Start Proud, formerly known as Out On Bay Street, facilitates the professional development of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Ally (LGBTQA+) students as they transition from school to career in order to build a national network within the LGBTQA+ community.


To empower members of the LGBTQA+ community to be Canada’s leaders of tomorrow; where all institutions embrace inclusiveness within the workplace and diversity within the workforce.


Diversity & LGBTQ+ Inclusion
We believe that our differences make us strong, compassionate and competitive.
We believe in professional excellence, self-improvement and changing the world around us.
We believe in contributing and collaborating with others to make an impact.
We believe every student and young professional should be given the tools, resources and knowledge to be successful.
Year-Round Events

Meet the Team


Nina Rakic 

Kary Cozens 
Executive Vice President

Andres Perez-Vilarino
Corporate Treasurer

Andres is a student at the University of Waterloo’s Accounting and Financial Management program, currently working his co-op terms in Assurance at EY’s Toronto location. Andres’ interests include extracurricular and community involvement, leading large organizations such as DECA U Ontario, as well as various Model United Nations organizations over the past few years. This is Andres’ first year with Start Proud, and he is excited to be a part of the team and is looking forward to a fantastic year.

Adam James
Corporate Secretary

Board of Directors

Paul Saguil
Director & Chair

Paul Jonathan Saguil is Associate Vice President, Anti-Money Laundering, Canadian Banking at TD Bank Group, where he leads the teams responsible for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing issues relating to the Canadian Payments business, and oversees key governance processes, including innovation risk management, customer risk strategy, risk assessment methodologies, and training. He was formerly Senior Counsel in TD’s Legal Department, managing complex litigation, disputes, and investigations involving TD’s various businesses in Canada and internationally. He previously practised litigation at Stockwoods LLP and has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, all levels of courts in Ontario, the Federal Court, and various administrative bodies, including the Ontario Securities Commission, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. He received his Hons. B.A. (Philosophy) from York University in 2004 and LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2007. He was awarded the Dean’s Gold Key in 2007 and an Alumni Gold Key in 2013, and currently serves on the Alumni Association Board. Before being called to the Bar of Ontario, he served as a judicial clerk to the Honourable Justice Phelan of the Federal Court. He is an active member of the Canadian/Ontario Bar Association and Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, serves as the Chair of the OBA’s Equality Committee and the Law Society of Upper Canada Equity Advisory Group, and is a member of the Board for the 519 Community Centre and Community One Foundation.

Justin LoPresti

Justin holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC with a major in International Business Management, and has completed two academic exchanges abroad in both Japan and Germany. He completed his MBA at the Rotman School of Management (UofT) where he specialized in strategy and consulting, and served as an executive member of the Rotman Management Consulting Association and the Out at Rotman LGBTQ network.
Justin currently works as a Manager at Monitor Deloitte in the Strategy & Operations division, specializing in corporate and business unit strategy. He also serves as the National Chair of the Deloitte Pride Network (Deloitte’s LGBTQ employee resource group).
Justin has been actively involved in the LGBTQA community for over ten years. He has previously served on Out On Bay Street’s Organizing Committee as the Annual Conference Co-Chair in both 2012 and 2013, as a Director of the Board in 2014, and as Chair of the Board in 2015 and 2016.

Alex Lee

A graduate of the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering at the University of Toronto (class of 2007), Alex holds a degree in Chemical and Biomedical engineering. Currently, Alex is a business analyst at Procter & Gamble and is pursuing his Project Management Professional designation. Alex is involved with P&G’s LGBT organization, GABLE, and has attended as a delegate the Out on Bay and Reaching Out MBA conferences in the US for the past several years; in addition Alex volunteers with United Way and Junior Achievement annually. Alex is also an avid snowboarder, scuba diver, and loves to travel.

Janet Spreitzer

Janet has done a lot in her life, and wonders how she was able to do it all.  She’s worked in the finance industry for over 15 years in various capacities including Operations, Training and Development, Project Management and is currently a Director of Global Resourcing at Manulife Financial.  Janet is an avid advocate for LGBTQ inclusion and is currently co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group for Manulife Financial.  In her spare time (like she has any) Janet can be found running a start-up UX design company with her wife, or renovating their Junction home.

Janet is passionate about travel, fine wine, and fancies herself a bit of a bon vivant. She also drinks way too much coffee.

Vincent Ho
Board Member

Vincent Ho is a consultant with KPMG’s management consulting practice, specializing in finance strategy & operations. Prior to joining this practice group, he worked in KPMG’s FIRE audit practice, leading engagements for both public and private real estate clients. Vincent is a CPA, CA candidate with an expected qualification date in late fall 2017.

Before joining KPMG, Vincent graduated from the University of Toronto’s Rotman Commerce program as the Rundle Gold Medalist (top of class), where he specialized in Accounting while completing minors in Economics and Women & Gender Studies. During his time at the UofT, Vincent Co-Chaired Lead with Pride (UofT’s tri-campus LGBT Student Leadership Conference), and served as the President of the Rotman Commerce Pride Alliance.

Prior to joining the Board of Start Proud in early 2017, Vincent served as the VP Community Outreach of the organization for two years—after having attended the Out On Bay Street conference for 4 years as a student delegate.

Outside of work and volunteering, Vincent tries to squeeze in as much volleyball as possible.

Phil Gazaleh
Board Member

Marshal Peacock
Board Member

Out On Bay Street Conference

Kevin Noguera
VP, Out On Bay Street Conference

John Pehar
Associate, Student Awards

Alex Kpeglo-Hennessy
Associate, Case Competition

Patrick Schertzer
Associate, Moot Court

Brandyn Rogerson
Associate, Content Developer

Rob Arseneau
Associate, Logistics

Venture Out Conference

Jeanette Stock
Founder & Co-Chair

Jeanette is leading the team launching Venture Out, Canada’s first ever conference for LGBTQ+ inclusion in tech and entrepreneurship. By connecting students students & early career professionals with startups and tech companies where they can bring their whole selves to work, she hopes Venture Out can accelerate the career growth of Canada’s the next generation of LGBTQ tech leaders. Jeanette currently manages accounts at Pressly, a SaaS platform for allows enterprise teams, and is a Venture for Canada Fellow. She previously worked at Jack.org, interned at the Centre for Social Innovation, and conducted independent research on the experiences of LGB residents of Shanghai.

Taylor Bond
Vice President

Lisa Durnford
Content & Programming Lead

Samuel Naylor
Content & Programming Liaison

Simon Mills
Sponsorship Lead

Charis Zheng
Associate, Sponsorship

Ben Winn
Marketing Lead

Ben is a performing arts student-turned commerce graduate, with a passion for combining creativity and business. He is a Venture for Canada fellow, and currently works at SeamlessMD; a HealthTech startup that launches, optimizes and expands integrated care pathways for surgeries. Ben was drawn to his marketing role at Venture Out because he strongly believes that having a diverse team (in all sense of the word) is a vital component of innovation. More specifically, he believes that the LGBTQ+* community is too-often painted with one brush, and that there is great value in highlighting the diversity within it.

Iradele Plante
Community Engagement Lead

Daniel Favand
Community Engagement & Website Support

Rachel Shi
Content Support

Will Fraser
Student Outreach

Ruben Tjhie
Associate, Logistics

Christine Hsu
Event & Logistics Associate

David Yang
Hackathon Lead


Austin Jones
Vice President, Marketing

Ksenia Ioussoufovitch
Assistant Vice President, Marketing

Griffith Dias
Manager, Student Outreach

Aidan Messom
Associate, Arts & STEM Programs

Geoffrey Handelman
Associate, Business Programs

Trevor Fairlie
Associate, Law Programs

Heather Beatty
Associate, Graduate Programs

Olivia Dunne
Manager, Data Analytics

Spencer Maurice
Manager, Content Development

Emily Siu
Associate, Public Relations

Jaclyn Gunton
Assocaite, Newsletter Campaigns

After my Hogwarts letter evidently got lost in the mail, I decided to attend Western U for Media, Information & Technoculture and Visual Arts. I then attended Seneca College to study the magic of Creative Advertising. I’m now a freelance Graphic Designer for a startup company and an Art Instructor for Paint Nite. At Start Proud I help out with Marketing and Social Media projects! My favourite part about volunteering at Start Proud is knowing that I belong to an amazing cause and that I can make a positive impact on other young adults who never got their letter to Hogwarts.


Artin Memar
Vice President, Sponsorship

Kevin Lass
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship

Wenbo Xie
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship

Gabriela Jordao
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship

Elvis Lazaro
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship

Keiron Narine
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship

Elizabeth White
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship

Roberto Quiroga
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship

Joseph Osborne
Relationship Manager, Sponsorship


Benjamin Martin
Vice President, Web

Ben was inspired to join the organization in 2015. He has a long history in the IT field having done software development for cloud computing working with RFID and logistics and worked as a MEAN Stack developer for a FinTech company in downtown Toronto. He is now a senior full-stack developer at a digital marketing agency.

He carries certification in the Japanese language after living in Japan for 5 years and has since settled down in Toronto to raise his two dogs.  He enjoys board games, cooking and hiking with his two huskies.

Adrian Leung
Content Manager, Web

Adrian is a pharmacist specialized in the delivery of pharmaceutical care to seniors residing in retirement communities. He also facilitates case-based group learning sessions at his alma mater, the University of Toronto.  He spends his spare time with his family and friends, and reading up random topics on news sites and Wikipedia.  Adrian is excited to see where this new adventure in Start Proud will take him!

D’Arcy Rail-Ip
Solutions Developer, Web

Katrina Zathey
Automations Expert, Web

Katrina has spent many years enjoying the Out on Bay Street Conference with this being her second year to volunteer and give back to the community. She has an MBA in Financial Management and is a CFA charterholder. She has spent most of her professional career in financial software and is currently responsible for the Private Capital Markets line of business and quantitative finance microservices for a downtown Toronto FinTech company.

Eric Chen
Associate, Web

Eric is now in his second year in Rotman Commerce, University of Toronto, specializing in Finance and Economics. As the Director of Conference in Rotman Commerce Pride Alliance, Eric has been engaged in the LGBTQ+ community since he entered the university and joined the Startproud in 2017. Personally, he is a big fan of tennis, volleyball and curling.

Jayson Xu 
Associate, Web

Jayson is currently in his third-year at the University of Toronto, double major in Statistics and Economics.  After volunteering at the out on bay street conference, Jayson has a strong interest in joining Start Proud. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, he always wants to contribute his ability to support this community.


Jonsson Liu
VP, Leaders To Be Proud Of

Hannah Frazer
Associate, Communications, Leaders to be Proud Of

Derek Eickmeier
Associate, Logistics, Leaders to be Proud Of

Regional Initiatives

Oren Kamen
Vice President, Toronto Initiatives

Samira Hafezi
Associate, Toronto Initiatives

Associate, Toronto Initiatives

Ottawa Regional Team

Kent Evans
Chair, Ottawa Regional Team

Tamir Virani
Associate, Ottawa Regional Team

This will be Tamir’s second year as Chair for the Ottawa Regional Team. This year, Tamir is looking to continue to increase and solidify the organization’s presence in the capital with a focus on entrepreneurship and start ups in the queer community. Professionally, Tamir works as a communications officer for a pan-Canadian healthcare NGO, and has a educational background in strategic communications, marketing and journalism. Tamir also works as a freelance videographer and is the co-founder of LGBTQ+ friendly meetup group focused on being out and active.

Olivia Le
Associate, Ottawa Regional Team

Olivia works for the Finance and Admin branch of CRA and is a fourth year student at the University of Ottawa completing her Honours Bachelor degree in Commerce with an option in Finance. At the University she has volunteered at the Pride Centre, which is a student service that strives to create a safer space for students and celebrate diversity. She has also been a delegate for DECAu Ottawa which gave her the opportunity to compete at DECA Provincials in Toronto. She volunteers for Zoom Productions, the production house of uOttawa where she gets to tap into some creativity via filming events, interviews, and short films on and off campus. With a passion for empowerment, she is happy to experience yet another year managing sponsor relations in Ottawa, and support her team of volunteers in the National Capital Region.

Tanner Tallon
Associate, Ottawa Regional Team


Matthew Gragtmans
Associate, Ottawa Regional Team


Montreal Regional Team

Renaud Deronzier
Co-Chair, Montreal Regional Team


Renaud Gravel
Co-Chair, Montreal Regional Team


Andy Nagy
Associate, Montreal Regional Team


Guy Tsor
Associate, Montreal Regional Team


Thierry Vigneux-Salesse
Associate, Montreal Regional Team


Emma Goyette
Associate, Montreal Regional Team


Mélanie Le Berre
Associate, Montreal Regional Team


Calgary Regional Team

Lorne Graburn
Co-Chair, Calgary Regional Team

Michael Velcic
Co-Chair, Calgary Regional Team

Matthew Hayes
Associate, Calgary Regional Team

Matthew is on the management team at Nordstrom Chinook Center in Calgary, Alberta, where he oversees their Women’s Trend department. He studied History and French at Mount Royal University, and believes that giving back is the only way in which one can begin to make a difference in the community. Working for a diverse company such as Nordstrom, whose corporate values mirror those of Start Proud, reinforces the need to provide positive workplaces, that foster’s inclusiveness and allow people to express their true individuality. Working with a team of high spirited individuals continuously reinforces the need to provide safe work spaces that encourages employees and student’s alike to be themselves.

Mark Matlock
Associate, Calgary Regional Team

Sean Delsnider
Associate, Calgary Regional Team

Jack Olson
Associate, Calgary Regional Team

Vancouver Regional Team

Preston Parsons
Chair, Vancouver Regional Team

Preston is a lawyer at Overholt Law, a boutique labour and employment law firm located in downtown Vancouver. He attended both Lakeland College and Athabasca University for his Commerce undergraduate degree and received his law degree from the University of British Columbia. In addition to practicing law, Preston is a figure skating coach and has been active in the Canadian Bar Association both within British Columbia and nationally on executives of the Young Lawyers Forum and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identify Conference Forum.

Zachary Rogers
Associate, Vancouver Regional Team

Kevin Hill
Associate, Vancouver Regional Team

Bari AbdulRahman
Associate, Vancouver Regional Team

Aaron Cho
Associate, Vancouver Regional Team

Laura MacDonald
Associate, Vancouver Regional Team

Michael Howcroft
Associate, Vancouver Regional Team

Michela Fiorido
Associate, Vancouver Regional Team

Michela works as a lawyer at Harris & Company LLP mostly practicing in the areas of privacy, human rights, and labour and employment law. She holds a law degree from the University of British Columbia and was called to the bar in 2015. Along with volunteering with Start Proud, Michela also helps organize the annual Hooplaw basketball tournament and also assists sports leagues in adopting trans*-inclusive policies. When not at the office, Michela spends her time playing in various queer sports leagues around the city, her favourite being Queer Van Hoops.

Trinity Western Judicial Review

August 15, 2014, Toronto ON – Out On Bay Street has filed submissions with the Ontario Divisional Court to request intervenor status in Trinity Western University’s (TWU) application to challenge the Law Society of Upper Canada’s decision not to accredit TWU’s proposed law school.

TWU’s Community Covenant Agreement prohibits sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage, which discriminates against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) students.

August 2, 2017
Supreme Court justice offers explanation for LGBTQ decision
The Globe and Mail

August 1, 2017
Supreme Court reversal allows LGBTQ groups to take part in case involving B.C. Christian university
The Toronto Star

June 29, 2016
Treasurer’s statement on Court of Appeal’s decision on TWU

Ontario appeal court upholds law society rejection of TWU law school
Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Private Christian university loses appeal at Ontario’s top court

Ontario Appeal Court upholds law society’s stand on Trinity Western University
The Globe and Mail

Ontario appeal court upholds decision not to accredit evangelical law school
The Toronto Star

Equal access to law school beats religious freedom, court rules
Daily Xtra

July 3, 2015
Ontario court upholds LSUC’s denial of TWU accreditation
Canadian Lawyer Magazine

July 2, 2015
Trinity Western’s planned law school takes another hit
Vancouver Sun

July 2, 2015
Ontario law society’s decision to refuse Trinity Western accreditation upheld
The Globe and Mail

July 2, 2015
Ontario court finds Trinity Western covenant discriminatory
Daily Xtra

July 2, 2015
Ontario court upholds Law Society’s decision not to accredit Trinity Western University
The Toronto Star

May 31, 2015
B.C. fundamentalist university to challenge Ontario law society decision

The Globe and Mail

May 14, 2015
Barring evangelical law school’s graduates ‘not reasonable,’ argues federal government
Toronto Star

May 4, 2015
TWU decision unreasonable, federal government argues

Canadian Lawyer

November 11, 2014
Law students as B.C. government to rescind TWU approval

Daily Xtra

November 7, 2014
OUTlaws want B.C. government to reverse TWU law degree approval

Canadian Lawyer

October 1, 2014
Out on Bay, OUTlaws Named Interveners in TWU Hearing

Paralegal Scope Magazine

September 30, 2014
Toronto LGBT groups see court action


September 29, 2014
See no students, hear no students: Are law societies listening to us?

Canadian Lawyer

August 27, 2014
LGBT groups seek intervenor status in Trinity Western case


May 5, 2014
TWU believers bear false witness

CBA National Magazine

For more information, please contact:

Paul Johnathan Saguil
Director, Board of Directors
Out On Bay Street

OUTlaws contacts can be provided upon request.