Our team combines experience and knowledge from the for-profit and non-profit sectors. In partnership with our Sector Partners, we work to advance the impact of the venture philanthropy model in Canada.

Narinder Dhami

Narinder Dhami

Managing Director

Narinder leads the Centre's work across Canada. She has worked extensively in social finance and social innovation across Canada and West Africa, leading and scaling social impact initiatives. As a lecturer at the University of Toronto, she co-created the first course in microfinance and impact investing at the University.

Narinder is the founding Executive Director of Rise Asset Development - a Rotman/CAMH financial initiative. She designed, developed and grew the organization to support untapped potential among individuals with a history of mental health or addiction challenges. She has spent multiple years working across West Africa, both as program manager at the Première Agence de Microfinance (PAMF) across Burkina Faso, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire and as a member of the portfolio team with Acumen Fund (West Africa office focused on social enterprises across Ghana and Nigeria). Narinder currently serves on the Board for Acumen Canada.

She holds a Master of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto in Electrical Engineering.

Tara Gruhn

Tara Gruhn

Managing Director (Currently on Maternity Leave)

Prior to joining the Centre, Tara was Director of Social Enterprise at Evergreen, overseeing the business planning, implementation and ongoing operations of the Social Enterprise at Evergreen Brick Works. During her time there Tara lead the operation to profitability within a two year period while managing the social and environmental mandate of the charity. Prior to Evergreen Tara worked for an Angel Investor scouting early stage companies for investment as well as at Intrawest Corporation on their business development team helping to create world-class resorts across North America.

Tara holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of business where she graduated with distinction. Tara also completed an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor Degree in Media, Information and Technology at the University of Western Ontario.

Rajanthi Manivannan

Rajanthi Manivannan

Portfolio Director

Rajanthi Manivannan came to LEAP with over 10 years of experience in the private and non-profit sectors. She was previously with 100 Resilient Cities pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation as Head of HR. Prior to that, she was an Acumen Global Fellow, where she worked to serve the poor with the business and operational expertise, and moral imagination needed to effect long-term social change.

Rajanthi also worked with M-KOPA in Kenya and Uganda, which provides financing for mini solar home systems in rural areas, as Acting Head of Finance & Data. She also worked in northern Ghana as a strategy consultant with NORSAAC, a local NGO focused on Women’s Rights and Governance. In that role, she worked to build internal operational management systems, as well as, grant management and fundraising strategies. She holds a professional accounting designation (CMA, CPA) and a BA in Economics from University of Waterloo.

Sarah Nadalin

Sarah Nadalin

Fundraiser

Sarah leads efforts to establish and develop philanthropic partnerships to achieve long term sustainability for the Centre.

Sarah has a long and distinguished career in fundraising having worked in various sectors including higher education, health-care, and the arts. She managed, developed and maintained successful fundraising programs such as the Rotman School of Management, the Shaw Festival, St. Joseph's Healthcare and the School of Restoration Arts at Willowbank, a charity under the patronage of HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales. At Rotman she doubled the school's annual donor support and was instrumental in establishing a marketing and communications fundraising strategy.

During the span of her career Sarah has raised over $45 million in philanthropic support.

Sarah is a graduate of the University of Guelph, the Laurier Institute and a Certified Fundraising Professional.

Ava-Dayna Sefa

Ava-Dayna Sefa

Associate

Ava-Dayna leads the Centre's partnership with Google to run the Google Impact Challenge in Canada, and oversees marketing and communications. Prior to joining the Centre, Ava-Dayna was a Research Analyst at CPP Investment Board. During her time there, she helped establish Focusing Capital on the Long Term—an initiative led by CPP Investment Board and McKinsey & Company dedicated to enhancing long-term value creation and sustainability in the private sector.

Ava-Dayna has an extensive background in research on various issues related to international development and global governance. During her time at the World Bank, she developed policies on financial inclusion, inclusive innovation, and small medium enterprise development. At the International Centre for Tax and Development, she co-created a database containing information on tax regimes in low-income countries which is now widely used by the World Bank, IMF and OECD. She was also chair of the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto—the world’s leading independent source of information and analysis on the G20.

Ava-Dayna holds a Master of Global Affairs from the Munk School at the University of Toronto, a Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from McMaster University, and is a Massey College Junior Fellow 2011-2012.

Astrid Verstraeten

Astrid Verstraeten

Coordinator

Astrid addresses the operational needs of the Centre by providing planning, administrative and research support. Originally from Belgium, she joined the Centre in 2016 as a volunteer and was hired as a part-time Coordinator in January 2017.

Astrid obtained a Master of Business Administration in June 2016 from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and also holds a Bachelor of Commercial Sciences. She is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in Project Management at George Brown College Toronto.