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!

Laura Viselli

Laura Viselli

Program Director
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

 

 

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 Wong

Mike Wong

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.

Jason Frittaion

Jason Frittaion

Jason is a former campus volunteer for SOS at Laurier University where he supported over 5000 students and raised over $80,000 as an Exam Aid instructor and also served as Chapter Co-President, Outreach Trip Participant, and National Head Tutor. Jason credits SOS for having helped him find his passion for supporting youth which he continues to do as Program Manager for Jack Talks. Jason continues to play a leading role with SOS, helping support the next generation of volunteers and alumni!

Dr. Laurelle Baptiste

Dr. Laurelle Baptiste

Dr. Baptiste is a thought leader in harnessing technology for education. She is Founder and C.O.O. of Vocalmeet, as well as an instructor and Senate Member of OCAD University with a focus on the Digital Futures program. These experiences build on her past experience as a leader in corporate learning working with BDO Dunwoody LLP and Hudson’s Bay Company. Dr. Baptiste lends her depth of knowledge to help SOS stay ahead of the curve and on the cutting edge of education!

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
Lucy Yang

Lucy Yang

Biomedical Sciences
PROGRAM:

Biomedical Sciences

COACHING CLUSTER:

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

“I wanted to join SOS because of the vast number of ways that SOS gives back to the community, whether that community is local or across the globe. By taking part in this movement, I could make a direct impact on local university students and also students in Latin America (and Africa through the Textbooks for Change partnership)! Being a part of the SOS family has been more than rewarding — it is always a pleasure to watch SOS volunteers in action on Outreach Trips and receive a lot of direct, positive feedback about our tutoring sessions and how these have been a friendly and affordable way to improve students’ learning experience.”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Lucy held the role of VP HR and then the role of President at Calgary SOS throughout the past 3 years. She helped bring the new partnership between Textbooks for Change (T4C) and SOS to life at the Calgary chapter by liaising different departments on campus and communicating between the faculty members and other staff to see T4C succeed. Lucy has also helped hire almost the entirety of the executive and tutoring teams due to the large volunteer turnover in the past 2 years after the graduating of the previous volunteers and VPs. She plans to continue spearheading new partnerships and projects, as well as hiring promising new students to the VP team.

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

Gilgamesh, ancient ruler of the Sumerian city of Uruk. I love history, especially of ancient civilizations!

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love to binge watch TV shows on Netflix! I’ve pretty much watched every popular TV show that exists and I am always open to new suggestions!

 

Rebecca Geylikman

Rebecca Geylikman

University of Toronto (St. George)
PROGRAM:

Human Biology-Major/ Italian-Minor/ French-Minor / Immunology-Minor

COACHING CLUSTER:

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

During the summer of my 3rd year of university, I volunteered as part of an organization that planted coral in areas of high bleaching, restored the mangrove population, and helped re-build portions of an elementary school that had been damaged by tropical storms. Many of the young adults that worked with us were in awe over the quality of education Canadians receive. Before my trip, I had never viewed education as a privilege, rather as a chore. My time in Thailand changed that, giving me a new sense of respect and thankfulness toward the tremendous opportunities afforded to citizens of westernized society. Many of the kids I worked with, would sacrifice everything for the education that some of us take for granted. When I read about SOS’s mission and the tremendous impact the organization had already made, joining the team seemed like the perfect way to give back to those in need; to make quality education more accessible for all.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Rebecca held the role of SOS Chapter President (for the University of Toronto Chapter) during the 2018/19 school year. During her first year of presidency Rebecca selected courses for which Exam-Aid was direly needed and well attended. Her stringent course selection tripled the Chapter’s revenue from the 1st semester to the 2nd, and doubled revenue in comparison to the previous school year’s earnings. All of this was accomplished with the help of her enthusiastic and focused VP team.

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 Einstein. This great man was so intellectually advanced for his time and made so many crucial contributions to the scientific field, which are still relevant today! Having the opportunity to pick his brain and discover more about his innovative views of the world and society would be the greatest pleasure.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love to workout or get together with friends for a night out. I also watch a lot of scientific documentaries in my spare time.

Konrad Suesser

Konrad Suesser

BSc Honours Neuroscience
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! 🙂

Gabrielle Desjardins

Gabrielle Desjardins

Ryerson University
PROGRAM:

Business Management (B.Comm), 4th Year

COACHING CLUSTER:

Marketing, Human Resources, International Development

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

I am constantly inspired by the dedication of student volunteers to pursue something greater than themselves. SOS is about building people up and breaking down barriers to education. Seeing the impact it has on those in Latin America firsthand on an outreach trip was proof that SOS is an incredible organization.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

In Gabrielle’s 2 years as Co-President at Ryerson SOS, she made many innovative decisions, leading the team to be the most successful it has ever been. In 2017, she started the Raising Roofs Gala at Ryerson, and donated 100% of the ticket sales to SOS’s outreach trips. This year, she led the Ryerson SOS team to the highest revenue ever recorded for the chapter.

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

I would have dinner with Beyonce so I could ask her what went down in that elevator with Jay Z and Solange.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

I love Pilates, watching Netflix, and trying out new Toronto restaurants.

Seamas Patrick Finnerty

Seamas Patrick Finnerty

University of Manitoba
PROGRAM:

Masters of Public Administration, 1st year

COACHING CLUSTER:

Business Development

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

I was inspired to be a part of SOS because my mothers side of her family is from Guatemala. To see where our hardworking is going and what it turns out to be is incredibly motivating and inspiring.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Seamas half the rothle of VP of Business Development. In his first year he was in charge of implementing T4C to the VIU campus. In the first year alone the VIU team was able to collect over 1,200 books. Seamas also managed to partner with the Sherwin Williams Company and Subway. These two companies sponsored our chapter meetings so all of our volunteers could have some food to eat.

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

John Wayne – old school cowboy loves to work hard and play harder.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

If I’m not studying or working, I’m either playing my piano or skiing.

Gerry Huynh

Gerry Huynh

University of Ottawa
PROGRAM:

Biomedical Science, 5th Year

COACHING CLUSTER:

Educational Development

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

“I was inspired to be part of SOS because of its model to continue education globally using education locally. I found the idea of holding exam review sessions to help students on campus and using the money raised to improve and continue education in Latin America very ingenious and impactful. Throughout the years I’ve been part of SOS and even now, I continue to see the many fruits of this model through the satisfied students who attend our sessions and the volunteers who go on the outreach trips we have. The evident impact that SOS makes continues to inspire me to be a part of SOS. I want to giveback to those who may not be as fortunate as myself with education.”

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

In 2016, Gerry first joined the SOS as an ambassador. Having supervised multiple sessions and worked closely with the VP of Finance at the time, Gerry moved up to the position of VP of Finance in 2017. Wanting to play a more active role in the educational aspects of SOS, Gerry applied for the role of VP of Educational Development in 2018. As VP of Educational Development, Gerry managed over 15 tutors and actively communicated with the team and Head Office to ensure successful sessions. In January 2019, Gerry was recognized as the National Volunteer of the Month out of over 500 volunteers across all SOS Chapters in Canada. Gerry will be moving on to hold the role of SOS President at the Ottawa Chapter for the year of 2019-2020.

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

Elon Musk. I’m inspired by how he has sped up the progression of electric vehicles and space travel.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

When I have free time I like to meet up with friends. When we’re studying, we’re often too busy to meet up to just chill, so that’s something I take the chance to do when I’m free.

Josh Neposlan

Josh Neposlan

McMaster University
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

Anudeep Sultania

Anudeep Sultania

Ivey Business School - Western University
PROGRAM:

Honours Business Administration, 4th Year

COACHING CLUSTER:

Human Resources

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

I was inspired to be part of SOS because I believe in education equality. Each child should have to same access to education in terms of resources and opportunities. SOS helps children in Latin America move one step closer to reaching their true potential. SOS also helps students locally and globally in terms of on-campus and Latin America. It’s a great feeling when I see the pictures of the schools being build, children studying, and experiences volunteers have on the trip all because of the donations we raise.

YOUR EXPERIENCE & ACHIEVEMENTS

Anudeep has been part of the Western SOS team since first year and started out as a Marketing Executive. As she learnt more about the organization and wanted to contribute more to the SOS vision, she took on the role of Co-President of Western SOS for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Anudeep was honoured with the Student Leadership Award and Western SOS was awarded with the National Mentorship Award. Over the two years, Western SOS has seen growth in partnerships in the London community (and on-campus) and has been able to overcome adverse challenges as a team. Anudeep ensured that each volunteer was integrated into the team and fostered a positive environment.

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

I would have dinner with Michelle Obama because she is inspirational and rational. While being very well-spoken, confident and kind, she is able to stand up for what she believes in and shares positivity with everyone.

PERSONAL INTERESTS/HOBBIES:

When I’m not working on SOS or studying, I like to figure skate, oil paint, read, watch shows/movies, travel, and spend time with family and friends.

 

Karyssa Hamann

Karyssa Hamann

McMaster University
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

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