* – also members of the Steering Committee
Institute for Change Leaders
For over thirty years, Olivia Chow has been an effective and well-known public figure, serving in Toronto’s municipal politics and on the national stage as a Canadian Member of Parliament. In 2015, Olivia Chow joined Ryerson University as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. Her work focuses on community engagement and leadership development.
As a founder of the Institute for Change Leaders, Olivia and her team of 30+ trainers have taught community and political organizing to over 1350 people since March of 2015. She became an activist as a young woman, fighting for the rights of refugees and immigrants. For over 20 years, she was at the forefront of the ultimately successful campaign to achieve a national apology and redress for the discriminatory “Chinese Head Tax”.
North Vancouver – Lonsdale
Elected as the MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale in May 2017, Bowinn is also a licensed Professional Engineer and certified Project Management Professional. Prior to being elected MLA, she managed terminal expansion and redevelopment projects at the Vancouver International Airport. As a local MLA Bowinn focuses on the issues of housing, transportation, and child care. Bowinn serves as the Parliamentary Secretary for TransLink and on several cabinet and parliamentary committees including Treasury Board, Housing Working Group, Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts, and Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations.
Saanich North and the Islands
Adam Olsen was first elected as MLA for Saanich North and the Islands in 2017. Adam is a former two-term Central Saanich Councilor and small business owner. He was born and raised on Tsartlip First Nation in Brentwood Bay and is a member of the Tsartlip First Nation. He served as the Chair of Planning & Development and Water & Wastewater and represented the community on a number of boards and commissions including solid and liquid waste, Greater Victoria Public Library and the Regional Housing Trust Fund. Adam and his wife Emily have two children, Silas and Ella. He routinely coaches his son’s community soccer team and has led community efforts to protect and improve the Salish Sea and the Saanich Inlet.
Nadine Nakagawa is an activist, organizer, listener, intersectional feminist, and city councillor. She has worked on issues relating to housing, public spaces, reconciliation, public engagement, and childcare. For her work in the community, Nadine was named the 2017 New Westminster Citizen of the Year. Nadine is most passionate about finding ways to amplify underrepresented voices. She works in the non-profit sector, has a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and was elected to New West City Council in 2018. When not working on community projects, Nadine is a creative writer, curls at the Royal City Curling Club, and spends time with her golden retriever Gus and two cow-patterned cats Bill and Moo.
Sharmarke Dubow only recently gained Canadian citizenship in July, 2017. He arrived in Canada in 2012 after fleeing civil war in Somalia at the age of 8, Sharmarke was a refugee for 20 years until he got resettled to Canada.
Sharmarke Dubow cast his first vote in October 20, 2018, and at the same time was elected as a Victoria City Councillor. Sharmarke’s passion and commitment to diversity, inclusion, and building equitable and just communities and his work for immigrant and refugees at the local and national level has earned him a reputation as a respected community leader. Sharmarke is a community connector and social justice activist.
Michal Hay is a Founding Board Member and Executive Director of Progress Toronto. Her focus in organizing, whether through an issue based or electoral campaign, is bridging the gaps between people and the political power needed for progressive change. She hopes to create the space for people to advocate for the city they need.
Michal was 2017 Campaign Director for Jagmeet Singh’s successful NDP Leadership Campaign and she was one of Chatelaine’s Top Women in Canada of 2017. Michal is Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Broadbent Institute. Through work and activism she has had leading roles on a number of issue based and electoral campaigns at the municipal, provincial and federal levels across Canada. She plans to combine her knowledge of City Hall and organizing to help Progress Toronto build a just city.
Indigenous Rights Advocate, Community Organizer
City of Vancouver
Ginger Gosnell-Myers is of Nisga’a and Kwakwak’awakw heritage and is passionate about advancing Aboriginal rights and knowledge, while breaking down barriers between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Ginger was the City of Vancouver’s first Aboriginal Relations Manager, where she was central to advancing Vancouver as the world’s first official City of Reconciliation, and worked across all City departments to bridge Aboriginal policies, programs and relations.
Throughout 2008–2011 Ginger worked on the Environics Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study as both Project Manager and Public Engagement Director. She has facilitated and spoken at several provincial, national and international events, including the International Indigenous Women & Wellness Conference, the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, and the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples. Ginger is an Action Canada 2004 Fellow, former Co-Chair to the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council, former President of Urban Native Youth Association, and sits as a Board of Director for the Inspirit Foundation.
Lyndsay Poaps is passionate about engaging people in community building and decision making. Lyndsay founded Frontrunner: a campaign school for young women. She brings a background in public policy to Leadnow and is a former City of Vancouver Park Board Commissioner (2002-2005). She is an Action Canada fellow, a former Urban Fellow with the City of Toronto, and the spokesperson for the City of Vancouver’s Engaged City Task Force. Lyndsay holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University.
Christine Boyle was elected to Vancouver City Council with OneCity Vancouver in 2018. Christine is a community organizer, climate justice activist, and United Church Minister, born and raised on unceded Coast Salish territory in Vancouver, BC. She has a teenager and a preschooler. Christine is passionate about tackling inequality, contributing to climate solutions, and deepening democratic engagement.
Former City Councillor
Andrea Reimer was elected for four terms to municipal government in Vancouver as a School Trustee and City Councillor and is currently a Loeb Fellow in urban policy and civic leadership at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. She is a columnist for National Observer.