About Us

Creating a thriving and inclusive Canadian economy, one connection at a time.

We often get the question: why do you exist? There are business chambers at the regional and national level, and corporations’ support for 2SLGBTQI+ initiatives is on the rise.

It’s easy to give a by-the-numbers response. Canada is home to over 100,000 2SLGBTQI+-owned businesses. These businesses generate over $22 billion in economic activity and employ over 435,000 Canadians. In other words, 2SLGBTQI+ business is big business.

However, 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs still face barriers. Nearly half have hidden who they were in business dealings to avoid losing opportunities, and more than a third have lost opportunities due to being 2SLGBTQI+.

There is a growing number of organizations looking to change these stats – one connection at a time. A community of 2SLGBTQI+ businesses, government liaisons and even diverse procurement practices are helping tip the scales. CGLCC is a coalition of all of these positive forces advocating for change to make a more inclusive Canadian economy possible.

We do this by bringing people together, and highlighting the right resources for 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs to be even more successful.

So, the answer is: we exist because 2SLGBTQI+ entrepreneurs already have a huge impact on the Canadian economy, with barriers. Let’s see what kind of thriving and inclusive Canada is possible when we remove them.

Our Programs

Each of our programs is designed to elevate 2SLGBTQI+ businesses and foster greater diversity and inclusion across Canada’s economy.

Whether we’re connecting 2SLGBTQI+ businesses to a global network or a corporation with a vested interest in diverse procurement, we’re here to facilitate connections that can build a more inclusive Canada.

We also serve businesses looking to form more inclusive cultures or programming, offering inclusivity training and market-preparedness training for serving 2SLGBTQI+ clientele. We use our community-based expertise and research to facilitate a stronger, more inclusive Canadian economy for all.

Featured Program

Supplier Diversity

Supplier diversity is more than a mandate – it’s an economic and social revolution. We fill tables with progressive organizations looking to engage in supplier diversity with our certified LGBT+ businesses. This gives Canadian LGBT+ businesses unprecedented access to connections, partnerships and new business opportunities, while corporations benefit from diversifying their suppliers and service providers.

Board of Directors

Mark Schollenberg (he/him)
Chair
Manitoba Regional Member
Since 2016, Mark Schollenberg has contributed his business knowledge and experience supporting LGBT+ entrepreneurs and professionals as CGLCC’s Board Chair and Manitoba Regional Member. As a long-time employee of RBC, he has worked to grow and empower businesses across Canada, most recently as a Regional Enablement Coach for Business Markets.
Mark Schollenberg (he/him)
Chair
Manitoba Regional Member
Bruce McDonald (he/him)
Co-Founder & Past-Chair
Silverman Consulting & Retail Services
As the Co-founder of CGLCC (2003) and Board Chair (2003-2018), Bruce McDonald continues to contribute his experience as a business consultant, LGBTBE owner, as well as his experience from many years in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industries. His support of 2SLGBTQI+ communities stretch beyond CGLCC. He was the Co-Founder of both Travel Gay Canada, an association that promoted Canada as a preferred destination for LGBT+ travellers internationally; and the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Business Education Foundation (CGLBEF), Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ business education foundation.
Bruce McDonald (he/him)
Co-Founder & Past-Chair
Silverman Consulting & Retail Services
Debra Quade (she/her)
Vice-Chair
Kellogg’s
Debra Quade brings extensive knowledge of Supplier Diversity to CGLCC’s board in her role as Secretary. Based in Battle Creek, Michigan, she currently manages the Supplier Diversity program at Kellogg’s.
Debra Quade (she/her)
Vice-Chair
Kellogg’s
Dr. Gavin Armstrong (he/him)
Treasurer
Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise
Dr. Gavin Armstrong is committed impact entrepreneur. He is currently serving as the Founder and President of Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise®, a social enterprise attempting to alleviate iron deficiency around the world using a simple health innovation. Through this role he was a Fulbright scholar at Auburn University and was awarded the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Social Entrepreneur category in 2016. In 2017 he received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and was named ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ by EY Canada. In 2018 he successfully pitched his company Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise on CBC’s Dragons Den where he was able to secure a deal with two dragons. Gavin holds a PhD in Biomedical Science from the University of Guelph
Dr. Gavin Armstrong (he/him)
Treasurer
Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise
Shawn Salewski (he/him)
Secretary
BDC
Shawn is a communications executive with over 20 years’ experience in both the public and private sector. He is currently the Assistant Vice President of External Communications at Canada’s bank for entrepreneurs, BDC, where he leads the team responsible for its reputation, corporate communications, events and public relations activities. He strongly believes impactful, purpose-driven projects are essential in building trust and a strong brand. A champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, Shawn is also a member of BDC’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council and a member of the Board of Directors of Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. He also lends his time in support of GRIS-Montreal, an organization that raises awareness about the LGBTQ2+ reality in high-schools reaching 30,000 students each year. He sits on the on the Private Sector Advisory Committee of Startup Canada, an organization connecting startups with opportunities for growth. Shawn is originally from Ontario and lives in Montreal since 2012.
Shawn Salewski (he/him)
Secretary
BDC
Florence Chapman (she/her)
Sobeys Inc.
Florence Chapman joined Sobeys Inc. in March 2019 and currently serves as Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion HR and Business Process supporting implementation of a multi-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy. Prior to joining Sobeys Inc., Florence was CEO of Canadian Business SenseAbility, a leading not-for-profit committed to supporting corporations in advancing employment outcomes for people with disabilities through inclusive and accessible culture and process transformation.

Flo spent over 10 years in the financial services industry as Vice President, Institutional Equity Sales developing strategic global institutional client relationships for Midland Walwyn Capital, and Merrill Lynch in Toronto, New York City, and London, England. She holds a BA in Commerce and Economics from Trinity College, University of Toronto, and completed the Women in Business Initiative at the Rotman School of Management, U of T in 2015. In addition to recently joining the Board of the CGLCC, Flo is founding Board member of Access to Success, a Fellowship Program that provides scholarships to MBA students with disabilities at four of Canada’s leading MBA schools, and ATS Labs, Canada’s only accelerator for accessibility technology startups.
Florence Chapman (she/her)
Sobeys Inc.
Margaret Coons (she/her)
Nuts For Cheese
Margaret Coons is the Founder & CEO of Nuts For Cheese, Canada’s market leader in artisan, organic, plant-based dairy manufacturing. Vegan from an early age, Margaret developed a passion for plant-based cuisine becoming a vegan chef and experimenting with nuts and seeds to create deliciously creamy dairy-free cheeses. Since launching at a farmer’s market in 2015, Nuts For Cheese™ has enjoyed explosive growth across Canada and the United States with its award-winning artisanal and versatile dairy-free products available at national retailers, including Loblaws, Sobeys, Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, and more. Today, Nuts For Cheese™ employs 30+ people, operating from a 25,000 square foot manufacturing facility in London, Ontario. Nuts For Cheese™ continues to scale year-over-year with a mission to create delicious, dairy-free and vegan cheese for cheese lovers everywhere.
Margaret Coons (she/her)
Nuts For Cheese
Jessica Grey (she/her)
RBC Royal Bank
In Jessica’s current role, she works with a team of Procurement and Business Professionals, across the globe, leading the Bank’s Supplier Diversity strategy, reporting into the Strategy team in RBC Global Procurement under the Chief Administration Office umbrella. Jessica firmly believes that inclusive procurement practices strengthen local economies, forge new business opportunities and create value for communities.
She is known for her strong relationship building skills and strong record in engaging teams, which sets her up for success in her current role. She is bold and is known to tap into the full RBC network to identify the best opportunities for diverse suppliers.
Jessica is energized by connecting with suppliers and spends her time on finding ways to advance the equality of opportunity for Women, BIPOC, LGBT+, people with disabilities, service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses by promoting an inclusive supply chain and levelling the playing field for disadvantaged suppliers.
In her spare time Jessica carries that love for sports and you can often find her playing baseball, soccer or basketball with various GTA women’s leagues.
Jessica Grey (she/her)
RBC Royal Bank
Jane Griffith (she/her)
Griffith Group Executive Search
Jane Griffith is the Managing Partner and Founder of the Griffith Group Executive Search. A veteran search leader, Jane focuses on the recruitment of senior leaders in the not-for-profit, academic, and broader public sectors. She is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on hiring practices, with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Jane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Legal History from the University of Calgary and a Master of Arts in Legal History from the University of Toronto. She is an active volunteer and has supported many organizations including 30% Club Canada, Informed Opinions, Congress 2017 with AFP Toronto, as the Founder of The Council of Women Executives, and has been appointed to the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce in 2022. Jane is also the Founder of the Canadian Chapter of the LGBTQ+ Corporate Directors Association.
Jane Griffith (she/her)
Griffith Group Executive Search
Rachel Guthrie (she/her)
Export Development Canada
Joining Export Development Canada in 2021, Rachel is the VP, ESG Strategy, Outreach and Reporting.
Rachel brings over a decade of experience in ESG strategy and reporting in the Canadian financial industry. As the Head of TD’s ESG Reporting and Impact Measurement team, she navigated TD’s strategy through materiality assessments, the adoption of GRI standards, SASB and TCFD reporting. TD’s reporting won national acclaim, winning “Best ESG Reporting” in Canada from IR Magazine for three years in a row.
Originally from the U.K., Rachel completed her undergrad at St. Andrews University in Scotland and returned to school mid-career for a Certificate in Corporate Responsibility from St. Michael’s College in Toronto. In her spare time, Rachel volunteers with Ski Patrol Canada.
Rachel Guthrie (she/her)
Export Development Canada
Rupert Hon (he/him)
TD Bank Group
As Regional Manager, LGBTQ2+ Business Development, Rupert’s primary role is to serve as a trusted liaison between TD and the LGBTQ2+ community. In addition to his deep understanding of the community itself, he relies on his ability to develop strong relationships with its members in order to fully discover their financial needs and goals. Rupert is fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with a wide range of talented colleagues from multiple lines of business, including Personal Banking, Business Banking and TD Wealth, to help provide our LGBTQ2+ clients with the best wealth advice and exceptional service they deserve. As part of this, he works hard to stay engaged with the community at large on a regular basis, by supporting and volunteering with local grass roots organizations which keep him up to date with any relevant news.
Rupert Hon (he/him)
TD Bank Group
Kate Madden (she/her)
Equitable Life of Canada
Kate is a Group Account Executive with Equitable Life of Canada and works with Employee Benefits Advisors and plan sponsors throughout British Columbia. She returned to her hometown of Vancouver last year after twenty years in Alberta where she built a career in Financial Services working with some of western Canada’s largest employers.. As a Transgender woman, Kate has also developed a reputation as a dynamic community builder with a focus on developing capacity and advocacy through her YouTube Channel and Podcast. As well, Kate works with board governance with the Loud Foundation and is on the national board of directors for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Kate is a passionate photographer in her spare time and parent to six children who live in Nelson, B.C.
Kate Madden (she/her)
Equitable Life of Canada
Terri McDowell (she/her)
Ernst & Young LLP
Partner/Principal | Intl Tax and Tran Svcs(ITTS). Ernst & Young LLP.
Terri McDowell (she/her)
Ernst & Young LLP
Nicole Monaco (she/her)
Chandos
Nicole is a values-driven executive leader and critical thinker. In her 17 years of B2B experience across industries, Nicole has led marketing, communications, and sales functions in publicly traded, private, and employee-owned companies. She is educated and experienced in the emerging domain of corporate purpose and ESG. Nicole is currently the head of brand and communications for Chandos Construction, Canada’s only B Corp certified technical builder. In her role at Chandos, Nicole leads the team responsible for brand, marketing, employee communications, and external communications. She also leads several social impact and
purpose initiatives for the company. Nicole is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) and serves the Canadian Association of Women in Construction (CAWIC) as a Committee Chair. Nicole’s a breadth and depth of experience allows her to approach problems from different angles and identify opportunities for organizations to differentiate and grow. She is originally from Toronto but has called Edmonton home since 2013 where she lives with her partner and dog.
Nicole Monaco (she/her)
Chandos

Staff

Darrell Schuurman (he/him)
Co-Founder and CEO
As Co-Founder and CEO of CGLCC, Darrell Schuurman has been committed to CGLCC’s mission since 2003. He is a Former Managing Partner at DNA Marketing Group and has a background in business, sales and marketing. He is the Co-Founder of Travel Gay Canada.
Darrell Schuurman (he/him)
Co-Founder and CEO
Sarah Evalina (she/they)
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
A social change activist at heart, Sarah approaches their work with a steadfast commitment to co-creating equitable, sustainable, and joyous communities.

As an executive leader, they have spent nearly two decades working with the public service sector and large corporations to create policy, lead innovation and build progressive, future-ready organizations. They’re known for championing sustainable and scalable practices through the lens of inclusion, justice, and environmental responsibility.

Sarah’s advocacy for building bridges between people, place, and understanding means they can most often be found in community—supporting non-profits, hosting gatherings and fundraisers, and leading inclusive outdoor adventures.
Sarah Evalina (she/they)
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Oscar Andrade
Oscar Andrade (he/him)
Global Program Administrator
Oscar is a Project Manager with experience in the non-profit and education sectors. Originally from Mexico, he moved to Canada in 2018 to settle permanently after completing his Masters degree in Marketing Management. Oscar is a trilingual professional with an international background in diversity and inclusion. He enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling and embracing different cultures, cuisine, and traditions.
Oscar Andrade (he/him)
Global Program Administrator
Kim Boucher-Morin
Kim Boucher-Morin (she/her)
Manager, Business Development (Quebec and North)
Kim holds a Master’s in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from Sciences Po Paris, with concentrations in Stakeholder Engagement and Public Sector Innovation. She is particularly interested in how human rights frameworks can contribute to decolonizing design and create a more inclusive social impact. Her professional experience includes conducting research focused on empowering womxn, curating art exhibits and community-building events, being an advocate for francophone communities across Canada, as well as creating partnerships within civil society. Kim is excited to bring her passion for inclusive innovation to the Supplier Diversity program, which intersects perfectly with her interests and experience.

Outside of the office, she is most likely catching flights and/or waves. She also enjoys painting, writing, and tattooing.
Kim Boucher-Morin (she/her)
Manager, Business Development (Quebec and North)
Ashleigh Brown
Ashleigh Brown (she/her)
Director, Business Development
Ashleigh has an extensive background in creating strategic partnerships and developing business opportunities. She finds professional and personal fulfilment at the intersection of advocacy, business, and impact-driven strategy. Ashleigh is also the founder of SheCann, an NGO focused on empowering women through medical cannabis. Her dedication to amplifying the needs of equity-deserving groups is evident in her success as a consultant and advocate. Ashleigh’s work has been recognized through over a dozen national awards and nominations and by print and televised media outlets on over 100 occasions in the last 5 years. She lives in Winnipeg with her partner, her 2 children, and 3 creatures (and counting!)
Ashleigh Brown (she/her)
Director, Business Development
Dre Choi
Dre Choi (they/them)
Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Dre Choi is an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) practitioner, consultant, researcher, and educator with over 15 years of leadership experience developing, advising, and executing EDI initiatives in organizations and institutions. Their professional experience includes applying robust intersectional EDI frameworks when assessing workplace climates, strengthening policies and practices, and evaluating EDI programs in corporate settings, universities, and the public sector. They are particularly fond of creating rigorous and innovative equity-informed research methodologies and metrics for analyzing data. Strategy-focused, Dre places a heavy emphasis on ethical practice, sustainability, impact, and lasting positive change.

They hold a PhD on the efficacy of equity practices and antiracist initiatives in higher education and the barriers to inclusion for members of equity-deserving groups.
Dre Choi (they/them)
Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Didi Chuk (he/him)
Manager, Business Development (Supplier Diversity – Atlantic)
Didi A. Chuk holds a Master’s in International Business Management and Finance from Edinburgh Business School. Recognized as a distinguished scholar, he was honored as the Best Graduating Student for his outstanding academic achievements. Throughout his career, Didi has collaborated with numerous government and public organizations, where his innovative strategies and customer-centric approach earned him the Top Performer accolade. His tenure at Scotiabank’s business banking division further showcased his expertise and commitment to excellence. Beyond his corporate roles, Didi has sat on the board of a charity endowment fund, ardently pushing for female economic empowerment. He’s also a staunch advocate for the rights of black and neurodivergent individuals, reflecting his deep-rooted passion for inclusivity and justice. Outside of work, Didi’s interests are diverse, from exploring culinary arts as a chef to the discipline of powerlifting. As he joins CGLCC, Didi brings a rich tapestry of experiences, achievements, and a genuine desire to foster an inclusive business landscape.
Didi Chuk (he/him)
Manager, Business Development (Supplier Diversity – Atlantic)
Autumn Corvus
Autumn Corvus (they/them, he/him)
Manager, IT
Autumn has over a decade of experience managing technology systems for local, national and international nonprofit organizations. He lives in Ottawa with his partner and four spoiled cats.
Autumn Corvus (they/them, he/him)
Manager, IT
Tyler Demers (he/him)
Director, Grant and Research Programs
With a career in the non-profit sector that spans over 15 years, Tyler has built a strong background in program management and grant-making, as well as donor education. Tyler holds an MSc in International Development and Biomedical Science from the University of Guelph and is committed to driving positive global change through his career. Using his funder’s experience, he will help to build CGLCC’s granting programs, through the new 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program.

Outside of work, you can find Tyler on the soccer pitch or at the pool playing water polo with the Toronto Triggerfish. He also enjoys volunteering for local charities, fiddling around on his guitar, or curling up with a nice book and mug of coffee or tea.
Tyler Demers (he/him)
Director, Grant and Research Programs
Jasmine Kaur Dhillon (she/her)
Coordinator, Business Development
Jasmine has a BA in Honours Psychology from the University of Waterloo, where she spent two years in the Global Business and Digital Arts program as well. She also brings extensive skill sets in areas such as client relationship management and financial services. Her professional and academic experiences have allowed her to develop a deep understanding and appreciation for corporate diversity and inclusion in B2B settings.

As a former volunteer for a non-profit organization, Jasmine has a strong interest in advocating for the rights of minority groups. Jasmine’s pursuit of her passion for helping members of the community has brought her to CGLCC, where she hopes to assist our team in building an inclusive business landscape in Canada.

Jasmine lives in Southern Ontario with her family, where she was born and raised. When she is out of the office, Jasmine enjoys thrifting, travelling, and playing with her dog, Tommy!
Jasmine Kaur Dhillon (she/her)
Coordinator, Business Development
Idara Effiom
Idara Effiom (she/her)
Manager, Mentorship Program
Idara (ee-dah-rah) is a people developer and project manager who resides in Edmonton. With 6+ years experience working with nonprofit organizations, she has gathered extensive understanding of the non profit sector in Alberta. Idara has also worked in post secondary institutions, with a goal to facilitate acclimatization of international students in Canada and to promote equality and diversity initiatives within tertiary institutions. Over the past few years Idara has honed her passion for community advocacy through running several community initiatives and offering educational sessions to organizations who wish to foster an inclusive workplace.

Idaras interests include planning outfits and spaces, and connecting with friends and community. She is a huge fan of paint nights, clothing swaps and trips to the mountains.
Idara Effiom (she/her)
Manager, Mentorship Program
Cass Elliott (he/him)
Manager, Global Program
Melika Fontaine
Mélika Fontaine (she/her)
Grant Manager (Quebec and Atlantic Canada)
Originally from Ottawa, Melika has a Ba. in Social sciences with Honors in International Studies and Modern Languages from Ottawa University. While in school she worked for Crown Corporations attached to the tourism industry but later found her calling in the non for profit sector. First by empowering francophone youth with leadership skills, and later supporting LGBTQIA+ Newcomers and asylum seekers with their integration process and to help them face various social, institutional and systemic barriers while in the Greater Toronto Area. Fitness and sweets are her favorite ways to relieve stress. So this, and her love for different cultures lead her to get certified as a Zumba Fitness instructor. She is now based in the maritimes where she is studying Africentric Social Work at Dalhousie University in hopes of continuing her work in systemic change. Melika feels that her work with multiple vulnerable communities will enrich her work as grant manager with the CGLCC.
Mélika Fontaine (she/her)
Grant Manager (Quebec and Atlantic Canada)
Kailey Gilchrist
Kailey Gilchrist (she/her)
Manager, Corporate Business Development
Kailey Gilchrist brings a dynamic perspective to our team, with over 10 years of experience in business development and as a Diverse Supplier with her company, NONA Vegan. Leading a successful CPG food business has taught her versatility and resilience in entrepreneurship. Actively engaged with CGLCC for the past 5 years, she has attended Global Trade Missions, won pitch competitions, obtained Rainbow Registered status, and participated in the Out for Business Youth Program. Now in the role of Manager of Corporate Business Development, Kailey holds a genuine commitment to fostering partnerships with organizations and supporting suppliers in their journeys. Having completed Tuck Executive Education programs at Dartmouth for Starting and Growing a Successful Diverse Business, she brings both practical experience and education to her role. Additionally, holding a degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Guelph, Kailey’s creative background may just be her ‘secret sauce’ in the world of business.
Kailey Gilchrist (she/her)
Manager, Corporate Business Development
Pru Girme (she/her)
Manager, Supplier Diversity (Engagement)
Pru is a Queer South Asian Business professional and an artist based in Toronto. She holds a MA in Painting and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, with a focus on intersectionality. Her work is inspired by the relationship between her identity, community and equity. Her vision as a creative professional is to work toward bringing together dispersed communities through meaningful engagement and persuasive dialogue.

Pru manages some of the core programs at CGLCC, including Supplier Diversity and OUT for Business. Previous to CGLCC, she worked at Pride at Work Canada, as the Business Development Coordinator and held positions at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Pru Girme (she/her)
Manager, Supplier Diversity (Engagement)
Paige Harlock (she/her)
Director, Stakeholder Engagement
With over 5 years in the non-profit sector, Paige brings experience in fundraising and partnership management and a passion for advancing causes that focus on equity and sustainability. She has a BA from Queens and professional experience in communications, tech, and client relationship management.
Paige Harlock (she/her)
Director, Stakeholder Engagement
Abdi Hassan
Abdi Hassan (he/him)
Grant Manager (Research)
With a background in Political Sciences and Communications, Abdi has worked the last several years in community-based research centres. His background in conducting and coordinating public health research projects has focused on intersectional and underserved groups in the 2SLGBTQI+ community, which is where his passion lies. Abdi is responsible for coordinating the delivery of the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. He is eager to apply his research experience and passion to the Knowledge Hub and strives to be inclusive of intersectional and underserved communities on this project.
Abdi Hassan (he/him)
Grant Manager (Research)
Peter Hradisky (he/him)
Coordinator, Tourism & Accreditation Programs
The travel and tourism industry has been shaping Peter’s professional life for almost a decade. Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Peter has become an ambassador for tourism in the Atlantic region through his exceptional knowledge and experience in visitor services.

With growing demands for diversity, equity and inclusion in the tourism sector, Peter is enthusiastic to assist organizations that want to create a welcoming environment for their employees and visitors and grow their business.

While in his final year of the Tourism and Hospitality degree program at MSVU, he is also passionate to support the delivery of the Rainbow Registered program, identifying areas for improvement based on client feedback and creating solutions for a better overall customer experience.
Peter Hradisky (he/him)
Coordinator, Tourism & Accreditation Programs
Seema Kapoor
Seema Kapoor (she/her)
Manager, Corporate Engagement
Seema is a connector and storyteller, passionate about creating impactful and moving content for tech, finance, not for profit and retail industries. Having her education and vast experience in Marketing and Communication, Seema is the Manager of Corporate Engagement for CGLCC, cultivating and sustaining robust and rich relationships with corporate partners and help them give back to the communities they serve.
Seema Kapoor (she/her)
Manager, Corporate Engagement
Julie-Léonora Kesch, Marketing Coordinator
Julie-Léonora Kesch (she/her)
Coordinator, Marketing
Julie-Léonora, a communication and marketing professional with a background in Political Sciences, brings extensive experience spanning diverse industries, including the nonprofit sector. She firmly believes in the power of storytelling and effective content creation to emphasize and drive positive change.

As a former content strategist, editorial project manager, and communication and marketing lead, Julie-Léonora is also dedicated to advocating for the 2SLGBTQI+ community. She is actively working towards fostering greater inclusion and awareness. In pursuit of this mission, Julie-Léonora is currently undergoing training on feminist issues and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
Julie-Léonora Kesch (she/her)
Coordinator, Marketing
Austen Koecher
Austen Koecher (she/her)
Manager, Human Resources
With over ten years of experience in human resources, project management, organizational leadership, training and development, change management, and operational compliance, Austen is passionate about building inclusive, collaborative workplaces. A passionate equity advocate, Austen thrives in an environment that values problem-solving and innovation, continuous improvement, and the exploration of new ideas.

Splitting her time between Toronto and Northern Ontario whenever possible, Austen enjoys spending time outdoors, going on family adventures, vegetarian cooking, and exploring new arts & crafts like knitting and 3D printing.
Austen Koecher (she/her)
Manager, Human Resources
Adam Koussa
Adam Koussa (he/him)
Manager, Special Projects
Adam is a Queer Canadian originally from Lebanon, who has called Vancouver home since 2016. With over five years of experience in Project Management, he holds certification as a Project Management Professional and a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering. Adam’s journey took a significant turn driven by his passion for human rights and LGBTQI rights, prompting a career shift to focus on working with the 2SLGBTQI community. His interests span from travelling to cooking, and thrive on To-do lists.

Adam serves as the Special Projects Manager at CGLCC, channeling his skills and dedication into meaningful initiatives for the community.
Adam Koussa (he/him)
Manager, Special Projects
Chris Mariano
Chris Mariano (he/him)
Business Development Manager (West and North)
Chris has over 15 years experience working both in Canada and abroad in the areas of international and community development, refugee protection, and education. From working with non-profit organizations, to sitting on the board of local 2SLGBTQI+ organizations, to teaching kindergarten up to university level students – Chris is motivated by a desire for social justice. Most recently, as part of a PhD program in Education, Chris was researching the language learning experiences of 2SLGBTQI+ newcomers in Canadian ESL classrooms. He brings this same passion for understanding issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion to his work with the Supplier Diversity Program.

Outside of work, you will find Chris on the tennis court or doing laps as part of his fervent involvement in 2SLGBTQI+ sports!
Chris Mariano (he/him)
Business Development Manager (West and North)
Connor McKiggan (they/them – he/him)
Business Development Manager (Tourism and Accreditation Programs)
Named an ‘Inclusion warrior’ by the Saskatoon Star Phoenix while pursuing a double degree in Sustainability and International Development, Connor is a leader in breaking down gender binaries through their passion for 2SLGBTQA+ community engagement.

Connor is excited to translate his experience into concrete policies, education, and support for workplaces that are ready to create stronger, safer spaces for 2SLGBTQI+ customers and employees.
Connor McKiggan (they/them – he/him)
Business Development Manager (Tourism and Accreditation Programs)
Leila-Indira Mohabeer-Ortiz (she/her)
Coordinator, Communications
Over the last several years, Leila-Indira has merged her training in storytelling at one of the top journalism schools in Canada with direct experience working in the communications, marketing and branding space for several Arts and civic focused business development organizations. Her specialization is in translating and coordinating brand narratives into compelling digital stories across social and newsletter channels.

Leila’s journey into this niche is inspired by her past role as a summer intern with CGLCC, which further kindled her passion for storytelling, social advocacy, and inclusivity. She firmly believes that acknowledging and understanding the intersectionality of human experience is of utmost importance when using the power of narrative to advocate for social change, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Leila-Indira Mohabeer-Ortiz (she/her)
Coordinator, Communications
Trish Romani
Trish Romani (she/her)
Administration
Trish is a proud member of the 2SLGBTQ+ Community and proud to be part of the 2SLGBTQI+ team. As Office Administrator, she is the voice that answers the phone and is supporting key directors of the organization. She has worked in private, government, non-profit and media organizations. As an avid traveller, she has explored over fifty countries and welcomes travel stories and tips. She loves a very good cup of tea, a walk in her favourite trail and time near water. You will find her and her son between Vancouver, BC and Ottawa, ON.
Trish Romani (she/her)
Administration
Janelle Salisbury
Janelle Salisbury (she/her)
Grant Manager (Central and Northern Canada)
Originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, Janelle (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha, Pākehā) brings her experience in grants funding and relationship management to support the delivery of the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program. Janelle is responsible for the Ecosystem Fund within the Ontario, Manitoba and Nunavut areas.

Janelle is passionate about the arts, communities, and cultural wellbeing. In her spare time you’ll find her attending galleries and performances, knitting, reading, or searching Toronto for the perfect flat white.
Janelle Salisbury (she/her)
Grant Manager (Central and Northern Canada)
A.J. Stewart (he/him)
Operations Manager, Supplier Diversity
A.J. joins the CGLCC with over 15 years of service, hospitality, and entertainment leadership experience. Coming to the team with extensive sales and outreach experience, he is also an avid world traveler. A.J. has seen over 50 countries and 5 continents during his time working with Royal Caribbean in entertainment. He has participated in and helped to organize several floating pride celebrations.

A.J. is focused squarely on adding value and providing opportunities to our current members, as well as expanding our network of certified suppliers, with a primary goal of diversifying corporate supply chains on a national level, and removing access barriers for LGBT+ businesses.
A.J. Stewart (he/him)
Operations Manager, Supplier Diversity
Merve Tosun
Merve Tosun (she/her)
Business Development Coordinator, Tourism and Accreditation Programs
Merve, pronunciation Mervé (mervei-lleux; Mervay) was born into a Turkish household, raised in Germany and chose Montreal as her new home in 2019. With a vibrant background, she has actively contributed to the non-profit community. In Germany, she co-founded an organization providing space for 2SLGBTQI+ immigrants and served as a board member and support services volunteer for a local non-profit in Montreal serving 2SLGBTQI+ immigrants and refugees. Now she is active as a volunteer and provides legal aid for queer Turkish refugees coming to Canada.

Her journey has taken her to various parts of the world, including Sao Paulo, Lisbon and Vancouver, reflecting her love for travel and connecting with different cultures.

In her free time, Merve enjoys going for runs, cooking turkish meals and relishes board game nights at home with her partner and her cat. Her passion for intersectional identities and her zest for life shine through in her various roles and experiences.
Merve Tosun (she/her)
Business Development Coordinator, Tourism and Accreditation Programs
Spencer Toth (he/him)
Manager, Tourism and Accreditation Programs
Spencer has a strong passion and extensive experience in local and international economic development and engagement, project and tourism management, marketing, and more. His interests include tourism development & marketing, rural economic development, LGBTQ2+ travel, sustainability, technology, and government policy & governance.
Spencer Toth (he/him)
Manager, Tourism and Accreditation Programs
Stanley Walter
Stanley Walter (he/him)
Grant Manager (Western and Northern Canada)
Originally from Gotha, Germany, Stanley is passionate about all things international and gained work and study experience in Canada, Germany, and the United States. Having a strong background in grant and project management, Stanley is responsible for the delivery of the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program in Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C., the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

In his spare time you can find Stanley either painting and sketching, ballroom and swing dancing, or being active outside as he’s into many different sports throughout the year.
Stanley Walter (he/him)
Grant Manager (Western and Northern Canada)
Sydney Thurn, CPA, CA (she/her)
Financial Controller
Sydney is a graduate from the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business, and earned her CPA, CA designation while working with Deloitte in Toronto. Sydney has spent 10+ years supporting charities and non-profits both in Canada and abroad. It was Sydney’s humanitarian work in South India and Honduras that sparked her personal mission of utilizing her professional skills to improve the lives of as many people as possible throughout her career.

(External Contractor, from CHARITYacCOUNTS!)
Sydney Thurn, CPA, CA (she/her)
Financial Controller
Andrea Gnoyke (she/her)
Bookkeeper
Andrea recently retired from Canada Post after a 37-year career, and has completed Sheridan College’s Small Business Bookkeeping Certificate Program.

Andrea enjoys being able to use her skills to support charities/non-profits that are who are making a positive impact on issues close to her heart.

(External Contractor, from CHARITYacCOUNTS!)
Andrea Gnoyke (she/her)
Bookkeeper

Our Corporate Partners

Our Corporate Partners get access to our growing network of certified LGBTQ+ businesses who are experts in their fields. By attending events with speaking and networking opportunities, Corporate Partners have a direct line to the competitive suppliers who can diversify their procurement practices.

Stay on the leading edge of supplier diversity by gaining market knowledge on working with the LGBTQ+ community and supplier diversity training and tools. If you’re new to supplier diversity, we can also help you kickstart your program and begin measuring its impact on your organization – and your organization’s impact on the economy. Join the leading number of organizations revolutionizing the way they do business to maximize social and economic change.

Platinum Partners
Thank you to our resource partners
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Councils & Working Groups

The voices of our members and partners matter. CGLCC’s work is informed by advisory councils and working groups to ensure we are meeting our network’s needs. This input from various stakeholders helps us shape and improve the programs we offer and the activities we engage in.