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.
Francis LeBlanc
Francis LeBlanc
Vice-Chair, and 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.
Alanis Ortiz Espinoza
Alanis Ortiz Espinoza
Director at large
Equal Voice has helped me immensely, in March, I was selected to represent Brampton Centre, as a Delegate in the Daughters of the Vote Initiative, and later I received a grant from Equal Voice to start an initiative on my own. I am now the founder of Legal Mentorship by Alanis, a support system dedicated to supporting pre-law/law students interested in becoming licensed lawyers in Ontario. I have received a lot of support from Equal Voice and would love to give back.
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.
Janny G. Laguerre
Janny G. Laguerre
Québec Director
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.
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.
Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin
Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin
Nova Scotia Director
Provincial MLA for Cumberland North since May 2017, Smith McCrossin
brings experience as mother of four children, two degrees, 29 years as a registered nurse (20 of those in private clinical practice) and starting and operating four businesses. She believes strong women should have an equal voice in governing our communities, provinces and country 
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.
Lia Renaud
Lia Renaud
Director at Large
Lia Renaud is a business consultant with degrees in sociology and business administration. She has extensive experience with Equal Voice — where she reignited the Nova Scotia chapter — and a federal political party where she chairs its HR committee. She has managed campaigns at all three levels of government.
Lia feels women need to be represented in government and is part of the movement to get more womyn involved and elected.
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.
Jim Medeiros
Jim Medeiros
Treasurer

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.

Matthew Buck, Development and Outreach coordinator

Camille de Camprieu, Digital Communications Officer

Camille de Camprieu joined Equal Voice in the summer of 2021 as Communications Assistant and is currently pursuing a 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.

Camille de Camprieu joined Equal Voice in the summer of 2021 as Communications Assistant and is currently pursuing a 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.