Meet Our Team

Akosua Alagaratnam

Position: Executive Director
Email: executive.director@firstwork.org

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. 

Akosua Alagaratnam

Executive Director

Akosua Alagaratnam is the Executive Director of First Work.

Carmine Chen

Position: Operations and Finance Manager
Email: carmine@firstwork.org

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. 

Carmine Chen

Operations and Finance Manager

Carmine is the Operations and Finance Manager at First Work.

Sophia Koukoulas

Position: Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager
Email: sophia@firstwork.org

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. 

Sophia Koukoulas

Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager

Sophia is the Communications and Stakeholder Relations Manager at First...

Seth Warren

Position: Lead Researcher
Email: seth@firstwork.org

Seth is the Lead Researcher at First Work. As a former management consultant and organizational strategist, Seth has expertise designing rigorous research processes, leading engaging and dynamic conversations, and developing insightful reports. Before First Work, Seth worked as an independent consultant supporting social purpose organizations, and as a Senior Consultant at MacPhie, a Toronto-based strategy consultancy. Seth has supported public, private, and not-for-profit organizations in sectors including healthcare, mental health, education, human rights, arts & culture, travel & tourism, social services and more. In 2018, Seth travelled abroad to support not-for-profit organizations in Colombia, Bangladesh, and Hong Kong, developing a passion for youth economic empowerment and access to employment. Seth joined First Work in September 2019. 

Seth Warren

Lead Researcher

Seth is the Lead Researcher at First Work.

Shifat Ara

Position: Research Analyst
Email: shifat@firstwork.org

Shifat is a Research Analyst joining First Work in January 2020. Prior to working here, 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 projects that address challenges in the youth employment sector in Canada.  

Shifat Ara

Research Analyst

Shifat is a Research Analyst at First Work.

Samira Adnan

Position: Digital Engagement Specialist
Email: samira@firstwork.org

Samira is the Digital Engagement Specialist 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.  

Samira Adnan

Digital Engagement Specialist

Samira is the Digital Engagement Specialist at First Work.

Rohan

Rohan Mehta

Position: Administrative Assistant
Email: rohan@firstwork.org

Rohan is our Administrative Assistant 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. 

Rohan

Rohan Mehta

Administrative Assistant

Rohan is our Administrative Assistant at First Work.

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