Hillel Ontario’s Scenario Planning
Thought Partner Team
Mr. Bregman is the Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Tailwind Capital Inc., which operates an investment fund. He serves on the Board of Directors of Clairvest Group Inc., Aegis Brands, and Cadence Music.
Michael Bregman was former Chairman and CEO of The Second Cup Ltd. Purchasing the company in 1988, he took the company public in 1993, and successfully sold the company in 2002.
Michael has one son and three daughters. Michael serves various charitable organizations including United Jewish Appeal (2002 Campaign Co-Chair), Birthright Israel and Baycrest. He is a 2002 recipient of the Yakir Award. Mr. Bregman is a past Maccabi Games gold medalist in triathlon and is an active swimmer, cyclist and skier.
Darren Sukonick is a Principal at Matthew Sapera Fine Homes, a design-build firm. Darren’s volunteer community involvements include Holy Blossom Temple of Toronto (Vice-President, Membership), Congregation Shirat HaYam of Nantucket (President), Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum (National Co-Chair), and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto (annual campaign and JFNA Board of Trustees representative). He lives in Toronto with his spouse Matthew Sapera.
Mya Rimon is the Assistant Dean, Students of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. In this role, she oversees all of the services that the Law School provides to its 900 Juris Doctor students. This includes Admissions, Financial Services, Programs & Records, Career Services, Experiential Education and Student Success & Wellness. Mya is a graduate of Osgoode (Class of ’95) and began working there in 2005, first as Senior Manager, Faculty Administration before moving into Student Services in 2009. She was called to the Bar in 1996 and worked briefly as a commercial litigation associate at Goodmans LLP before spending several years in southern California working in broadcast journalism. In her capacity as Assistant Dean, Mya is currently Chair of the Canadian Law Admissions Statistics, Services and Innovations (CLASSI) Consortium and is an ex officio member of the Law School Admission Council Board of Trustees. Mya’s father is a first-generation sabra and was born on Kibbutz Gan Shmuel in 1938. Mya is an Israeli citizen with a VERY large extended family living and thriving in Israel. She has two teenage children who can’t wait to return to Israel to visit all of their cousins!
Senator Linda Frum
The Honourable Linda Frum was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2009 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She represents the Province of Ontario.
She is a member of the Conservative Senate Caucus and is the former Conservative Senate Caucus Chair. She has served on the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Committee, and the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee. She currently sits on the Committee of Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament and the standing Committee for the Library of Parliament.
A fierce advocate for human rights in Iran, Senator Frum has co-sponsored Iran Accountability Week on Parliament Hill. She is also known for her legislative efforts to eliminate foreign funding in Canadian elections. Introduced in the 42nd Parliament, the Eliminating Foreign Funding in Elections Act (Bill S-239) sought to close a loophole that allows Canadian third party groups to use foreign funds for election purposes.
Senator Frum also successfully introduced Canadian Jewish Heritage Month Act (Bill S-232) which designates the month of May as an officially recognized month to honour the contributions of Canada’s Jewish community.
Senator Frum is also an active member of her community. Currently, she serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto and serves on the board of the United Israel Appeal. She is a member of the International Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation Committee and is an Honourary Board member of NGO Monitor. She is also a director of the Conservative Fund of Canada. She is also a board member for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
She has previously served as the vice-chair of the board of Upper Canada College, as well as a board member with Bishop Strachan School, the Art Gallery of Ontario Foundation and Mount Sinai Hospital.
In recognition of her civic contributions, Senator Frum has received the Golda Meir Leadership Award from the State of Israel Bonds, an honourary Doctor of Humane Letters from Yeshiva University, and the Rothschild Humanitarian Award from Shaare Zedek Hospital. Last year she was awarded an honourary degree from Hebrew University for her leadership based on the principles of equality, freedom and human rights.
A former journalist and author, Senator Frum was a columnist with the National Post, a contributing editor to Maclean’s Magazine, and a Gemini-Award winning documentarian. She lives in Toronto with her husband Howard Sokolowski and together they have five children and two grandchildren.
Mr. Palter is a Chairman & CEO of EGADS Group, a family office investing in private and public companies and taking an active board role adding value in such areas as corporate culture, strategy, operational excellence, acquisitions and financings, and compensation. Gil is also Co-founder, Chief Investment Officer & Managing Partner of EdgeStone Capital Partners, one of Canada’s leading private equity firms, managing approximately $2.5 billion, with a 37% IRR since inception.
Prior to co-founding EdgeStone, he was the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Eladdan Capital Partners, a Toronto-based private equity fund targeting middle-market Canadian and U.S. companies. He also founded Eladdan Enterprises, a boutique investment bank specializing in providing buy side mergers and acquisitions advice to Canadian and U.S. companies, particularly on cross-border acquisitions and investments. Mr. Palter has previously worked at Smith Barney, Clairvest Group Inc., McKinsey & Company, and Morgan Stanley.
Gil currently serves as Chairman of Specialty Commerce Corp., Vice-Chairman of cxLoyalty Group Holdings Inc., and is also a member of the board of directors of Atlantic Power Corporation (NYSE:AT / TSX:ATP), Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited (TSX:SFC), and Porter Airlines Holdings Inc. He is a former Chairman of Aurigen Capital Limited, BFI Canada, BreconRidge Corporation, Continental Alloys & Services, Farley Window, Hair Club Group, and Stephenson’s Holdings Inc., and was previously a director of Alliance Films, Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Lavalife, Mitel Networks, RPX Corporation (NSDQ:RPXC), Trimaster Manufacturing, Tunnel Hill Partners, and Xantrex Technology.
Gil holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he attended on a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship and graduated as a Baker Scholar and winner of the John L. Loeb Fellowship in Finance. He was the Gold Medalist in his graduating class at the University of Toronto where he attended on the J.W. Billes Scholarship earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Economics.
Gil is actively involved in a number of philanthropic organizations. He was a 2003 recipient of “Canada’s Top 40 Under 40” award, a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award 2006, and is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO Gold).
As Kritik’s VP of Business Development & Sales, Jon oversees all revenue-generating functions, including sales, partnerships, enterprise sales and customer success. He has helped to scale Kritik from 1000 to 40,000 student users over the last 12 months. Jon brings with him 5+ years of experience in SaaS and the Ed-Tech industry; he held Sales and CS leadership roles at Top Hat, where he worked across multiple functions from enterprise sales to managing and scaling the renewal/upsell team. Jon holds an MBA with a specialization in tech and innovation from Tel Aviv University and the University of Chicago (Booth)
Bruce Leboff joined Gluskin Sheff in 1997. He is a Managing Director and one of the senior members of the Client Wealth Management team. He is entrusted with managing the portfolios of a large subset of the firm’s client base, primarily servicing the Greater Toronto and Montreal areas. Prior to this role at the firm, Bruce co-managed select equity portfolios. Bruce takes great pride in helping families manage their complex financial affairs, providing clarity, advice and direction in guiding their financial futures. Bruce provides leadership on Gluskin Sheff’s charitable efforts.
Prior to joining Gluskin Sheff, Bruce was a Vice-President and Director with Toronto Dominion Asset Management, where he was a member of the Investment Management team focused on Canadian and U.S. securities.
Bruce is an active community volunteer and leader. He is the current chair of the Investment and Endowment Board of Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal and is also a member of its World Executive and a member of its World Board of Trustees. Bruce is a Trustee, Jewish Agency for Israel. Other past roles include, Chair of the Board of Directors of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, having served on the Board from 2007-2020. He served as Co-Chair of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s 2013 Annual Campaign. He is a past President of the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre (JCC), having served on it Board for 8 years. He was a member of the Investment Committee of the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University for 6 years.
Bruce holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree (Great Distinction) and a Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy, both from McGill University. He holds a Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University. He also earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA, FCA) designations. Bruce is a Registered Portfolio Manager.
Matt graduated from the Ivey School of Business at Western University in 2016, and has been working in the digital health space to make effective care accessible and equitable.
Paul begins 2021 fresh on the lookout for new challenges and adventures while devoting a portion of his time to an exciting mix of consulting and advisory relationships in the “tech for good” and social impact spaces here in Toronto.
Until recently, Paul was Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Public Inc., one of North America’s first and preeminent social impact agencies. In this role, Paul played a central role in the development of business strategies and marketing campaigns for Public’s most strategic client relationships and led the incubation of the company’s internally developed projects. Paul was also actively involved in business development, managing the growth and operations of the business, and in nurturing Public’s network of investors, ambassadors, and creative and strategic partners.
Prior to Public, Paul was Vice President, Strategy and Business Development at Artez Interactive, a global leader in online fundraising solutions. During his time at Artez, Paul was principally responsible for the organization’s international expansion to the United Kingdom and Australia, developed strategic partnerships in the United States, was instrumental in repositioning the company and more than doubling revenues, and invested significant time with Artez’ largest clients to refine, and often reinvent their fundraising strategies.
Paul began his career as a strategy consultant with the Monitor Group (now Monitor Deloitte) where he helped Fortune 500 companies and their public-sector equivalents analyze and develop their business and growth strategies.
A Mathematics graduate from the University of Waterloo, in his spare time Paul enjoys reading, travel, sports, and is actively involved in a variety of volunteer and fundraising activities.
Alison has been an active volunteer in the Jewish community since she moved back to Toronto in 1994. She has been involved with the JCCs, Beth Tzedec Congregation, Jewish Federations of North American and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto in various leadership roles. Alison works full time in property management and loves to travel in her spare time.
Toby Abramsky is a native of Toronto and a graduate of the University of Toronto, but lived in Kingston for more than 30 years. Married to Jay, with three children and three grandchildren, she is the VP of Asset Management for Keystone Properties in Kingston and a member of CIJA’s National Board and Toronto LPC, as well as on the Advisory Committee for the Neuberger Holocaust Centre.
From 2006-2016, Toby was a member of the Queen’s University Board of Trustees and served on many Board committees including as Vice-Chair Capital Assets & Finance, Chair Campus Planning and Development Committee, Governance renewal, and Principal selection committee. In 2009, she received the Ontario Volunteer Service Award and in 2012, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Frontenac Historic Foundation Award for the preservation of local Architectural Heritage. In 2017, Toby was appointed Trustee Emerita at Queen’s University.
I was born and raised in Winnipeg and resided there until completing a BA (University of Manitoba – 1980). I moved to Toronto for law school (Osgoode Hall, York U 1983) and have been a member of the Ontario Bar since 1985. Aside from ~ 4 years living/working in Europe (Prague, London) including a graduate degree in law (LSE 1989), Toronto has been home.
I am married to Diane Spivak (also from Winnipeg, but we met in Toronto!). I was educated at public schools and at a Catholic high school in Winnipeg and studied Hebrew after school with a private tutor. Diane was educated in the Hebrew day school stream in Winnipeg.
We have 3 children (age 20, 22 and 24) all of whom were educated in Toronto private schools and are at various stages of their university studies or first career moves. We are members of Beth Torah synagogue in Toronto.
I am an owner/operator (COO / General Counsel) of CarbonFree Technology, a solar power company that I helped found in 2007 after many years in private law practice. CarbonFree develops, finances, owns and operates solar power facilities in Canada, US and Chile.
Daniella Mikanovsky (McMaster Student)
Daniella Mikanovsky is a fourth-year undergraduate student at McMaster University working towards her Bachelor of Arts and Science while minoring in sustainability and community engagement. She hopes to pursue a degree in environmental law after graduation. She is currently McMaster Hillel’s Education Chair, where she plans Jewish holiday events, Holocaust Education Week and interfaith programming. Daniella is representing McMaster on Hillel Ontario’s Student Leadership Board 2020-2021. She has been an active participant of Hillel McMaster since 2017 and a member of the Hillel executive team since 2018. She served as a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow in 2019-2020. Additionally, she is currently a fellow with the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee.
Rebecca Ross (Ryerson Student)
Rebecca Ross (she/her) is a student at Ryerson University who has completed her undergraduate degree in Child and Youth Care and is now pursuing a fifth-year of studies to obtain a double-minor in Psychology and Sociology. She hopes to pursue a MEd in Curriculum and Pedagogy at OISE post-graduation, to work towards a more ABAR-inclusive and sustainable curriculum in the Jewish child, youth, and families context. She is currently the President at Hillel Ryerson, where she works on a mission of “empowerment to action” and collective care in her leadership ethos, and is a campus representative on the 2020-2021 Student Leadership Committee (SLC) at Hillel Ontario. She has been an active member at Hillel Ryerson for the duration of her University experience, and has been on the student executive leadership board since 2019. Off campus, she works as the Youth Engagement Director at Kol Ami Congregation and primary-educator at Oraynu Congregation, is a rock-climbing enthusiast, and is the founder of Tal – Canada’s first 100% sustainable, renewable, zero-waste candle company.”
Ilexa Gales is a Private Equity Manager focused on research and new industry initiatives at Imperial Capital Group. Prior to starting at Imperial in 2020, Ilexa recently graduated from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, with a Master’s of Business Administration in Management Science and Quantitative Methods. Prior to beginning her full-time MBA program at Dartmouth, Ilexa spent over four years working in the energy infrastructure industry where she most recently functioned as the Global Sales Manager for Chicago Bridge & Iron (now McDermott) and was responsible for management, strategy and analytics of all engineering and construction prospects globally ($13b revenue). Ilexa previously managed joint-venture technical and commercial proposal teams for multi-billion dollar energy mega-projects. While originally from Toronto, she has spent time living and working in Boston, Houston, The Netherlands, and Japan. Ilexa graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from Tufts University in 2013. In her free time, Ilexa loves to snowboard in the winter and waterski in the summer.
Jennifer Chestnut is the Campus Support Director for Hillel Ontario, Montreal and Hillel BC, along with 15 other campuses in the US. She’s been with Hillel International since 2015. Prior to joining SIC’s team, Jennifer served 16 years as executive director of Hillel at Kent State, in Kent, Ohio. As a campus director in Kent, Jen served as a chair of Hillel’s Director’s Cabinet and was a member of Hillel International’s Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Chestnut received a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from Syracuse University with a minor in Jewish studies. She earned a Master of Nonprofit Organizations from Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations. Jennifer and her husband Sam live in Akron with their three children.
Janet Winkler is an experienced business leader and entrepreneur who founded in-sync, an insights-based brand consultancy, servicing global consumer and healthcare clients. After the acquisition of in-sync by Publicis Groupe, Janet became Group President at Publicis Health, then Chief Strategy Officer. Following her retirement from Publicis, Janet joined McKinsey & Company as a Senior Advisor. In January 2020, Janet co-founded Hacking Sophia whose mission is to radically improve the experience of working parents. This latest initiative was born out of a desire to help working parents not only survive but thrive in their careers and at home. As a woman with a 35+ year career and a mom of 3 adult children, Janet is deeply committed to finding a way to help other women achieve their wildest ambitions.
Janet is a new member to the Hillel Board, having joined in late spring 2020. She’s passionate about Hillel’s support of young adults in an important window in their Jewish journey.
Sheldon Howard Levy
Sheldon Levy is a higher education leader and visionary with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship and the digital economy. Sheldon has been an instrumental figure in Canada’s innovation ecosystem in the last decade, spearheading the creation of such organizations as Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, and Scale Up Ventures, Inc.
As President and Vice-Chancellor of Ryerson University from 2005 to 2015, Sheldon drove the creation of the Digital Media Zone (DMZ), an early-stage incubator for student entrepreneurs which has since become an international success. He is also a founder and advisor to Ryerson Futures Inc., an accelerator that has exported the DMZ concept to such locations as Calgary and Mumbai.
From 2015 to 2017 Sheldon served as Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, where he helped prioritize innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Ontario’s postsecondary education and training system. In 2017 he became CEO of NEXT Canada, an organization that provides mentorship, education, networks and funding to Canada’s most promising entrepreneurs.
In December 2018, Sheldon was appointed Special Advisor to Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, Mary Ng, on the issue of scaling up small and medium-sized businesses.
Sheldon recently joined the Board of Directors of Baycrest Health Sciences.
Sheldon previously served as President of Oakville’s Sheridan College from 1997 to 2001, overseeing the growth of its renowned animation department during the early years of computer-generated imaging. Sheldon’s other prior positions have included Vice President Finance and Strategy, University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Vice President of Governmental and Institutional Relations, University of Toronto; and Vice President Institutional Affairs, York University.
Adir founded AYAL Capital in 2013 and is the firm’s Portfolio Manager. Prior to starting the firm, Adir was an investment analyst at Waratah Capital Advisors in Toronto and with JL Advisors LLC in New York. Adir holds a Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Yeshiva University. Prior to receiving his education, Adir served as a tank crew member in the IDF Armored Corps. He currently serves as Treasurer of Netivot Hatorah Day School, as well as on the board of Leket Canada and UJA’s Israel and Overseas Committee. He and his wife Elianne have three children.
Dr. Ivan Diamond
Ivan Diamond is the Program Chief and Medical Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga. His main clinical interest is in Emergency Radiology. Prior to becoming a radiologist, Ivan did training in General Surgery as well as completed a Ph.D. Clinical Epidemiology. Ivan was a chaperone and one of the doctors on the Toronto High School program for the Toronto March of the Living in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and would have gone again in 2021 were it not for the COVID pandemic.
A successful entrepreneur and business executive, champion fundraiser, and dedicated public servant, Rocco Rossi joined the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in 2018 as President and CEO.
Coming from his role as President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada and earlier as the CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation – one of Canada’s largest non-profit organizations – Rossi has overseen consecutive years of record fundraising combining for over $600 million in total and launching many new, life-saving initiatives.
His passion for public policy has led him to stand for election both for the position of Mayor of Toronto and for MPP.
Mr. Rossi has held senior positions at the Boston Consulting Group, TORSTAR, Labatt/Interbrew and MGI Software. He is a graduate of McGill and Princeton.
Rossi currently serves as a member of the Board and Audit Committee of TerraVest Industries. A past board member of United Way of Greater Toronto and other charities, Mr. Rossi has been an active community builder. In fact, in 2012 he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his Philanthropic and Community service.
A dedicated adventurer, Rocco has walked the legendary Camino de Santiago several times, cycled the 1900 km length of Yonge Street from Rainy River to Toronto, kayaked the 500 km from Toronto to Ottawa, and climbed to Everest Base Camp.
Mr. Rossi has a BA (Hons) in political science from McGill University and a Masters of Arts in politics from Princeton University. He is married to his wife of 33-years, Rhonnie, and they have a 30-year-old son, Domenic John, who is a teacher.
Elisa Morton Palter
Elisa was born in Winnipeg and moved to Toronto as a young teen.
Elisa has been an entrepreneur for the past 26 years in the directory publishing space, co-founding both Help!… We’ve Got Kids children’s resource directory (sold in 2009) and the Ontario Summer Fun Guide tourism directory (sold in 2019). She currently writes articles and landing pages for her former partner’s new venture and has just taken on a new role as director of Marketing for Jewish Future Pledge, a new worldwide movement asking people to help secure the Jewish Future by pledging that half the funds designated for charity in their wills/estate plans will be left to Jewish/Israeli causes.
She has always been very involved in the Jewish community, both in Toronto and in Israel. Her 2 main focus areas have been UJA Federation, primarily in the area of reaching unaffiliated Jews (Founding editor of inTO, member of Identity Committee, Founding Chair PJ Library, Co-Editor/Chair Bathurst Street Kitchen Community Cookbook, among others) and Shalem College, Israel’s first liberal arts college (Founding Family, Member of Board of Directors, Member of Executive Committee, Member of Board of Governors).
She is constantly on the lookout for ventures that are taking a new approach to helping young, unaffiliated Jews understand why they should see their Jewish identity as a positive vs a negative. She welcomes the opportunity to work with Hillel in reaching this all-important segment of Ontario’s Jewish community.
Elisa is married to Gilbert Palter and has 3 children in their mid-20s. She loves to travel, cook, read and work out. She has a BA from the University of Toronto and an MBA from York University (now Schulich School of Business). She is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program and a member of JFNA’s Fisher Flight.
In 2013, following a successful career as a business owner and entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience, Marc began what was an unexpected transition, leaving the private sector to become a Jewish community professional.
Marc was inspired by the Jewish journeys of his children, and the impact their Jewish life and leadership experiences had on them. First becoming an active volunteer engaged as a lay leader in a number of Jewish community institutions and organizations, serving as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Steering Committee Chair for URJ Camp George, as well as a member of the Boards of Directors of the Leo Baeck Day School and Shaarei Beth El Congregation.
Marc was hired as Executive Director of Hillel of Greater Toronto in June 2013. In October 2015, with the support of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Jewish Federations of Canada UIA (JFC-UIA), all stakeholders agreed that the time was right to reposition Hillel Ontario from its national home at JFC-UIA to Hillel Toronto. With Marc as the organization’s CEO and a former member of Hillel Internationals Board of Directors, Hillel Ontario is now the largest Hillel globally, serving 9 Universities, with more than 14,000 Jewish students on campuses across the province.
Marc was born and raised in New York City, is married to Cheryl, the love of his life, and is the proud father and father-in-law to Zach, Natalie, Jonny and Dena.
Jaime Walman is the Chief Strategy Officer at Hillel Ontario. Originally from Toronto, she has worked both inside and outside of the Jewish community, on both sides of the border. Jaime was a FEREP recipient and received her MA and MBA from Brandeis University. Upon graduation, she worked at JAFI in Jerusalem for a year, followed by two years at UJA Federation of New York. Leveraging her fundraising and organizational development skills, she then went on to be the first Development Director at JDub Records in Los Angeles. After her daughter was born on the west coast, she decided to move back home to Toronto and spent a year as the Director of Women’s Philanthropy at UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. While out on maternity leave with her middle child, she transitioned to the private sector.
Jaime worked for three years at a small consulting company called Public, where she developed marketing, advertising, social media, design and communication skills. She built volunteer, advocacy and fundraising campaigns for non-profits and corporations seeking to mobilize and engage the public in their work. Longing to return to the community in a position where she could use these new abilities, she seized the opportunity to prove to Hillel Ontario the value of not only investing significantly in building a professional, internal Marketing and Communications Department but also fully integrating it with Development.
Now as the Chief Strategy Officer Jaime is responsible for overseeing Strategy, Talent, Marketing and Communications and Fundraising.
Jaime is also kept very busy with Mikayla’s (12 yrs old) dance schedule, Ezra’s (9 yrs old) hockey schedule and Roey’s (7 yrs old) endless schedule of playdates.