Sabine Soumare - Co-President

sabine soumare

Sabine Soumare is founder and president of dBrief Consulting, a communications, marketing and public affairs firm. With a Master's degree in marketing from the Ecole Supérieure de Gestion in Paris, Sabine was the communications advisor and spokesperson for the Minister of Francophone Affairs in the provincial government from 2015 to 2018. Her experience in communications and public relations led her to teach public relations and marketing at La Cité College. Very involved in the Francophone community since her arrival in Toronto, she began her career by creating and managing the Communications and Community Relations Department at the Centre francophone de Toronto.

She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance Française de Toronto and a volunteer facilitator at Skills for Change, an organization that helps newcomers find work. A sports enthusiast, she was a member of the Francophone committee for the Pan American Games in 2015.

 

Jessica Watkins - Co-President

jessica watkins

Jessica Watkins brings over a decade of experience working in professional resources and legal talent management. As National Director, Professional Resources, Jessica is responsible for setting the strategic direction for legal professionals as it relates to career development, compensation, performance management, talent acquisition and engagement. Jessica also works closely with the firm’s Inclusion & Diversity Committee and is part of the team who won the Canadian HR Awards in the category in 2018 for the development of the firm’s 1L Indigenous Internship Program. Jessica is a lifelong learner, having gained additional degrees in Human Resources, Workplace Investigations and most recently completing her MBA Skills Certificate with the London School of Economics. She is both a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Human Resources Professionals Association.

 

Hélène Asselbergs - Vice President

Hélène Asselbergs

Hélène Asselbergs is currently Chairperson of the Canadian Bar Association operational review. Recognized as a transformational leader, Hélène has worked with organizations across multiple sectors and industries on both sides of the board table, guiding organizations through governance and operational change and realizing innovative and bold strategic plans that resonate with local through global stakeholder communities.

Hélène holds a Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Communications Graduate Certificate from Seneca College, and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and European Studies from the University of Toronto. Hélène is a dual citizen of Canada and France.

 

Gilles Comeau - Treasurer

Gille Comeau

Gilles is an experienced corporate lawyer that regularly advises on complex commercial and financial transactions. He is currently a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg llp where he has developed a broad practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, secured lending, capital markets and corporate governance.

Gilles holds a Bachelor of Commerce from l'Université Sainte-Anne, a Masters of Business Administration from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa and a Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa. He is also licensed as a Barrister and Solicitor with the Law Society of Ontario.

 

Solange Strom - Secretary

Gille Comeau

A visionary consultant, former CEO, and entrepreneur with a track-record of driving growth through employee-centric strategies, Ms Strom has 20+ years’ experience helming global brands.

She has held several CEO positions, first for L’Occitane Canada from 1998 to 2009 then with Repetto Paris based in New York, developing, and implementing their North American strategy.

It was through leadership positions with Boiron Pharmaceuticals that she honed her extensive experience in business development, brand strategy and leadership.

Ms Strom is a Foreign Trade Advisor for the French Government since 2010 and has been a board director and past chairman of the French Chamber of Commerce in Toronto.

She is a recipient of the French Ordre National du Mérite.

Ms Strom is a dual French and Canadian citizen, speaks English, French and Spanish fluently and holds an MBA from McGill University.

 

Member by alphabetical order

François Blanc

François Blanc

François Blanc is an IT professional with over twenty-five years of experience. A graduate of the École Polytechnique de Paris (class of 1986), he also has a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management from Stanford University. After a career in large hi-tech corporations (IBM, Nortel, etc.), he is now an independent consultant specializing in geographic information systems and geomarketing.

He lives in Toronto with his bilingual family, loves French culture and takes part in the support of Francophonie in Toronto.

 

Josep Gonzalez

bill graham

Dr. Josep González, Head of School, Dallas International School

Dr. Josep González has worked in the world of education in Spain, Great Britain and Canada for over thirty years.

In 2015 he was appointed Head of School at TFS, a French international school offering an education characterized by intellectual rigour and a deep sense of citizenship that has contributed to Canada’s history as a pioneer of bilingualism.

Within the English education system, he led The British School of Barcelona between 2011 and 2015, one of the leading international schools in Spain. Before that, he held the position of Head of Modern Languages and Cultures at Eton College and that of Lecturer in Language and Literature at the universities of Barcelona, Oxford and Middlesex (London).

Among his most notable accomplishments, Dr. González was part of the original team of educators devising the Pre-U syllabus for Cambridge International Examinations, and he has spoken about a wide range of educational matters, including the importance of multilingualism so that students can acquire an international perspective. Passionate about languages, he is fluent in French, English, Catalan, Spanish and italian.

He has been a cultural columnist for different magazines and has published three novels in Catalan.

Dr. González was awarded a DPhil in English literature by the University of Oxford.

 

Hon. Bill Graham - Life Member

bill graham

Député fédéral de Toronto-Centre-Rosedale (1993- 2007); Ministre des Affaires étrangères (2002-04); Ministre de la Défense nationale (2004-06); Chef de l’opposition, (2006); Chef intérimaire du Parti Libéral du Canada (2006), Hon. Bill Graham est aujourd’hui chancelier de Trinity College, Université de Toronto (2007-09). Il tient également la place de président au Conseil Atlantique du Canada; vice-président adjoint du Conseil international du Canada et lieutenant colonel des Governor General’s Horse Guards (2008).

 

Cédric Lamarche

gail lord

Cedric is an employment lawyer who represents employers and employees across the province of Ontario in both official languages of Canada. Among other things, he advises on a range of legal issues, including: wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal, human rights, harassment, employment standards, health and safety, contract disputes, restrictive covenants, and shareholder disputes. He takes a pragmatic approach to his practice and is known for his ability to resolve complex issues effectively. Prior to founding Singh Lamarche LLP, a firm specializing in employment law, Cedric worked for one of the largest law firms in Canada.

 

Gail Lord - Life Member

gail lord

Co-fondatrice et Présidente du Lord Cultural Resources Planning & Management Inc. en 1981, Gail Lord est spécialisée dans la consultation de gestion, la planification d’installations, l’organisation d’expositions et la gestion de sites historiques, muséaux et patrimoniaux.

De 1964 à 1969, elle travaille en tant que critique d’art et rédactrice d’articles spécialisés pour le Toronto Star.

De 1968 à 1970, elle est commentatrice pour l’émission  hebdomadaire nationale sur CBC, “The Arts in Review” et enseigne l’histoire de l’art à l’université Ryerson de Toronto.

Elle est aussi instructrice en études pluridisciplinaire et en histoire de l’art à l’Université Ryerson, Toronto de 1970 à 1975.

De 1980 à 1981, elle travaille à la direction de l’information au Bureau du commissaire aux langues officielles, avant de fonder Lord Cultural Resources Planning and Management Inc. .

Elle est l’auteur de nombreux livres tels que “The Manual of Museum Management” et “The Manual of Museum Exhibitions”, et collaboratrice à Chatelaine, au Toronto Telegram, Toronto Calendar, et autres publications.

Gail Lord est diplômée d’un Bachelor en Histoire de l’université de Toronto (1968-70).

 

Hermine Mbondo

hermine mbondo

Entrepreneur, storyteller, globetrotter, foodie, and social impact advocate… Hermine Mbondo is a woman with many strings to her bow.

She holds a Master’s degree in Management from SKEMA Business School, has lived in 3 different continents and worked in France, the United States and Canada.

With over a decade of international marketing experience under her belt, working in communications, trade marketing and branding across both agency and client side, Hermine Mbondo decided in 2017 to use her proven marketing expertise for the greater good and founded B4brand, a storytelling-driven marketing agency for purpose-driven brands.

 

Pierre Ouellette

Pierre Ouellette

Pierre Ouellette est recteur de l’Université de l’Ontario français depuis juillet 2021.

Animé par un esprit entrepreneurial et faisant preuve de leadership et de créativité, Pierre Ouellette compte près de 25 années d’expériences variées en milieu de travail, dont une quinzaine d’années dans le secteur universitaire. Tout au long de sa carrière et dans ses engagements communautaires, M. Ouellette a eu la chance de travailler au sein d’équipes dévouées à réaliser des projets mobilisateurs comme ce fût le cas au sein de la Société Radio-Canada alors qu’il était directeur régional responsable de l’Ontario de 2016 à 2021. Sous son leadership, les stations régionales ontariennes ont connu une très forte croissance, en partie due au virage numérique qu’il a piloté. Il avait connu le même succès dans les années 90 alors qu’il avait créé deux hebdomadaires, l’un francophone et l’autre bilingue, dans le nord de l’Ontario.

Sa forte capacité à développer, en équipe et avec toutes les parties prenantes, une vision engageante et mobilisatrice lui a permis de parfaire et de transformer les organisations dans lesquelles il a œuvré comme ce fût le cas au sein de l’Université de Hearst, où il a été tour à tour professeur d’histoire et de sociologie, vice-recteur à l’enseignement pour ultimement devenir recteur de l’établissement. Son mandat principal : augmenter la clientèle étudiante. Pour y arriver, il a travaillé de concert avec l’équipe pour développer et déployer des stratégies nouvelles, transformant en profondeur l’université autour d’une pédagogie et d’une offre innovante. L’Université de Hearst n’a cessé de croître depuis.

 

Paul Perron - Life Member

paul perron

Ancien directeur de l’University College de l’Université de Toronto, professeur de sémiotique et chef du Département des études française de l’Université de Toronto, Paul Perron est aussi l’auteur d’une trentaine d’ouvrages.

Paul Perron est titulaire d’un doctorat en études françaises de l’Université de Bordeaux, après avoir reçu une éducation élémentaire et secondaire au Manitoba et en Colombie-Britannique.

Il siège à de nombreux conseils d’administration tels que : Alliance française (2001-04), Comité permanent sur les politiques et la planification; Comité permanent sur les nominations, Conseil des universités de l’Ontarioanding Ctee on Policy & Planning and Standing Ctee on Nominations--Ontario Council of Ontario Universities.

Paul Perron a été nommé Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur; Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (en reconnaissance de ses contributions à la culture française).

 

Jonathan Planté

jonathan planté

Jonathan Planté is Director of Business Development at Innocap, a premier managed account platform for institutional investors. He focuses on structuring investment programs by customizing risk, governance, legal and operational frameworks. To develop effective solutions, Jonathan believes in building partnerships that empower clients with control and transparency.

During his 14 years in the alternative investments industry, he has held various roles across North America and Europe in private and public markets. Jonathan holds a graduate degree in Finance from HEC Montréal, a Master’s degree in International Business Development from ESC Saint-Étienne and the CAIA designation. For the past 6 years, he has been a lecturer at HEC Montréal where he teaches alternative investments to graduate students.

He is actively engaged in the field of applied neuroscience both in practice and through youth-centred social initiatives. He is the founder of 4 Next Generation, which advocates for social coherence by advancing children’s cognitive development and learning. He also serves on the Leadership Council of Capitalize for Kids, a non-profit organization focused on building capacity and solutions in support of children’s brain and mental health.