About Our Chapter
Toronto+Acumen is a volunteer-led chapter that supports Acumen’s mission to create a world beyond poverty by investing patient capital in social enterprises, emerging leaders and breakthrough ideas.
As one of 25 global +Acumen chapters, we support this mission by building and connecting socially-oriented leaders through our local events and initiatives. Through these initiatives, we hope to not only inspire the Toronto community to see the world with open-mindedness and humility, but also to have the audacity to become agents of social change themselves.
Initiatives: Pioneer Social Finance Grant made possible by Deloitte, Expand+TO, our annual fundraiser, monthly events, +Acumen leadership courses, and online learning from our marketing content.
Vision: Be the catalyst for entrance into the impact investment space in the GTA by engaging, educating and enabling individuals and organisations.
Mission: Building a social impact community that lives and breathes Acumen’s principles.
Meet the team
Michelle Stern | Co-Chair
Michelle currently works at Aimia as the Content and Research Manager for the Aimia Institute. Her interest in social entrepreneurship was sparked while spending 2 years studying the interconnections between global climate change and poverty alleviation, including 9 months working for a foundation in Ecuador and 3 months conducting research in Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa. While learning about sustainable development, she became passionate about Acumen’s model, and is a firm believer that business models and market-based approaches can lead social change.
Michelle has been involved with Toronto+Acumen since 2011. She holds a B.comm from McGill University and an MSc. in Environment and Development from Trinity College, Dublin.
Tanya Bass | Co-Chair
Tanya Bass is a strategist with a bias for action. She gets energized by tackling business and social challenges head on, especially when the two intersect. Her passion for supporting systemic social change through sustainable long-term strategy led her to join Acumen’s Toronto chapter. She is now in her 3rd year of involvment and is the Co-Chair overseeing an 11 people executive team and 7 committees.
During the day Tanya is a consultant at Deloitte. In addition to client engagements, she runs Deloitte’s+Rotman’s Behavioural Insights meetups and co-leads the internal Impact Investing Community of Practice.
Prior to joining Deloitte, Tanya worked for the Ontario Public Service in a Business Analyst role advising ministry staff and providing recommendations to decision makers. Tanya holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business.
Patrick Robinson | Expand+TO Director
Patrick is a social-minded design thinker, an advertising producer and an associate partner at Grip Limited, an agency with a portfolio of multiple fortune 100 companies.
Patrick works towards elevating and activating a betterment agenda alongside industry and educational leaders. To that end he serves on the Sustainability Committee of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario, teaches at OCAD University, and volunteers with the Toronto+Acumen chapter.
As an active lifelong learner, Patrick attends conferences around the globe and served a three-year term as a Global Board member of the MIT Enterprise Forum.
Kristen Holman | Co-Chair, Special Events
While Kristen was completing her M.A. at New York University, she attended a guest lecture series on social entrepreneurship and eventually learned about Acumen in an Economics for Development course.
Kristen obtained an H.B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business and is always looking for ways to merge her interests in entrepreneurship and economic development. During law school, she conducted research for the Open A.I.R. project, a study focused on assessing the social, financial and legal barriers to innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa. She also took a seminar course on Community Development and the Law, hoping to get further acquainted with the corporate models best suited to social enterprises.
Kristen is currently an Articling Student at Bennett Jones LLP and has an interest in international trade and investment law. She is an avid traveler, runner, rock climber and self-proclaimed foodie.
Marie Ang | Events Director
Marie’s interest in impact investment stems as a progression from her work in international development supporting micro-small entrepreneurs and employment focused programs. She values Acumen’s model in meeting the pioneer gap in the impact investment marketplace to best support sustainable market development and serve clients at the base of the pyramid. She currently works as an independent consultant in international development.
Marie gained a BSc in Global Resource Systems (Honours) from the University of British Columbia focusing on resource economics. During her studies, she went on an exchange semester in Norway, conducted research in Indonesia and Tanzania and held an internship in Palestine. She later worked in Tanzania with the Mennonite Economic Development Associates and in Toronto with The MasterCard Foundation. In her spare time, Marie can be found planning her next travel adventure!
She currently works at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing as a Project Coordinator.
Joyce Lee | Volunteer Engagement Director
As a business professional with keen interests in international project management and operational excellence, Joyce is a certified international project manager with Lean Six-Sigma training.
With a Master in Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology, she looks forward to bringing her national and international exposure from both the private and public sector to Toronto+Acumen.
Farheen Lakhani| Partnership Director
Farheen works in sales and relationship management at a global bank and has extensive work experience in the financial services industry specifically in asset management and debt capital markets.
Farheen leads the Toronto Chapter of Live Your Legend, an organization dedicated to helping people find and do the work they love. She is also part of the Executive Committee with IMPACT, an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace. An aspiring yogi, she volunteers at her local yoga studio.
Farheen holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Waterloo in Political Science and a Certificate in Public Administration and Leadership from Ryerson.
Farheen was raised in Karachi and Vancouver and has lived in Boston, Montreal and now resides in Toronto. She is passionate about connecting people and as Partnership Director, hopes to develop new relationships and deepen existing relationships.
Tania De Gasperis | Marketing Director
Tania is a multidisciplinary strategist with a passion for wicked problems. As a strong advocate for human-centered thinking and iterative working, she is at her best when problem finding to co-create solutions and opportunities. When she’s not working, you can find her playing around with new tech or travelling.
Tania most recently worked at a Venture Capital firm, Prior to this, she has worked in the public and private industry doing a variety of digital strategy and user experience projects. Tania holds an honours BA from Carleton University, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Humber College and a certificate in Digital Strategy and Communications Management from the University of Toronto. Tania is currently completing her Masters in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University.