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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.

Govind Gopakumar

Richenda Grazette is a community organiser, and nonprofit administrator whose work centres the voices and realities of queer, BIPOC, and marginalised youth.  Through her role as Interim Executive Director at Head & Hands, she explores transformative approaches to governance, organisational development and fundraising that align internal processes with organisational values.

Govind Gopakumar

Isabel Heck is an action researcher committed to social inclusion. Over the last seven years, she has been directing a university incubator and working as a community-based researcher with Parole d’excluEs, bridging knowledge production and action. She is engaged in transformative projects with social actors and citizens in low-income neighborhoods. Isabel is also an adjunct professor at UQAM and a member of the CRISES research network (Centre de recherche sur les innovations sociales).

Govind Gopakumar

Chad Lubelsky has worked in social justice for over 20 years. In his current role at the McConnell Foundation, he plays the role of field catalyst - building innovation capacity, networks and projects in post-secondary, journalism, and the community sector. A Concordia Communication Studies Alumni, with an interdisciplinary background, Chad brings a strong understanding of program design and delivery, evaluation and impact measurement.

Lisa Ndejuru

Lisa Ndejuru (on leave) 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.

Non-voting members

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

Selection Process

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


They were selected by Anne Whitelaw (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 agreed to extend their mandate and provide SHIFT with continued support and guidance throughout our second year of operations. A supplementary open call for applications took place in Fall 2020 and resulted in three additional members joining the committee.  

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