Meet the Team
Shanaaz Gokool (Pronouns: she/her)
Executive DirectorShanaaz has been a life-long human rights activist since she began her career advocating for racial justice, equity and meaningful inclusion as a teenager in Halifax-Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She has over 30 years of leadership experience in the non-profit and private sectors and is an emerging governance expert on systemic racism and discrimination. Shanaaz joined the Leadnow team in 2014 as our Operations Manager and later left to pursue an executive role at Dying with Dignity Canada (DWDC). She is the former CEO of (DWDC), and in 2016, she ushered in a new national human rights movement supporting assisted dying and other end-of-life issues. Under her leadership, DWDC emerged as a key player in Canada and internationally on the assisted-dying file with successful court interventions, strategic government relations, legislative advancements, public mobilization campaigns, $5-6 million in earned media, and national fundraising recognition with the Moe Davies Award for fundraising excellence. Shanaaz was the Chair of Amnesty International Toronto Organization and on staff with Amnesty International Canada, Innocence Canada and most recently, was the CEO of Fast and Female. And she has been a board director on national and local charities. As a mixed-race immigrant, woman and person with disabilities, Shanaaz brings both a human rights lens and an intersectional framework to interrogate and challenge systems of power, discrimination and oppression.
Maggie Chao (Pronouns: she/her)
Campaigns DirectorMaggie (she/her) joined Leadnow after a five-year stint in London, where she was Head of Campaigns at 38 Degrees, one of the UK’s largest digital campaigning organizations. There, she led campaigns on a wide range of issues - like Brexit, media democracy, and building transparent and democratic trade policy. Maggie had her first experience of people-powered campaigning at Leadnow, as a volunteer organizer for the Vote Together campaign in 2015. That experience of hundreds of people contributing a few hours of their time here and there, because they believed in taking action together to transform politics, helped fundamentally reshape how she thought about social change. Now, as Campaigns Director, she leads on setting strategy and working with the Leadnow staff team and community to build people-driven campaigns that shift power. Before making the jump into campaigns, Maggie led youth programs in her community. In her free time, she spends way too much time at the gym, loves being amongst the trees, and is obsessed with food and sports.
Peter Gibbs (Pronouns: they/them)
Peter's campaign experience started at the age of 5, when they used direct action tactics at recess to stop boys from kissing girls against their will. After a hiatus from activism during grade school, since 2008 Peter has been engaged in campaigns for climate justice, voting reform, Indigenous sovereignty, trans rights, and in partisan and non-partisan election campaigns at every level of government. Peter has organized on a wide range of campaigns that has seen them host large scale digital Get Out the Vote events and receive a lifetime ban from the BC Legislature.
In a previous life, Peter was a trained chef. They occasionally go on multi-month solo kayak expeditions and live on unceded Lekwungen territory.
Kate Hodgson (Pronouns: she/her)
Kate is a community organizer and campaigner with six years of experience in the climate movement. She cut her teeth in the fight against the TMX pipeline, and spent her university years campaigning for fossil fuel divestment.
Born and raised within the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples in what is now known as Vancouver, Kate spends her spare time doting on her pup, picking up cool rocks at the beach and dreaming about how to build sustainable and winning movements.
Fun fact: somewhere on the internet, there’s a video of 11-year old Kate explaining Single Transferable Voting for the BC Pro Rep Referendum.
Rivka Goetz (Pronouns: she/her)
Digital CampaignerRivka is a climate justice organizer in Tkaronto. She attended her first action (a rally for public housing) when she was 11 days old, and since then has found herself at anti-war protests, on the picket lines with the Chicago Teachers Union, and marching with Black Lives Matter.
Rivka developed her own political and creative voice at Free Street Theater, creating and performing original plays about joy and justice in parks across Chicago. She moved to so-called Canada to attend the University of Toronto, where she majored in Equity Studies while campaigning for divestment from the fossil fuel industry. Rivka brings a strong commitment to just and resilient movement-building to her work at Leadnow.
Nayeli Jimenez (Pronouns: she/her)
Senior Campaigner - Social MediaNayeli was born and raised in Mexico, and currently lives in unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories. She has been organizing and campaigning for climate justice locally and internationally for a decade, mostly focusing on opposition to fossil fuel expansion and migrant justice. Nayeli has a professional background in communication design, and is passionate about the role of art, design, and storytelling in justice movements. Outside Leadnow, she has been a spokesperson for various campaigns, and has been a keynote speaker on topics related to art and resistance, climate justice, and youth mobilization.
Before making her way to full-time campaigning work, Nayeli worked in the book publishing industry for 7 years as a designer and art director — and still designs books from time to time.
Aidan McNally (Pronouns: she/her)
Digital CampaignerAidan got her start in the student movement in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) organizing for free education and against sexual violence on campus. After reading a “free education” policy document in her first year of university, she’s been invested in building power to sway politicians and the public to take action on social, climate and economic justice ever since.
Her passion for organizing led her to the labour movement - she is a proud alumni of CUPE 3906 at McMaster University, and one of her proudest accomplishments is helping a group of 500 academic workers unionize. She continues to be invested in the crossover between the labour movement and social justice, loves trying new food, and is a proud ‘cat person’.
Scott Young (Pronouns: he/him)
Scott is a digital strategy and research consultant, who is deeply passionate about driving positive social impact. He previously worked at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, which delivers programs and projects on citizenship, diversity, and inclusion. Scott is a member of the Banff Forum, the BMW Foundation's Responsible Leaders Network, and sits on the advisory board of DemocracyXChange, Canada's democracy summit. He has graduate degrees in international relations and global governance.
Janet Kim (Pronouns: she/her)
Janet’s belief in the power of individuals to effect positive change led to a career in fundraising with Habitat for Humanity in Toronto, and since 2007 with the University of Toronto. Outside her day job, Janet has volunteered in support of several causes. At her church, Janet led a refugee sponsorship initiative, and founded a foot care program for homeless guests. She is a founder of the volunteer-run book store which to date has contributed over $1.4M to the Toronto Public Library. Janet began volunteering with Leadnow in 2015 to campaign for electoral reform, increasing her involvement significantly in 2019 on the climate crisis issue. She is recently married, with two teenage step-daughters.
Jamie was one of Leadnow's co-founders, and served as founding Executive Director and then Campaign Director from 2010 to 2016. Before co-founding Leadnow, Jamie completed a Master’s Degree in political ecology – which is basically politics that takes economic power and ecological integrity seriously – at the University of Victoria. He co-founded two student-led climate and sustainability organizations, and served on the board of a range of social, environmental and educational organizations. Jamie now serves on the board of the World Wildlife Fund of Canada, and he's the Director of Communications and Campaigns for the Centre for Social Innovation.
Fahad Ahmad (Pronouns: he/him)Fahad Ahmad is a consultant, researcher, and program evaluator who works with social purpose and community-based initiatives to enhance the impact of their mission. He is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation scholar and is currently pursuing a PhD at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University.
Prior to pursuing his PhD, Fahad was Chief Operating Officer and then, the interim CEO of Soliya, an innovative nonprofit that mobilizes young adults from western and predominantly Muslim societies to foster greater cross-cultural understanding. He was also appointed the VP of Strategic Initiatives at Search for Common Ground.
Fahad provides consulting services to social justice and arts nonprofits that includes advice on strategic planning, partnerships, governance, and operations. He is the former Chair of the board of directors of Thousand Currents, a U.S. based public foundation that supports Global South grassroots groups led by women, youth, and Indigenous peoples.
Sarah McCue - Board Chair (she / her)
Sarah McCue is a digital campaigns enthusiast. She was a campus activist and spent many years working in Canada’s national student movement before moving into a communications and human rights role with the country's largest union in the private sector. Today, Sarah devotes her energy to supporting social justice, collective bargaining and elections campaigns while spending as much time in the outdoors as possible. Through her work, Sarah was responsible for the largest Third-Party advocacy campaign of the 2019 federal election.
"The most important thing to know about me: I found my voice while organizing to support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and strive to use compassion and kindness while campaigning for justice for all." - Sarah