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Steering committee

The SHIFT steering committee ensures that high-level decisions regarding our overall strategies, resource allocations and future plans are aligned with our mission, vision, values and ways of working.

Committee members

Govind Gopakumar

May Chiu (joined in 2023) is a family mediator and long-term community activist, having been involved in many social justice struggles ranging from the South African anti-apartheid movement to the fight for climate justice. In her current role at the Chinatown Roundtable (Chinatown Reimagined), she coordinates a horizontal decision-making structure that enables collaborators to work together across class lines to rebuild Chinatown from a decolonial perspective, promoting the voices and viewpoints of the most vulnerable of the community.

Govind Gopakumar

Govind Gopakumar (member since 2019) is the Chair of Concordia’s Centre for Engineering in Society and an interdisciplinary scholar who critically examines the relation between society, environment, and technology in an urban context. Govind has been involved in the leadership of SHIFT since the early stages of its development, he now contributes as a member of the Steering Committee and the Governance Hub.  

Govind Gopakumar

Isabel Heck (member since 2020) is an action researcher committed to social inclusion. After several years working as a community-based researcher with Parole d’excluEs, she recently joined the Collective Impact Project team at Centraide du Grand Montréal. Isabel is also an adjunct professor at UQAM and a member of the CRISES research network (Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales).

Constance Lafontaine (joined in 2023) facilitates collaborations across stakeholders from academic, community and public sectors to achieve a more equitable and inclusive digital society for older adults. In her role as Associate Director of Concordia’s ACT (Aging + Communication + Technologies) Lab, she uses participatory action research, co-design, living lab and research creation approaches to mobilize community members as powerful advocates for social change.

Headshot of Shawna Moore

Shawna Moore (member since 2023) is a member of the Temagami First Nations and has ancestry in Ireland and Scotland. She is a Program Manager at Indigenous Youth Root’s Creation Funding Program, which provides financial support to Indigenous youth-led councils, and community and grassroots organizations. She is also a Board Member at the Centre for Community Organizations (COCo), and sits on both COCo and SHIFT's governance hubs. 

Govind Gopakumar

Seynabou Ndiaye (member since 2021) is a software engineer with a strong commitment to advancing best practices for greater equity and inclusion in the STEM fields. A graduate from the Gina Cody School of Engineering & Computer Science, Seynabou has launched and collaborated on a diverse portfolio of start-ups focusing on sustainability, responsible investing, and mental wellness. She currently works with Sama, a Bcorp leader in ethical AI practices.

Danièle-Jocelyne Otou-Nguini (joined in 2023) works to create safe spaces that enable all the voices in the room to feel heard. Her background in social innovation, design thinking, strategy and communications guide how she accompanies leaders and teams to navigate organizational change through her consultancy work as co-founder of the New Room Group, as well as in her role as Board Chair at the Black Healing Centre.

Ezgi Ozyonum

Ezgi Ozyonum (member since 2023) is a PhD candidate in education at Concordia University. Her work examines international students’ experiences and agency in Canadian universities through a decolonial framework. Additionally, she is the event coordinator at the Decolonial Perspectives and Practices Hub, a SHIFT-funded project. Ezgi is also a researcher at the EDI Lab of Concordia’s Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Amy Poteete (joined in 2023) is an interdisciplinary scholar of social ecological and political ecological issues, with a focus on responsive governance, commons and commoning. In partnership with community groups like Les amis du champ des possibles, her current research highlights the contributions of informal urban green spaces to biodiversity, climate resilience and social inclusion. She has been on the faculty at Concordia since 2006.

Nafija Rahman

Nafija Rahman (member since 2019) 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.

Prem Sooriyakumar (joined in 2023) is a documentary filmmaker and a Knowledge Broker at Concordia University, deeply committed to inclusive storytelling and public access to academic knowledge. His approach intertwines listening, learning, and sharing, with a strong emphasis on facilitating research impact and knowledge dissemination across diverse communities. Prior to his role on the Steering Committee, he actively participated in SHIFT’s participatory funding processes, serving on the selection committee.

Jessica Cabana

Florencia Vallejo-Ortiz (member since 2021) is a Concordia alumni in Women's Studies and Immigration Studies. As Organizational Development and Training Coordinator at COCo (Center for Community Organizations), Florencia supports the non-for-profit community sector in Quebec through an intersectional and anti-oppression lens. Florencia has extensive experience in community engagement and student organizing around issues of migrant justice, environmental activism, prevention of gender-based violence, and movements in solidarity with BIPOC communities.

Andre Williams

Andre Williams (member since 2023) is the Digital Media Coordinator at inPath, a training hub and connection point for artists, educators, and professionals committed to supporting Indigenous youth through the arts. In his role, he has also worked on research and data collection and was the lead project and content manager for the Uusdaadaouw Project book publication. Additionally, through personal interest, Andre has experience supporting project managers and local communities in creating inclusive public spaces; he assisted in the design, research, public engagement, and creative direction.

Sara Baptiste-Brown

Sara Baptiste-Brown (on leave, member since 2019) 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 Manager at the Institute for Cooperative Education.

Non-voting member

Susan Edey, Senior Director, Community Engagement and Social Impact Susan Edey, Senior Director, Community Engagement and Social Impact

Core responsibilities




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