Candidates for the 2019-2020 TVA Board of Directors


November 21, 2019

On Sunday, December 1st, members will meet for the Toronto Vegetarian Association’s 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM). At the AGM, members will review our work over the past 12 months,  and ratify the 2019-2020 board of directors.

If you’re a member, please join us starting at 1:00 pm at CSI Annex (720 Bathurst Street, south of Bloor) in the “Garage” room. (Meet ‘n greet from 1:00 to 1:30, meeting called to order at 1:30 pm).

Non-members can also attend if they become a TVA member when they arrive. Only those who have been members for at least 30 days prior to the meeting will be eligible to vote.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Current Board Members with Two Year Terms: Serving until 2020 – Daniel Donato, Fraser Gibson, Peter McQueen, Krista Schwab

2019-2020 Candidates

Thomas Appleyard

Thomas Appleyard knows the important role that the Toronto Vegetarian Association can play in supporting people moving towards healthier, greener, more compassionate living. Well over 25 years ago, Thomas became vegetarian. He remembers well that the TVA newsletters brought into sharp focus the personal changes he wanted to make, and how to make them well. Since then, Thomas has become vegan and TVA programs – especially the Veg Food Fest – continue to reinvigorate his dedication.

Thomas draws from a wealth of experience as a board member with the TVA. He has been a very active member of the board for two years, including as Vice-President, Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee, and regular volunteer at events. Thomas has served on several other boards as President, Vice-President and Director, including Distress Centres, Neighbourhood Legal Services, Camp Couchiching and the Old East Village Business Improvement Area. Thomas is self-employed as a consultant and facilitator, working primarily with non-profit organizations on workplace effectiveness. He has particular expertise in conflict and crisis management and leadership. He is also part-time faculty at the Schulich School of Business where he teaches non-profit management. He has graduate degrees in social work and business administration (non-profit management and leadership), an undergraduate degree in psychology, and certificates in coaching and conflict management.

Thomas is particularly excited about the what 2020 – the TVA’s 75th anniversary – can mean for the organization and the communities it serves.

Thomas loves to cycle, read, juggle and cook. He lives in Toronto with his wife Susan and their dog Sally.

Nicole Fich

I became vegan in mid-2014 after watching the movie Blackfish, a documentary about orca whales in captivity. After seeing the film, I was haunted by the suffering these animals endure simply for our entertainment. I couldn’t help but connect this to the much larger scale of suffering we impose on so-called “farm animals” simply for our taste buds. After dwelling on this, it became clear veganism was the only path for me.

Since then, I have learned a great deal about the environmental and health implications of our dietary choices and have transitioned to eating mainly a whole-food plant-based diet to maximize my own personal health, while still remaining steadfast in the original ethical origins of my decision to go vegan. I am passionate about saving animals and accordingly, have volunteered with a number of non-profit organizations including the Toronto Vegetarian Association, Challenge 22, Mercy For Animals and most recently, the Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank.

Professionally, I have spent the last twelve years working in the financial industry in investment banking, private equity and private credit. My areas of expertise are principally in the areas of finance and business strategy with familiarity in other related areas of business such as accounting, tax, law and marketing. I have also been a board member and observer of several for-profit corporations with
revenues in excess of $100 million. I am a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with an Honours Business Administration degree from the Ivey School of Business.

With respect to my other interests, I love hiking and cooking and I am a long-time avid Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I am also inspired by the zero waste movement and am on an ongoing journey to reduce my environmental footprint. I live in downtown Toronto with my common-law partner, Steve, and our two dogs, Bailey and Kali.

Nital Jethalal

Nital has been volunteering with the TVA for over twenty years and has been a member of the Program Reviews Committee since 2015, a role he has continued since recently joining the Board of Directors. Raised with a strong belief in the Golden Rule, Nital was a lifelong vegetarian before going vegan five years ago.

Twenty-five years ago, Nital’s father, a plant-based physician, introduced him to medical research and clinical practice that convincingly demonstrated the power of whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyles and opened Nital’s eyes to veganism beyond ethics. He has since been increasingly active in researching and raising awareness about how plant-based living can be a swiss-army knife solution to many of today’s challenges. Currently, his research is focused on nutrition economics, evaluating what would happen in Canada if everyone transitioned towards a plant-based diet.

After completing a M.Sc at Queen’s University, Nital worked in strategic policy in Ottawa for five years (initially at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) and pursued a MSc/PhD in food and agricultural
economics at the University of Guelph. He was excited to return to Toronto after a decade and now looks forward to helping the TVA in its mission to inspire people to choose a healthier, greener and
more compassionate lifestyle. Nital is also a level 3 reiki practitioner and certified ashtanga yoga teacher. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading, basketball, chess and volunteering at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Bank.

Anne Hussain

I adopted a vegan lifestyle 12 years ago alongside my husband out of compassion for our planet, its beings, and our bodies. Our lives were transformed, our health improved, and we’ve never looked back.

I am now a naturopathic doctor who practices plant-based medicine in Aurora, ON. My approach to healthcare is plant-focused and includes whole foods, herbs, strategic supplementation, and acupuncture to support menstrual, thyroid, and hormone health. I teach my patients about their bodies, their hormones, and how to be advocates for themselves and their families. I bring to the table the insight I have gleaned from my patient population in their journeys to adopt, renew, or transition to a plant-centred lifestyle. And that’s in addition to my passion for and experience with plant-based living!

I am on the board of directors for the Aurora Community Band, an expert contributor to The Whole Family and Naturopathic Currents publications, a supervising clinician for Naturopaths Without Borders Thailand, and run a variety of local community events. On a different note, I also love spending time in nature, eating chocolate, reading, drinking tea, and playing the saxophone with my local concert band.

I’ve been a member of the TVA for many years. I love attending the Veg Food Fest and seasonal markets as well as reading Lifelines and TVA updates with my husband. I also love the resources, advocacy, and community that the TVA provides to residents of the GTA – I look forward to the opportunity to contributing more to the TVA community.

Sasha Kevac

Having participated in green initiatives at a young age in Europe, with environment protection and endangered animal conservation at its core, I have always felt connected to those causes from an ethical perspective. As I started getting older, I lost that touch. It is only within the last 10 years that I have felt drawn to it again. I switched to a vegetarian diet about 7 years ago and shortly thereafter, became fully vegan.

In today’s times, I see the need to promote the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle more than ever. I am proud at a chance to be part of the TVA as I respect and love what it stands for: teaching, empathy and inclusion. I have already started to inspire my family and friends with the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. My goal is to lead with a positive example and help do that on a larger scale.

As a proven sales, marketing & business development professional with over 12 years of experience, I love all things marketing, strategy and project development related. I have a passion to grow and lead teams to maximize output and create a positive & healthy work environment. Skilled in establishing and leveraging strategic partnerships to maximize sales and to develop brand identity in highly competitive markets, I bring passion and a leadership development edge to everything I do. Currently, I am the Assistant Director of Digital Content for a small media company that specializes in biometrics and digital identity.

Piyush Ranka

Piyush is a born vegetarian, but has curiously & scientifically studied why one should be on plant-based diet. Being a Jain, he believes & follows “Live & Let Live”. Having lived & travelled globally, knows the challenges faced by our community, having seen why & how people change their diet habits. He believes that a strong organisation in form of TVA is a foundation on which plant-based & sustainable living shall thrive. As per him the way forward for TVA shall be making collaborative partnerships with like-minded organisations, so we take our mission to the next level. The more we merge with society, the more acceptable our lifestyle would be to bring about smiles & happiness in people as well as billions of silent animals.
Piyush is working as a Senior Financial Analyst working with a listed group. He is a professionally trained accountant, an MBA from UK & a law graduate. Having previously headed a credit union in India, understands the nitty gritty of running a cooperative organisation like TVA using participative approach to get things done.
He is a history & geography aficionado, having particular interest how humankind, cultures & behaviours evolved over the centuries. He is also into studying different religions, to understand the sacred teachings by our forefathers. Being a proud father of triplet kids, he looks forward to an amazing journey of teaching plant-based & sustainable lifestyle to my kids. He is very active in his accounting as well as Jain community, always reachable & trying to help whoever needs help or guidance.

Varun Vashishat

Varun is a business strategy and digital transformation leader, and has worked with companies across manufacturing, retail, consulting and banking domains. He is an expert in processes restructuring, putting projects on track and establishing governance structures in organizations. Varun has been associated with TVA since April 2018 and volunteered for events such as Veg Food Fest, Word on the Street, Bake offs and many others. He is excited about exploring new avenues that contribute towards the vegan cause.


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