Staff and Board

Board of Directors

See our current Board of Directors


Staff Team


Gisèle Yasmeen

Executive Director

Gisèle joined Food Secure Canada as Executive Director in May 2019 and has 20 years of leadership experience in knowledge organizations having served as a not-for-profit and government executive including Vice-President of Research and Partnerships at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Senior Director of Outreach, Communications and Research at Elections Canada and founding Regional Director for British Columbia and the Yukon of the Centre for Research and Information on Canada. Gisèle brings a deep food systems lens to her work and started working on agri-food issues in both Asia and Canada in the early 1990s and has published widely in the field including two books, several scholarly articles and media commentary in both English and French. She has held faculty appointments at the University of British Columbia, Royal Roads University and Dawson College in Montreal. Gisèle has a PhD from the University of British Columbia, a master’s degree from McGill and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from University of Ottawa. Gisèle has also advised numerous organizations including the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, “The Big Picnic” (a European-Union funded project on food security involving botanical gardens), the World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. She has also served on four boards of directors of Canadian not-for-profit organizations over the course of her career.

Gisèle’s diverse skills and experience will help Food Secure Canada to strengthen, advance and support the needs of Canada’s growing and diverse food movement in a rapidly evolving global context. Gisèle is fluent in English and French and has studied Thai, Urdu/Hindi, Spanish and Mandarin. She loves to participate in the performing arts in her free time.


Amélie Lévesque

Executive Assistant

Amelie has been involved with FSC since 2014. As the executive assistant, she wears many hats from administration to translation, database management and many more. She has been a professionnal translator for more than 10 years and completed a master in International Studies focusing on food soverignty just before joining FSC








Debbie Field

coalition for healthy school food coordinator

Debbie has been involved in promoting and improving school food programs for decades, starting when she was a child growing up in New York City where she participated in a free lunch program and loved the mash potatoes and meatloaf but hated the stigma of eating in the “free lunch” cafeteria.  When her children entered grade school she was instrumental as a parent activist in organizing a healthy hot lunch program at her children’s school and then advocating to the City of Toronto to fund student nutrition programs. Over her years as the Executive Director of FoodShare Toronto she and her colleagues were involved in developing innovative and sustainable student nutrition and school food literacy programs and the creation of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.

A social activist and globally recognized leader in the creation of a more socially just and environmentally sustainable food systems, Debbie is currently also a Distinguished Visiting Practitioner with the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University. Debbie’s passion for collective action and policy change is informed by her experiences as a community college instructor, union organizer and leadership in a variety of social movements.

Debbie’s accomplishments and influence in Canada’s food movement are well known to us at Food Secure Canada. Her leadership and nurturing of innovative solutions to food systems challenges through community-based approaches are rooted in recognition of progressive policy change.  


Gabrielle Spenard-Bernier

Communications Coordinator

As a communications coordinator and public engagement actor, Gabrielle is in charge of promoting the different activities of Food Secure Canada. Committed to environmental protection and improving global health, Gabrielle completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Health at the Public Health School of Université de Montréal following her undergraduate studies in Biology at Concordia University. After her experience working in communications and marketing for a company developing health-friendly household and personal care products, Gabrielle joined the food movement in June 2017 to promote and create a better food system for all Canadians.

She is passionate about global food cultures, urban agriculture and healthy eating. She also enjoys cooking, creating and taking care of her "edible" backyard and biking.


Charles Mackay

Assistant aux communications

Charles is Communications Assistant at Food Secure Canada. He therefore supports the Communications Coordinator in her mission to promote the many activities of the organization.

Before completing a Bachelor's degree in Communications at UQAM, Charles graduated from Dawson College in photography. Whether for travel or portrait or event photography, the human is always at the heart of his passions. His role at FSC is for him the perfect opportunity to work for a cause that brings us all together : food.

When not in the office, Charles is probably on his bike, on a hiking weekend, or looking for a documentary he has never seen before.


Rachel Cheng

Coordinator of eat think vote CAMPAIGN; partnership development

Rachel Cheng is the coordinator of the Eat Think Vote campaign, a series of 50 events taking place in Canadian communities, where citizens will dialogue with political candidates on food issues ahead of the federal election.

Rachel completed her Master’s of Public Health at the Université de Montréal, where she focused on food security and sustainable food systems. She has worked with various non-profits as well as the Montréal public health department in project management, event logistics, communications and partnership development. Rachel is also actively involved in the community as an event organizer, photographer, and otherwise sharing the love of good food with people at the market or over a meal.


Julia Dawson

Community organizer: Eat think vote

Julia is the Community Organiser for Eat Think Vote 2019. 

Having recently completed a Master’s degree at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy (an institution affiliated with Slow Food), she understands the interconnectedness between our food systems, the environment, and cultural identities. As an advocate for food access and literacy, she has been actively involved in community initiatives supporting food education, social justice, and sustainability, with a focus on underserved communities. 

With 10 years’ experience in program coordination, facilitation, and logistics planning within the public and non-profit sector, Julia is eager to help build networks that support a more equitable, accessible, and democratic food system through FSC’s Eat Think Vote campaign.

An avid cook and food writer, she spends her free time thumbing through old cookbooks and listening to food culture podcasts, or otherwise can be found at the repertoire theatre or museum, getting her art fix.



Shaya Ishaq

Campaign's Communications Assistant of Eat Think Vote 2019

Shaya Ishaq is the Campaigns Communications Assistant of Eat Think Vote 2019.

She is currently completing her Bachelor's degree in Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University with a minor in Anthropology. In her work she uses both textiles and ceramics to create wearable works and community engaged installations. As an artist and designer, she is passionate about material culture and the interconnectedness of crafts around the world. 

Shaya has worked with clothing brands and non-profits in the realm of communications and has experience in event organizing for social justice causes. Food security is a human right that affects us all and she is excited to join FSC as an assistant to the coordinator of the Eat Think Vote pre-election campaign. 

On a lovely day she can be found basking in the sun with a picnic in tow, a good book, and her portable frame loom.



Susan Alexander

Inside Scoop Editor

Susan Alexander edits the monthly newsletter about national food policy for FSC members and supporters, the Inside Scoop, established in May 2017. She is a communications specialist, with international experience of working with NGOs, Think Tanks and an international news agency, IPS.

Currently putting down roots in the Montreal food movement, Susan volunteers with Santropol Roulant and is a member of a collective garden in her neighborhood.