Members are elected to the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee at the congregational meeting each spring.
The Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is made up of nine volunteer members of the congregation who each serve a three year term. They are charged with focusing on the “Big Picture”, i.e., policies relating to the overall vision, goals and health of the congregation. Learn more about our staff and volunteers.
The Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee is made up of volunteer members of the congregation who each serve a two year term. They are charged with identifying members of the congregation who are willing and able to serve on the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee. They also identify members who are willing to be appointed by the Board to the Funds Management Committee.
|Name & Position
|Rich is a long-time active member of First. He has been a Sunday greeter, and is a former member of the Funds Management Committee, UniCamp Board, and currently sits on the Capital Campaign Committee. He has extensive experience with other boards, including United Way, National Voluntary Organization (Chair), Royal York United, Imagine Canada, Aurora University, YMCA World Urban Network (Chair), YGTA Alumni (Chair) and Learning Unlimited – Etobicoke. Rich is retired from a lengthy YMCA career, having held the position of CEO/President at five YMCA organizations: Lethbridge, Edmonton, Greater Toronto, Canada, and World Urban Network. Rich is married, and has a daughter, son and five grandchildren.
|Alezandria started attending Toronto First nine years ago when she was pregnant with her son, and immediately joined the choir so that he would hear her singing at least twice a week until he was born. Soon after, Aleza volunteered with the education program, helping to teach children for about three years, and recently completed the facilitator training for the Our Whole Lives adult program.
Aleza is the singing half of the indie acoustic pop band Sunshine State and co-writes about her daily yoga practice. She works in human resources at a global consulting firm.
|Tanya joined Toronto First in 2015. She has served on the Committee on Shared Ministry, Caring Connections Team, Spiritual Care Team, Team Generosity, Congregational Safety Advisory Council, the midwinter retreat planning committee, and as a Journey Group leader. Previously, Tanya was a board member of the Canadian Unitarian Council, serving as treasurer for two years.
Since 2007, Tanya has worked as executive director of Spirit in Action International, which gives grants to grassroots organizations in Eastern Africa.
Trustee, Secretary to the Board
|Helen grew up in the Unitarian Church of Montreal and has a BA in English literature from McGill University. She and her husband, Tony, joined Toronto First upon moving to Toronto in 1984. She has served Toronto First in various capacities including as a board trustee, committee chair (religious education program; membership), and convenor (Chief Convenor; Administration and Property Convenor). Currently, she is a member of the Unicamp board.
She also loves to write, has a poetry blog, and has had poetry published in various literary magazines and anthologies, including several Canadian Unitarian Council poetry chapbooks. Helen recently retired from an office role at a local golf club.
|Chris has attended First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto with his family since 2012.
Professionally, he serves as the programming director at Inspirit Foundation — a national philanthropic organization committed to advancing pluralism in Canada — where he leads Inspirit’s grantmaking programs, evaluation and learning strategies, and social impact initiatives. Leveraging an array of financial tools, he works in partnership with communities and organizations to support justice, inclusion, and equity across multiple sectors. Chris holds a BA (Hons) from the University of King’s College and an MEd from the University of British Columbia. He also volunteers his time as a board member with Grassroots Grantmakers, a US-based non-profit organization.
Trustee, Vice President of the Board
|Nacia has been a member of First Unitarian since 2017. Originally from the States, she came to Canada in 1979 and enjoyed a long career as a communications professional with her own company and a number of non-profits such as the YMCA. She has served on the boards of several community organizations including Lake Field Music Camp and Shakespeare in the Ruff. She has also volunteered with the choir program at the Regent Park School of Music (now Community Music Schools of Toronto).
|Owen Smith, Trustee
|Owen has been attending First for about 25 years, and recently became a member. He has been a member of the Nominating Committee, is a long-time member of the choir, and currently chairs the Midwinter Retreat Committee. Owen was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and went to McGill University, accumulating Bachelor's Degrees in Microbiology and Immunology, and Education. He moved to Toronto in 1991 and worked for the Toronto District School Board until his retirement in April 2023. During his time with TDSB, Owen was released for one year to work for the teacher’s union as an executive officer, and also taught overseas in Istanbul, Cambodia, India, and Nepal. Hobbies and interests include creating music, travel, and improv theatre.
|Brigit Swenson, Trustee
|Brigit has attended First Unitarian with her daughter, Scarlett, since 2012 when she says she immediately found their spiritual home. Over the years, Brigit has served on the Nominating Committee, as an RE teacher, and as a Sunday greeter in pre-Covid days. Brigit is a family doctor, working in community and sexual health. She also loves running, reading, travelling, gardening, and hanging out with the family's awesome pup, Leo. Brigit is looking forward to serving the First community as a board member during this exciting time of transition.
|A long-time member of Toronto First, Ken is known for his woodworking skills, his joy in baking wedding cakes, and his gifts of homegrown fruits and vegetables to a local food bank. He also provides audio/recording/editing services for condominium meetings.
Ken has worked as a waste management consultant and initiated the largest soil replacement project in Toronto.