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Sara Baptiste-Brown

Sara Baptiste-Brown has worked around the world in the non-profit, private and social enterprise sectors, bringing a balance of empathy, objectivity and critical analysis to social impact initiatives. A JMSB graduate, she is now immersed in the world of experiential learning in her role as Program Coordinator at the Institute for Cooperative Education.

Jessica Cabana

Jessica Cabana is deeply committed to reducing social inequities by building a more just and regenerative economy.  Co-founder of the Hive Cafe Co-op and the Concordia Food Coalition, she brings a profound understanding of the Concordia student organizing and student politics landscape, as well as experience with a variety of alternative governance structures. She is currently a project coordinator at CHNGR MTL, engaging students in Montreal’s social solidarity economy.

Elaine Cheasley Paterson

Elaine Cheasley Paterson is a craft historian and the mother of three young children. In her role as the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Fine Arts, she has taken leadership in supporting the evolution of tenure track processes and curriculum development to be more aligned with university priorities around equity, diversity, inclusion and reconciliation.

Jen Gobby

Jen Gobby is an activist who organizes with Climate Justice Montreal. She has spent the last 5 years conducting a doctoral research project thinking collaboratively with land defenders and environmental justice activists about how large scale social change can happen. Her current postdoctoral research with Concordia’s Geography Department focuses on developing strategic planning tools with social movements and exposing ongoing settler colonialism embedded in Canada's climate policies and plans.

Govind Gopakumar

Govind Gopakumar is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies the social and environmental impacts of technology.  He is the Chair of Concordia’s Centre for Engineering in Society. As a member of SHIFT’s Interim Leadership Team, he brings institutional memory of key moments in SHIFT’s development, including the 2018 community consultations and creation of the Pilot Year Plan.

Lisa Ndejuru

Lisa Ndejuru is an artist, storyteller and PhD candidate.  She uses arts-based techniques, dialogue and play to support post-trauma community healing and empowerment. Through 20 years of community-grounded activism, research and organising with the Rwandan diaspora, she has developed extensive experience working cooperatively across multiple disciplines.

Nafija Rahman

Nafija Rahman has been an engaged citizen and community unifier in her neighbourhood of Little Burgundy for over a decade.  In her work with Amitié Soleil, the Amal Centre for Women, and her catering business chezNafNaf, she advocates for women’s empowerment and ensures that the voices of women of colour from marginalized communities are heard. She is a proud graduate of Concordia and a mother of two boys.

Departing Members

We're sending a heartfelt thank you to the following Steering Committee members who have decided not to renew their mandate for a second term. We appreciate your contribution to our pilot year!

Marc Nisbet

Marc Nisbet’s work experience is grounded in his belief in the value of front-line community service and the need for social change at a systems level.  In addition to his position with Esplanade and as a part-time faculty member at Concordia’s Applied Human Sciences department, his work and research have brought him extensive knowledge of Quebec’s social finance landscape and collective impact initiatives.

Sydney Swaine-Simon

Sydney Swaine-Simon has a strong passion for supporting emerging technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation for social good. A co-founder of Concordia’s District 3 Innovation centre, Sydney partners with students, researchers and entrepreneurs across the globe to collaboratively advance ethical AI solutions to some of the world’s greatest problems. He is a two-time graduate of Concordia, with degrees in Psychology and Computer Science.

Non-voting members

  • Andrea Clarke
    Senior Director, Community Engagement and Social Impact
  • Claude Pinard
    Executive Director, Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation

Core responsibilities


  • Strategic orientations for SHIFT
  • Holistic organisational alignment with mission, vision, values and ways of working
  • Role and positioning of SHIFT in larger ecosystems



  • Annual plan and major changes to operations model
  • Annual budget and alignment of financial allocations with objectives
  • Major changes to governance model, including creation and dissolution of hubs and major changes to hub mandates


  • Effectiveness, efficiency and alignment of new governance model
  • Effectiveness of conflict management systems
  • Effectiveness of systems to evaluate programming and course correct as needed

Selection Process

Steering Committee members were original recruited in Fall 2019 through this open call for applicants.


They were selected by Anne Whitelaw (Interim Provost and VP Academic), Nadia Bhuiyan (VP Partnerships and Experiential Learning), Charmaine Lyn (Interim Director of SHIFT), and a representative of the donor using these guidelines.


We are grateful that most Steering Committee members have agreed to extend their mandate and provide SHIFT with continued support and guidance throughout our second year of operations. Another selection process will be undertaken in the fall of 2020 to recruit additional members.

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