Meet Our Team

Blue Door has a rich 42-year tradition of responding to community needs.

We have over 100 amazing staff and a team of volunteers working hard to provide people experiencing homelessness with dignified and personalized supports.

From at emergency housing locations to finding a new home and beyond, our staff are experts in person-centered care. Every member of our team is valued and incredibly vital to Blue Door. We are a dedicated team and proud advocates for the people we serve at Blue Door! Please come in for a chat, we can’t do what we do without you!

Michael Braithwaite (He/Him)

Chief Executive Officer

Michael has over 30 years of experience creating innovative solutions to better support vulnerable people. Michael joined Blue Door in March of 2019 as CEO and has since helped launch Blue Door’s first employment social enterprise called Construct, three supportive housing programs including the first safe space for 2SLGBTQ+ youth in York Region, a national housing and homelessness podcast, a merger with Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold, and is currently executing a Solutions Lab in collaboration with SHS Consulting and Habitat for Humanity to explore the journey from homelessness to homeownership.

 

Previously Michael worked at Raising the Roof and 360kids in York Region. As CEO of the national organization Raising the Roof, Michael launched Reside, a program to transform underutilized properties into affordable housing by engaging the social enterprise Building Up.

As Executive Director at 360kids, Michael lead the development of several innovative and collaborative initiatives including the development of the new Youth Hub, an Anti-Human Trafficking Program, the first Nightstop Housing Program in Canada, and in partnership with the York Region District School Board developed iGrad a classroom-based program whereby a teacher uses an e-learning platform to help youth complete high school.

Emmy Kelly (She/Her)

Chief Operating Officer

Emmy is a passionate and strategic leader with over 20 years of experience in leveraging entrepreneurial drive and business acumen for growth, operations, and success to lead change for marginalized individuals and communities both internationally and within Canada.

As Chief Operating Officer at Blue Door, Emmy has been instrumental in expanding services for those experiencing homelessness and poverty, overseeing an average annual growth rate of 75% with a thoughtful, sustainable approach. Under her leadership, Blue Door has launched Construct, a trades-based employment social enterprise focused on homelessness prevention, which is now operating in the regions of York, Durham, and Peel.

 

Emmy also collaborated with the Home Depot Canada Foundation to create TradeWorx, an investment in employment social enterprises across Canada as a strategy to prevent homelessness. This program has been expanding rapidly from coast to coast to coast. Additionally, Emmy has led the Blue Door team in operating 46 units of transitional/supportive housing, creating long-term solutions and supports for families, senior men, and 2SLGBTQ+ youth.

In 2022, Emmy was recognized for her exceptional leadership and contributions to the community with the Woman of Excellence award. This is a testament to her dedication and commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of marginalized individuals and communities.

Emmy holds an MBA from the University of Liverpool and volunteers on the Board of Directors for the Daily Bread Food Bank and the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association to further support the mission of justice and poverty alleviation.

Alex Cheng (He/Him)

Director of Programs, Housing and Health

Alex has over 20 years of experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness. As Director of Programs, Housing and Health, Alex has helped to create and launch six new programs including Construct, service provision at Passage House, Blue Door’s Health Hub, as well as three transitional community housing programs called Abode (families), Forward (senior men), and INNclusion (2SLGBTQ+ youth).

Prior to entering his current role, Alex was the Client Services Director overseeing all of Blue Door’s emergency housing programs. Alex first started at Blue Door working directly with the male youth in the emergency housing program called Kevin’s Place in Newmarket.

As a result, Alex brings a wealth of knowledge of the York Region community, experience developing and launching new programs, collaborating with partners, evaluating projects, working directly with vulnerable individuals, and has a thorough understanding of existing community needs and barriers faced by individuals experiencing homelessness.

Karen Al Massaad (She/Her)

Director of Programs, Emergency Housing and Supports

Karen is a dedicated and experienced social services professional with a passion for helping vulnerable individuals. With over 10 years of experience in the field, Karen is currently serving as the Director of Programs, Emergency Housing Supports, where she oversees the development and implementation of programs that support families, adult, seniors, and youth in finding and securing housing.

Prior to her role as Director, Karen worked in various capacities at all programs, gaining invaluable experience and knowledge of the unique needs of  individuals accessing Blue Door. As a result, Karen is well-versed in the various challenges that come with supporting vulnerable individuals and has developed a deep understanding of how to provide compassionate care and support.

In her current positions, Karen is focused on building new partnerships and developing the programs that she oversees to ensure that they are utilizing best practices and providing the highest level of support possible.

Amanda Palermo (She/Her)

Director of Human Resources

Amanda has over 10 years experience in Human Resources. She graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Arts and from George Brown College Human Resources Management Post Graduate Program. She is a member of HRPA in good standing and activity participates in HRPA events. Prior to joining  Blue Door, Amanda developed volunteer programs with Blue Door through previous HR roles with Home Depot, Inscape and Children’s Aid Society, York Region. Amanda is active in her community and gives back as Board Member for New Path Family and Youth Services located in Simcoe County. She was recently voted in as Chair of the Human Resources Seneca Program Advisory Committee where she volunteers alongside other HR working professionals to support with curriculum updates and changes for future HR leaders. Amanda is passionate about organizational culture and ensuring overall staff satisfaction is at the forefront of recruitment and retention policies and practices.

 

Hetal Modi (She/Her)

Director of Finance

Hetal, CPA, CGA, serves as the Director of Finance at Blue Door, bringing over 10 years of experience in nonprofits, accounting, financial analysis, and strategic planning. Hetal ensures the smooth operation of day-to-day financial functions while also driving strategic financial planning for the organization. Hetal plays a crucial role in optimizing financial performance. Her strong leadership abilities, problem-solving skills, and continuous pursuit of growth make her an invaluable member of our team.

Rachael Sedman (She/Her)

Director of Resource Development

Rachael has over 10 years of experience helping non-profit organizations reach their fundraising goals, ultimately sustaining and expanding life-saving services. Rachael joined Blue Door in 2019 and continues to foster long-term relationships as well as secure funding to launch and scale Blue Door’s homelessness solutions. Additionally, Rachael leads Blue Door’s marketing and communication campaigns raising awareness, educating, and advocating to reduce stigma and drive dignified programming. With a postgraduate certificate in Fundraising and Volunteer Management from Humber College and previous experience at the MS Society and Yellow Brick House, Rachael is a thoughtful, passionate, and strategic leader.

Adrianna Vanderneut (She/Her)

Director of Quality, Compliance, and Evaluation

Adrianna has worked in the homelessness sector for over 15 years, leading systematic changes to youth homelessness strategies across the Durham Region, most notably through the implementation of diversion screening for all individuals accessing emergency housing. During her time as Executive Director of Durham Youth Services, Adrianna’s innovative approach to ending and preventing youth homelessness led to the addition of two transitional housing sites for youths in Durham.

Adrianna also started her career providing frontline support as a counsellor at the John Howard Society for seven years, helping youth address anger management and providing anti-theft strategies. As the Director of Quality, Compliance, and Evaluation at Blue Door, Adrianna ensures that the organization upholds the highest standards in service delivery, operational effectiveness, and fiscal responsibility.

Emily Rowe (She/Her)

Director, Expansion and Employment

A committed and compassionate leader, Emily has worked in the housing and homelessness sector for over 5 years. Starting at Blue Door as the Social Enterprise Manager, Emily has grown the Construct team and scaled the program, including launching an innovative hands-on training space. In addition to her experience with Blue Door’s Construct program, she brings to the role extensive experience managing and overseeing philanthropic campaigns from her time at The Home Depot Canada Foundation. Through innovation, leadership, and with a Masters of Science in Global Cooperation and Security, she continues to seek proven solutions to end homelessness and poverty.

Luis Flores (He/Him)

Director, Construction and Development

With 20 years spent working in senior management roles, Luis has extensive experience in construction, project, and stakeholder management. He brings with him over a decade of construction management experience gained across southern Ontario and Alberta working on and managing residential building construction, commercial, institutional, as well as civil projects including roadworks and municipal infrastructure. In the roles of Capital Construction Inspector, Regional Manager, and Construction Manager, Luis has experience working with annual budgets of over $14 million, supporting teams of over 300 people, building and renovating emergency and affordable housing, as well as engaging and coordinating with tenants. As a certified PMP from the Project Management Institute, he upholds the highest standards in honesty, responsibility, respect and fairness that drives him as a professional.

Interested in Joining Our Team?

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