Celia Beketa ᛫ Steering Committee Co-Chair
Celia is a design researcher who puts participatory and co-creation methods at the centre of her practice. She hopes to bring a human-centred lens to the design of just and equitable cities and challenge assumptions about who has a voice at the table for critical urban planning decisions. She acts as the ‘global co-chair’ of Jane’s Walk—she is currently pursuing her Masters in Urban Studies and over the next two years will be living in four cities across Europe. In her work at Doblin Canada, she helped private and public sector organizations better understand their users (for instance, customers, employees, or residents), and design their services around their needs. She was previously on the Steering Committee of the Toronto Public Space Committee. In her spare time you can find her either in the audience or on the stage of a community theatre production.
Jiya Benni ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Jiya is an urban designer and is currently Project Manager at 8 80 Cities. She grew up in India and lived in the Netherlands before moving to Canada in 2016. She holds a Master’s in Urbanism and a Bachelor’s in Architecture. A great believer in the power of collaborative planning and placemaking in city-building, she is passionate about creating equitable, sustainable, and resilient cities. Outside of work, you will find her writing on her blogs ‘Contemplating Urban Matters’ and ‘Patient Caterpillar’, making art or taking long walks and hikes with her partner.
Geraldine Cahill ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Geraldine is Director of UpSocial Canada. UpSocial uses a social lab approach to facilitate the identification and scaling of transformative social innovations with communities. Prior to UpSocial Canada, she was deeply immersed in the Canadian social innovation community, supporting the development of programs, policies and an enabling environment for enterprises focused on positive impact. She is co-author of Social Innovation Generation: Fostering a Canadian Ecosystem for Systems Change, published in November 2017. Before her foray into social innovation, Geraldine worked in community-owned and run media organizations, and produced independent documentary film projects. In addition to her passionate commitment to Jane’s Walk, she is on the Advisory Board for Liisbeth, an innovative, sustainable, intersectional, feminist media enterprise that promotes and gives visibility to the feminist economy.
Adam Roy Cohoon ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Adam is an artist with a disability living in Toronto and an accessibility advocate and tech tester. Adam uses technology and continues learning about technology and media to explore how they can make for a more exciting disability community. He has used technology in his artwork for many years to come up with compelling ideas creatively. Adam also actively advocates for creativity, innovation, and technology to bring wider accessibility of the arts for everyone. Adam has recently moved to the mobile realm and is learning how to use mobile smart technology to help bring more creativity and culture to the world.
Selam Eyob ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Selam is an Urban Planning graduate student whose passion lies at the intersection of public health and urban planning. Her interests are within equity and community planning with a focus on cultural conservation, as well as ethical and community-centered revitalization. You can find her on Twitter: @SelameyEyob
Jenny Foster ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Jenny loves her city, and has worked in the non-profit world for over 10 years. After being inspired at an early age by her grandmother, she has devoted her life to her community and has held fundraising roles across various sectors, including education, food security, social services, and politics. Currently a Senior Development Officer at Egale Canada, the country’s leading 2SLGBTQI Human Rights organization, she also has a strong history of volunteerism. She held the role of Executive Director at West Hill Harvest, a local Scarborough charity, for over 10 years and currently sits on the Board of the Housing Help Centre. She is a Crossfitter, triathlete and an award-winning yoga teacher. Jenny holds a BA in Political Science from The University of Toronto and a certificate in Fundraising Management from Seneca College, and is a Certified Fundraising Professional.
Nadia Halim ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Nadia Halim is a writer, editor, and facilitator with 25 years of experience in Toronto’s cultural communities. In the 1990s she worked at The Canadian Forum and This Magazine, and for small presses including Sister Vision Press and ECW. She has graduate degrees in English and Philosophy, and spent several years teaching and leading tutorials in Philosophy at York University. From 2014 through 2016, she was the Global Cities Coordinator at Jane’s Walk, where she supported the international community of volunteer City Organizers and helped to build networks between them. She is interested in city-building and placemaking, and particularly in simple, creative initiatives, like Jane’s Walk, that expand at a grassroots level, spreading out without scaling up. Her podcast, The Opposite of Lonely, is about finding social connection in our changing and often isolating times. She likes good conversations and exploring the city with friends.
Candice Leung ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Candice Leung is a passionate urbanist. Professionally, Candice is a Project Coordinator with the Toronto based organization, 8 80 Cities where she supports city building initiatives. She has over 5 years of experience facilitating public engagement and working on community development issues.
Building on Candice’s professional experiences, she has been recognized for various accomplishments. She was selected as a Sidewalk Toronto Fellow and had the opportunity to conduct research on smart cities and waterfront development internationally. She has also presented at several conferences, symposiums and university classes. Candice is also an organizer with TTCRiders, Scarborough Transit Action, and Transportation Equity TO. Working at the intersections of community organizing, city planning, and public health is where she thrives.
Michelle Pinchev ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Michelle is one of Toronto’s leading digital marketing strategists with nearly 15 years of industry experience working both client-side and more recently, as the founder, Managing Director and Creative Director of Pinch Social, a boutique social media and events marketing agency. Since 2016, Michelle has also served as the Host and Executive Director of Social Media Week Toronto. Michelle has worked with organizations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, and with small and medium-sized businesses across industries including retail, food and beverage, hospitality, fashion, health and wellness, legal and professional services, film and television, and countless others. Michelle is a strategist, consultant, speaker and certified trainer, and has taught Social Media at George Brown College. She currently lives downtown Toronto near her Trinity Bellwoods office with her husband, baby daughter and rescue dog. A long-standing supporter of TIFF, the AGO and Jane’s Walk, she is passionate about local arts, culture and entertainment and loves exploring historical sites around Toronto. She is also an avid supporter of Toronto’s small business community.
Cecelia Pye ᛫ Steering Committee Member
Cecelia is an urban planner, researcher, and connector. She brings creativity and a variety of experiences, including the last two years at the School of Cities at U of T. She previously held roles in non-profit and government sectors across Toronto, planning major festivals, leading public realm improvements, and launching a tax to protect arts and culture institutions. She is passionate about amplifying community voices, cooking and recipe swapping, and exploring new cities. As a member of Jane’s Walk Steering Committee, she hopes to strengthen global partnerships and encourage walks that address critical issues facing cities and citizens.
Wesley Reibeling ᛫ Steering Committee Co-Chair
Wes’ passion for community and equitable design is at the centre of his practice: he believes in co-creation as a tool to develop creative solutions to the chronic complex challenges of today and uses multidisciplinary art to do so. Wes holds a bachelor of theatre from York University and is currently a Project Manager at Egale Canada where he manages several national projects aimed at serving the 2SLGBTQI+ community.