panel Volunteer with United Way Toronto.
Danielle has a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) degree from the University of Manitoba and has worked for several large Canadian retailers in merchandise planning roles. Most recently, Danielle was a Director of Planning at Sears Canada.
Currently, Danielle is the co-owner of Arnold Tutoring, a Toronto-based tutoring business which caters to high school and university math students. Arnold Tutoring offers private individual and small group tutoring sessions as well as exam prep seminars for post-secondary math courses.
Kejina Robinson, Community & Agency Engagement Officer
Kejina is a Marketing Manager with the Tapscott Group. In this role, she manages all marketing and promotional activities for leading innovation author and speaker, Don Tapscott.
This is Kejina’s second cabinet term and she is excited to continue to work with United Way agencies to create meaningful opportunities that engage the GenNext community.
Kejina holds an Honours Bachelors in Commerce from McMaster University and a Certificate in International Development from the University of British Columbia.
In addition to being a part of the GenNext Cabinet, she also volunteers with several United Way agencies like St. Christopher House and the Working Women’s Center.
Shatabdi Sarker, Community & Agency Engagement Officer
Shatabdi Sarker is an Accountant with Ziefmans LLP. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from York University and is currently working toward her Chartered Accountant designation.
She has volunteered with various charities including The Toronto Enterprise Fund, Grameen Bank, BRAC and the United Nation. Shatabdi’s involvement with the United Way began in 2008 when she joined Scotiabank. Currently she is a Cabinet member for the Scotiabank GenNext team. This is her first year on the GenNext Cabinet and she is excited to work with the team.
Sydney Blum, Community & Agency Engagement Officer
Sydney manages WoodGreen Community Services’ Homeward Bound Replication Partnership project, a program that works to create opportunities for low-income single mothers to thrive and achieve economic independence. In this role, Sydney is collaborating with the Regional Municipality of Peel and United Way of Peel Region to implement a second Homeward Bound program in Brampton, Ontario.
Sydney’s past work involved managing the design of a national elder abuse prevalence survey and experience in the corporate social responsibility sector. Sydney has a BA in Sociology from the University of Chicago and a MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Edinburgh.
Fernando Lusvarghi, Member Agency Representative
Fernando Lusvarghi has worked for St. Christopher House and Child Development Institute (two United Way member agencies) in Volunteer Management and Community Relations for nearly 10 years. He has two Bachelor of Arts (in Social Sciences and in Communication) earned in his homeland of Brazil, and speaks four languages: English, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish.
Before immigrating to Canada, he worked in the marketing and communication fields, mainly with mass communication campaigns, (including projects for the Brazil Health Ministry, targeting the 1,000 poorest municipalities in the country to promote basic health care awareness), relationship marketing, and political marketing.
Fernando was one of the persons selected by the City of Toronto — Toronto Civics in 2009 — for its 175th anniversary, and is currently a Member of the Community Engagement Council for the 2015 Pan Am Games Organizing Committee.
Rochelle ten Haaf, Member Agency Representative
Rochelle has over five years of experience working in Canada and internationally in the non-profit sector. She has worked in a variety of national and community based organizations to help serve marginalized populations, and currently works for SPRINT (Senior Peoples’ Resources in North Toronto), a United Way Toronto member agency, to help coordinate over 350 volunteers to serve adults with disabilities and the aging population in North Toronto. Rochelle holds an Honors Psychology degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, and a Certificate in Leadership and Management from the International Institute of Leadership and Management in London, England.
As a Member Agency Representative, Rochelle looks forward to channeling her enthusiastic spirit and passion for helping others into raising awareness about the issues that face the Toronto community. She hopes to help facilitate the relationship and connection between GenNext and the member agencies of United Way Toronto.
Marianne Tai, Leadership Program Officer
Marianne Tai is a Client Operations Manager in Eagle Investment Systems, a subsidiary company of the Bank of New York Mellon. Having obtained a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Toronto, she is also fluent in Malay and three dialects of Chinese.
Her involvement with United Way began with being a super volunteer during CIBC Mellon’s annual United Way fundraising campaign, followed by being a Sponsored Employee with United Way Toronto in 2009, during which time she presented well over 50 speeches. Since then she has become a Leadership Level Donor, a GenNext Leadership Speaker for United Way Toronto, and a volunteer with Pathways to Education and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Toronto.
Farah Qasemi, Leadership Program Officer
Farah currently works as a Client Services Manager at PwC Canada, focusing on a couple of global priority accounts. Her professional background is primarily in sales and marketing strategy, and the industries she knows well are financial services, non-profit and oil and gas. She is a McGill University alum.
Farah is new to the GenNext Cabinet, but in no way new to United Way; she hails from Montreal, Quebec, where she was involved in multiple Centraide initiatives. Farah became a Leadership donor directly as a result of attending the GenNext One + 1 event last year. This year, she hopes to bring a “fresh pair of eyes” to the Cabinet as a Co-Chair for the Leadership Programme, and is a firm supporter of staying involved in the community-building process beyond the giving stage. Farah speaks three languages, has lived in Europe, Middle East and North America, and loves endurance sports.
Ashley Lewis, Ambassador Network Officer
Ashley is a marketing manager at KPMG International, part of the Global Energy, Natural Resources & Chemicals practice. In this role she manages the execution of a quarterly Chemicals industry magazine, internal communications to a network of over 140 countries and works with a diverse set of stakeholders worldwide. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Arts from the University of Westminster in London, England, and speaks French and Spanish.
This is Ashley’s second year on the GenNext Cabinet. In 2011, she served as Rouge Liaison, leading an appointed committee of eight volunteers to plan and implement the 9th annual signature GenNext event. Rouge was a great success and raised over 1,200 volunteer hours, almost $50,000, and attracted over 500 attendees.
Ashley is also currently a board director at Springtide Resources, a United Way member agency whose mandate is to end violence against women, and one of the founding directors of the GenNext Ambassador cabinet at her workplace.
Rebecca Cohen, Activities Support Officer (Rouge)
Rebecca Marissa Cohen works as an account coordinator on the corporate and financial team at Environics Communications. In this role, she works on monitoring, tracking and executing media campaigns.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a Certificate in public relations from Ryerson University.
Rebecca’s involvement with the United Way began in 2010, when she began volunteering with the UWT Speaker’s Bureau. This is Rebecca’s second year on the GenNext cabinet, and she is excited to enter a new role as part of the Activities Support Committee. Outside of United Way, Rebecca also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters, both as a Young Leader and a big sister.
Larena Dowsett-Cooper, Activities Support Officer
Larena works in the administration department at Bellwood Health Services, which is a private addiction treatment hospital. She is responsible for coordinating executive projects, and has recently taken on the role of Accreditation coordinator.
Larena has completed her Honours BA in Psychology and Sociology at Queen's University, and is currently taking courses in Non-Profit management at Ryerson University.
Larena has been an active volunteer with United Way for the last two years, and is now excited to be an official member of the Activities Support Committee on the cabinet.
Sarah Stallan, Member at large
Sarah Stallan is a Project Coordinator at Chubb Insurance Company of Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Bishop’s University and is currently working toward her Project Management Professional (PMP) designation.
Sarah’s involvement with the United Way began in 2006, when she first joined the Rouge planning committee. She continued working on Rouge for three years, culminating as the event’s Co-Chair in 2009. As a veteran, in her fourth year on Cabinet Sarah is excited to work in a new capacity as a Member at Large.
Aida Shahbazi, Member at large
Aida Shahbazi is a lawyer with the Bank of Montreal. In addition to sitting on the GenNext Cabinet, Aida is a Leadership Donor, and was the Associate Co-Chair of the annual United Way Campaign at McCarthy Tétrault LLP, where she increased the participation rate of her peers by 30% over a two-year period through the use of creative fundraising campaigns. Aida is excited to work as part of the GenNext Cabinet, with a particular focus on engaging young lawyers to become lifetime donors and supporters by promoting opportunities for them to give, volunteer and network.
Aida obtained a law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, and a bachelor of commerce from the Odette School of Business, University of Windsor. She also studied international business and economics at the Institut de Formation Internationale in France.