Senior Management Team
Agnes Thomas, Executive Director
(416) 757.7010 ext. 2308
Agnes leads the CCS Senior Management Team and joined the organization in 2018. She is a leading community development practitioner and academic with a passion for social justice issues, community building, and organizational transformation. In this role, Agnes is committed to working with a broad scope of stakeholders to build consensus collaboratively, deliver change and drive impact for the 30,000 clients served by CCS’ suite of programs and services.
Agnes served in the not-for-profit sector for more than two decades locally and internationally in various capacities and leadership roles, including at various L’Arche communities around the world, and the Yonge Street Mission and the Jane/Finch Family and Community Centre in Toronto. She is also a Research Associate with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto (U of T) and serves on a number of not-for-profit boards in Toronto. She has also appeared frequently as a guest lecturer and conference presenter, and has an extensive body of research and published work.
Her passion for advocating for the rights of marginalized groups led her to complete and receive her Ph.D. in Adult Education and Community Development with an award-winning thesis from OISE (U). She has a Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Critical Disability Studies from York University, a Diploma in Social Development from the Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University, and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from the Mahatma Gandhi University.
Agnes enjoys teaching, training, coaching, mentoring, volunteering, writing, and photography. Agnes and her husband have three children and live in Scarborough.
Lisa Loong, Director of Programs and Services
(416) 757.7010 ext. 2208
Lisa Loong is a long-tenured CCS employee. She joined CCS as Toronto Regional Director in 2004 and accepted the newly-created Director of Programs and Services position in December, 2019.
In this role, Lisa leads both the Toronto and Peel Region settlement teams in developing and delivering unique programs to address the evolving needs of our GTA newcomer communities.
Lisa has over twenty years of experience in the settlement sector. Prior to joining CCS, Lisa led a settlement-oriented agency for a decade that focussed on serving immigrants with a Chinese background. She also worked with the TDSB as an ESL and citizenship test preparation instructor.
Lisa holds Bachelor degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Toronto. She is also certified in various, not-for-profit leadership streams such as fundraising, not-for-profit management, volunteer development and settlement counselling.
Lisa is a proponent of the belief our services not only help new immigrants settle and integrate in their new country, but that our programming also helps them engage their communities and become active members in Canadian society.
Yosief Araya, Director, Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP)
(416) 290.1700 ext. 2402
Yosief Araya is the director of the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP), a national program that provides training and support to refugee sponsors across Canada (except Quebec).
He has been working with CCS and in the Private Refugee Sponsorship Program (PSR) field for the last 14 years. Yosief has offered training workshops on a range of refugee sponsorship issues in different cities across Canada and Europe, including London and Brussels.
Yosief was a founding board member of Lifeline Syria and had assumed various leadership positons in the refugee-serving sector. He was a co-chair of a working group in the Canadian Council For Refugees (CCR), and an elected member of the NGO-Government Committee on Private Sponsorship Of Refugees. He’s also appeared as a conference presenter and has acted in various consultation capacities on refugee settlement.
Yosief has a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from University Of Asmara and a Master’s degree in Law (LLM) from McGill University.
Kathy Luan, Finance Director
(416) 644.0816 ext. 2307
Kathy has been with CCS for more than eight years in her capacity of Finance Director. Her major responsibilities include CCS’ financial operations and information technology management, including financial planning, budgeting and analysis, payroll, management reporting, the oversight and enforcement of internal controls and IT strategy.
Kathy has over nineteen years of progressive experience in Finance, combined with nine years in IT, Human Resources and general administration in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.
Kathy has two undergraduate degrees. She has a Bachelor of Administrative Studies from York University and Bachelor of Engineering from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology and two professional accounting designations (Chartered Professional Accountant and Certified Public Accountant).
On the personal side, Kathy has been an active board member of a local community-based organization and is a registered CPA mentor, helping and coaching fellow CPA students in pursuing their designation.
Kathy, her husband, and two sons live in Markham, and enjoy traveling, food and various outdoor activities.
Darcy Bonner, Associate Director, Fund Development & External Relations
416.644.0816 ext. 2225
Darcy joined CCS in March, 2019. In this role, he collaborates with donors, community stakeholders and corporate partners to enhance CCS’ programs and services and build more diverse and welcoming communities across the GTA. He supports CCS’ suite of digital platforms with marketing, communication and brand positioning strategies that tell the “CCS Story” and raise the agency’s profile.
Darcy has over twenty years of strategic communications and fundraising experience with clients across banking, insurance, government and the non-profit sector. He has a BA (Honours) from Carleton University and a French Studies certificate from the Université de Montréal.
On the personal side, Darcy is a long-time United Way supporter and serves on the campaign cabinet. He also does volunteer work and tutoring with The New Canadians Centre and is a youth soccer coach.
Darcy and his family live in Peterborough, Ontario, and enjoy skiing, swimming and biking.
Shannon Jackson, Associate Director, People and Culture
416.644.0816 ext. 2312
Shannon is the newest member of the CCS Senior Leadership Team, having joined the agency in January, 2020. As the Associate Director, People and Culture, Shannon leads the human resource function at CCS.
Shannon has over 20 years’ experience in HR leadership across both the private and charitable sectors, with a proven track record of translating business vision into HR initiatives that improve performance, growth and engagement. Shannon has a B.A. (Hons) in Sociology from Queen’s University and is a graduate of Seneca College’s Post-Diploma Human Resource Management program.
Shannon firmly believes that when you take care of your people, your people take care of your business and she is most passionate about maximizing the potential of talented people to deliver business results.
When not at work, Shannon can be found volunteering in her community, or enjoying time with her husband and son.
Program Leadership: Senior Managers
Zeena Al Hamdan, Senior Manager
905-273-4140 ext. 6226
Zeena is Senior Manager of CCS’, Settlement & Integration, and was promoted to the position effective October 2020.
Zeena is accountable for the daily operations of our settlement programs. She joined CCS in 2018, bringing ten years of settlement sector expertise, including significant experience with the Arab Community Centre of Toronto. She began her career in settlement working with refugee children, and continues to be actively involved in refugee integration networks within the larger community.
Zeena has a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Aleppo in Syria.
On the personal side, Zeena enjoys baking, reading, poetry, travel and camping in our beautiful Canadian nature.
Irmi Hutfless, Senior Manager
416-757-7010 ext. 2214
Irmi is Senior Manager of CCS’ Language, Skills and Social Development, and was promoted to the position effective October 2020.
Irmi has extensive experience in frontline and leadership roles in the settlement sector, both in Canada and internationally. She joined CCS in 2008 as a trainer with the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP). Prior to her current role she was manager of the Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) for several years, leading the transition of the LIP from a neighbourhood-based project into an initiative with a regional scope.
Irmi enjoys being involved in the community; she served as member and vice-chair of the Board of the Anglican United Refugee Alliance for several years, is currently a member of the Scarborough Health Network’s Community Advisory Council and serves on the Governing Council of the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.
Irmi holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from the University of Applied Social Work, Vienna.
In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, travel and the outdoors.