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A 10-member Board of Directors governs Community Living York South.

Members include advocates, parents and other residents of Southern York Region. Directors are elected at the Annual General Meeting for a three-year term.

Standing Committees and Task Forces:

  • External Rights And Review Committee
  • Financial Oversight Committee
  • Investment Planning Task Force
  • Family Task Force

The Board of Directors seeks prospective new members in February of each year. Successful candidates are voted in at our Annual General Meeting in September.

Board members can expect to volunteer 5 to 10 hours monthly to Board duties.

Board Members

Charrise Clarke- Hensby

Elissa Freeman

Phil Lanzarotta

Keira Lum

Robert DaCosta

Rahila Chughtai

Samir Patel

Shanae Soor

Louisa Poon


Board Member Bios

Charrise Clarke-Hensby

Charrise is currently a part-time lecturer at Sheridan College in the Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies teaching courses within the public safety and social work programs. She graduated with a M.A. in Criminology from Simon Fraser University in 2008 and is currently working on a PhD at York University. Her main areas of interest include human rights and children's rights and she is currently a member of Community Living York South's External Rights Committee. Charrise is also the parent of a child with a developmental disability and therefore has first-hand experience with many of the challenges faced by parents in our community

Elissa Freeman

Elissa Freeman is a PR and pop culture media expert and veteran communications strategist. Her reputation for reigniting the image and authoritative voice of her clients, or providing provocative sound bites on issues of the day, makes her the go-to expert of choice. For more than 25 years, Elissa has been privileged to provide strategic communications counsel or take a leadership role among complex and high functioning teams including: federal agencies, regulatory bodies, healthcare organizations and foundations, for profit and not-for-profit organizations.

As principal of @elissapr communications, Elissa is also a sought-after media guest putting her in the enviable position of both shaping and creating the narrative when it comes to talking about her two favourite subjects: PR and pop culture. She is a frequent contributor to the Global News Radio Network and can be heard weekly on AM640’s John Oakley Show.

She is also the co-founder of The Leadership Express, a targeted, effective, non-traditional approach helping executives and leaders prepare for their next career trajectory, transition or pivot. She lives in Thornhill with her husband and daughter.

Philip J. Lanzarotta

Phil is currently a partner in Barocco Coffee Co. Ltd. (an artisanal coffee roaster) located in Mississauga, serving the food service industry in the GTA.  Barocco provides turn-key coffee solutions (fresh roasted coffees, imported loose leaf teas, specialty milks, syrups, chocolates, equipment, accessories, service and training) to local, fine restaurants, hotels and cafés selling premium products.

Prior to Barocco, Phil held executive positions with multiple companies such as principal owner of RxMedia (a continuous medical education firm), Sr. Director of Customer Logistics Services and Real Estate for Kellogg’s Canada and a member of both their Canadian and Sales leadership teams, VP Sales, Marketing and Merchandising for Lanzarotta Wholesale Grocers (formerly the largest independent food distributor in Canada), ultimately selling the family business to Sobeys in 2003. 

Phil is currently a Board member for Peaceful Hearts in Georgina, sits on the financial review committee of CLYS, Director for Five’s Company by the Lake, as well as an acting Eucharistic Minister at Our Lady Queen of the World, Catholic Church in Richmond Hill.. He has been a past President of the Board for Community Living York South, past Co Chair of FCPC’s Supply Chain committee and past Co-Chair of GS1’s Standard and Services food industry board, as well as a past member of the following organizations; Canadian Food Industry’s Top-to-Top Executive Committee, Board of Director for the Canadian Counsel of Grocery Distributors, and Villa Charities board member.

Keira Lum

As a healthcare business professional, Keira is focused on improving operations and quality initiatives for patients and front-line staff in the healthcare industry. Her experience working with large and small health care centres across Canada, have allowed her to gain insights to foster strategic development and innovative improvements. She holds a BSc in Kinesiology and Health Sciences from York University and an MBA from Dalhousie University. Keira is passionate about helping others who are less fortunate and currently advocates for mentally and physically disabled people as a board of director for Community Living Ontario. In her free time, she enjoys being active outdoors, cooking, painting, and reading. 

Rahila Chughtai

Rahila Chughtai has served as a board member at CLYS for the past 3 years. During this time she was also involved in the Family Task Force and has been the CLYS representative on the Special Education Advisory Committee of the York Region District School Board.

Rahila served as Chair of the Family Advisory Council at the Children’s Treatment Network from 2018-2021. She advocated for and successfully executed the inclusion of people with disabilities in the advisory council. She also identified opportunities for CTN and CLYS to partner and work on engaging immigrant and ethnically diverse families. Rahila has been a member of the Leadership Council of Autism Ontario’s York Chapter since 2017. She also volunteered for the York ASD Partnership, working on the Communications Working Group for 4 years. Outside of her volunteer work in the disability community, Rahila works in administration in the Long Term Care sector. Previously she worked as a Sales and Marketing Professional for over 10 years engaging in direct client interaction, presentations, and strategy development.

Rahila is the parent of an adult with disabilities. She is passionate about advocacy and inclusion, and loves rock music and traveling.  

Robert DaCosta

Robert DaCost is a senior executive with extensive experience in management, governance and human resources in the healthcare and education sectors. He is currently teaching management and leadership programs. He holds a Masters of Education, Certified Human Resources Executive and Certified Health Executive.

Samir Patel

Samir Patel has been a Board Member with Community Living York South since 2010. A graduate of Humber College's Institute of Technology and Advance Learning, Samir has worked in hospitality always willing to assist others. He in training in WHIMIS and Food Safety Protocols and is the recipient of the Residence Life Award in 2019 and the Dean's Scholarship/Award for Leadership in 2019. Samir has also been an active member of the York South Special Olympics Swim Team and is an accomplished Harmonium player.

Shanae Soor

Shanae Soor is an associate at Morrison Brown Sosnovitch LLP in the real estate group with a practice focused on commercial, development and residential matters. Shanae has developed experience in all areas of real estate, including commercial and residential property transactions, refinancings, mortgage transactions, and commercial leasing. As a result, Shanae prides herself on her attention to detail and dedication to providing personalized service to her clients. Shanae's firm also specializes in the areas of corporate/commercial, franchising, and Wills and Estates. 

Shanae graduated magna cum laude as a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society from York University, receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts (History) degree. She then went on and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor.

Louisa Poon

Louisa is an active participant no matter the role she is in. She believes “knowledge like a pyramid needs to be concrete in board and in height”. Currently, she is a financial consultant at Cardinal Health for a US$2b divestiture project. She is a key player in the Transition Sales Agreement (TSA) in operation and policies.  Previously, as a corporate accountant, controller, financial manager, and system implementation consultant, Louisa worked in accounting, auditing, reporting, information technology in financial systems, and beyond in related function areas in diversified industries.

She holds a BBMA from Ryerson University, and CMA Ontario and CPA under unification. She is a member of the Audit Committee of Ontario’s Community Health Centers since 2018 for Vaughan and Keswick districts, and volunteers at the Canadian Volunteering Income Tax Program since 2019. She is always driven from the heart to make the change in her career and her life.