Meet Our Team
Akosua Alagaratnam is the Executive Director of First Work. Prior to joining the organization, Akosua worked as a senior public affairs professional, primarily focused on policy affecting marginalized communities and youth. During her tenure with the Provincial Minister of Children and Youth Services, Akosua led the Youth Justice and Youth Opportunity policy and also worked directly with multiple agencies, as well as frontline staff, to advocate for marginalized youth. As a senior policy advisor with the Provincial Minister of Finance, Akosua effectively advised on policy and legislation spanning a diverse portfolio, including labour, children and youth services, community and social services, correctional services, and Indigenous relations. With over six years of experience in government, combined with seven years as the board representative for the Region of Peel Women’s Centre – Interim Place, Akosua is an established driver of effective policy-making, communications, public and government affairs, and community engagement.
Akosua currently sits on the council of the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity and on the board of Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training.
Carmine is the Operations and Finance Manager at First Work. Originally on-boarded through the Canada Summer Jobs Program as a Youth Engagement Coordinator in 2017 as her first entry level job. She continued to work part-time while pursuing her Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting at Ryerson University. First Work reignited her passion for social equity, leading her to pursue a full-time opportunity with the team following graduation. Like many young people and recent graduates exploring career opportunities, Carmine continues her artistic passion as a Graphic Designer in her spare time.
Sophia is the Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager at First Work, joining in June 2020. Forever a recovering staffer, Sophia previously worked for the Ontario Minister of Finance as Issues Manager and Legislative Assistant, following years of political work at the municipal, state (US), provincial, and federal (US) levels. Most recently, she was a Senior Consultant at a government relations firm, focused on strategic communications and Ontario government mandates. In joining First Work, Sophia revisits her experience on the frontline working with homeless and at-risk youth in downtown Toronto.
Shifat is a Project Coordinator joining First Work in January 2020. Prior to working with us, she was engaged as a Project Coordinator for World Bank Group implementing Corporate Governance and Women in Leadership projects in South Asia. Shifat is a Project Management Professional (PMP) who has previously worked as a Senior Business Consultant for a market-system development project where she designed and implemented ICT4ag and ICT4D projects with a goal to improve access to information utilizing technology among rural farmers in Bangladesh. At First Work, Shifat investigates youth employment sector behavior and captures crucial market information to design and implement projects that address challenges in the youth employment sector in Canada.
Samira is the Digital Lead at First Work, bringing her passion for to create meaningful change for marginalized youth in all her work. She holds over a decade of experience in web development and digital engagement, previously working in the non-profit and private sector as a freelancer for organizations both large and small. Samira manages the design of all First Work’s social media platforms and sites. She also manages the development of digital media campaigns, conference materials, and weekly member updates.
Rohan is the Coordinator, Administration and Membership Initiatives at First Work. He helps with maintaining our membership management system and extends multi-faceted support to the Executive Director and the Finance, Research and Events team. Prior to joining First Work, Rohan has worked at national and global organizations (RBC, CAMH, Sony, Tupperware Brands, S&P etc.) in varied capacities while also having undertaken odd jobs to make ends meet. Rohan, who has lived experience, is also a mental health advocate and is the co-chair of the Patient Advisory Committee within the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). He enjoys volunteering for meaningful causes and strongly believes in receiving through giving.
Kristen is the Youth Engagement and Events Coordinator at First Work, joining in July 2020. Kristen is excited to be responsible for the planning and execution of First Work’s annual conferences as well as the oversight for First Work’s Youth Council. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree from Ryerson University, she worked for a training and development association group planning various member events, including conferences for over 1000 attendees. Kristen has years of sales experience in various fields, including the tech and banking sectors. She has recently completed postgraduate studies in Sport & Event Marketing at George Brown College.
Cody is the Marketing and Social Media Youth Engagement Coordinator at First Work. She is a recent graduate from the Public Relations Advanced Diploma from Humber College and has been on-boarded through the Canada Summer Jobs program. Utilizing her agency experience, Cody is eager to get involved both creatively and strategically within the nonprofit sector as she has always had a passion for helping others. While not working at First Work, Cody works part-time at a hair salon, and enjoys watching movies and reading.
Ashley is the Operations Coordinator and Executive Assistant at First Work. She recently graduated from York University with a Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology. Previously, Ashley worked for Canada’s Wonderland as the Merchandise Operations Supervisor. During her time there, she worked with the youth while also gaining administrative and management skills. Ashley’s background in leadership roles and involvement with youth has grown into an interest for helping young people entering the workforce. She looks forward to developing her knowledge in the non-profit sector and field of youth employment. In her free time, Ashley likes to watch movies, read, play games and practice self-care.