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Board of Directors

Board of Directors


Board of Directors

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Martin Abel, Chair

Martin Abel, Board Chair, has served on CMST’s Board of Directors since 2013.  A Chartered Professional Accountant, Martin has held executive financial leadership positions with several iconic organizations in the entertainment and cultural sectors – both for-profit and not-for-profit – including as CFO and a member of the founding leadership team at YTV, CFO at TIFF during the development and construction of TIFF|Bell Lightbox, and is currently Chief Financial Officer for Canada’s National Ballet School, a world leader in cultural arts training and education.

As a life-long student of music, which led to his initial involvement with Regent Park School of Music (the predecessor to CMST), Martin understands the meaningful life lessons that music education can bring to young people.  He has devoted countless volunteer hours in support of several not-for-profit organizations throughout his career and is deeply committed to the principles and benefits of equity, diversity and inclusion.  His focus is on building and supporting diverse and cohesive teams and developing clear and effective systems of governance as a foundation for building trust in the stewardship of the organization’s resources.

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Chad Aboud

Chad is the Founder & Principal of Chad Aboud Consulting which helps organizations and individuals unlock their talent and form bonded relationships with their clients. He is a former General Counsel and Lawyer in a national Law Firm. Chad loves supporting CMST having witnessed the incredible support and skills the School provides its students.

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Sharon Barnes-Simmonds

Sharon Barnes-Simmonds (CPA, CGA, MBA, FCCA) is a qualified accounting professional with a penchant for giving back. Sharon migrated to Canada from Jamaica in 2003 and has worked in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors for more than 15 years. She has held senior-level positions with organizations such as the Region of Peel and the Toronto International Film Festival [Director Accounting], and more recently in the INGO sector at Children Believe [Director, Finance & Administration] and as CFO at Action Against Hunger Canada, a global organization fighting poverty and hunger on a worldwide scale. 

She has also volunteered on several Boards in the non-profit sector and is currently the President for the Kiwanis Club of Toronto Caribbean, as well as a member of the board of The New Humanity Initiative, an organization founded to tackle the issues of Diversity. Her previous board engagements as Treasurer includes Roots Community Services Inc (formerly United Achievers Community Services Inc) and PACE Canada Inc. 

Sharon is also a Mentor for various groups of young professionals, including the Black Female Accountants Network (BFAN) of which she is a member.

Sharon loves learning more about the world through documentaries and biopics as well as travelling with her husband and daughter. In her free time, she loves to read and also blog on natural health.

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Amy Desjarlais

Amy currently works at Toronto Metropolitan University in the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives as Lead of the Rebirthed Teachings Working Group. A group of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous staff working together to educate about our shared history together.

Amy is an Instructor for Anishnawbe Health Toronto’s Community Health Worker Training Program. Her community work includes sitting as an executive board member at the Centre for World Indigenous Studies, and a board member for Community Music Schools of Toronto. She is a member of Spiritwind singers with performances all over Tkaronto as a group and individual hand drummer.

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Steve Greenidge

I firmly believe that music has the power to transform and better all of our lives. As a lover of music, I’ve experienced this firsthand. As a director at the Community Music Schools of Toronto, As a CPA.CA, I bring broad experience as a board member with expertise in finance and accounting.

For nearly a decade, I’ve had the honour of serving the school as a board member, Treasurer and Finance Committee member and have been a part of the school’s own journey and transformation. 

I’m excited about participating in its future, helping kids thrive through music.

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Dr.  Bina John

Dr. Bina John is a Professor of Music Education at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto where she serves on the Task Force on Equity and Belonging. Bina teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level including the psychological foundations of music education, the social psychology of music, music and urban engagement and piano skills for professional musicians. Bina has served on the Board of Directors at the Community Music Schools of Toronto since 2013 where she serves as one of the co-chairs of the Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppression Committee. 

Dr. John is working on collaborative research projects such as providing access to music education for youth residing in detention as well as developing curriculum for a mixed reality video game for children with cerebral palsy. Dr. John performs with the Exultate Chamber Choir and serves as the organist and choir director at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church at Lakeview. 

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Hargun Kaur

Hargun Kaur joined the CMST Board via a collaboration with Fora: Network for Change’s Rise on Boards program. Her appreciation of CMST’s programming is informed by her love of music: having grown up singing in school choirs and playing the harmonium, she has experienced first-hand the sense of community and confidence that such an environment fosters. Hargun also serves as the Executive Director of Outreach and Communications at Starts with One, a student-led grassroots non-profit supporting low-income and/or newcomer families in Toronto with their E-Learning Initiative. Currently, she is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto majoring in Political Science and French Language and Literature. Her campus activities include supporting a global experiential learning opportunity inspired by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at The Reach Alliance and conducting research with the Aerospace Team’s Division of Aerospace Policy & Law.

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John McGowan

John is a former lawyer and has been on the board since 2012.  Music has always been a core component of John's life.  In particular, his positive experiences with the jazz music program in high school were the principal, if not only, motivators in keeping him focused on graduating and then attending university.  He has no doubt how different his life would have been if he hadn't had that opportunity. 

He sits on the Governance and HR Committees, and has been part of the team growing the School's outreach over the past decade.

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The Honourable Justice Donald McLeod

The Honorable Justice Donald F. McLeod was the Founding Partner of The McLeod Group, Barristers and Solicitors. For over a decade Justice McLeod was an accomplished litigator with a keen interest in community and social justice issues. Justice Donald McLeod has been the worthy recipient of several notable awards over the years including The Lincoln Alexander Award from Osgoode Hall Law School, The President’s Award from the Harry Jerome Awards. On September 18, 2013 Justice Donald McLeod was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice, and with that became the first Black Judge to graduate from Queens University since the Law Schools inception in 1957. Justice McLeod remains very active in the community. Justice McLeod is also the Co-Chair of 100 Strong a not for profit community program geared to the advancement of African Canadian young men in urban centers. In 2016, Justice McLeod founded the Federation of Black Canadians, and was the Chair of its Steering Committee. The Federation of Black Canadians (FBC) is a national, non-profit organization, driven by Black organizations across the country. The Federation of Black Canadians advances the social, economic, political and cultural interests of Canadians of African descent.

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Jesse Mighton

Jesse Mighton is a partner of Bennett Jones LLP and holds a J.D. from Western University faculty of law.  A member of CMST's board of directors for 10 years, Jesse has held various governance positions, including secretary and chair of the Nominating and Board Governance Committee and is currently focussed on supporting development of CMST's permanent home in the Jane-Finch community.  

Before beginning his legal career, Jesse was a professional volleyball player in Lithuania, an experience that exposed him to the challenges of international migration and instilled a faith in the common bonds we share, regardless of circumstances.  Through his work with CMST, Jesse's goal is to break down barriers and open doors to opportunity in the communities we serve.

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Jennifer Postelnik

Since Nov 2019, Jennifer volunteered on the CMST Foundation’s Board of Directors.  In November 2022, Jennifer then joined the CMST Board of Directors.  She is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and has held senior finance leadership positions in both public and private companies.  She is currently the Chief Financial Officer of a private company and the Chair of CMST Finance, Audit and Risk Committee.

Jennifer grew up in a musical household and has many happy childhood memories playing piano duets alongside her sister, with their father accompanying them on the violin.  When she was in high school, she taught piano to neighborhood children and when she had her own daughter and son, she taught them piano.  She has seen firsthand the benefits, joy and sense of accomplishment that music can bring to children.  Jennifer joined the CMST Board so that she can contribute to the school, enhance the lives of- and bring joy to- the children and families in the community that CMST serves.

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Dr. Marsha Rothstein

Dr. Marsha Rothstein has been on the Board of CMST for the past six years. She has retired from her practice as a psychologist for over thirty years where she treated clients, taught graduate students and also provided workshops and training programs for mental health professionals in community institutions. Dr. Rothstein served on the Board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario as Vice-Chair of Health Promotion and was President of The Employee Assistance Program Association of Toronto. She currently is a participant in a Mentorship Program for MBA students at the Ivey Business School.

She has been involved with music from a young age when she took piano and voice lessons and then returned to voice lessons as an adult performing with her voice coach in a seniors residence over the past several years. Her love for music has motivated her to devote her time to help enable children to benefit from music education. She believes that music provides a meaningful and singular aspect to all our lives that cannot be duplicated by other endeavours. She believes that CMST’s mission and guiding principles positively enhance the life experiences of our students, their families and the communities we serve.

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Portia-Marie Siegel

Portia-Marie Siegel has served as a member of CMST’s Board of Directors since 2020.

Since graduating from the music school in 2013, she went on to complete her studies in communications which led her to specialise in public relations and corporate communications. Some of her past experience includes working for global clients at PR agencies in Toronto and London (UK), which has led to her most recent position as a communications specialist in the British insurance industry. 

As a previous long-time student of the music school, Portia aims to support the needs of the CMST community, keeping the students and parents at the heart of the mission.


David St. Bernard

David is the co-founder of Alignix Consulting, an organization that supports high achieving professionals to realign with their values and purpose through coaching and workshops. With a diverse background encompassing legal and business experience, coaching and national athletics, David brings a multifaceted approach to empowering individuals and organisations. David earned his law degree and MBA from the University of Toronto and has practiced law in New York and Ontario. David also holds bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Kinesiology from York University. His professional journey has taken him through top-tier international law firms and corporations in both New York and Toronto. Leveraging his legal acumen and business proficiency, he has engaged with professionals and athletes on an international scale, utilising his insights to drive their success and development. David is a former national athlete and representative of Team Canada in the decathlon, he has secured numerous national championships in various disciplines. 

Driven by a dedication to empowering others, David draws upon his expertise, experiences, and passions to guide individuals and organisations toward achieving their aspirations. David is a community service advocate and his purpose is to inspire holistic growth in those he encounters. As an avid landscape photographer, he captures the beauty of nature through his lens, and his extensive travels have broadened his perspective and enriched his experiences

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Douglas Tames

Douglas Tames, Board Member, has served on CMST’s Board of Directors since 2017. A Chartered Professional Accountant, Douglas has held executive financial leadership positions with several large public companies in the retail and financial services sectors. Currently Douglas operates Tames Signature Performance an executive and small business consultancy providing leadership coaching to business owners locally and senior executives around the world.

Douglas has fond childhood memories of piano lessons, singing in choirs and playing in the school band and appreciates the many lifelong benefits that music education can bring to a child. He believes that anything we can do to give a child a better childhood will pay exponential dividends to them and to their families and communities in the future.

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Jason Tham

Jason Tham joined the CMST Board in 2022, having served as a Director of the CMST Foundation since 2019.  Jason is the CEO and co-founder of Nulogy, a globally recognized provider of collaborative software solutions that power the supply networks of the world’s leading consumer brands. Jason spearheads the company’s strategic direction and product vision, and under his leadership Nulogy has become one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America, garnering an array of awards for performance, innovation, and positive workplace culture.

Jason graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honors degree in Systems Design Engineering, and prior to Nulogy worked at Kellogg and Magna International. He is a competitive triathlete, having participated in the World Triathlon Championships in 2023; he lives in Toronto with his wife Andrea and daughters Sophie and Ava. 

Jason is a music guy, having been fortunate to be educated in classical piano from an early age and then enjoying being a DJ for since his teens, and therefore was excited to join the CMST board knowing the positive impact the organization and music has on the diverse youth within the community they serve.


Board of Directors

Daniel Goldenberg, President & Chair
Michael Hickey
Linda Javorski

Jing Lu

Stephanie Nguyen

Irena Petkovic

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