On Sunday, December 4th members will meet for the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM). At the AGM, members will review our work over the past 12 months, discuss progress made on our 2014-18 strategic plan, and elect our 2017 board of directors. If you’re a member, please join us starting at 4:30pm at Friends House located at 60 Lowther Ave.

Here are the candidates for this year’s TVA Board of Directors. There are seven (7) candidates for six (6) open positions

Ariane Bobiash
Kevin Downing
Fraser Gibson
Peter McQueen
Gyanesh Paliwal
Christopher Simmons
Annette Wiegand

 

Serving until 2017 – Diane Burgin, Scott Garant, Rita Haddad, Cayley Montmarquette, Sid Seth.

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Cayley Montmarquette10246440

 

 

 

2016-17 Candidates

 

Ariane Bobiash

ariane-bobiash-photoHello! My name is Ariane and I am a long-time vegetarian and have been vegan for over 5 years. Since moving to Toronto in August 2014, I have been a member of the TVA and have volunteered at many of the organization’s fabulous events. What has resonated most with me about the TVA is its ‘embracing vegetarian choices’ philosophy, which I believe is an effective; inclusive way to draw people to the message.

I have considerable experience leading and growing vegetarian groups, including co-creating and growing an online resource space for vegetarians while working on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Under my leadership, the group grew to over 300 members within 1.5 years.

I completed my Masters in Global Affairs at the University of Toronto in May 2016, and currently work in Client Relationships at a Canadian technology company in the Corporate Social Responsibility space. In addition to this, I have a varied background with international experience in non-profits and government. I can also communicate in French and Spanish. I believe my experience, skills and interest make me a valuable addition to the Board.

I would like to help the TVA expand its membership and programming in the GTA and beyond. In the Strategic Plan, an increase in activities such as cooking classes for those new to vegetarianism were identified as most valuable to current non-vegetarians. I would like to expand this type of programming in the GTA, and would also like to forge stronger partnerships with university veg groups.

 

Kevin Downing

kevin-downingWhile adopting and maintaining this lifestyle has gotten easier, with more options and resources available today than ever before, it still has its challenges in a society that mostly doesn’t cater to the choices we’ve made. I see TVA playing an extremely important role in our community, as a social hub providing positive education and support resources to aid vegetarians, vegans, those making the transition or anyone who is veg-curious. I’ve personally benefited from TVA’s resources, from when I was in transition to today. What motivates me to volunteer with TVA is wanting to continue that great work to make the path easier for others to adopt and sustain.

This past year I served as VP on the Board of TVA, Chair of the Marketing and Development Committee and a Member of the Strategic Planning Committee. Through these roles I initiated several new partnerships and initiatives (eg. The screening at HotDocs, our music partner at the Veg Food Fest The Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival and our Members’ trip to Wishing Well Sanctuary). I’m eager to continue my work on these committees, form new partnerships, expand our services and broaden our reach into the community.

I’m an active volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I’ve served on several non-profit boards. I’m a founder of a tech start-up. I’ve worked for a tech incubator and a cancer research lab. I have a BSc in Microbiology and Biochemistry at Dalhousie University.

I believe I can continue to contribute to the TVA. Whether it’s on the board, serving on a committee or acting as volunteer, I will continue to support TVA in any way that I can.

 

Fraser Gibson

Fraser Gibson

I have been a member of TVA’s Board of Directors for almost ten years and was President for a full five year term. As a Board member I spent five years on the Nominating & Governance Committee and have been leading our strategic planning efforts since 2007. I have volunteered for the Veg Food Fest for about 17 years and have been actively involved in various Outreach events for TVA. I have also been a coordinator for Veggies of Halton & Peel (a TVA social group) although I now reside in Toronto.

I have previous board experience with non-profit arts organizations. In the workplace I’m a Vice-President at a national distributor of industrial fire, safety and environmental monitoring equipment and services. My responsibilities include facilitation of project teams, strategic planning, training programs and technology implementations. My specialty is supply chain management and I’m a professional member of the Logistics Institute.

My journey to become a vegetarian started more than 35 years ago and approximately 15 years ago I adopted a vegan diet. Early inspiration was from an environmental / political perspective, then health, and I finally awoke to the ethical perspective about 17 years ago, assisted significantly by presentations at the TVA Food Fair that highlighted the importance of compassion for animals. TVA programs have had a significant positive impact on my approach to food. It is an honour to be able to give back and help support the organization.

During 2016 we reached the half-way point for the period covered by our current strategic plan and I look forward to working on initiatives within that plan and helping build on the success of TVA. I will work hard at further strengthening the organization and enhancing the effectiveness of our programs and the message we deliver.

 

Peter McQueen

As a long-time board member I request your support in re-electing me to the Board of Directors of TVA. I have served TVA for many years as a director, outreach volunteer, President twice, committee chair in the past, and currently as a member of the Marketing and Development Committee. In addition to my local experience I also have contacts in the wider North American and international vegetarian/vegan movement. Furthermore, I have strong connections with Toronto‘s very active animal rights community. In my youth I was active with several environmental groups and still am knowledgeable about the environmental movement. My profession is teaching. For many years I have been a special education teacher, but I previously worked in business and government. My business studies help me understand financial statements, strategic planning, human resources, and marketing.

In the almost 42 years since I became vegetarian and the approximately 25 since I became vegan I have witnessed and contributed to the amazing growth in vegetarian and vegan resources in our city, the country, and many parts of the world. TVA has also grown and changed over our 71 year history. Our Veg Food Fest, Veggie Challenge, directory and discount program have inspired countless groups and individuals. I wish to continue to serve this truly wonderful organization in whatever way I can. My values and TVA’s strongly align and I strongly believe in our inclusive, welcoming approach. Our diversity, both in our membership and in our programs, is our strength. We need to continue to build on that diversity by reaching into diverse communities and by accepting meat reduction as a step towards the ultimate goal of veganism. I look forward to contributing to our strong team of staff, directors, committee members, other volunteers, and members in moving TVA forward.

 

 

Gyanesh Paliwal

Gyanesh PaliwalI truly believe that joining the TVA as Board Member in December 2014 was one of the best things to have happened in my life. Through the course of my tenure as Board Member, I have also become an enthusiastic Vegucator/ Veganism advocate. Being a busy RE/MAX Real Estate Agent It was sometimes a logistical challenge for me to attend the meetings, and getting involved in the TVA work. TVA organization wasn’t always easy as the plethora of knowledge and structure I had to learn about sometimes felt like Greek and Latin. However, not only have I survived, but I have also started to really enjoying my time as a board member.

Early on, I felt the strong need to improve our membership number and retention and realized this is where I can help. I am glad that the Board supported my idea to form a separate committee for “Membership Development”, and two board members even joined and supported me in this endeavour. In September 2016, at the Vegetarian Food Festival, we surpassed our past record of number of members enrolled. Thanks to our committee members, volunteers and directors who accepted our strategy, we made maximum number of members. I feel motivated to double our target of membership numbers for next year, and look forward to even more support from all of our members and volunteers to achieve this bigger goal.

In my language of ancient Sanskrit there is a verse, “Om sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu nira-maya-ah; sarve bhadrani pashyantu ma-kaschit dukha-bhak bhavet. Om, shantih, shantih, shantih.” Meaning: Oh Lord, may the entire mankind be happy; May all be healthy; May all experience prosperity; May none (in the world) suffer. May peace, peace, peace be unto us and all the beings of the world. I strongly believe that all this is 100% possible if we encourage humanity to become vegan

 

Christopher Simmons

Christopher SimmonsI would like to formally announce my candidacy to serve on the board of directors with the TVA.

With more than 20 years in both New York City and Toronto, I have acquired a broad range of skills and experience that I believe would be applicable to serving on the board of directors of the TVA. Some of these skills include; a strong salesmanship and business acumen, served as director of business development on publically traded software company, referral program with senior investment advisor at BMO Nesbitt Burns, high net worth salesmanship in various industries, customer service, wine sommelier, organic food and vegan beverage and sustainability practices, as well as food and beverage management. As a beverage consultant, I have consulted and launched several beverage programs for numerous restaurants. I am also honoured to be on the artist roster as a solo pianist, for the Music Can Heal Organization, which is a non-profit organization. I have also donated my time in food preparation and piano performance at the Dorothy Ley Hospice.

Being part of the TVA as a volunteer and member gave me the motivation to apply for the board of directors because my values, experience and passion are aligned with your mission, vision and values. Having worked closely with your team at various events has inspired me to take what I can contribute to the next level of growth and support for the TVA. Being devoted to sharing the knowledge of how to live healthy lifestyle theories, with a strong commitment to helping people master their health and transform their lives and inspiring members within the community through learning, personal development and health mastery, is something that would be an honor to be associated with.

I would like to accomplish increasing visibility in the hospitality community by creating alliances with restaurants, veg minded businesses, create a vegetarian/vegan musician roster for Vegfest and generate prospects and leads for donations for the TVA.

 

Annette Wiegand

annetteAnnette is a strategist, brand builder a go-to person for ideas, creative energy and inspiration. She specializes in understanding consumer insights, how they relate to achieving organizational goals and implementing best practices throughout. She believes that to be successful we need to continue to understand the changing world around us, react fast, ask questions and find the key insights.

Annette has over 20 years of marketing and communications experience

With a BCOMM degree and Marketing Major she took a deep dive into the marketing realm and honed her skills working on a range of world-class brands. Her focus now is to use her experience to work with good organizations she believes in. She wants to inspire, motivate and help people understand the widespread impacts of their lifestyle choices.

Annette is passionate about volunteering and giving back to her community

Over the years Annette has volunteer at a broad range of organizations, where her involvement ranges from grassroots (Habitat for Humanity) to the strategic (marketing advisor for United Nations, a local Research Reserve) and events (Co-chair for the Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope, and Local Arts Initiatives).

Annette believes that the world would be a better place if we were to all adopt a plant- based diet

Annette wants to leverage her marketing experience and work with the TVA to engage the community. To further the TVA mission by generating awareness of the benefits of adopting a plant-based lifestyle. She is excited about the prospect of working with the TVA board, staff and community and contributing to anything that will help the TVA reach their key objectives – both on a tactical and strategic level.