Jess is the President and CEO of The MATCH International Women’s Fund, a fund that invests in women's organizations around the world driving innovation at the grassroots. The MATCH Fund is Canada's only global fund for women and girls. With partners in more than 40 countries around the world, The MATCH Fund resources women’s organizations and movements working to change systems and dismantle barriers for a more gender equal world. Named by the Stevie Awards as 2017’s Most Innovative Woman of the Year, Jess has focused on the role of innovation in social movements. Jess has worked in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia for a range of actors including the World Bank, the UN and USAID.
Jessica Houssian fell in love with feminism as a little girl and has focused her career on advancing women’s equality ever since. Jessica is a Senior Advisor at Women Moving Millions, a global community of women philanthropists who invest boldly with a gender lens.
Prior to her work with WMM, Jessica was a partner at Inspired Philanthropy Group – a boutique consulting firm supporting individual philanthropists and corporations to help create authentic, effective impact. Jessica holds a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies (Bates College) and an M.Sc. in Fundraising & Grantmaking (New York University), and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Landesa, RefugePoint and as Co-chair of The Houssian Foundation.
Sophie Gupta is a Principal at Yaletown Partners, an impact-focused venture capital fund manager that invests in businesses developing technologies to digitally transform traditional industries by prioritizing climate resilient growth for an innovative and sustainable future.
In addition to her work as an investment professional, Sophie is the Co-Founder of the Gupta Family Foundation, mandated to support the empowerment of girls and women through educational and economic advancement opportunities. Sophie has served on the Board of Directors of The MATCH International Women’s Fund and the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Canadian Venture Capital Association’s (CVCA) Diversity and Inclusion Committee and serves on the Board of Engineers Without Borders.
Sophie holds a Bachelor of Laws from Université Laval, as well as an Honours Bachelor of Commerce (specializing in International Business) from the University of Ottawa and lives in Montréal, Québec.
Theo’s work includes advisory roles to African and other international women and children’s rights activists and leaders, plus policy development and advocacy with a variety of international agencies and organisations. She was Senior Programme Advisor on the UN Study on Children and Armed Conflict (the Machel Report) and led the five year review of the report.
Theo is a board member of various national and international civil society organisations and grant making foundations, including being a Chair of Comic Relief’s International Grants Committee; and a member of the African Advisory Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
She has authored many publications, including being a contributing author and co-editor of a Harvard Law School/UNICEF Innocenti publication on ‘Children and Transitional Justice.’
Paulette Senior is President & CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. She has devoted her career to empowering women and girls to overcome barriers and reach their full potential.
Paulette started her career on the front lines of social service organizations in some of Toronto’s most economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. She saw how social resources and systemic change could transform women’s lives. Through her work and advocacy with shelters, as well as employment and housing programs, she has earned numerous awards and become one of the most respected women leaders in Canada.
Paulette joined the Foundation in 2016, after 10 years as CEO of YWCA Canada. Her work with the Foundation is guided by the vision of an inclusive, national movement toward gender equity that will strengthen all Canadians.
Andrea brings a unique perspective to the CFC team having held roles in both the non-profit and corporate philanthropy sectors. She held leadership positions with the PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada Foundation where she oversaw the Canadian firm’s philanthropic portfolio, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Toronto.
Andrea lead the development of the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough as its founding Executive Director. Under Andrea’s leadership, the organization grew from a spark of an idea into the force for community that it is today. Following her community foundation role, Andrea joined the Rideau Hall Foundation start-up team by droving its initial programming and activity across the country and throughout sectors.
After the successful development of the Rideau Hall Foundation alongside Community Foundations of Canada, Andrea shifted into a full-time role working in partnership with Canadian community foundations.
Keely brings more than a decade of experience in the women's rights field to PAWHR. She was formerly the Director of Programs at Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights where she supported women's human rights defenders around the intersection of security and sustainability in time-urgent situations.
Previously, Keely worked with refugees and asylum seekers in the United States, Moldova, and Turkey. Her experience ranges from the UN High Commission for Refugees and Caritas at the global levels to local resettlement programs.
Additionally, she conducted research for Transparency International-Moldova and managed a pilot program for immigrant families in Denver. Keely received her MA in International Human Rights with a Certificate in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver and holds a BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado-Boulder.
As the VP Corporate Citizenship for RBC, Valerie leads Corporate Citizenship across the enterprise, responsible for devising and implementing an integrated strategy and framework aligned to RBC’s purpose and business objectives.
Her team helps RBC create and protect social and environmental value for society, employees, clients and shareholders, through insights-informed, issues-based and impact-driven strategies and programs, that span strategic philanthropy, citizenship impact measurement, reporting and communication, corporate environmental affairs, and social innovation and finance.
Prior to joining RBC, she was a Partner with Deloitte Canada’s Enterprise Risk Services and the America’s Leader of Deloitte’s Sustainability and Climate Change(S&CC) Practice. In this role, she provided national leadership and direction, and expertise in the areas of Environment, Health & Safety, Sustainability, Climate Change, Water and Energy Management across the Americas. She was also an advisor to Deloitte Canada’s internal corporate responsibility program.
Through her varied career in government, consulting and industry, Valerie has worked with national and international businesses, governments and non-government organizations to create opportunity by proactively managing environmental and social risks, and implement programs that deliver both shareholder and stakeholder value, across all industry sectors.
She was named as a member of Canada’s Clean 16 – leader in the consulting sector; is a member of Privy Council’s Impact Canada Advisory Council, a founding member of Women for Nature, and is a mentor to an extensive roster of young leaders.
Valerie has a BSc in Biochemistry and a BSc of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering; and is fluent in French and Spanish.
Sharon Avery is President & CEO of Toronto Foundation, one of Canada’s leading community foundations and a Toronto city-building institution.
Ms. Avery has built a 21-year career as a high energy fundraiser and passionate communicator. Prior to joining the Foundation in September, 2016, she served for eight years as Chief Development Officer at UNICEF Canada where she more than doubled its investment in children, transforming the organization on the international stage.
Prior to UNICEF Sharon Avery held senior roles at SickKids Foundation, Save the Children Canada and Tim Horton Children's Foundation
Sharon is known for her entrepreneurial spirit, critical thinking and collaborative leadership. She is a dynamic public speaker on a mission to bring philanthropy to the task of building a more resilient Toronto.
Calvert Impact Capital makes impact investable. For nearly 25 years, it has worked to scale the impact marketplace by connecting the capital markets with underserved communities in more than 100 countries around the world. To-date, Calvert Impact Capital has mobilized over $2.5 billion of individual and institutional investor capital via its Community Investment Note®, a retail fixed income product, and syndications services.
Jennifer began her career in the Peace Corps working in West Africa before spending a decade in finance at Neuberger Berman in New York and Morgan Stanley in London. Prior to joining Calvert Impact Capital in 2008, Jennifer worked for Nonprofit Finance Fund, a national Community Development Financial Institution, and for The Public Theater in New York City. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Union College and her MBA from Columbia University.
We are building a new way to fund women’s rights and gender equality around the world – one that is feminist, brave, collaborative, and sustainable. The Equality Fund brings together partners with a feminist agenda to build an innovative solution to fund the fight for gender equality around the world. Join us.
2019 EQUALITY FUND