Marlene McKintosh, Executive Director
Marlene has been the Executive Director of UrbanArts since 2008 and has over 25 years’ experience in arts administration, non-profit management, organizational development and capacity building, advocacy, and training & employment services for multiple stakeholders including youth, women, immigrants and the unemployed. With a passion for youth and the arts, Marlene has worked tirelessly to ensure young people have access to quality programs and services and that their voices are included in every sphere. She has completed academic programs at the Schulich School of Business, the Ivey Spencer Business School and Humber College. Marlene is a recipient of the Black Business & Professional Association’s (BBPA) 2015 Woman of Honour Award for excellence in service to the community.
Lensa Simesso Denga, Operations Manager
Lensa came to UrbanArts with over 10 years of Senior Management experience with international and national non for profit organizations with strong expertise in Strategic Planning, Organizational Development, Human Resources Management and Employment Counseling.
Lensa, Graduated in a Post Graduate in Development Leadership from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and completed undergraduate studies in Business Administration, Applied Linguistics, and Communications. Furthermore, Certified in Organizational Change and Learning, Women’s’ Leadership, Advocacy and Citizen Engagement, Conflict Transformation and Peace building.
Shah Mohamed, Program Manager
Shah Ashraf Mohamed has worked in the community development field for more than 12 years in a variety of roles and capacities. He is a proven project manager and people manager with a way of doing things that inspires and lights a flame. As the lead and founder of the Evergreen Outdoor Health and Recreation Program, Shah’s enthusiasm and get-it-done attitude has had lasting impact both in the continuation and evolution of the programs and partnerships that are started and the people and communities that are touched. Shah is driven by making a positive difference in the world, applying knowledge and proven methods to bring about incremental and progressive change. He continues to evolve and grow in his career and is looking forward to playing his part as Program Manager.
Spencer Phillips, Outreach & Development Coordinator
A dedicated champion of the arts, Spencer brings over 10 years of experience in the arts and non-profit sector with expertise in branding, content marketing, and web development. His boutique design and branding firm, Wimbo Media, has collaborated on projects with CBC, Coalition for Music Education, Canadian Space Agency and TD in recent years.
Born in Botswana to South African parents, Spencer’s family immigrated to Canada when he was three years old. He studied at Ryerson University and the Harris Institute of the Arts, where he earned an Arts Management diploma.
Ervin Bempong, Program Facilitator (Young Men of Honour)
Ervin is a George Brown College graduate from the Social Service Worker program. He works as a program facilitator, event planner, outreach worker and youth advocate who has been involved in the Weston Mount Dennis for the last five years. Ervin is influenced by his African heritage and passionate about working with men in the Weston Mount Dennis community. He has given back to his community by collaborating with high schools and middle schools in the area as a role model for Afrocentric youth and a leadership consultant. His greatest achievement is becoming the first of seven boys to receive a post-secondary education.
Joy Simone Smith-Brown, Program Facilitator (It’s a Girl’s Thing)
Joy is a proud Weston Mt. Dennis resident and a York University graduate with a BA in Psychology. Over the past 5 years, Joy has been invested in community engagement and youth programming through positions with York University, Volunteer Toronto, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, West Won Community Fest, YMCA, Inner Sister Community Book Club, and Girls Action Foundation. She has an immense passion for facilitating girls programs and this passion awarded her with a micro grant from Girls Action Foundation to facilitate heartful arts-based playshops for girls in the Weston Mt. Dennis Community.