Board of Directors

Unison Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting 2011

Unison Health and Community Services seeks individuals with a diverse range of skills and backgrounds for membership on the Board of Directors.

Our founding Board includes five members from each of the amalgamating organizations - York Community Services and New Heights Community Health Centres. They set the policy and strategic direction for Unison and are strongly focused on the three goals of integration:

* To improve and increase services to the community
* To generate effiencies and opportunities to strengthen organizational capacity, and
* To gain a stronger voice in the provision of health and social services for marginalized populations in Northwest Toronto.

Laurelle Knox, Chair

Laurelle has worked primarily in the field of communications and public relations and is currently Internal Communications Officer for Ornge Transport Medicine.  She has a broad background and interest, with particular knowledge of healthcare, education and community services.  Living in our local community, Laurelle has solid knowledge of the changes and challenges that have taken place over the years and has been active on the YCS and Unison Boards since 2008.   As the daughter of one of the founders of YCS, she has both a historical and personal knowledge of the Keele-Rogers site as well as a strong sense of commitment to the community. Having previously volunteered with church groups, local committees and the International Association of Business Communicators, Laurelle looks forward to contributing her communications, leadership and organizational skills to our Board and to working with others to enhance the quality of life for vulnerable members of our community.

Andrea K. Shreeram, Vice-Chair

Andrea received her Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a Majors in Economics and Minor in Philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1996. She completed her LL.B./M.B.A at Osgoode Hall Law School in 2000. She has worked in international corporate tax and is currently the Director, Taxation, US/Global Banking and Markets at Scotiabank.  She is passionate about ensuring that newcomers and seniors have access to high quality health and social services.

Neetu Toor

Neetu is an in-house lawyer at BlueCat Networks, Inc., an IT company specializing in enterprise DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management (DDI) solutions. Prior to BlueCat, she worked in the healthcare industry as Legal Counsel. Neetu holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from McMaster University and a Juris Doctor (Law) from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.  She is licensed to practice law in Ontario, New York and Washington D.C.  Neetu is actively involved with Amnesty International and the Big Sister Program of Toronto and is excited to join the Unison family. 

Tanya Sinha, Treasurer

Tanya has been in the financial services industry for most of her career.  She has been with RBC for the past 1 3  years,  where she has gained diverse experience in the areas of product development, sales, information management, marketing, project/program management - all as they pertain to banking and insurance.  Tanya is currently part of RBC's in-house professional services team responsible for defining the strategy and leading the transformation of RBC's largest enterprise-wide initiatives.   She is an active fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, and was on the Resource Development and Finance committee at MicroSkills (a community-based organization committed to helping women and newcomers).  She is strong in the areas of financial management, business management, leadership, communication, and overall collaboration.  She has a broad background of knowledge and experience, with a particular interest in governance and good fiscal management.  Having lived in the catchment area for a number of years, Tanya understands the value of community health services, and as such she is looking forward to giving back to the community in a way that leverages her skills and network to their fullest. 


Dana Chmelnitsky, Secretary

Dana is passionate about healthcare delivery and has over 15 years working in the health care industry across the public, community and corporate health sectors. She has over 7 years experience as a Board Member in the community health sector, prior to joining Unison in 2014 she served a six year tenure as a Board Member and Past-President for Central Toronto Community Health Centres. Dana is currently the Program Manager for University Health Network's Telehealth program. Prior to joining UHN’s Telehealth team, she worked at Toronto Rehabilitation as a project manager with the patient care program teams. Her other work experience includes healthcare operational consulting and working as a clinical physiotherapist in a rehabilitation hospital. Dana continues to integrate her clinical and business experience to optimize health care delivery and patient access to services across the health sectors enabled through information technology. Dana received her Masters of Business Administration specializing in Health Industry Management and Strategy from Schulich School of Business at York University and her Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation in Physical Therapy at the University of Manitoba. Dana also has her Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute.

Diana Elder

Diana has over 20 years of experience as a Human Resources professional.  Her background includes specialized knowledge of employee and labour relations, talent management, strategic planning,  training, and organizational development,  Diana has worked in both the public and private sectors and has spent the last 15 years of her career in the Healthcare sector.   She currently works for the University Health Network (UHN) as Executive Director of Human Resources.  Diana holds a Masters of Business Administration from Royal Roads University and a Masters of Industrial Relations from Queens University. Diana’s volunteer work has included board work with the Central Toronto Community Health Centre and also on the Board Human Resources Sub-Committee of Fife House.  Currently Diana acts as a volunteer advisor to the White Ribbon Human Resources Subcommittee. 

Richard Linley

Richard's professional experience comes from both the public and private sectors with an emphasis on public policy and strategic communications. Richard has a Masters of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University and a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Richard is the President of the Wine Council of Ontario, which represents over 100 Ontario VQA wineries from across the three designated viticultural areas of the province as well as emerging wine producing regions. Richard resides in Toronto with his wife and two children. Through his commitment to the community, Richard hopes to make a valuable contribution to Unison.

Aiman Flahat

Aiman is an award winning educator with over 20 years of teaching and administrative experience at the secondary school, college and university levels. Recently was awarded with the Toronto District School Board’s highest award for staff excellence (2014) and the Canada’s Outstanding Principal award (2012) from the prestigious Learning Partnership. Aiman is committed to supporting students and believes that every student can learn if provided with the necessary opportunities and support systems to be successful. By engaging post-secondary institutions, industry and various levels of government, Aiman has established effective partnerships and accessed funding to provide students with the resources they need to be successful. Having served on numerous committees and community organizations, he has extensive experience in supporting newcomers and believes that education is the key that will unlock the doors of success for new Canadians. Aiman has met with and presented to delegations of education leaders from over 15 countries on effective school leadership, school improvement, instructional leadership, supporting newcomer communities, partnership development, building community schools and has shared the success story of John Polanyi Collegiate where he is currently the principal; a school that is developing future leaders in the Lawrence Heights Community. He holds a Masters degree in Information Technology and attended the Executive Leadership Training at the Rotman School of Management University of Toronto.


Fadumo Diriye

Fadumo is a graduate from the Faculty of Health at York University.  As she learns about the Canadian ethics involving patients and medical staff, she has also drawn on her Kenyan roots and beliefs of holistic health to explore innovative strategies in the development of successful Health Management tactics.   She has served youth regularly for the past three years through a healthy breakfast club, Fleming’s Breakfast for Learning.  Fadumo’s past extra-curricular activities and work experience has provided her with the needed skills to contribute to the Board. She has sought multi-faceted ways to reach out to her extended community to improve their way of living, as she recognizes that health must be addressed from various angles. Being an activist and promoting health amongst Canadians using both Canadian and Kenyan principles of health has enriched and shaped her perspectives of life.  Her experiences, knowledge, and lessons acquired throughout her education has equipped her to serve the community and help individuals to live longer and healthier lives.

Geoff Cowper-Smith - Vice-Chair

Geoff is a lawyer at Goodmans LLP where he focuses his practice on corporate, commercial and information technology law. He holds a Bachelor of Arts & Business from the University of Waterloo and a Juris Doctor (Law) from the University of Western Ontario. Prior to commencing his practice of law, Geoff founded and operated an information technology consulting company. Experiences Geoff had living in, and watching the changes and developments surrounding, Regent Park drew him to Unison. He joined the Board to lend his experience and perspective to Unison and supports growing and maintaining healthy communities in Toronto. 

Naureen Siddiqui

Naureen obtained a graduate degree in health administration at the University of Toronto in 2010. During her studies, she completed a practicum at New Heights Community Health Centre and York Community Services. Her main project was to evaluate client satisfaction at both centers just prior to their merger. A founding member of the operations team at the IMAGINE Clinic, an inter professional student run clinic based out of Queen West Community Health Centre, she had an instrumental role in the design of the clinic flow and processes. These experiences have provided her with insight into the needs of marginalized groups in Toronto and the role that community organizations play (and challenges they face) in an effort to address them. Naureen also has a background in microbiology laboratory technology and political science. Applying the skills and knowledge from both disciplines, she worked abroad with Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2007. During this time she provided support and education to local staff at hospitals and outreach clinics for the laboratory identification of malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.  Naureen is currently an infection preventionist at St. Michael’s Hospital where she applies theories of change management, epidemiology, quality improvement and patient safety into practice on a daily basis.

Laverne Blake

Laverne has 13 years’ experience working within the non-profit sector; with 4 years in a leadership position with a specific focus on human resource and program management.  Currently, Laverne is the Manager of Client Services at Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. Laverne has a BA in criminology and has successfully created, developed and implemented the Legal Support Program which provided services to over 200 women accessing services at Ernestine’s. The Legal Support Program addresses the barriers that women, specifically those who are victims of violence, face in accessing justice. Laverne delivers dynamic training on anti-racism, anti-oppression and on issues related to violence against women and children to various organizations. Laverne is a passionate and committed advocate for women’s justice and has been involved in community based agencies where social justice is addressed. 

Our Locations

Lawrence Heights
12 Flemington Road
Toronto, ON M6A 2N4

1651 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M6M 3W2
Tel: 416-653-5400

540 Finch Avenue West
Toronto, ON M2R 1N7
Tel: 647-436-0385

1541 Jane Street
Toronto, ON M9N 2R3
Tel: 416-645-7575