Chief Executive Officer
Jemima Sabapathy is an empowering and strategic leader with a wealth of leadership experience in organizational management, operations and change management at leading organizations in the not-for-profit sector. Jemima is driven by a passion for making a difference in the lives of vulnerable and marginalised people within local communities.
Jemima is a results-oriented leader with over two decades of proven leadership experience in the settlement and employment sector. As a skilled professional from Sri Lanka, her personal journey encouraged her to help others overcome challenges and build a successful life in Canada. In the two decades since, Jemima has held senior leadership roles at WoodGreen Community Services, JobStart, and Skills for Change designing and implementing innovative programs that served newcomers, youth, seniors, persons with disabilities, and women. Some of her previous leadership roles were in the education sector and with U.S. Peace Corps and VSO.
She has been instrumental in the sustainability, growth, and expansion of organizations she worked for and successfully led innovation, strategic planning, diversification of funding resources, labour relations, organizational transformation, and risk management.
Jemima joined CultureLink as the CEO in late 2021 and is committed to working with a broad scope of stakeholders to build collaboration, deliver change, and drive meaningful impact for the clients CultureLink serve with the support of her 70-member staff team.
Board of Directors 2021-2022
Andrew has more than 21 years’ of progressive leadership experience in the Financial Services Industry. He is a leader and developer of people, and an innovator of talent mapping through intricate mentorship programs. During his career with CIBC and HSBC, Andrew guided several cross-functional Bank-wide projects. He is a champion of community awareness and engagement, and of partnership and involvement with various organizations, and coordinated several community initiatives aligned to career planning, progression, and workforce integration. Andrew brings to the Board his enthusiasm about making a difference in individuals’ lives and in the community.
Arlene is Director of Housing and Identity Card Services at the University of Toronto. She has over twenty years of experience in leadership in a unionized environment, with a strong record of accomplishment of strategic leadership and expertise in human resources, financial management, policy development, and consensus building in a complex multi-stakeholder environment. Arlene also has over 15 years of experience serving on the Board of Directors of three non-profit charitable organizations.
Brandin Timothy O’Connor
Brandin is a Partner at Shields O’Donnell Mackillop LLP, a broad labour and employment litigation and advisory law practice in Toronto. He has experience in drafting contracts and policies, as well as in representing clients in collective bargaining and labour relations. Brandin is the Chair of CultureLink’s Employee and Labour Relations Committee. He has previously served two (2) terms as member of the Board of Directors of Cycle Toronto, including as President.
Deane Code is a trusted advisor and collaborative public relations professional with over 14 years of experience leading and implementing communications strategies for a wide range of stakeholder groups. Deane’s extensive agency career gave her the opportunity to develop robust media relations and influencer partnership strategies for premium global and homegrown brands. She is passionate about coaching her teams, mentoring junior staff to succeed both professionally and beyond. Deane’s entrepreneurial spirit led to a brief freelance career as a communications consultant, which she carries through into her present role at a multinational agency. As an active leader in her community, Deane currently is serving her third term as a director on her condominium board. To CultureLink, she brings her desire and enthusiasm to help people achieve success in Canada, no matter their background.
Dr. Ferzana Chaze is an experienced educator and research professional. She is a full-time professor at the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies at Sheridan College. Prior to this, she was involved in research, education, and knowledge mobilization at Ryerson University. Ferzana is a subject-matter expert on issues related to immigration and settlement, diversity and social inclusion, and has demonstrated expertise in leadership and governance in a variety of contexts and with diverse groups of persons.
Golam is a client-service professional for last 15 years with extensive experience in the banking and finance sector. He is currently working as a Sr Commercial Account Manager at Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Passionate about understanding and catering to clients’ exact needs, Golam has a track record of cultivating longstanding relationships with clients and earning their respect and trust. A 2020 Royal Performance Award Winner and 2020 & 2017 Quarterly Award Winner at RBC, Golam is a top performer in terms of both sales and client retention. Golam is a Speaker at “Speakers Bureau” at United Way and he is also a workshop facilitator at YMCA called, “Networking for Jobs” and “Personal Financing Strategy for New Canadians”. A Career Mentor at TRIEC, Acces Employment, NeighbourhoodLink and YMCA, Toronto Reference Library, he is also an ambassador at Arrive. First as a client of CultureLink, and later as a mentor with various programs like Luminato, Playing for Keeps, NEAT Walk, Wintegration, he also attended at BikeHost, Career Management program, volunteered at Pan Am Games Toronto 2015 as a Crew, Venue Management, Golam brings to the Board a personal understanding of newcomers’ needs and a passion for supporting individuals in their path to growth. Golam holds an MBA in Finance & Marketing and at level 3 CGA. He also finished an Executive Program at Rotman School of Business at UofT. Last few years Golam mentored 30+ individuals who were successfully secure jobs in different Banks.
Helen is the founder and principal of 925 Resources Inc., providing customized career-planning and professional development for individuals and businesses. A former executive with over 20 years’ management experience in the United States and Canada, Helen is a career business coach and a co-author of a book on career planning. Helen is a long-time community volunteer. First a volunteer mentor with CultureLink, Helen brings to the board her experience in supporting individuals and businesses in achieving success and growth.
Jeffrey brings over 25-years of audit, operational accounting, finance and organizational design experience to CultureLink. An accomplished hands-on finance executive, he is a Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Guelph, and has a portfolio of successes in engaging and working with stakeholders to make strategic decisions that further an organization’s social impact and efficiency. He spent 15-years at Manulife Financial Corporation, wherein he worked in multiple roles and led teams in accounting, audit, compliance, finance, operations, reporting, strategy and technology. Before that, he worked at the Bank of Nova Scotia in international credit and domestic corporate banking. He spent his early career as an auditor in the Financial Institutions practice area at Deloitte’s Toronto office before moving to the corporate sector. Jeffrey is currently leading the finance department of a prominent software developer with international clients in the broadcast industry.
Rob is a passionate, creative and collaborative communications and marketing professional who has 20 years’ experience helping clients achieve story clarity, create content, and earn media coverage. Rob has won several awards for his work, but he is most driven by partnering with brilliant people at great organizations to make an impact. He is passionate about leading teams, collaborating with diverse groups and partners, solving problems, coaching junior staff and lifelong learning from peers and leaders. Rob is also an active community leader, serving as a mentor at Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), as a Marketing Committee member at National Angel Capital Organization, and as an Industry Advisory Board Member at Humber College, Public Relations Degree Program.
Roxanne is an enterprising cyber security professional with over six years of experience spanning various domains in technology, ranging from IT operations to security transformation. Having served on two boards previously, she is able to leverage her insight from her lived experience as a neurodiverse and LGBTQIA2S+ person to embolden inclusion and accessibility initiatives in board governance. As a first-generation immigrant herself, she is passionate about eliminating the barriers that exist for newcomers. Her involvement with various non-profit organizations as a mentor, including Canada Learning Code and TRIEC, exemplifies her dedication to empowering people to achieve their fullest potential through experiential learning and professional development opportunities.
Samuel is an international investment banker, deep thinker, and effective communicator with an exceptional investment insight. He has a background of over 20 years in providing managerial, investment, financial and organizational services. Samuel’s substantial experience was gained in financial institutions, investment management, private equity, and family offices over the global financial capital markets. Sam served on many board of directors for private and public organizations. Samuel is very engaged with the community as a fundraiser for Princess Margret Foundation, career mentor and volunteers at TRIEC, Youth employment services, and Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University, Toronto Rehab Foundation and Election Canada.
Sean Pimenta is an Operations, Supplier Management and Outsourcing professional with work experience across the banking, financial services, insurance, technology and airline industries. Sean currently works with the Royal Bank of Canada as Senior Manager of Card Production and Invoicing Operations. He has also held positions at RBC in Outsourcing Supplier Management and Fraud Operations. Prior to RBC, Sean worked with several Business Process Outsourcing services providers in Canada and India. Sean is a dedicated coach and mentor to newcomers to Canada and has been a volunteer with CultureLink since 2013, with TRIEC since 2009 and has also helped individuals that have reached out via LinkedIn over the years. In addition to mentoring, Sean also volunteers for fundraising with the Knights of Columbus.
Public may attend Board meetings as observers.