About Equal Voice

Dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada

Equal Voice acknowledges that our offices are located on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation. Their traditions and protocols continue to nurture this Territory. Equal Voice acknowledges the ongoing oppression of lands, cultures and the original Peoples in what we now know as Canada, and commits to the healing and decolonizing journey we all share together. in Canada’s colonial political institutions and that by encouraging Indigenous women and gender diverse people to seek political office we hope to contribute to the Indigenizing of those systems. We are committed to decolonization through the process of reconciliation and support realizing the nation-to-nation relationships.

We advocate for and support women and gender diverse candidates at all levels of government. From all political parties. From all parts of the country. Together, we are Equal Voice, a national, bilingual, member-based, multi-partisan organization that — since 2001 — has been advocating for the equal representation of women in Canada’s Parliament, in provincial and territorial legislatures, and on municipal and band councils.

Strategic Directions 2020 – 2024

Through this strategic plan, which charts our course to 2024, Equal Voice is committed to creating a pathway for women, in all of their diversity, to run for elected office. This means not only equipping women who are running with the tools and support they need to succeed, but also creating a political environment conducive to effectively recruiting and retaining women in politics. We will accomplish this together through continued advocacy at all levels of government, focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion, and accessibility throughout the organization, and building our organizational capacity so we can always deliver high quality programs and tools to our members and the public.

Board of Directors

Elected annually by Equal Voice members.

Kim Kelly, MD
Kim Kelly, MD
Chair and Alberta Director

Physician, feminist and community leader Kim Kelly has advocated for wellness programs in schools, better treatment for citizens who suffer from addiction, and the need to incorporate equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) into organizations’ strategic plans. After being inspired by the #metoo movement, she shared her story of harassment as a medical student and has advocated for gender equity in leadership, addressing the gender pay gap, and eliminating harassment and discrimination from work environments
Read more
The Hon. Eleni Bakopanos
The Hon. Eleni Bakopanos
Past Chair
The Honorable Eleni Bakopanos, P.C., was first elected in 1993 as the Member of Parliament for Saint-Denis, was re-elected 3 times in Ahuntsic, and is a member of the Privy Council of Canada. She has served in several parliamentary roles including Assistant Deputy Speaker and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. She also served as special advisor for caucus to the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. She is a member and has served as President of the Women’s Commission of the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec).
Alanis Espinoza
Alanis Espinoza
Director at large and Vice-Chair
Former DOV, I studied Political Science and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto and graduated from a law degree at the University of Leicester. I am a Legal Intern at J17 Capital and my other roles include: Director at the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association, Secretary at the Ontario Bar Association – Student Section Executive, Advocacy Committee Member at the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, and Governance Committee Member at Hispanotech.
Janny Gaspard
Janny Gaspard
Québec Director and Treasurer

Political activist, former school board and provincial candidate, social activist, wife, and new mother, Janny Gaspard Laguerre wears several hats. In addition to her work in the Quebec public service, she wants to be a reasonable voice for influence and change for women through entrepreneurial initiatives and leadership.
Frances LeBlanc
Frances LeBlanc
New Brunswick and PEI Director
Frances works as an association executive, advocate, strategist, and connector. She serves her community by helping to build and strengthen people, communities, and systems through meaningful connections and by leveraging partnerships. Notably, Frances supports several organizations including as Chair of the NB Coalition for Pay Equity, Chair of the Atlantic Network Council of the Canadian Society for Association Executives, Secretary-Treasurer of the Women in Business NB, and others.
Tessa Ritter
Tessa Ritter
Saskatchewan Director
Tessa Ritter manages stakeholder relationships with a global agriculture company. Prior to this, she worked as a senior leader within the executive government in Saskatchewan. During her time in politics, she served as the chief of staff to the Minister of Advanced Education, the Minister responsible for Status of Women, and the Minister of Innovation Saskatchewan.
Angela Bonfanti
Angela Bonfanti
Director at Large
20+ years of experience in grass-roots advocacy, election campaigns (municipal, provincial, and federal- from knocking on doors to Chairing campaigns), public policy and business transformation. I believe strongly now is the time for more women and people with diverse lived experiences to have seats in councils, legislatures, and the Hill.
Rabi Al-Hassan
Rabi Al-Hassan
British Columbia Director

I am Ghanaian-Canadian and have lived, worked and served the Nanaimo community since immigrating here 16 years ago, being involved with Equal Voice for six years. A graduate of Vancouver Island University, where I gained separate degrees in Criminology, Global Studies, and Education, I am currently a K-12 substitute teacher.
Esmahan Razavi
Esmahan Razavi
Director at Large

Esmahan is a Principal at Champion Communications & PR. Her political experience spans all orders of government, including running for municipal council in 2017. She has worked as a political staffer for the Government of Alberta, and most recently as a public affairs consultant in British Columbia. For her outstanding work in politics, Esmahan was named one of the top 50 Arab women in North America by the Arab Women of Excellence Awards in 2019.
Sherry Antone
Sherry Antone
Ontario Director
A citizen of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Antone is a devoted advocate for the rights and interests of First Nations Peoples including members of the BIPOC community. Currently the Senior Director of the Rights and Justice Branch at the Assembly of First Nations, Antone has a Masters in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria and a law degree from the University of Ottawa. Antone believes it is vital to include voices of the underrepresented in places of political power and influence.
Francyne D. Joe
Francyne D. Joe
Director at Large
A member of BC’s Nlaka’pamux First Nation, Francyne is a former President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the BC Native Women’s Association. A fierce advocate for Indigenous people in Canada, she has presented on these issues across Canada, at the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Francyne committed to empowering Indigenous people through her work and philanthropic efforts.
She works with the National Association of Friendship Centres.
Kelsey Gammel
Kelsey Gammel
Nunavut, NWT and Yukon Director

Kelsey worked in the Premier’s office for just over a year in her early twenties. It was her first job in politics, but not the first time she had been involved.
She became Recreation Programmer for the Village of Teslin a unique position where she worked both for the municipal government and the first nations government, Teslin Tlingit Council.
She moved to Whitehorse to work for BGC Yukon. She now works at the Recreation and Parks Association of Yukon where she gets to help people start up and access recreation programs that lead to healthier and happier lifestyles.
She ran for council in Whitehorse learning about how to run a campaign, what it means and what it takes to run in an election.

Staff

Eleanor Fast, Executive Director

Eleanor joined Equal Voice as Executive Director in 2019, bringing an extensive background in not-for-profit management, and lived experience as a woman candidate. Her career highlights include having been Executive Director of Nature Canada; Program Director for the Council of Canadian Academies; a non-partisan researcher on Parliament Hill in the Library of Parliament; and running a small consulting company.

Maggie Patterson, Director of Programs

Maggie Patterson joined Equal Voice in 2019. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Ethics from the University of Ottawa and a M.A. in Conflict Studies. Maggie brings years of experience working in the non-profit sector at the national level. Most recently, developing business at the Canadian Bureau for International Education. At the Canadian Centre of Substance Abuse and Conference Board of Canada she managed national committees, organized events, and supported community-based initiatives. She has also spent time working and volunteering for Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Brittney Senger, Development Officer

Esther Medina Diabagaté, Marketing and Communications Manager

Esther joined Equal voice in 2021. She has a B.A in Communications from the University of Montréal and an M.A in Organizational Communications from the University of Ottawa, where she specialized in government communications.  With over 6 years of experience working in digital marketing and communications, Esther has helped many brands and organizations find their voices and stand out in the digital world. She is actively involved in her community and supports many causes related to women’s and minority rights.

Zita Taylor, Operations Manager

Zita joined the Equal Voice team in 2014, as Chapter Liaison. She played a key role in the development and the implementation of Daughters of the Vote in 2016.
Zita’s role has grown from being outwardly focused to focusing on developing and managing the internal operations of Equal Voice.
This development has allowed Zita’s organizational, advocacy and relationship building strengths to support the Equal Voice team as they focus on EV’s mandate, to get as many women as possible elected to positions of leadership in public office.

Development and Outreach coordinator

Camille de Camprieu, Communications Officer

Camille de Camprieu joined Equal Voice in the summer of 2021 as Communications Assistant. She has since completed her B.A in International Relations from the University of Calgary.
As a student and member of her community, she has developed a unique skillset for social media content creation intended for political activism through various volunteer and executive positions.
Eager to make a lasting impact on a variety of social issues, Camille hopes to continue creating meaningful content intended to educating Canadians.

Maryam Rahimi Shahmirzadi, Researcher and policy Analyst

Maryam joined Equal Voice in March 2022. She has a BA in International Relations from the University of Toronto and a MA in History with a Development Studies Option from McGill University. Having previously done a lot of volunteer work for both the federal and provincial members of parliament and having attended the G7 Finance Minister’s Summit in 2018, she has always shown a keen interest in politics and international affairs. Maryam anxiously awaits and hopes for a day when more women than ever are represented in legislatures, both within Canada and abroad.

Alessia Rao,

Program and Policy Advisor

Alessia joined the Equal Voice team in the Summer of 2022 as Program and Policy Advisor. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Governance from Toronto Metropolitan University and a Master’s degree in Social Justice and Community Engagement from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has experience holding different non-partisan positions in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario where she worked directly with two Toronto-based MPPs, contributing to their successful re-elections. She has also worked with the City of Toronto for several years to help deliver cost-free recreational programs to families and children across disadvantaged areas in Toronto’s west end.