Board of DirectorsDedicated Community Members
James PartanenExecutive Director
James started growing and preserving food at age six, gardening and canning with his grandparents. Born in Vancouver but growing up on a farm in Northern Ontario, and with an educated values-based viewpoint, he has always paid keen attention to exactly how food gets from field to table. After a decade long career in the IT industry working for multinational tech corporations James returned to his passion for food sustainability and community wellness. In 2012 he helped create the West End Food Co-op’s kitchen and cannery specifically to provide a place for community engagement and education about food (in)security and access to quality food for all.
Laryssa LebarBoard Member
Laryssa has worked in Marketing/Communications for over 20 years. She has both in-house and consulting experience with non-profit organizations and for-profit business, with much of her focus being in the independent school market. Her career has allowed her to dive deep into customer engagement, client retention, strategic planning and all aspects of community management. Laryssa has a keen interest in the proliferation of local food, supporting farmers, the retention of farmland, sustainable land use and looking at alternative ideas of education and housing.
Armand currently heads up the condominium law department of the full service law firm of Shibley Righton LLP, and represents numerous condominium corporations of all types across Ontario. Over the course of his successful career Armand has received multiple awards and accreditations, including ACMO’s President’s Award. Armand was recently appointed as one of the four founding directors of the “Condominium Authority of Ontario”, a not-for-profit organization created by the Government of Ontario. Having received a Master of Law degree from the Sorbonne (France), Armand is also bilingual. He brings extensive litigation and business law experience to the Berry Road Food Co-op and is delighted to dedicate his skillset in any way possible to bring this special initiative to a successful fruition.
Jacqueline ConantBoard Member
Jacqueline (or “Jackie”) loves to spend time in her herb garden and cook with fresh ingredients. She has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly with Pharmacovigilance, drug safety and risk assessment. In the community, Jackie has sat on the Board of Directors of the Mississauga-Halton Local Health Integration Network. Jackie and her husband live in Etobicoke and are thrilled to have the Berry Road Food Co-op as an anchor in the Sunnylea-Stonegate community.
Orest LeshchyshynBoard Member
Orest has had a successful career in financial planning, analysis and reporting within the public sector for 30 years. For most of those years Orest served as Manager, Financial Planning, and Director of Financial Management Systems for a large provincial agency. He holds a Commerce and Finance (B.Comm.) degree from the University of Toronto. Orest lives in the Sunnylea neighbourhood and is happy to be applying his skills to help the Berry Road Food Co-op achieve its goals in the community
Maria MeffeBoard Member
Maria has over 20 years of experience in the corporate printing industry. After realizing her deep desire to pursue her passion for all things natural, she forged a path for herself in the natural products industry. She opened up her own sales business in partnership with her sister, and together they emphasized their commitment to maximize the accessibility of innovative products to the greatest numbers of consumers in Ontario. Today, Maria has a long successful history in the natural food and products industry and she shares her expertise in sales and consultation to large and small businesses alike.
Jeanhy ShimBoard Member
Jeanhy works in the real estate development industry providing strategic analysis and advice to leading developers and real estate stakeholders in the Toronto area. Since 2013, she has been working as an independent consultant specializing in understanding housing market dynamics, opportunities, and systemic optimisations. Affordable, seniors, and family-friendly housing are specific areas of interest where she strives to deliver viable and innovative solutions.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors at Waterfront Toronto – a tri-governmental organization that is stewarding the transformation and redevelopment of 2,000 acres of former industrial waterfront lands. She also serves on the Management Board of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto chapter- a global non-profit city-building research and education organization.
Jeanhy grew up in the Stonegate community (right on Berry Road) and in Rexdale, North Etobicoke and then spent her university years living and studying abroad.
Stephanie BennettBoard Member
Stephanie moved to the Stonegate area 5 years ago and began volunteering locally to get to know the community better. Over the past few years she has helped to run the Friday Mobile Market with the Stonegate Community Health Centre and Foodshare. She also volunteers annually with the Stonegate Farmers Market and St. John’s Bakery. Stephanie has worked for two Toronto area food banks and understands the difference having local access to a grocery store makes in a community. In the past, she has served on the boards of Dufferin Grove Housing Cooperative and More than Child’s Play Child and Family Centre. In 2018 she joined the board of Berry Road Food Coop and the Coop’s Purchasing Committee. One of her key motivations for running for the BFRC board is to help bring access to affordable quality food in the local community. Stephanie grew up in Nova Scotia near the Fundy Basin. Each year she keeps her family’s tradition of preserving and freezing a silly amount of fruits and vegetables.
Peter MolsonBoard Member
Peter spent a successful decade in the retail business and is a licensed millwright. He has worked in the manufacturing & brewing trades and is now retired & living in the Stonegate community. Peter has been volunteering with Berry Road’s Interior Work Committee.
Amy GilbertBoard Member
Amy Gilbert studied and has been passionate about nutrition, health and community for the past twenty years and has a wealth of experience working within the food industry. As a natural foods manager, store “organizer”, and working in retail as a merchandising specialist, her skills and knowledge of nutrients, food and good health translate her ability to impart information to the public. Amy is a tremendous asset to organizations working with food security and the community.