Board of Directors
Director, Co-founder & Acting Chair Making Change
Chair: Communications, Education, School Presentations Committees
Michèle Newton is guided by her “better together” philosophy - growing relationships, nurturing collaborations and facilitating partnerships, especially those with a shared focus on strengthening our community. As a community changemaker, she created Our Mosaic Lives™ - a passion project exploring diversity and inclusion, launched Community Conversations – a live D&I interview series, and co-founded Making Change.
Michèle is a Speaker, Expert and Advocate with her public relations and communications agency, and writes and contributes a monthly Diversity and Inclusion column featured across Simcoe.com’s and Torstar publications. She is a Board member with the Barrie Community Foundation and is a Mentor with the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre. She was recognized in 2020 as one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women and a YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka Peace Champion for her community work focused on Black Canadian Women, diversity and inclusion
Director & Co-founder Making Change
Chair: Business Outreach & Sponsorship Committees
Stephanie Gourlie is recognized as a strategic, creative and integrated thinker with over 15 years of experience in Human Resource Management, Sales and Marketing Relations and Creative Ideation & Productivity. As a results-driven business lead, Stephanie has led multidisciplinary teams in the development of strategic change and organizational transformation across a range of teams, partners and clients. Stephanie has a passion for developing her successful and expanding businesses Discount Granite Plus & The Tile, Flooring & Design Co.. She continues to be involved in community organizations and initiatives working to see diversity and inclusion efforts continue to be incorporated into businesses and institutions across the county and beyond.
Stephanie was elected to sit on the Board of Directors for the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. She is an active member of Women in Construction, Young Leaders In Construction and volunteers with the Women & Children’s Shelter. Stephanie organized the Making Change Voices of Black Women in Business Panel in 2020.
Director & Treasurer - Making Change
Chair: Finance & Sponsorships Committee
Alison Jacks is an advocate for community work and volunteerism. She believes that our community is what we make it. By working together to support and help each other and promote positive change, we will build strong communities that encourage diversity and inclusion. As a Client Service Manager at NVS Professional Corporation , Alison has developed strong business development skills which allow her to focus on facilitating and growing relationships between Making Change and the local business community. Her extensive bookkeeping and accounting experience make her an asset as the Treasurer of Making Change.
Alison has been volunteering in her community for over 25 years. Currently she is also a Board member of Barrie & District Christmas Cheer , the Innisfil Lions Club, the Tottenham & District Community Recreation Improvement Committee (C.R.I.C.) and a long-time volunteer in local politics at federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Alasoba (Lala) Kelsy-Braide
Director - Making Change
Chair: Community Engagement and Culture Committee
Alasoba Kelsy- Braide came to Orillia as an International student from Nigeria and has made Orillia her home. As a Child and Youth Care student at Georgian College, she was part of the student executive council (Georgian college student association) as VP Community Engagement. She was actively involved in planning and executing many events at Georgian College, some of which include the initiating, plan and coordination of a week long Black History Month celebration; and the yearly Santa Claus parade; and mental health awareness.
Alasoba also worked hand in hand with the County of Simcoe (Midhurst) through the Community Impact Project in Georgian College Orillia to implement a project called WIN-WIN (What I need, When I need it). The project creates educational awareness to reduce the stigma related to transitional housing for youth, through workshop in alternative school in Simcoe County. She also did her field placement at Simcoe Shore School and Volunteered at the Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle Orillia. Currently, Alasoba works at Apple Blossom Village as a Youth support worker for youth with special needs and mental health issues.
Alasoba strongly believes that inclusivity and diversity are important tools to create a safe community where everyone thrives regardless of their age, race, gender, and sexual orientation.
Youth Ambassador - Making Change | Speaker | Artist
Communications, School Projects, & Education Committee Member
Shondra Durrant (She/her) is a young activist, who strives to better her community in terms of ending racial inequality, and the intersectionality it can hold. With a creative and outgoing approach, she is always trying to further educate herself and her peers. She has been recognized throughout her school and her community as not only a positive influencer but a change-maker.
With two younger siblings, Shondra strives to make her community a safer and more inclusive place for them as they grow up. She has been recognized for her art from the MacLaren Art Centre, involving the Youth Social Media Project: Change, in early June of 2020. Furthermore, she is known around her school for being a dedicated community builder, sharing her education, passion, and irrepressibility with her peers in a positive manner.
As a dedicated activist, she is always trying to make connections with others who harbour the passion to make real change. Thus leading her to become a Youth Ambassador and future Board Director with Making Change.
Youth Ambassador - Making Change | Speaker
Communications & School Projects Committee Member
Keliah Casey (She/Her), is an ambitious activist in the making, who has a passion for the success of her community. She strives to use her talents in a way that will help to make a difference, be an inspiration, and help pave the way for generations to come.
As the youngest child, she has grown up seeing the struggles her siblings before her have faced and is dedicated to making positive change within the cycle that has caused her community to be dormant in relation to the fight for racial equality. She has been recognized in her school community as someone who is devoted to bringing awareness, teaching, and exposing the bonds of racism. Volunteering with Making Change is another way she gives back to her community.
As a loyal activist, she is always trying to find new opportunities to expand her knowledge as well as educate and connect with others who are as passionate about making change as she is.
Board Member Opportunities
Making Change is recruiting additional board members with backgrounds in Education, Fundraising/Philanthropy, Legal, Corporate/Governance. Here's an overview of the requirements. Please contact us for more information.
Committee Volunteer Opportunities
Making Change is recruiting volunteers for working committee membership. Our committees include: Education, School Programs, Communications & Marketing, Business Outreach & Sponsorship, Culture Community Events, and Finance. If you're interested in volunteering and have relevant experience please apply here .
Purpose of the Corporation
1. Educate the general public about racial prejudice and discrimination through seminars and workshops
2. Organize and implement conferences, workshops and other symposia about institutional and individual forms of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping
3. Host discussion groups open to the public that raise awareness of racism and model alternatives to stereotyping and prejudice
4. Establish and maintain peer support groups among members of the Black community as well as members of the public to address issues of discrimination and the elimination of racism
5. Participate in and support a network made up of organizations supporting anti-Black racism and promoting positive race relations aims in order to share research, informational materials, or expertise and act as a resource to groups interested in developing these capacities
6. Organize and host activities meant to expose members of the general public to Black culture