OUR PEOPLE

We are here to Elevate and Ignite you!

We are a community of people passionate about the impact of education in changing the world: come meet our full-time and part-time staff, as well as volunteer-driven Board of Directors.
Jamie Arron

Jamie Arron

Executive Director
Education and Work:

For over a decade I’ve been leading innovation-focused projects, having founded not-for-profit organizations and small businesses, as well as working in municipal government, in universities, and consulting to a wide variety of social enterprises, foundations, and corporate leaders. My core passion lies in harnessing technology, strategy, and human-centered design to scale social impact. You can learn more at www.linkedin.com/in/jamesarron.

I studied at Dalhousie University where I majored in International Development, and completed a certificate in Entrepreneurship. I’ve also been educated through Fellowship programs provided by Venture for Canada, MaRS Discovery District, and 21 INC.

Favourite Quote:

“Be like a tree. Stay grounded, connect with your roots, keep growing”

Favourite Book(s):

Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl

What do you like teaching others about?

Spanish language, guitar/piano, travel planning, anything about SOS!

Joanna Baile

Joanna Baile

Campus Program Coordinator
Jessica Peverill

Jessica Peverill

DEA Program Coordinator
Education and Work:

I’m currently going into my fourth year of my Biomedical Science Major & Neuroscience Minor at the University of Guelph. This is my second year working with Students Offering Support, but before that, I worked as an events coordinator with the MS Society of Canada, as a tech consultant for the STEAM program run by the Simcoe County District School Board, and as a lifeguard and counselor at Ryde Lake Camp.

Favourite Quote:

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

Favourite Book(s):

The Harry Potter series, the Percy Jackson series, The Great Gatsby, The Poisonwood Bible, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Red, White & Royal Blue, and many, many others.

What do you like teaching others about?

Cool ways to integrate technology into different aspects of our lives, facts about the brain, and weird tidbits about ancient history.

Meagan Secord

Meagan Secord

Digital Communications Coordinator
Education and Work:

I am a Durham College Journalism-Mass Media grad and current Video Production Student. I own a digital marketing agency called Ethereal Press Digital Marketing and am a co-founder of The Collective News.

Favourite Quote:

“The trick to life is to have the courage to walk down the path that’s lit up in your heart.” – Atticus

Favourite Book(s):

My favourite books are Sara J Mass’s Throne of Glass series

What do you like teaching others about?

I love teaching people about audio editing and creating audio stories but I am more of a listener. As a journalist we are trained to listen first and learn as much as we can from everyone we meet.

OUR BOARD
Adam Hamovitch

Adam Hamovitch

Adam’s contributes an endless passion for personal and group development to SOS, which also fuels his work as an HR professional.  He is currently Talent Principal for XPV Water Partners, and previously played roles with BMO as Senior Consultant for Organizational Effectiveness, and with Deloitte as a Senior Partner. Adam is an avid skier. Adam completed his MSc from The University of Oxford and London School of Economics. Adam has been a member of SOS’ Board of Directors since 2016.

Shavone Bazarkewich

Shavone Bazarkewich

Shavone is an Associate at Blakes, Cassels and Graydon LLP, with a focus on tax law.  In addition to providing her legal guidance to SOS since 2017, Shavone has a long held passion for student leadership and cultural exchange. Throughout her studies, Shavone was active in campus leadership as co-executive of the MBA Games Team, a mentor with the Peer Mentorship Program, and volunteer with Pro Bono Students Canada and the Journal of International Law and International Relations. Shavone’s passion for cultural exchange and learning also took her to Brazil where she lived for a semester. Shavone completed her J.D./M.B.A. at the University of Toronto, graduating with distinction from the Rotman School of Management.

Mike Wang

Mike Wang

Mike began his time with SOS as a student volunteer with the National head office and has stayed engaged with the organization ever since, and now sits as a member of our Governance Committee, leveraging his finance-related knowledge. Mike’s day job is as an Associate with KPMG and he currently completing his CPA and CFA.

Rob Scott

Rob Scott

Rob first connected with SOS as a member of an Outreach Trip for Laurier Alumni in 2014 and has been involved ever since; inspired by the first experience, Rob launched a fundraising effort in support of SOS and our international partners in Nicaragua called ‘Winds of Change’ that has supported. Rob is Managing Partner of a boutique management consulting firm for C-suite executives, Ember Advisory. Rob previously held senior roles with PriceWaterhouseCooper, Ernst & Young, and Capgemini. Rob supports SOS by harnessing a multi-decade career in management consulting to assist the organization’s continuous improvement and growth.

Laura Viselli

Laura Viselli

Education and Work:

HBA, Global Studies, Spanish minor and Research Specialization Option, Wilfrid Laurier University (2014).

For more than 4 years, Laura has facilitated the collaboration between SOS volunteers and supporters with partnering organizations and communities in Central and South America. Laura has travelled to Guatemala, Indonesia, Spain, and Costa Rica, and believes in the transformative power of cross-cultural collaboration. Prior to Laura’s involvement with SOS, she supported uniquely-abled children and adults in Ontario as they pursued a more accessible livelihood.

Favourite Book(s):

Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin

She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Gently to Nagasaki by Joy Kogawa

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

What do you like teaching others about?

Travelling, cooking, and history

 

 

Danielle Harder

Danielle Harder

Danielle is an accomplished journalist with experience in magazines, newspapers, radio and television across Canada. She teaches across multiple platforms in the Journalism – Mass Media program at Durham College, where she introduces students to a range of skills from broadcast reporting to data journalism, media law and ethics, and general news reporting. Danielle has led students on several international projects to places such as Peru, the Caribbean, and Kenya. She is also focused on understanding the impact of the digital age on journalism and is undertaking her M.A. in Communications and Technology at the University of Alberta to expand her knowledge in this area.

Chris Kawasoe

Chris Kawasoe

Chris contributes his depth of experience working in the finance sector to support SOS as treasurer of our Board of Directors. Chris’ career has included progressively senior roles with CIBC, Northland Power and is currently with RBC.

National Student Advisory
Konrad Suesser

Konrad Suesser

Educational Development Lead
PROGRAM:

BSc Honours Neuroscience

COACHING CLUSTER:

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to giveback through SOS?

“One of my favourite parts about SOS is always seeing how enthusiastic students are when they become aware that we are a not-for-profit organization. In addition to this, I love teaching and seeing the “moment” when students finally understand a concept. It brings me a lot of joy. ”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Konrad has been involved with SOS for over 2 years now. He has spent the entirety of his time as an exam-aid instructor, 1 year as a VP of Educational development, and 1 year, so far, as a Co-President of the UVic SOS chapter. Konrad has always been enthusiastic as expanding UVic SOS as a chapter and branching out to try new things.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

To be honest, this is a very difficult question and I do not think I can narrow my list down to one person for all contexts, but if I had to choose based on what I currently want to learn more about, I would pick David Goggins. His perseverance and grit, shown by his life story, is something to strive for. I would love to pick his mind to learn about what makes him tick.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I really enjoy research, volunteering, powerlifting, reading, hiking, and spending time with family and friends! 🙂

Josh Neposlan

Josh Neposlan

Educational Development Lead
PROGRAM:

MSc Global Health, 1st Year

COACHING CLUSTER:

Educational Development

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to giveback through SOS?

My motivation to give back as a member of the Student Advisory Board stems from the significant impact SOS has had on my personal and academic journey over the past four years. The commitment of the organization to the development of leaders not only on campuses across North America but in communities in Latin America is something that I have been, and continue to be, proud to be a part of. Whether through leading an Exam-Aid session or helping to organize various events around campus, the experience that I have gained as a member of the University of Windsor chapter has helped to shape my social and professional skillset and outlook. My decision to pursue the MSc Global Health degree which I am currently completing was in fact inspired in large part by the unique perspective on international development integral to the mission of SOS. I understand from experience the value in having strong mentorship. As such, the opportunity to remain involved with the organization in this capacity is something that I am truly looking forward to.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Throughout my undergrad I had the incredible privilege of working as an Exam-Aid Instructor for various math and economics courses with the University of Windsor chapter of SOS. Additionally, in my fourth year I was selected to serve as the VP of Math & Physics Exam-Aids. Through these positions, I have gained experience in launching new course offerings, facilitating team meetings, and organizing the Exam-Aid schedule, among other various tasks. I feel very blessed to have been a small part of the incredible system that has been built over time by countless SOS volunteers at the University of Windsor.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

Will Smith. I am consistently impressed by not only his on-screen accomplishments but also his unwillingness to settle for anything but the best version of himself.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

Anything and everything baseball-related, finding good music and scouting out cool cafes

Karyssa Hamann

Karyssa Hamann

International Development Lead
PROGRAM:

Medicine, 1st year

COACHING CLUSTER:

International Development

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

“SOS has been one of the highlights of my university career. The model not only allowed me to make a difference on my own campus, but also pushed me beyond my own environment, allowing me to make an international impact. SOS has been a huge part of my own personal growth and enrichment and I continue to give back in order to elevate this experience for the leaders to come.”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

2 years as VPID, 1 year as chapter president at Laurentian, EAI for PSYC 1105, trip leader in the May 2019 trip to Santa Apolonia, Guatemala, part of the national advisory board now. Outside of SOS – attending medical school at McMaster as of August!

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

Jesus, so I could hear the stories firsthand!

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

Gym, piano, hiking, yoga

Brian To

Brian To

Finance Lead
PROGRAM:

University of Ottawa, Accounting, Recent Graduate (June 2020)

COACHING CLUSTER:

Finance

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

I was inspired to be part of SOS because of its entrepreneurial initiative in making a meaningful world impact in education; not just helping post-secondary students in Canada, but also helping communities elsewhere such as Latin America through Global Impact Fund projects. Even today, there are still many communities who do not have the infrastructure and access to quality education. Education is such a fundamental part of our growth and our future. SOS inspires students to become leaders of tomorrow and break down barriers to education. I want to be a leader and giveback to those who may not have been as fortunate as I am to quality education.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Brian held the role of VP Finance (for the uOttawa Chapter) for two years. Being the only commerce student on the executive team, he has provided the team with valuable inputs and ideas from a business perspective to improve the chapter’s operations and presence on campus. His prior experience taking on executive roles in event planning and finance, as well as his advanced proficiency in Excel, has allowed him to implement a unique financial process that ensures better transparency, accuracy, and completeness of the chapter’s financial performance. Even though Brian has graduated from university, he continues to be involved with SOS.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

If I could have dinner with any person, it would be Jack Ma, the co-founder and former executive chairperson of Alibaba Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. He is the definition of perseverance. No matter how many challenges and failures he faced and how many people doubted his abilities, he never gave up. His determination and willingness to experiment is what led him to success. I have learned a lot about him from reading articles to watching his keynote speeches. It would be an honour to meet him in person and get to know him on a personal level.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

Hanging out with friends, Volunteering in my community, Going on foodie adventures (exploring new food places, immersing myself in a new culture, taking food pictures, writing food reviews), Learning new languages, Travelling and Road Trips

Katerini Hatziantonis

Katerini Hatziantonis

Finance Lead
PROGRAM:

U of T, mathematics, graduated 2009

COACHING CLUSTER:

Finance

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

I felt my SOS experience was most impactful when I attended a meeting with my fellow VPs and saw a slideshow of the work achieved in a recent outreach trip to Guatamala. I was able to see actual university students accomplishing actual tangible change in developing communities. What struck me most was that these educational endeavours are sustainable and work with the local community to increase the local economy.”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

While Katerini held the role of VP of Finance, she never hesitated to lend support to her other VPs when in need. She acted as a spokesperson and spread the word of SOS across campus when attending events held by other groups and succeeded in recruiting some students.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. I find his one-hour radio talk show, StarTalk, both engaging and entertaining. He has the ability to discuss complex ideas in very simple terms. Great speaker.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love to craft, crochet, button making, graphic design, and eat spicy food.

Jayden Robins

Jayden Robins

Human Resources Lead
PROGRAM:

Wilfrid Laurier University, BBA, Year 3

COACHING CLUSTER:

Human Resources

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

When I was in first year, SOS gave me the opportunity to try something I had ZERO experience in, Human Resources. Through this, experience I got to learn about my interests and how HR could have a huge impact on the success of the chapter. From my roles in HR and the AMAZING people in that department of which I had the opportunity to work with term over term, my dedication and commitment to seeing SOS excel truly flourished. Every step of the way, I was inspired by the mission, the volunteers, and HQ to take on more and more responsibility which ultimately led to the most rewarding experience yet, which has to be this past year as a chapter president. Through this role, I had the opportunity to fully understand the symbiotic relationship of all departments and help develop strategies to lead our chapter to success. If there is one thing I’ve learned as by biggest take-away from my experience on SOS is that your chapter is only as good as the people in it. Hiring the right people, with the right motivation, and nurturing those people throughout their time on SOS is critical to ensuring sustainable success of your chapter now, and for years to come.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Throughout Jayden’s time on SOS, he has held the position of Human Resources Executive, Vice President of Human Resources and Chapter President. Throughout his time on SOS, and with the help of his fellow volunteers, Jayden has helped raise over $100,000 for the Laurier chapter. Jayden believes that some of this success can be attributed to his, and his teams, work in developing efficient and effective means of hiring volunteers and keeping them informed and motivated throughout each term. As president, Jayden used his knowledge and skills he acquired from three terms in HR do build a strong team of VP’s (with the help of his co-presidents, Julia Tam and Megan Murphy). Knowing the importance of communication within terms, Jayden experimented with new methods for keeping his team “in the loop” and implemented the use of a task tracking and assigning platform called Trello, which was a huge success in keeping everyone organized.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

If I could have dinner with any person, living or dead, it would have to be Betty White. Now you’re probably thinking, Jayden, out of everyone who has ever lived you chose someone who is still alive! At the time of writing this I literally cannot think of anyone who is dead… which is bad…I’m totally blanking. Maybe I’m just fortunate enough to not have had anyone who I currently idolize die? Who knows? Anyways…BETTY WHITE! What a lady! Obviously I love her because she’s hilarious and I am 100% confident that she’d have me on the floor laughing throughout our whole meal together. I also think she has lived a really interesting life and would have endless stories to tell. In addition to her humor, she inspires me even more through her wildlife activism and support. She has such a kind heart and I would die to get a chance to meet her before…you know. Live on Betty! -Love Jayden

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

When I’m not SOSing, you can find me playing with my pet parakeet, Luccello (IG: @Luccellothebird). I also love watching just about anything on Netflix with an emphasis on reality tv (my guilty pleasure is reality dating shows like the Bachelor and Love is Blind. I also recently started catching up on the 18 seasons of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. I also love to travel anywhere from weekend road trips to months in Taiwan. Love food… all types…not much I won’t eat. And yes… I did just add food as a hobby.

Dominique Baillargeon

Dominique Baillargeon

International Development Lead
PROGRAM:

University of Windsor Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Graduated in 2020

COACHING CLUSTER:

International Development

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

Personally, I feel my SOS experience was most rewarding when I volunteered on an SOS Outreach Trip to Las Arrugas, Guatemala! I was able to fully immerse myself in the culture of the community, build meaningful relationships, and create memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. It was truly a once in a life time experience that I would highly recommend to anyone that is interested!

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Dominique held the role of Exam-Aid Instructor for two nursing courses in her second and third year of university and was the SOS Trip Leader on her Outreach Trip to Guatemala in August of 2019. In her 4th year, Dominique held the role of VP of International Development and was selected as one of the National Student Ambassadors during the SOS 2019-2020 award ceremony.

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

I would have dinner with Greta Thunberg so we could discuss today’s environmental issues and our planet! I’ve always been very passionate about environmental activism and would be able to learn a lot from her. 🙂

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love to run, travel, hangout with friends, and binge watch Netflix shows!

Kaley Marie

Kaley Marie

Marketing Lead
PROGRAM:

Brock University, Masters of Applied Disability Studies, First Year

COACHING CLUSTER:

Marketing

YOUR MOTIVATION:
What makes you want to give back through SOS?

The most rewarding experience I had as a SOS volunteer was on my Say Si to Spanish outreach trip this past August. When I first signed up for my outreach trip, I was terrified. I had never traveled alone before, I had just started learning the language and truthfully, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I can now confidently say it was the best decision I have made. The partnering organization, Niños de Guatemala, is a group of the most amazing people I have met. To say that the staff, their schools and students changed my life, would be an understatement. Each person opened up their hearts, mind & homes to us, and were just as eager to learn from us, as we were for them to teach us. This bond that I have with the NDG trip leaders and my Spanish teacher, as well as the experiences, lessons and relationships I built, are something that I will carry forward with me. I hope everyone gets the chance to experience this and I can’t wait to plan my own trip back to Antigua.
Also, I can’t forget to mention the coffee. For all my fellow coffee lovers out there, Guatemala is definitely the place where you will always find a good cup off coffee.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Kaley’s first joined SOS Laurentian as the vice- president of marketing as well an exam aid instructor. What stood out to her most during those roles would most likely just be the overall success of that year. SOS LU finally got a strong online and in person presence on campus as well as hosted the most successful exam aid session for Laurentian. It was truly a team effort, and it was amazing seeing the outcome of all the hard work that was put in!


Kaley’s next role was as a team leader for the Say Si to Spanish outreach trip this past August. It was hard for her to choose a standout moment from during the trip, but seeing the team receive their certifications for completing their Spanish lessons was like a “proud mom moment” for her. She knows how much time and energy she put in during those lessons, and knew her team was just as dedicated, even spending their nights studying!


Finally, Kaley was the chapter president during the 2019-2020 school year. While she is proud of the Laurentian chapter for receiving the emerging leadership award and for her teammates personal awards (herself included), her favourite part of the year was handing out the Laurentian volunteer of the month. She claims “I would get so excited about choosing a volunteer, the day before our meeting I would basically write out a little speech on why I thought that person deserved recognition and would practice it on the drive there.”

FUN QUESTION:
If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be - and why?

While a tough decision, the person I would love to have dinner with would be Carly Fleischmann and her family. Carly and Arthur’s (her father) novel was my introduction into disability studies, and the lived experiences of children with Autism, specifically finding resources in Toronto. Finishing Carly’s Voice: Breaking Through Autism was the moment I knew this was the career field I want to work in, and I can’t even explain the excitement I would experience to be able to sit down with Carly, her family and her team to hear and learn all the experiences that were not included in the novel, and have occurred since and also receive advice and information on how I can excel in my future career working with individuals with Autism.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love to read, whenever I have a chance I am reading a book and I always have a book with me “just in case.” I am currently reading Educated by Tara Westover, HIGHLY recommend. I am also extremely into fitness and healthy living. I work out approximately 6 days a week and complete yoga and meditation almost daily. This was actually inspired by my love to cook/bake. I completed my high school co-op at a cafe, and since then I always love trying out new recipes and finding delicious, healthy alternatives. Lastly, I am extremely passionate about working in the disability sector and currently work as a health policy research analyst for Canada FASD Research Network.

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