StepStones Team

Mike Ryan

Mike Ryan

Program Development
Mike joined StepStones to assist with fundraising and development. He has collaborated with child welfare organizations to produce adoption videos and conferences, and wants to help ensure that all children and youth find belonging and community. He also worked in the music industry in London (England) and in television in Toronto (Canada) before joining a...
Marsha Rampersaud

Marsha Rampersaud

Research Associate
Marsha has more than 10 years of experience working with youth and adults who have experienced incarceration or are at risk of contact with the legal system. She first joined StepStones in 2015 as a camp counsellor and has since taken on a number of roles. Marsha currently helps with research and evaluation to support...
Catherine Daniel

Catherine Daniel

Connection Coordinator
Catherine has an educational background in Community and Justice Services and is currently completing her Human Resources Management degree. She started with StepStones in May 2022 as a Youth Connections Coordinator, while continuing to work in social services, which she’s been doing for the past four years. Catherine has a passion for working with youth...
Rahwa Eyasu

Rahwa Eyasu

Connection Coordinator
Rahwa is one of the Youth Connection Workers at Stepstones. She completed her degree in Human Rights and Equity Studies at York University and has worked in the non-profit sector for several years in a variety of roles. She’s passionate about supporting and encouraging youth to help them realize their full potential, and she focuses...
Richard Parker

Richard Parker

Youth Amplifier
Cornelius Richard Parker is a former youth in care who has faced and overcome a lot of obstacles throughout his life. Originally from Ottawa, he came to Toronto to play soccer and fell in love with the city. Gifted with the ability to play soccer at a high level, he travelled to eight countries and...
Scott Robertson

Scott Robertson

Service Navigator
Since Scott’s first position as a youth detention centre worker, he’s been keenly aware of his passion for youth and youth advocacy work, and he’s had the privilege of working in a variety of settings and roles throughout the years. Scott’s Degree in Social Work and Psychology and his Masters in Conflict Resolution provided a...
Brenna Lindsay

Brenna Lindsay

Connection Coordinator
Brenna has worked with children and youth in various settings, including outreach, family counselling, inpatient treatment, shelters and respite for children with autism. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Psychology, and a certificate in Addictions and Mental Health. Brenna believes in a strengths-based approach that encourages youth to be more confident in...
Alexis Forde

Alexis Forde

Service Navigator
Lexus has a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development & Policy Studies and she’s been working in frontline, supervisory and administrative roles within the non-profit sector for the past eight years. She’s skilled in program development, central intake, community outreach, youth engagement, and program facilitation. She’s a passionate community leader who’s always focusing on growth...
Lucas Hunter

Lucas Hunter

Clinical Supervisor
Lucas is a child and youth practitioner who has spent more than 14 years working with children, youth, and families with complex needs. He has worked in a variety of settings, such as group homes and residential treatment centres, hospitals and community health clinics, community outreach, and school-based and juvenile justice programs, as well as...
Mobafa Baker

Mobafa Baker

Program Director
Mobafa joined StepStones in 2021 as our Program Director. He has a long history of working with young people, including as a youth advocate on the international stage, program facilitator on issues of HIV and AIDS, equity, diversity and inclusion, and sexual reproductive health and rights. He has also assisted youth who have become in...
Nathaniel Dayes

Nathaniel Dayes

Youth Engagement
From a young age Nathaniel knew he wanted to work with marginalized youth who face adversity and systemic oppression. He quickly learned that those barriers leave individuals, families and communities at a socioeconomic disadvantage that leads to cycles of generational poverty and inequality. As he reflected on his own life, he realized he was a...
Jemar Smith

Jemar Smith

Connection Coordinator
Jemar graduated from Sheridan College with a Social Service Work diploma and he’s currently earning a Social Work degree at Toronto Metropolitan University. He is a former foster parent of teenage boys and runs basketball camps and clinics for youth. Jemar believes his unique experiences and path through life have allowed him to connect and...
Sehdeen Lowe

Sehdeen Lowe

Connection Coordinator
Sehdeen brings lots of experience working with at risk youth to StepStones. She is passionate about youth advocacy and creating a space for youth to have their own voice, and prides herself on helping children and families see good in themselves.
Shalamar Brown-James

Shalamar Brown-James

Connection Coordinator
Shalamar has always had a passion for working with children and at-risk youth. Her upbringing allowed her to see the world from many different perspectives, which is her drive for trying to ensure that voiceless youth are heard. She completed her studies in Child and Youth Work at Georgian College and has worked in the...
Ciara Loughram

Ciara Loughram

Connection Coordinator
Ciara is originally from Ireland and lived in Scotland for just over 10 years. She completed her Social Work degree in Scotland and worked for the country’s Children’s Aid Society equivalent before moving to Canada in March 2020. She has always enjoyed working with children and young people and ensuring that their voices are heard...
Ebere Nnorom

Ebere Nnorom

Connection Coordinator
Eb is originally from Montreal, and yes, he can speak a bit of French! He went to Concordia University and has a Bachelors in Political Science. He has a history in eSports Community Management and Building, through video games such as Street Fighter and Guilty Gear, and has his own podcast: Black Nerd Talks. He...
Chris Q

Chris Q

Program Operations and Volunteer Management
Chris joined StepStones as a Camp Counselor and Camp Coordinator. She earned her degree in Political Studies and is currently completing a degree in Social Work. She has participated in various youth advocacy and social justice initiatives, and has developed a passion for incorporating sustainable (social and environmental) practices in addressing social issues. She enjoys...
Alexi Manis

Alexi Manis

Program Development
Alexi is a filmmaker, educator, and writer who spends much of her time on her bike and also loves to sew. She assists StepStones with program development, fundraising events, and grant writing, all the while sporting her favourite StepStones’ t-shirts in several different colours. She is continually inspired by the incredible youth at StepStones!
Jackson Walker

Jackson Walker

Head of Partner Engagement
Jackson completed his degree in Media Studies at Queen’s University and has 10 years of experience working in youth programming in both a camp and education setting. He joined StepStones in early 2020. Jackson is excited to be connecting with our donors and sharing all of the amazing updates on our youth and the great...
Heather O’Keefe

Heather O’Keefe

Executive Director
Heather O’Keefe founded StepStones for Youth and has successfully brought this registered charity from a small grassroots volunteer-run organization to a respected industry leader. Heather believes that charities have a responsibility to operate efficiently and effectively and donor dollars must go directly to programs that have proven ability to effect positive change. She believes that...

Board Members

NameRoleArea of focus/Profession
Todd MinersonChairCommunications at Movember Canada
Diavin MillerVice-ChairHead of Partner Success at Black Professionals in Tech Network
Steve McMillanTreasurerFinance, Portfolio Manager at Fidelity Investments Canada ULC
Katherine BrownSecretaryCorporate Law at TMX Group Limited
Heather O’KeefeDirectorSocial Worker/Child Protection, Executive Director at StepStones for Youth
Erin NeedraDirectorCorporate Law and Corporate Finance
Lorna FreemanDirectorDirector of Communications at Toronto Board of Trade
Tanya SinhaDirectorDirector of Group Disability Claims at RBC
Roman LifshitzDirectorBranding and Communications
Sharon BeersDirectorHuman Resources Director at Fidelity Investments