Our 9 person Board of Directors includes a team of active and engaged LGBTQ2+ activists, community builders, historians, archivists, and others committed to Keeping Our Stories Alive.
President: Dennis Findlay
Dennis Findlay is a long-time gay activist in Ontario, particularly in Toronto. He was a leader in the response to the 1981 Bathhouse Raids and Coordinated the Legal Defense Committee of the Right to Privacy Committee, which is featured in the documentary film, Track Two. He is a former teacher, a retired baker, and an urban development activist with a passion for LGBTQ+ history and heritage. He has been a volunteer at The ArQuives since 2009.
Vice-President: Dr. Elspeth Brown
Elspeth Brown is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American Studies, queer archives and LGBTQ+ history. She is the Principal Investigator on a 5-year SSHRC-funded project, the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, which brings together four archives and a group of international collaborators to make LGBTQ+ oral histories more accessible online. In addition, she is a Co-Investigator for the Family Camera Network, in partnership with The ArQuives, which collects queer and trans family photographs, and oral histories about them, in relationship to migration and diaspora in Canada.
Secretary: Paul Leatherdale
Director: David DesLauriers
Recently retired from a 30-year career in investment banking in Toronto and New York, David returned home to Toronto in 2015 along with his husband, Nicolas Diaz, and is focused on transitioning his professional life to personal pursuits in volunteering, consulting and mentoring. The majority of David’s career was spent leading the Government Finance Group within TD Securities. As a seasoned financial executive, David’s brings considerable expertise in client relationship management, finance and risk management, and as a trusted advisor on strategic and governance matters. David also serves as a Board member and Treasurer of the AIDS Committee of Toronto.
Director: Dr. Rachel Epstein
Dr. Rachel Epstein has been an LGBTQ parenting activist, educator and researcher for close to 20 years. She was the founding coordinator of the LGBTQ Parenting Network at the Sherbourne Health Centre, providing resources, information and support to LGBTQ parents, prospective parents and their families, and training for health care, legal, social work and education professionals since 2001. She has also published on a wide range of queer parenting issues, including assisted human reproduction, queer spawn in schools, butch pregnancy, and the tensions between queer sexuality, radicalism and parenting. Dr. Epstein is completing a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at Brock University, conducting research on LGBTQ2S family conflict and reconfiguration. She is also the Executive Director of the United Jewish People’s Order, a secular, social justice oriented organization in Toronto.
Director: Justin Hughes-Jones
Justin is currently the Senior Director, Digital Sales at RBC. He is a strategic individual with strong analytical and people management capabilities. His experiences include being a business lead for multiple initiatives related to product, strategy, reporting, relationship management and transformation. Through his 15 years at RBC he has worked in Digital Banking, Retail Banking, Private Banking, Call Centres, US Banking and Insurance. He is a diversity and inclusion champion for a number of areas with a focus on the LGBT+ community; including being the Co Chair of the RBC Toronto Pride ERG and a member of ExeQutive.
Director: Kabir Ravindra
Kabir holds degrees in Politics, Common Law, and Civil Law from McGill University, where he was a director of the LGBT peer counselling program. He was also active in a number of other Montreal-area equity-seeking organizations in the 1990s. Since moving to Toronto in 2000, Kabir worked initially as a litigator. For the past decade, he has been adjudicating abuse claims, notably claims by survivors of the residential schools system. Kabir served on the boards of The 519 Community Centre and Toronto Dance Theatre before coming to The ArQuives in 2017. He is an avid yoga practitioner and a proud father of a delightful child.
Director: Leyla Shahid
Leyla Shahid graduated with a B.A. (Honours) in Economics in 2013. She pursued further education as a M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Carleton University, and graduated in 2016. She has 6 years of experience conducting qualitative and quantitative research, and learning about the importance of preserving cultural and community heritage through the study and analysis of ethnographic records and academic articles, as well as learning to appreciate the diversity of community dialogue and knowledge sharing. Leyla went on to work as a Gender Inclusivity Coordinator at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, an Executive Coordinator with the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, a Gender Policy Reviewer with the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, as well as a Program Coordinator at Planned Parenthood Ottawa. As of June 2018, she has been a federal government employee, and is currently working with the Public Health Agency of Canada. Leyla strongly believes in incorporating diverse, lived experiences/expertise as one of the foundations for instilling strong, inclusive policy and systemic change.
Director: Marcos A. Persaud
Marcos A. Persaud has over 10 years of legal experience and more recently has shifted into corporate auditing. After obtaining a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Paralegal studies, he graduated with an LL.B (Hon.) from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). His experience in tax litigation and bankruptcy brings procedural organization, while his 5 years in corporate and personal immigration allows him to bring understanding and advocacy to the table. In addition, Marcos has lectured at Humber College, held executive LGBTQ2+ committee positions for Deloitte, PwC and more recently George Weston Ltd./Loblaw. His work within the LGBTQ2+ community includes engaging key executives and various individuals through education, social awareness, and advisory work.