Candidates for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors


November 17, 2017

On Sunday, December 3rd, members will meet for the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s 2017 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 ratify the 2018 board of directors.
If you’re a member, please join us starting at 4:00 pm at Friends House located at 60 Lowther Ave. You can also join as a new member at the door and attend.
Catering will be provided by YamChops and Sweets from the Earth.
Although there will be no election, the membership will be required to ratify the slate of six board members who are either returning after serving a one-year term, or joining as a new board member. It is important that we have enough people present for quorum to do, plus it is a great opportunity to come out and meet your fellow TVA members!
Serving until 2018 –Ariane Bobiash, Kevin Downing, Fraser Gibson, Peter McQueen, Annette Wiegand

2017-18 Candidates

Thomas Appleyard
Thomas Appleyard knows the important role that the Toronto Vegetarian Association can play in supporting people moving towards healthier, greener and more compassionate living. Over 25 years ago, Thomas became vegetarian. He remembers well that the TVA’s newsletters brought into sharp focus the personal changes he wanted to make, and how to make them well. Since then, TVA programs – especially the Toronto Veg Food Fest – continue to reinvigorate Thomas in his dedication to the movement.
Now vegan for three years, Thomas is ready to give back to the TVA.
Thomas can draw from a wealth of experience as a board member with the TVA. He has served on several non-profit boards as Director, Vice-President and President – including Neighbourhood Legal Services (a poverty law clinic in London), Old East Village Business Improvement Area, Camp Couchiching, and Distress Centres of Toronto. Thomas has a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration in Non-Profit Management and Leadership from the
Schulich School of Business at York University.
While well versed in a wide range of board members’ responsibilities, Thomas’ particular areas of expertise are governance and risk management. Thomas is a professional emergency manager, bringing risk management skills to his work every day. He currently works as Manager of Emergency Response and Recovery with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, where he leads the Ministry’s Emergency Operations Centre’s activities. Prior to working with the ministry, as Principal Consultant with Preparedness, Thomas worked with over 40 non-profit organizations, associations and networks to build their emergency response capacity.
Thomas loves to read (especially vegan philosophy and ethics lately), cook and bake vegan food, juggle, camp, cycle, scuba dive and play the autoharp. He lives in Toronto with his wife Susan, and their rescued dog Sally.
Diane Burgin 
Diane Burgin has been a volunteer and member of the Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA) for over 10 years. She is a long-time vegan and advocate for organic food. She is also committed to many animal and environmental causes. Diane is passionate about eating healthy foods for optimal health.
Diane has an undergraduate university degree in Accounting and accreditation as a Certified Management Accountant. She has held various accounting positions over the years in addition to doing other operations management work and running her own business. Diane is also certified as an Ontological Coach through Newfield Network and a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. Diane has been coaching busy professionals who are concerned about life balance and overall health. Life balance is also important for her, as she continues to do finance work and keep up with her many volunteer commitments.
Diane has served on the TVA Board since 2009, as the Treasurer since 2011, and as President since 2013. She currently works on various TVA-related committees and projects. Diane’s most fulfilling activity is working with other volunteers. For example when coordinating Veggielicious in 2013 and the Toronto Veggie Parade in 2014, it was inspiring to her to see volunteers come together to make an event successful. Diane intends to continue creating success, by working with others to spread messages of compassion and vegan health!
Deborah Ellis
My name is Deborah Ellis (please call me Deb!), and I’m pleased to stand for the Board of the TVA. About 15 years ago, I attended my first Toronto Veg Food Fest, and learned about the incredible suffering experienced by billions of animals; my heart broke seeing those images, and within a year I went from meat eater to vegan. I’m so grateful for that lecture that day, and want to give back to the organization that set me on a path to a more compassionate, healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Professionally, I work as a corporate trainer, with 20 years of experience leading groups through a variety of topics such as Personality Type, Communication, and Team-building. I love learning, and have had the privilege of attaining a Masters Degree in Adult Education (UofT) and certifications in Personality Dimensions, MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, and Business and Life Coaching. I recently had the honour of being chosen to attend Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, and have come away from that with an even greater sense of the urgency of climate change, including the huge part that animal agriculture contributes to this crisis.
As a society, we are moving in this direction; with each generation, there are more vegans and vegetarians. I believe people will look back on this time in history and find it inconceivable that sentient, gentle, intelligent beings were treated in such inhumane ways, and that we allowed our rivers to be poisoned and rainforests felled in order to eat meat. But shifting perspectives and habits is a process and (as much as I want to shout it from the rooftops sometimes!), I believe that outreach needs to be invitational, inspirational, and educational in nature; inviting people to see differently, inspiring them to make changes, and providing education and supports to make that possible. I’d like to bring my background, skills and passion to this effort, and would be honoured to be a part of the amazing work being done by the TVA and its Board of Directors.
Tiffany O’Hearn Davies
I have always been concerned about the environment and animal welfare, but only recently adopted a vegan lifestyle. I was a vegetarian during my teenage years, but started eating meat again in university because there were few vegetarian options available. I always struggled with my choice to eat meat. However, I believed that it was necessary in order to be healthy.
In December of 2015 my husband and I stumbled over the documentary Forks Over Knives. Like so many others who have watched that film, we were shocked to learn that a number of common illnesses and diseases can be prevented or reversed by adopting a whole-food, plant-based diet. We were also surprised to learn about the environmental harms associated with animal agriculture.  We were inspired to change our eating habits and adopt a healthier, more sustainable and compassionate diet. At first, we implemented a pescatarian diet, because we were not ready to give up fish or dairy. But a year later, we decided to give up the dairy and seafood and eat a vegan diet.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle has had a profound impact on my life. I am healthier and happier than ever, and my lifestyle choices align with my values. In my transition to a vegan diet, I have benefited greatly from the resources provided by the TVA. Although there are an increasing number of vegan and vegetarian options available, many barriers remain to adopting this lifestyle. Had I had access to an organization like the TVA as a young vegetarian, I believe I would have had much greater success in maintaining that lifestyle and would have found my way to veganism a lot sooner. Having benefited from the work of the TVA, I want to give back to the organization and its community.
I am a lawyer and practice in civil and commercial litigation in downtown Toronto. I look forward to using my legal experience and knowledge of corporate governance and legislation to assist the Board of Directors in carrying out its responsibilities.  I am also excited about the prospect of sharing my experiences as a new vegan to help the TVA develop strategies to assist others in adopting this lifestyle and in taking steps to live a healthier, greener, more compassionate life.
Jaswinder Saini

I am a post graduate in finance and business and pursued further studies in Canada. Currently I am a Real Estate Sales Representative and business owner. I worked previously in the accounting and finance sector with different companies.

I am an active member and supporter of environment related activities through the Ontario Environment Network. I attend seminars and workshops held from time to time by not for profit organisations and non-governmental communities covering different environmental issues that are national or neighbourhood based.

I am content being vegetarian by birth and determined to be a life-long one because of animal welfare and the environment. I don’t feel a need to kill a living creature just to nourish myself when I have alternative options available. Massive amounts of water and grain used for feeding animals just to make them slaughter ready can be avoided if we choose a vegetarian lifestyle. I am a firm believer that all species are precious and bear equal right to life on earth. This is the reason why I support vegetarianism fully and say no to the pain and suffering given to animals. I urge people to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. Humanity is all about giving back for the good of nature and we all can do our part towards this goal mainly by becoming a vegetarian or vegan.

I will bring to the TVA my passion to educate people; to enlarge the vegetarian community and advance its cause plus expand its activities further south towards the Peel region. TVA is a wonderful platform to create awareness among people to make vegetarian choices and support plant-based eating which is more healthy for humans and better for the planet as well.

Siddharth Seth

Siddharth Seth was raised vegetarian – in a family mindful of animal sentience, of environmental responsibility, and of the direct health impacts of diet on general well-being. Herbal and natural cures for diseases and using nutrition-based healing for everyday illness was imbibed into his lifestyle from the get go. After graduating from college in India, he decided to pursue grad school in the United States, where he lived for about a decade, and never ceased to be appalled by the commercialization and marginalization of life forms and human ideologies due to stereotyping. His core value of compassion became more strongly ingrained as he strived to assimilate in the western lifestyle and judiciously reconcile ideological differences among cultures and practices.

Now a passionate Canadian, Sid has become increasingly aware of western farming practices as he mingled with the activist community following his move. He has volunteered for the TVA for about 7 years, and has been recognized for his contributions at various points. He organically resolved to veganism nearly 4 years ago, when a slogan on a volunteer appreciation gift from TVA struck his attention given his largely vegan lifestyle at that time.

Sid’s professional career as a senior manager for the world’s largest retailer provides a unique opportunity for strategic planning, managing global projects, vendor relationships, and influencing sustainability. As well, it exposes him to encounter and question many professional beliefs and practices and tackle subconscious biases in everyday work life. Working closely in a global organization makes him celebrate diversity and implement inclusion and engagement through skills such as active listening, scientific questioning, learning by observation, and empathetic communication. He strives to spread awareness through leading by example, and striking constructive dialogue with people at various points in their journey towards exploring a plant-based lifestyle.


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