Our Staff

Photo of Leo Nupolu Johnson

Leo Nupolu Johnson – Executive Director

As Executive Director of Empowerment Squared, Leo is responsible for leading the organization and ensuring that it is making meaningful and substantial progress toward its mission and vision. Working under the guidance of the organization’s strategic plan and in concert with the board of directors, advisory council, staff, stakeholders, and partners, Leo manages and drives Empowerment Squared’s activities and outcomes.

Leo is active in Canada, Liberia, Ghana, and South Africa. His expertise spans nonprofit management, international development, immigration and resettlement, fundraising, and financial management. He has also served as the President of the Liberian Association of Canada and as a member of several boards of directors, and is a United Nations Fellow. Leo has been the recipient of a Reverend John C Holland Award, the YMCA Peace Medal, the City of Hamilton’s World Citizenship Award and Afroglobal TV’s Visionary Award.

Photo of Priya Goorbarry

Priya Goorbarry – Director, Operations and Administration

As Director, Operations and Administration, Priya is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and supervising all administrative and operational functions and activities across all departments at Empowerment Squared. Working closely with the leadership team, she directs organization-wide collaboration on projects, processes, and systems both internally and externally to ensure that Empowerment Squared operations are efficient and effective. Priya strives to promote teamwork, collaboration, and the implementation of best practices across all departments at Empowerment Squared.

She is a seasoned administrative executive with over a decade of experience and holds a Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University. When Priya is not working or with family & friends, she likes being outdoors, exploring and the idea of camping, but first would prefer to try glamping.


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Ann-Marie Anie – Manager, Educational Programming

As Manager, Educational Programming, Ann-Marie is responsible for creating, planning and coordinating curriculum, managing volunteers and participants, liaising with community members, and supervising administrative and operational tasks for Homework Circle, Home Alone Safety, Student and Family Advocacy, and Summer Literacy. Working closely with colleagues, she directs, manages, and collaborates on projects, processes, and systems to ensure that Educational Programming is efficient and effective. Ann-Marie has a passion for inspiring and empowering others towards being their highest and greatest selves by using an asset based approach. 

She is an accomplished teacher with over 18 years of experience, both locally and internationally, and holds a Masters in Education from The State University of New York. She has many hobbies such as writing, volunteering in the community, traveling, landscaping and gardening. She co-authored a unit on Lincoln Alexander for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board which received an award from the Elementary Teachers of Ontario.


Photo of Keneisha Gardiner

Keneisha Gardiner – Manager, Strategic Initiatives

As Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Keneisha is responsible for the research, design, and implementation of new projects at Empowerment Squared. Working collaboratively with staff and board members and in consultation with members of the community and other organizations, her main focus is on developing systems and processes that ensure that programming is sustainable, culturally appropriate, and responsive to the needs of the community. 

Keneisha is an Ontario Certified Secondary School Teacher and holds a Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University. She has worked with youth for more than 20 years in various capacities including as a mentor, tutor, program facilitator, and teacher, and is passionate about helping young leaders reach their full potential. When she isn’t working, she spends her free time cooking for her family and friends, gardening, or curled up on the sofa with a good book.


Photo of Joana Fejzaj

Joana Fejzaj – Manager, Community Development & Partnerships

As Manager, Community Development and Partnerships, Joana is responsible for the strategic development, cultivation, and management of relationships with partners and stakeholders. This work spans the public, corporate, educational, and private sectors and is focused on fostering support to advance Empowerment Squared’s mission.

Joana earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), B.A., Health Aging & Society from McMaster University, and Child and Youth Worker Diploma from Mohawk College. She has held positions at McMaster University, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Wesley Urban Ministries, Immigrants Working Centre, and Settlement and Integration Services (SISO).

Joana is driven by her own lived experiences as an unaccompanied refugee to Canada. When she is not working, she spends her time with her little human Kade, gardening, meditating, thinking about life’s big philosophical questions, connecting with the soul of the world, and pondering “what is my role?”


Photo of Joana Fejzaj

Kyle Miller – Manager, Development

As Manager, Development, Kyle is responsible for leading strategic fundraising efforts of the organization by designing, implementing, evaluating and refining fundraising activities and strategies. Fostering collaborative relationships with the board by coordinating joint solicitation efforts, developing internal processes and procedures, and aligning marketing and outreach efforts with fundraising goals, Kyle personally identifies, cultivates, solicits, and stewards major gift donors and prospects for the organization.

Kyle has more than a decade of fundraising experience, supporting some of Canada’s most celebrated non-profits, and committing his career to impacting marginalized communities and those most in need. Kyle has focused charities on building their recurring donor programs, most notably doubling Rainbow Railroad’s monthly giving in a year. In his spare time, he’s an avid runner, most recently training and completing Around the Bay’s 30km race.


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Emily-Rose Bell – Coordinator, Educational Programming

As Coordinator, Educational Programming, Emily-Rose provides leadership and assistance with Empowerment Squared’s educational programs for youth and adults, as well as other educational initiatives for newcomer and marginalized families. Collaborating with the Manager of Educational Programming and other staff and volunteers, she facilitates educational programs, builds relationships with program participants, and assists with strategic planning, outreach, and administration. 

Emily-Rose is experienced in customer service and has two years of experience as a tutor, feedback specialist, and academic mentor. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Cultural Studies & Classics from McMaster University, and is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Certificate in the Career Development Professional program at Conestoga College. Emily-Rose enjoys exploring various methods of storytelling, through watching and analyzing films, listening to musicals on repeat, and dreaming of writing her first novel – she just has to pick up a pen.


Photo of Rebecca Morikawa

Rebecca Morikawa – Student and Family Advocate

As a Student and Family Advocate, Rebecca is responsible for providing educational advocacy and support for the students and families at Empowerment Squared. Working closely with the Leadership Team, she provides educational advocacy and mediation, and collaborates with partner agencies to create culturally relevant programming and support for students and families in need of educational advocacy and empowerment. Her goal at Empowerment Squared is to provide effective advocacy for students and families, and to empower them to reach their fullest potential. 

She is an experienced student advocate who has acted as student’s champion in cases against public institutions like school boards and government entities. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from McMaster University. If Rebecca is not working or spending time with family, friends and her dog Matilda, she is usually watching football, or talking about it to anyone who will listen.


Photo of Bethlehem Telahun

Faid Adil  Coordinator, Strategic Initiatives

As Coordinator, Strategic Initiatives, Faid is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the ACCESS Program, which works in collaboration with community partners in the Hamilton area. The program identifies and fulfils needs of the community such as access to technology and other basic needs such as food and hygiene products. Faid is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with key collaborators as well as participants of the program.

Faid holds a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from Ryerson University, as well as a Social Service Worker Diploma from Mohawk College. Faid has over 8 years of experience in the non-profit sector with a large focus on newcomer settlement in the Hamilton area. Faid is passionate about learning and facing new challenges that contribute to her growth and success, both personally and professionally. Faid is also very passionate about foods from different cultures, and you can find her reading creepy thrillers or fulfilling her passion for running with local clubs like Air Up There Run Crew and Steel Town Athletic Club.