Kathryn Sheppard – Co-President
Kathryn’s an experienced project manager and has worked on a number of projects in health, governance and international development in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Currently she works specifically with health quality assessment programs and partners with presence in more than 25 countries as a Program Manager for Health Standards Organization (HSO). Prior to that, she headed up the International Programs team at Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and focussed on media development programs than encouraged balanced reporting on human rights and governance issues.
Bilan Arte – Co-President
Bilan Arte is the daughter of Somali refugees that fled civil war in the early 1990’s to resettle in Canada. She is the first person in her family to complete post secondary education, and in 2015 was elected to serve the first of two terms as the first National Chairperson of Canada’s largest student organization, the Canadian Federation of Students. Currently, she is the National Women’s and Human Rights Representative of the Canadian Labour Congress.
An experienced communicator and a passionate social justice and equity activist, Bilan is a proud feminist who cares deeply about education and accessible pro-choice reproductive health services and resources.
Meera Chander – Vice President
Meera was born and raised in Montreal and is of Punjabi heritage. She moved to Ottawa in 2007 to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Law at Carleton University. After graduating, she spent a couple of years in the workforce before moving to Bristol, UK to complete her Law degree at the University of Bristol. With experience in the student movement, federal politics, labour and the founding of various social justice organizations, Meera brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her role. Meera is the Women’s and Human Rights Program Officer at the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and is currently completing a Management Essentials certificate program with Harvard University. Meera is a proud anti-racist feminist who believes in leading with empathy. She strives to do as much as she can to make this world a better place, including fighting for reproductive justice for all. In her free time you can find her lifting weights and spending quality time with her loved ones.
Heather Wilson – Treasurer
Heather has a heart for adventure and a head for spreadsheets. As a young student she moved from the UK where she grew up to the land now known as Canada. In fact, her first ever job in Canada was with the Planned Parent Federation Canada, and she is grateful to be involved in such a meaningful way with the work of Planned Parenthood again. Heather graduated law and has passionately taken on roles in social justice, and federal and provincial politics. As a proud feminist the promotion and advancement of women’s rights and equity have been central themes throughout her professional and personal life. After a two-year hiatus in Jamaica with her family Heather returned to Canada to take on a role in Operations and Finance with the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. She is now the Executive Director and leads by the example nature gives us – empowering others to thrive.
Erin McKay – Secretary
From Ottawa originally, Erin has studied and worked across Canada, USA and Australia. She is a passionate advocate for comprehensive sexuality education. Experienced senior public health sector professional offering 15+ years of experience in sexual health education and training, policy development, project management, health promotion, research and evaluation.
Maria was born and raised in Newfoundland. After completing her Masters in Public Policy from McMaster University in 2010, she moved to Ottawa and began working as a Legislative Assistant for a Member of Parliament. Passionate about progressive movements and politics she has worked on multiple elections all across Canada from the municipal to federal level as well as the 2016 Australian federal election working in climate action. Since moving to Ottawa in 2017, Maria currently works as an Outreach Officer in Caucus Services for New Democratic Party Leader, Jagmeet Singh. Maria is a proud feminist and cares deeply about reproductive rights. In her free time you can find her planning her next trip, reading a good book or spending time with the people and community she loves.
Kate is a senior communications advisor at Export Development Canada. With extensive experience in writing, media relations, issues management and social media, she is passionate about giving change a voice. She is also a board member with Dress for Success Ottawa, an organization that empowers womxn to achieve professional and economic success.
Originally from Toronto, Samiha moved to Ottawa to study at Carleton University, from which she graduated in 2016 with an undergraduate degree in Law and Human Rights. She previously worked at a research centre based out of Carleton University, working on coordinating research and action around social, environmental, and racial justice. Currently she works for a Member of Provincial Parliament, and in her free time is always looking for a reason to plan a birthday party.
Joanna has spent the past ten years working in the fields of education and health promotion. She has worked within the school system as both a secondary school teacher and a frontline caseworker supporting youth experiencing poverty. She has facilitated community-based leadership training sessions in priority neighbourhoods and, more recently, conducted a community-wide needs assessment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She co-owns a small business alongside her wife and is a proud mother to an amazing little girl.
Andrea (she/her/elle) is an experienced researcher, writer and educator with a rigorous passion for advancing sexual and reproductive rights for women and other minority groups in Canada and internationally. She has a PhD in Women’s Studies and loves to engage diverse folks in critical discussions leading to change. Currently, she is working as the Evaluations and Grant Coordinator at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity where she is developing performance management and fundraising strategies for the organization. In her free time, you can find her doing yoga, reading a rad queer feminist novel, or pondering the next best strategy to promote social justice and create a better world for all.