STAFF & BOARD MEMBERS
Our Board of Directors and staff complement are both comprised of agents of change from across Canada. We believe that it is possible to prevent and end youth homelessness, and that our collective efforts will get us there.
President & CEO
MELANIE REDMAN BIO
Melanie Redman is the co-founder, President & CEO of A Way Home Canada, a national coalition reimagining solutions to youth homelessness through transformations in policy, planning and practice. A Way Home Canada has inspired communities and countries around the world to adopt the A Way Home brand as a way to participate in a growing international movement for change. Melanie leads the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness in Canada, which is a pan-Canadian community of practice for youth homelessness service providers. Melanie is also the co-founder and Partnership and Implementation Director for the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, which is a Government of Canada Research Tri-Council Networks of Centres of Excellence. Since 2021, Making the Shift has held the designation as a Geneva UN Charter Centre of Excellence.
Director General of Government Relations and Policy
DAVID FRENCH BIO
With more than 20 years experience working with Canada’s most vulnerable young people, David has a passion for developing programs & policy that meet their unique needs. David has a multifaceted work history with 15 years of provincial government experience and Manager/Director level experience in community. His approach to policy and program development harnesses the wisdom and knowledge of those in community and the voices of young people. In his previous role with the Alberta Government, he led the development and implementation of Supporting Healthy and Successful Transitions to Adulthood: A Plan to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness, Canada’s first focused youth homelessness plan and co-developed A focused response to prevent and end LGBTQ2S youth homelessness with Dr. Alex Abramovich. Since joining A Way Home Canada, he has supported youth homelessness policy and practice development across Federal, provincial and municipal mandates.
Community Planning Manager
MARY-JANE MCKITTERICK BIO
Mary-Jane McKitterick brings over 20 years progressive experience in Canada and abroad to the role of A Way Home’s Community Planning Manager. This includes community engagement and planning, development, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, community-based peacebuilding, education and social justice. She hails from both the small town and the megacity and her experience is supported by graduate degrees in humanities and social science. She loves it when new information turns everything we think we know on its head, especially when it helps us think differently about youth homelessness.
ORPAH CUNDANGAN BIO
Orpah immigrated with her family from the Philippines to St. James Town in Toronto, and ever since then has developed a deep love for this city she calls home. She has always been led by a passion for social justice and is a true believer in the power and resilience of youth. She was first introduced to A Way Home Canada while working at Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth, where she was a Development Coordinator. After minoring in Global Development Studies at Queen’s University, she began her career doing non-profit work for an international charity until she arrived at Eva’s, where she became exposed to many of the prevention and housing strategies being implemented to address youth homelessness in Toronto and in Canada. She is constantly inspired by the communities that come together to share knowledge, practices, and tools to end youth homelessness.
Training and Program Implementation Manager
HEIDI WALTER BIO
Heidi is passionate about supporting youth and families to thrive, and uplifting the voices of young people. Heidi brings an educational background in Social Work and over 20 years of frontline experience working in the youth homelessness sector to her role as A Way Home Canada’s Manager of Training and Program Implementation, and supporting program development with The Safe Haven Foundation in Calgary, Alberta. Prior to working with A Way Home, Heidi worked as a trainer for the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, conducting trainings and fidelity reviews, leveraging her 17 years of experience managing the Boys and Girls Club of Calgary’s Housing First programs. In her role with A Way Home Canada, Heidi works with the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab, providing hands-on coaching and training to community partners across Canada to build their capacity to provide excellent person-centred care to young people and their families and natural supports. Heidi is devoted to showing up for and making a difference in the lives of young people and practitioners by sharing her learnings, providing support, and building a community across the youth homelessness sector.
FRANCESCA TAUVETTE BIO
When I was 19, I exchanged with Carleton University for a year. At a young age of 21, I completed my degree, and came back to Canada. Professionally, I worked in law firms as a legal assistant, then law clerk for six years. I became heavily involved in volunteering with children and schools. I then knew I needed a further challenge and something more meaningful.
From 2012-2019, I held the perfect position in line with my passion, education and experience at the Children’s Aid Society as the Coordinator/Supervisor of Legal Services, whereby I was responsible for the operations management of the legal services department and I provided strategic advice to the Director on operational needs and future development; and to HR on recruitment matters.
I left the Children’s Aid Society in 2019 to relocate to the country in the beautiful Ottawa Valley with my two young children. This is particularly important for our family, to enable our little ones to thrive in nature for their adventures and learning. I live a healthy lifestyle – running, cycling, horseback riding and kayaking. My most challenging sport, however, is sneaking Nutella from the jar trying not to get caught.
Indigenous Training and Relations Coordinator
KIM KAKAKAWAY BIO
Kim Kakakaway, is a Cree and Saulteaux First Nations woman from Red Pheasant Cree Nation. She has worked with and for Indigenous communities across North America and has been an advocate for social justice and change. Kim has over 15 years of experience working with vulnerable youth and young adults and works towards the inclusion of Indigenous values and practices within oppressive systems. Kim understands the complexities of working frontlines within the homeless sector and continues to provide supports, coaching and education from her experiences and learnings.
She is educated in family counselling and is currently offering consultation work to A Way Home Canada to conduct trainings, provide program supports and bring in an Indigenous lens to the work within. She is passionate about empowering those around her, and is always up for a good laugh and some good humor!
SEAN KIDD BIO
Representing the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, Dr. Sean Kidd is the Division Chief – Psychology and a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. The focus of Dr. Kidd’s career has been upon marginality and service enhancement. The populations of focus, often overlapping, are homeless youth and individuals with severe mental illness. Specific domains of contribution include publishing landmark papers in qualitative methods in psychology; international recognition for his research into youth homelessness, including being one of the most published scholars in that area; and extensive work in developing and testing psychiatric rehabilitation interventions and examining social inclusion among marginalized populations.
MARY BIRDSELL BIO
Prior to being the Executive Director, Mary was a community development lawyer and staff lawyer at JFCY. Mary has been responsible for the clinic’s public legal education for young people in schools, institutions and custodial settings. She also provides training for staff and professionals in youth-serving agencies. In 1999, Mary increased the clinic’s direct contact with street-involved youth through the creation of our Street Youth Legal Services program and represented several young people in a constitutional challenge to Ontario’s Safe Streets Act. She represented JFCY on an intervention about the manner in which child victims and witnesses can testify before the Supreme Court of Canada, an intervention related to media access to youth records before an Ontario Youth Criminal Court, and represented the Empowerment Council at the Ashley Smith Inquest. Mary is the co-author of “Prosecuting and Defending Youth Criminal Justice Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook”, published in 2016. Mary has been involved in many social justice groups such as the Youth Justice Education Partnership, the Committee for Better Policing, and the Conflict Resolution Educators Network. Mary is currently the Chair of the Child and Youth Law section of the Ontario Bar Association, a board member and Treasurer of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and a member of the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education (CAPSLE). Mary graduated from Dalhousie University Law School having been active in the law school’s legal clinic, and was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1996.
CÉCILE ARBAUD BIO
Cécile Arbaud has been Executive Director of Dans la rue since mid-2013. Cécile has a degree in engineering, an MBA from the Collège des Ingénieurs in Paris and a certificate in psychology from the Université de Montréal. Throughout her career, she has successfully resolved a number of challenges as a manager and consultant for private, public and non-profit organizations in Paris, Vancouver and Montreal. Her responsibilities have extended to auditing, strategic planning, management systems implementation, process and structural overhauls, organizational development and change management. The three pillars of her management approach are sharing experience, collective intelligence and individual development.
MICHAEL BRAITHWAITE BIO
Michael Braithwaite has had the privilege of working in the non for profit sector for over 25 years. For the last 10 years, he’s worked with organizations dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness. Currently he is the CEO for Blue Door Support Services, a charity in York Region working to rapidly rehouse men, families and youth, as well as providing them access to health and employment services. Michael’s past roles include a long term stint at the YMCA, CEO of 360kids and most recently as CEO Raising the Roof. He’s a Brock University and Georgian College graduate, and is very proud of his board work both with Family Day GTA and with innovative and amazing Away Home Canada team.
JEFF MORRISON BIO
Jeff Morrison is the Executive Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA), which represents the interests of the non profit, social and affordable housing sector in Canada. Before joining CHRA, Jeff was Associate Director, Federal Affairs with Glaxo SmithKline, and before then, served as Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs with the Canadian Pharmacists Association for five years. In this role, he was responsible for advocacy, stakeholder relations, policy development, media relations, and external communication for the association. Jeff has held many other senior positions in the nonprofit world, including President of the Association of Canadian Engineering Companies and Director of Government Relations and Director of Environment for the Canadian Construction Association. Jeff has also worked for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and several Members of Parliament in the 1990s.
Jeff, who is bilingual, holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and History and a Masters of Arts in science politique canadienne from the University of Ottawa. He is very active in the Ottawa community, currently serving on the Board of Directors of Operation Come Home, Chairing the Ottawa Pride Run, and previously serving as President of the Board of Directors of the Centretown Community Health Centre and on the Board of Bruce House.
BRUCE PEARCE BIO
Bruce Pearce served as the community development worker for End Homelessness St. John’s from 2002 until his retirement in March 2019, guiding local planning and investments under Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy. He helped establish the Newfoundland & Labrador Housing & Homelessness Network in 2009, and is the former President of the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association where he led efforts to create a pan-Canadian network of communities working to end homelessness. Bruce most recently served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Homelessness convened by Canada’s Minister of Families, Children & Social Development Jean Yves-Duclos to guide the creation of Reaching Home, Canada’s new homelessness strategy within the National Housing Strategy. He currently serves on the Board of A Way Home Canada which is dedicated to ending youth homelessness. Between 1988-1998, prior to moving to Newfoundland & Labrador, Bruce was executive assistant and policy advisor to elected officials in Toronto, including Councillors Jack Layton & Liz Amer, and MPP Rosario Marchese.
JEFF DYER BIO
Jeff has served in the not for profit sector for over 25 years, leading in agencies involved in poverty reduction, affordable housing, youth leadership development, ending homelessness and now serves as the CEO of Trellis Society – where all those weave together. In each of these roles, he has had the privilege of aligning personal values with organizational vision: creating spaces for young people to thrive, leaders to grow, justice and mercy to emerge and everyone to belong.
He lives in Treaty 7 Territory and is learning his way into becoming an ally for reconciliation. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta, with both a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Business Administration. He serves on the Board of a national agency committed to young entrepreneurs and has served as the Co-Chair of Calgary’s plan to prevent and end youth homelessness and on the board of Canada’s largest ever affordable housing campaign. For fun, Jeff runs marathons.
CLOVIS GRANT BIO
Clovis has provided leadership in the Human Services sector for over 25 years in the areas of homelessness, employment, social assistance, mental health and disabilities. He has worked with HOPE worldwide Canada, The Region of York, Eva’s Initiatives and currently is CEO of 360°kids an organization committed to seeing an end to youth homelessness. Clovis is also a Sessional Instructor in the Community Services Department at Humber College. When not busy at work, he has served as a volunteer in various ways—at his local Church, Community Living Toronto, Autism Speaks, Diamonds Special Needs Hockey, and has supported students with special education needs through his 10 years’ experience on the Special Education Advisory Committee with the Toronto District School Board. Clovis holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts in Leadership from the University of Guelph. Clovis’ wish is to have more time to read..preferably, a good biography.