Meet the Jake’s House Board
Our board is comprised of individuals with diverse professional and personal experiences, as well unique as skill sets and networks, yet they are all united by their wanting to make a positive impact on their community. Together, they offer a valuable blend of expertise and passion, ideal for furthering the Jake’s House aim to provide significant support to families living with autism.
In family, in charity and in business, David and Irene Bodanis employ inspiring leadership, passion and drive. They are committed to making a positive impact, and do so with entrepreneurial, collaborative and genuine spirits.
David’s current business interests are in private asset management, developing and deploying new opportunities through his vast network. Believing that this success affords their family the ability and responsibility to give back, David and Irene make significant philanthropic contributions to the community and motivate others to do so as well.
Proud parents of three sons, two of whom have autism, David and Irene founded Jake’s House for Children with Autism. In 2004, they hosted the first Jake’s House Holiday Party, after realizing that too many children with autism don’t receive invitations to holiday celebrations. Since, this annual party has grown exponentially, has become a staple in the community, and has plans to expand across the country.
Seeking more ways for Jake’s House to support families living with autism, David and Irene also spearheaded the development of the Legends Mentoring Program. Designed by Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada and supported by the Government of Ontario, this one-on-one mentorship program for children with autism is now delivered in five regions—with more to be introduced soon.
Finally, through awareness initiatives, fundraising activities, and active participation in the community, David and Irene encourage others, especially youth, to get involved and create change, growing a network of caring individuals. Recognized for these efforts, the Bodanis family received Me to We’s We Family Award in 2016.
Humanitarians at their cores, David and Irene are dedicated to delivering assistance to those who need it today, but are also determined to establish a support system that will ensure greater opportunity for tomorrow.
Patricia Pearson is a highly skilled and dedicated OPS Manager with extensive experience in leading organizations with respect to the coordination, planning and support of key service delivery and operational functions. Patricia has proven ability to lead and motivate operational excellence in a diverse and complex environment. She has well-developed communication and empathetic listening skills and has excellent judgment. She is also committed to service excellence, employee engagement and people-focused leadership.
Patricia is highly effective in anticipating, strategizing, multi-tasking and organizing. She has demonstrated investigative techniques and risk assessment skills. Patricia is proficient in computer and information management ability (Microsoft products and Ministry databases). She is adept in establishing and maintaining relationships at all levels that are culturally competent and gender responsive.
In addition to her operations experience, leadership talents and other skills, Patricia contributes to the Jake’s House board her knowledge of the Ontario Public Services policies and procedures, including Workplace Discrimination & Harassment Policy (WDHP), Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), Collective Agreements and Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA), which are required in managing a ministry worksite.
An enthusiast philanthropist, a loving wife and mother and a skilled business solution expert, Claudia Santos is uniquely qualified to assist Jake’s House in providing quality, meaningful support to families affected by autism.
For over 20 years, Claudia has professionally dedicated herself to ADP Canada, where she leads business process improvements at the national level. Through reconciliation, legislation compliance and tax remittance, Claudia identifies opportunities to make processes more effective and efficient, and implements these year-end solutions for Fortune 500 B2B organizations.
Her impressive initiative also extends beyond her career. A socially responsible community contributor, Claudia has developed fundraising campaigns with notable results for GenNext, a division of United Way, and has held other volunteer positions at Daily Bread Food Bank, Toy Mountain and Jake’s House.
As a Jake’s House volunteer, Claudia provided hands-on support at the annual Holiday Parties, assisted with fundraising initiatives and shared recommendations for process improvements. After two years in this role, Claudia became eager to contribute to Jake’s House in more regular and significant ways. Today, as a board member, she helps the charity achieve operational excellence; supports fundraising strategies; and advances awareness efforts—all with incredible grace, understanding and compassion.
Ambitious, connected and compassionate, Victoria Sliwa is a Real Estate Agent in the Toronto area, specializing in residential and new development properties. With over a decade of experience in the field, Victoria has successfully developed a high net worth network, which includes many listed in the top tier of Corporate Canada.
Also a proud mother of two, Victoria not only has strong business acumen, but is also empathetic, kind and generous. Driven by her combined professional and family passions, Victoria offers Jake’s House a unique and valuable set of motivations and skills; specifically, she provides keen insights on development strategies and assists with the growth of the charity’s events, programs and initiatives.
Sara Yousefi brings a unique combination of drive, kindness and skills to Jake’s House. Committed to giving back to the community through practical means, Sara is applying her practice of labour and employment law, ensuring the charity is strategically structured to successfully support as many families living with autism as possible.
Professionally, Sara represents employers in all aspects of the area including: employment contracts, workplace policies, employee terminations, disciplinary issues and human rights.
Sara has a track record of successfully resolving wrongful dismissal and other legal claims and regularly represents the interests of her clients before Ontario courts and administrative tribunals, including the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
Sara completed her articles at a prominent full-service law firm, following which she worked as an Associate at a well-known employment law firm downtown.
Sara received her J.D. from the University of Western Ontario. Prior to attending law school, Sara completed her Honors Bachelor of Business (BBA) degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is fluent in English and Farsi.
Sara’s dedication to her career and clients is mirrored at Jake’s House, as she generously offers her time and expertise to ensure the charity’s policies and organization are developed for sustainability and growth.