Our People

Our success and contribution is due in large part to: our partners, who provide the financial support/backing we need to keep our efforts going; our board of directors, who provide the structure and leadership to our success; and our executive committee, who provide the backbone to our operations.

Michael Comisarow, Chairman
Managing Director, Mizuho Group

Michael co-founded Daytrippers in Toronto and served as Executive Director from its inception until 2013. He believes strongly in the value of school trips as both an educational tool and as an opportunity to show children the world outside their classroom. Michael is an investment banker with Credit Suisse based in Calgary. He has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago and a Master of Science in Management from Queen’s University. He has two children whose favourite question is “Why?”

Jeff Freeborough
Partner, Caldwell Partners

Jeff is a partner in the Toronto office with Caldwell Partners, an international executive search firm, and is a key member of the Financial Services and Professional Services practice groups, as well as the Legal, Risk and Regulatory Oversight practice. His clients include leaders in global banking and markets, regulatory oversight, commercial banking and asset & wealth management, as well as high profile consulting firms and technology service providers/Fintech companies. His search practice has focused on senior executive roles, front and middle office leaders, as well as partners, subject matter experts and practice leaders within the professional services sector. Prior to executive search, Jeff spent several years as a consultant in the US and Canada specializing in business and technology strategy, and also worked for a number of start-ups in various management roles. Jeff attended Babson College in Massachusetts and earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Western University. Jeff is an active volunteer board member of Bay Street Fore a Cause, sits on 2 fundraising/event committees for Covenant House Toronto, Canada’s largest shelter for homeless youth, is a frequent Movember participant and past United Way campaign chair for Caldwell’s Toronto office.

Krista Matheson
Founder & CEO, Insight Capital

Krista is an entrepreneur and executive in the financial services industry who has successfully built new businesses as well as new business lines within established businesses. Krista was a founding partner at Propel Capital and an early entrant at Markland Street, both of which had successful exits to Fiera Capital and Manulife respectively. Krista has held senior positions in Fiera Capital, TMX and Brookfield Asset Management, most recently at Manulife where she launched their ETF platform. Krista has a BBA from UPEI and an MBA from Dalhousie. Krista lives in Toronto her husband and daughter spends her spare time cleaning rocks and sticks out her daughter’s backpack.

Sean Robitaille
Founder, Griffen Capital

Sean created Markland in 2006 and was responsible for growing the company to almost $500 million of assets under management in its first year. In 2008, Sean was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his role at Markland. In October 2009 Markland Street was acquired by Manulife Financial. Sean is also Managing Director and Deputy Head of Capital Markets at Manulife. Formerly Sean spent 10 years with a Canadian bank-owned investment dealer where he was most recently Head of Equity Private Placements. Sean has a degree in Business Administration (honours) from the Richard Ivey School of Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA Institute and the Toronto CFA Society. Sean lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.

Victoria Bovaird
Partner, HC Consulting, Deloitte

Victoria is a leader in the Toronto practice of Deloitte who focuses on the Financial Services Industry, and is the National Human Capital Merger and Acquisition advisory leader. She has over 15 years of experience in management consulting and project leadership in Europe and North America, based out of London, U.K., and Toronto, Canada. Victoria is a leader on the account team for one of Deloitte’s largest banking clients, and leads a team of over thirty practitioners focused on M&A. Her area of expertise lies in financial services transformation and talent initiatives as well as the people/human resources aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Victoria holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and an M.A. from the University of Sussex. Victoria is a member of the McGill Women, Leadership & Philanthropy Advisory Committee, and enjoys skiing and tennis with Stewart and daughter in her spare time.

Melanie Johnston
CEO, Forsman & Bodenfors

Melanie is the Canadian CEO of global advertising agency Forsman & Bodenfors. She is responsible for the operations, talent development, creative product, revenue growth and overall stewardship of the agency. Prior to joining Forsman, Melanie was the President of DDB Canada, and contributed to the agency’s growth and innovation success, and helped guide leading brands in the CPG, retail, automotive, corporate, tourism, pharmaceutical and financial sectors. Melanie has also worked client-side at TD Bank, where she developed advertising for the bank and its affiliated companies. A strong advocate for results-driven big ideas, Melanie has served on creative effectiveness juries for the Canadian Marketing Awards, the Cassies, the North American Effies and Cannes. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Communication Agencies in Canada.

Allison Pether
Associate Vice President, HR, TD Bank

Allison became Daytrippers’ third Executive Director in September 2016. Her interest in our organization was piqued after attending Battle of the Brains in recent years and being inspired by our mission and the energy and passion of our volunteers at the event. She brings a passion for our cause, a high level of energy, and experience in organizational effectiveness and operations. Allison is an Associate Vice President of HR at TD Bank, supporting the Business Banking division. Prior to that she was a Manager at Deloitte Consulting working with clients on business transformations, while supporting Deloitte’s GTA Partner as Chief of Staff. She currently lives in the west end of Toronto and enjoys everything the city has to offer.

Rita Russo (Special Advisor to the Board)
Director of Education, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

Rita's long history as an educator in the province of Ontario allows her to provide meaningful insights to the Daytrippers' Board of Directors in the role of advisor. Rita is a champion for all students as she advocates for inclusive, equitable and rich experiential learning opportunities. Prior to joining the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board as Director, Rita served the Toronto District School Board and the York Region District School Board as a teacher, Vice Principal, Principal and Supervisory Officer.

THERESA DEU-NGOC, Executive Director

Theresa joined the team in June 2020, becoming Daytrippers fourth Executive Director. A lifelong learner, she attributes her personal and professional success to experiential education, and the kindness of others. This, in tandem with her passion for philanthropy and volunteerism, she is committed to paying it forward in this role.

In 2020, Theresa also joined the Global Corporate Communications team supporting the CEO & Senior Leadership Team at the McCain Foods Limited. Prior to that, Theresa spent 15 years at large, multinational financial corporations, holding various Communications, Project Management and Human Resources roles - focused on talent & organizational development, change management, employee engagement, and diversity & inclusion - before settling into Strategic & Executive Communications.

Theresa's ability to lead collaboratively, foster lasting relationships and overall approach to combining factors of creativity with possibility makes her a welcome addition to the team in a transitional year.

Outside of work, Theresa is busy becoming best friends with every dog she meets. She likes to plan action-packed trips and recreate food that she's tried on her adventures. Her world revolves around her family and friends - in particular her nieces and nephews, to who she's not just a regular aunt, she's a "cool" aunt.

Fundraising Committee
Bryan Grier, Co-Chair
Arman Baniasadi, Co-Chair
Eric Chiu
Nikhil Gupta
Chris Kennedy

Trips Committee 
Neera Arya, Co-Chair
Trenton MacDuff, Co-Chair
Catherine Conforti
Laura Hymas
June Li
Victoire Gekas

Marketing Committee
Kabir Mudgil, Chair
Matthew Cheuk
Stephanie Meulensteen
Zahra Parsa
Katherine Pollock
Nikeetaa Ghaneckar
Peggy Kry
Katherine Allen
Matthew Biolley

Partnership Committee
Caitlin Carss, Co-Chair
Sharon Ng-Morga, Co-Chair
Dave Sidhu
Rashi Gupta

Recruitment & Volunteer Engagement 
Jennifer Conforti, Chair
Stephanie Hunkeler
Jenny Lee

Strategic Initiatives
George Nassar, Chair
Katherine Pollock
Cynthia Zhou

Finance Committee
Katelin Butler, Chair
Carmen Wai

Battle of the Brains
Christina D'Alimonte, Co-Chair
Kelsey Wallace, Co-Chair
Jennifer Conforti, Volunteer Lead

Corporate Secretary
Michael Hickey, Secretary