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The iRISE Team

Board of Directors


Rhonelle Bruder

Founder & Executive Director

Rhonelle Bruder is a public speaker, educator, and anti-trafficking advocate. Rhonelle’s work in the anti-human trafficking sector is informed by lived experience as a survivor of sex trafficking and a formerly homeless teen. Once a high school dropout, today, Rhonelle holds both an Honours Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration from New York City College of Technology and a Master of Science in Health Informatics from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. She has over ten years of experience working in business analysis, research, project management, and community outreach in both the healthcare and social service sectors.​


Alongside her work leading, Project iRISE, Rhonelle sits on various anti-trafficking advisory committees advocating for systemic change to increase prevention efforts and better support survivors of trafficking. As an educator, Rhonelle Bruder has travelled extensively throughout North America for speaking engagements for community organizations and anti-trafficking agencies. Her work has been featured on many national and local media sources, including but not limited to Flare Magazine, CBC, CP24, The Toronto Star, and Global News, Caribbean Camera, and the Toronto Sun.


Kelly B

Board Member

Kelly has been an Assistant Crown Attorney in Toronto since 2002. She has prosecuted all types of criminal offences, specializing in child abuse, exploitation, high-profile multi-victim and sexual violence cases.  She is a designated mentor for junior crowns on sexual violence prosecutions and a designated human trafficking prosecution crown.


Since 2017, she has been seconded to the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and is Lead Counsel on their anti-human trafficking legal representation program.  As independent counsel for survivors of human trafficking, Kelly obtains human trafficking restraining orders across Ontario, preventing traffickers from having any contact with their victims, or others at risk, while also connecting survivors with wrap-around supports.

Kelly participated in the development of Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Act and currently educates lawyers, police, judges, child welfare agencies, medical professionals, youth at risk, and service providers across Ontario on the provincial human trafficking legislation.  Other provinces regularly consult her in developing similar legislation and she presents at provincial, Canada-wide, and international conferences on human trafficking. 


Iman Debnath


Iman began her career with Scotiabank in 2013 through the International Associate Development Program. Building on her rotations in Finance, Transaction Banking, and Risk Management, Iman moved into the Global Capital Markets Banking division in 2015 and Canadian Corporate Banking in 2019.


In her current role, Iman provides lending origination and execution coverage for  Canadian Telecom, Media, Technology and Healthcare corporate clients. Before Scotiabank, Iman worked with Citibank and JPMorgan in Retail Cards Strategy. Iman is actively involved in mentoring of junior employees at Scotiabank and is an Ambassador for the Scotiabank Young Professionals’ Toronto chapter. 


In the community, she is an active volunteer with Yonge Street Mission and Good Shepherd Ministries Toronto. Iman has an MBA from Queen’s University and an M.Sc. in Statistics from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.  


Mirlo Liendo is a mother of 4 and a youth counsellor who has dedicated her life to helping people navigate through life with her patience, honesty, and tenacity. 


Mirlo has more than twenty years of experience working with young women and men who are vulnerably housed, have youth justice involvement, and face mental health challenges. She recently shared her insights into domestic violence and how our recent experience with social isolation has/will affect those who are living in violent households with Spacing Magazine

Mirlo plans to continue to share her expertise and experience as an emerging writer and public speaker with the intent of educating people and their support systems around the dangers of Intimate Partner Violence.

Mirlo Liendo

Board Member


Zeynab Hassan is a Clinical Informatics Nurse at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), where she supports clinicians and physicians in the adoption of computer-based clinical tools and patient safety and quality improvement initiatives.


Zeynab also provides clinical needs analysis for various projects on CAMH's Electronic Health Record and clinical informatics consultation to multiple initiatives across CAMH. 


Before this role, Zeynab was a frontline Registered Nurse for over three years in the Acute Care Unit at CAMH. Zeynab has earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from York University and obtaining a Masters of Science in Health Informatics program with the University of Victoria.

Zeynab Hassan



Chloe D’Agostini

Chloe D’Agostini is a seasoned creative strategist, with a passion for driving brand growth through innovation and storytelling in the media. Her experiences have led her to shape and transform the identity of many top enterprises, startups, and personal brands throughout the US and Canada. Most notably, she co-owned the famed e-commerce business The Beard Club, taking it from a hip start-up to a multi-million-dollar global brand.   


As the former lead of Media Amplification at Super Connector Media, Chloe worked with more than 50 different entrepreneurs and brands, creating a program from scratch that supported clients in maximizing their press and media coverage through social media and online marketing.  As the Director of Ojamu, a global media and marketing consultancy, Chloe is responsible for the company's growth and vision. She oversees and develops marketing strategies for the world's leading brands throughout Canada, the US, Europe, and Asia.


She is committed to using her expertise to support the initiatives of Project iRISE, driving further awareness to the nonprofit organization and helping to empower survivors of human trafficking. 

Board Member

Project Team


Nazel is a Public Engagement and Communication specialist at Project iRISE. She has a passion for data analysis and content creation, which helps her lead our social media campaigns across several platforms. She is MSc in Global Marketing Management and is a lifelong learner.


In her free time, she enjoys cooking recipes from around the world and taking part in fitness challenges.

Nazel Sapargaliyeva

 Public Engagement &

Social Media Manager


Shanna is an experienced project coordinator working in women's product development in the fashion industry. She has worked in operations, buying and project coordination roles for various multi-channel retail organizations. She is also a part-time international development student and has a strong passion for women's rights and empowerment.

Shanna Lacroix

 Project Coordinator

Avalis S. (1).JPG

Sarah has lived in Hamilton, Ottawa, Jerusalem, and now Toronto. She has proudly held various development and communication roles within the world of private education and is happy to expand her work to Project iRISE, helping to empower survivors. She studied communications and media studies at Carleton University. 


Sarah has an appreciation for modern art, considers herself an avid reader, and is always looking for suggestions for new artists and authors to check out!

Sarah Raizel Avalis

Grant Writer and Fundraising Specialist


Ayumi studied at the Musashino Art University in Japan and graduated in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in art and design. After graduation, she worked as a graphic designer. She contributed to creating companies' advertisements. In 2020, she moved to Canada to study web development at the Cornerstone International Community College of Canada. Currently, She is working on creating web sites with some languages to improve her skills.

Ayumi Tanaka

 Web Designer


Lilo Noort is a Carlton University student, majoring in Journalism with a minor in business. She is an experienced and creative journalist, writer, graphic designer and content creator. Her focus is fashion, lifestyle and food reporting, but she also an expert in social media management, marketing, business and public relations.


Lilo's talents in multimedia content creation, writing and marketing, help assist in building and optimizing brand messaging and vision.

Lilo Noort

 Graphic Designer

Advisory Committee


Dr. Stephany Powell

 Law Enforcement Director NCOSE

Dr. Powell retired from the Los Angeles Police Department as a Sergeant in charge of aVice unit. Dr. Stephany Powell's unique insight into the world of sexual exploitation and trafficking gained through her thirty years with LAPD has made Dr. Powell an unparalleled choice to lead Journey Out in 2013 (formerly known as the Mary Magdalene Project). Journey Out assists victims of human trafficking in finding their way out of violence and abuse, due to sexual exploitation or forced prostitution. In 2020, she joined the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) as the Director of Law Enforcement Training and Survivor Services. She is also the law enforcement human trafficking training consultant for Selah Way Foundation.

Additionally, she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Dr. Powell’s expertise on the subject of race and law enforcement has been showcased in documentaries, local newspapers and magazines. She was most recently been highlighted in the PBS documentary “And Still I Rise,” by Dr. Henry Louis Gates. Dr. Powellhas has also been featured on HLN Chris Cuomo for her expertise in Human Trafficking. She recently authored a human trafficking workbook for teens, My Choice, My Body, My Rules, her workbook is currently being used on a national and international level.


Robert Benz

Robert J. Benz​ ​is​ ​the​ ​Co-Founder​ ​and​ ​Executive​ ​Vice-President​ ​of​ ​Frederick​ ​Douglass​ ​Family​ ​Initiatives,​ ​a​ ​Rochester, NY-based​ ​public​ ​charity.​ ​He​'s​​responsible​ ​for programs, policies, and​ ​strategies.​ ​Robert​ ​created​ ​and​ ​led​ ​the​ ​development​ of ​FDFI’s​ ​core​ ​philosophy​ ​of​ ​a​ ​preventive​ ​approach​ ​to​ ​human​ ​trafficking​ ​manifest​ ​today​ ​as​ ​the ​nation’s​ ​premier​ ​prevention education program,​ ​PROTECT.​ ​He​ ​leads​ ​the​ ​organization’s​ ​Racial​ ​Equity​ ​initiative.​ ​


In​ ​2017,​ ​Robert​ ​developed​ ​FDFI’s​ ​Bicentennial​ ​Edition​ ​of​ ​Narrative​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Life​ ​of​ ​Frederick Douglass, an American slave.​ ​As​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​One​ ​Million​ ​Abolitionists project,​ ​FDFI​ ​will​ ​give away​ ​one​ ​million​ ​copies​ ​of​ ​the​ ​book​ ​to​ ​young​ ​people​ ​across​ ​the​ ​country​ ​to​ ​help​ ​fulfill​ ​its​ ​mission​ ​to​ ​build​ ​strong​ ​children.​ ​Robert​ ​was the book’s​ ​Editor. 


From​ ​2016​ ​through​ ​2018,​ ​Rober​​t​ ​led​ ​FDFI’s​ ​effort​ ​in​ ​proposing,​ ​drafting​ ​and​ ​promoting​ ​changes​ ​to​ ​the​ ​existing​ ​Trafficking​ ​Victims​ ​Protection​ ​Act,​ ​the​ ​most​ ​important​ ​human​ ​trafficking​ ​legislation​ ​in​ ​the​ ​US.​ ​The​ results​​ ​of those​ ​efforts​ ​were​ ​signed​ ​into​ ​law​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Frederick​ ​DouglassTrafficking​ ​Victims​ ​Prevention​ ​&​ ​Protection​ ​Reauthorization​ ​Act​ ​of​ ​2018.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​time​ ​that​ ​language​ ​and​ ​funding​ ​were​ ​included​ ​in​ ​the​ ​law​ ​specifically​ ​for-prevention education.

Co-Founder, Executive VP at Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives


Matthew Huisman

Communications & Project Management

Matthew Huisman is a seasoned business development professional with 20+ successful experiential years specializing in business growth program/project management; aligning with business owners to turn their big-picture vision into go-forward action plans(taking them to the next level in their mission). 


Matthew develops and implements Formal Strategic Business Plans to prioritize goals and strategies, outline projects/budgets/deadlines, analyze results, and optimize performance. Providing the necessary action planning and execution, he relieves Leadership of related time-consuming demands to further define internal/external needs, expand/enhance services, catapult engagement, and accelerate business(the brand). 

His extensive proven ability to materialize vision and execute multifaceted projects has supported high-profile private, public, non-profit, academic, consulting, marketing/PR, coaching, outreach, and event production industries along-term relationship building, strategic forecasting, and business evolution level. His advocacy-focused work includes HEAL Trafficking, San Francisco AIDS Foundation,  AIDS Hotline, HRC, City PRIDE Parades, Service Members Legal Defense Network, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Body Positive, Lymphoma Foundation, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.


Rochelle Keyhan is the Chief Executive Officer of Collective Liberty and the 2018 Thomson Reuters Foundation Stop Slavery Hero Award, winner. She develops and executes the organization's strategic disruption of specific types of human trafficking.​ ​Her team analyzes national trends and best practices, creating comprehensive training and resources to help facilitate the effective and systemic eradication of trafficking in the United States. 


She was formerly the ​Director of Disruption Strategies at Polaris, a department she designed to shift systems to disrupt trafficking in the United States. Before joining Polaris, Rochelle spent six years as a prosecutor of gender-based violence crimes in Philadelphia, where she is bar certified to practice law. As an Assistant District Attorney, Rochelle championed the need for increased investigation and prosecution of human trafficking in Philadelphia, successfully prosecuting the first two trials herself​.​

Rochelle Keyhan

Founder & CEO of Collective Liberty


Nick Pailthorpe

Law Enforcement Operations

Uber Canada

Based in Toronto since 2019, Nick Pailthorpe leads the Law Enforcement Operations team for Uber Canada at a Municipal, Provincial and Federal level. Before this, he spent 3 years in Europe developing Uber’s relationships with Law Enforcement, Intergovernmental organizations, NGO’s and anti-trafficking bodies, travelling extensively across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia Pacific. 


A UK native, Nick studied Criminology & History at University and served 10 years as a Detective in the London Metropolitan Police, where he worked across specialist commands, including the Community Safety Unit investigating domestic violence cases.  

In Canada, Nick is currently responsible for raising awareness of Uber's law enforcement services externally and working cross-functionally with internal teams to support investigations, data privacy, process improvements and policy development.   With a passion for understanding how the transportation sector can help disrupt human trafficking, he sits on Interpol’s Expert Human Trafficking Group and the International Association of Chiefs of Police Public & Private Partnership Committee. 

Nick hopes his diverse knowledge, life experiences, and broad global network will enhance the initiatives of Project iRise to empower more survivors of human trafficking.

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