Meena Roberts

    Meena has worked as a Management Consultant for over 30 years specializing in Strategic planning, Decision analysis, Evaluations, Risk management and Governance. She has held various roles and titles over the years including at Ernst and Young in Ottawa, Policy Studies Associates in Washington DC, Harvard Institute for International Development in Cambridge. Currently, she is a Managing Partner at Nawitka Capital Advisors, an advisory firm that provides investment, strategy and governance advice to clients in the Clean Technology sector. She also serves an appointed, external member on the Departmental Audit Committee of the Privy Council Office of Canada. Her role is to provide independent advice to the Clerk of the PCO on the integrity and effectiveness of PCO’s financial controls, risk management, governance, and achievement of results. She holds a Masters degree in Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University and a Masters in Education from UBC.

    Concurrent with her career, Meena has served on numerous Non-Profit Boards and Councils in Canada and India, over the last 26 years. She has championed better access to education, health care, employment/training opportunities and better outcomes for children, youth, women, immigrants, through her various Board roles. Her present and recent Board roles include:  Board of the Ronald McDonald Children’s House; Trustee of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, (Chair of its Quality and Safety Committee); Board Chair of Ashbury College; Board Director of Aravind Eye Hospitals Foundation, India. She was the Founding Board member of Ottawa Community Housing Foundation; Board Director of United Way Ottawa, Chair of its Multicultural Outreach Committee, Member of its Immigrant Impact Council,  Community Services Cabinet, and Women’s Community Leadership Committee. She also served on the Ottawa’s Advisory Council on Race Relations, the Corner Stone Women’s Shelter Expansion Steering Committee, and was Founding Executive Secretary of the India Women’s Associations. Internationally, she served for 11 years as major donor coordinator to Child Haven International, a Canadian charity that raises 1200 destitute children and women in India, Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal and, recently Afghanistan (winner of UNESCO award).


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    Milo's Story

    Every year when I was little, I’d think “this will be the year that everything will be okay”. And every year, I’d be crushed. By the time I was 18 I couldn’t take my dad’s drinking or my mom’s crying anymore, so I packed a knapsack with the warmest clothes I had and I left. It was freezing cold, and I was alone…but I was free.

    The next few months were rough and at times very scary. I spent nights in parks, doorways and even under bridges all with just an old sleeping bag a friend had given me. One night it was so cold that I walked until the sun came up, afraid that I would freeze to death if I slept.

    It took me awhile to get over the embarrassment to start asking people for money. But, it was swallow my pride or stay cold and hungry. After two weeks of doing this I learned about YSB. I didn’t know it then but, in that moment, my life changed for the better. I got connected to YSB’s Young Men’s Emergency Shelter and my first night in the shelter I slept 11 hours. I felt so safe and secure. I remember that moment clearly and I felt so hopeful I now have my own apartment in one of YSB’s long-term housing buildings, am attending college to become a graphic designer, and am working part-time to support myself.

    “For the first time I can remember, I’m really excited about my future. Growing up I just thought about getting by one day at a time.” I hope my story conveys just how life changing it was for me to be able to access YSB’s shelter during a really difficult time in my life. The team at YSB supported me every step of the way, and I’m grateful they were by my side. I hope you’ll consider taking the opportunity to transform the life of another young person like me today.


    *While Milo’s story is real his name has been changed to protect his privacy