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 Member Bios
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
Mona Halawa is a Human Resources Associate at Financial Agency, responsible for the management of employees at the company’s client, Uncle Tetsu, in their locations across Canada. Detail-oriented and with a natural drive to connect with people, Mona prides herself in building a solid base for a healthy workplace culture and positive teamwork. Previously, Mona worked in the field of Early Childhood Education as a Managing Partner at JumpStart Preschool in Amman, Jordan.
Mona’s most enriching life experience has always been achieved through her own family. She is the mother of three, her eldest having a developmental and physical disability since birth. While living in Amman, Mona worked with other mothers of children with disabilities to spread awareness and advocate for better services and resources in their communities. She was one of the founders of Sana, a non-profit organization with a mission to empower people with disabilities and their families by organizing support groups, instituting education funds, and finding employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She also served on the Board of Directors at The Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Jordan, a government entity that develops policies and manages quality controls for organizations that serve people with disabilities. Mona also worked with Sadaqa, a campaign that advocates for Jordanian working women and emphasizes the importance of daycares at the workplace, in order to increase the participation of women in the Jordanian economy.
Mona has travelled extensively, including throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as to Japan. This exposure and opportunity to learn from different communities has guided Mona in her desire to promote a global outlook for what she strongly believes is a united language when it comes to the life experience of individuals with disabilities and their families.
As a trusted member of the business community in York Region, Vince is President of Canex Contracting. He has been in this role since 2006 and also remains busy between his family, volunteer and community work. Vince is active in the Richmond Hill Bocce and Seniors Club and Team Captain of the Mental Health in Motion cycle in support of Youth Mental Health. In addition, past volunteer roles include coaching for the Richmond Hill Hockey Association as well as working on the Coaches Selection Committee. Vince is married and the proud father of four children.
Shana Kapustin is an executive Human Resources professional with over 25 years of experience across multiple sectors, most recently in Information Technology and distribution. She is a Certified Human Resources Management (CHRM) leader and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, along with a secondary degree in Occupational Health & Safety. Shana is currently the Senior Director, Human Resources at TD SYNNEX Canada. As giving back is a large part of her life, Shana sits on the Board of Directors of Girls Inc. of York Region as well as the Board of Directors of York Hills Centre for Children, Youth & Families and was a Text Crisis Responder with Kids Help Phone for three years.