Speakers & Tours

Rethink your perspective on poverty, homelessness and marginalization.

meet the speakers




Food Access Coordinator

Patricia Beard, better known as Trish, is the Food Access Coordinator. She and the Sister's Kitchen team are responsible for the delicious and healthy meals participants enjoy at Sistering and at our Outreach Drop In in Parkdale. Trish is an honours graduate with a Culinary Arts Degree from Humber College. She did her traineeships at Mark McEwan's North 44 restaurant and the King Edward Hotel under the kitchen management of John Higgins. Before joining Sistering, Trish owned Savoire Fare, a catering company, and a cheesecake and chocolate truffle business called Silver Spoons. Trish is committed to ensuring that healthy and nutritious meals are available to everyone—she created a food allergen and menu binder that has been adapted for 30 other drop ins in Toronto.

Drop In Coordinator

Melody Grant has spent her career giving voice to women whose voices are seldom heard, advocating for low barrier services, with a focus on lived experience and expertise. As Drop In Coordinator, Melody ensures that participants drive programs and services that recognize the physical and emotional needs of a diverse population with empathy and compassion, building a safe, nonjudgmental and inclusive community where all women are respected, valued, and treated with dignity. Her passion for social justice underscores her commitment to change the social conditions that endanger women’s welfare and create a world where all women have equitable opportunities to take greater control over their lives.

Coordinator, Community Support and Housing

Teya Greenberg is Sistering’s Coordinator of Community Support and Housing. She has worked on issues of housing and homelessness for the last 15 years in a variety of capacities, in both Vancouver and Toronto, from front-line shelter work to community development and engagement, research, case management and counselling. Teya brings a commitment to social justice and anti-oppressive practice to her work and, as a white, middle-class, Jewish, masculine-of-centre queer woman, tries to acknowledge and challenge structures of power and privilege in their many forms.




Unit Director 24/7 Drop Ins

Tekla Hendrickson, Unit Director responsible for Sistering’s 24/7 Drop In, is a committed feminist whose focus on not-for-profit initiatives has taken her around the world. Her experience includes facilitating participatory approaches to health promotion in areas such as equity, violence against women, early child development and the broad social determinants impacting women’s health. Tekla has co-authored articles on the need to develop process to engage marginalized women in research, policy and practice, and the issue of homelessness and developing shared solutions, and detailed her work in inclusion research on the issue of homeless and stroke prevention for marginalized women. Tekla has trained village health workers in Papua New Guinea and co-authored an article on her experience. She also spent two years in Singapore with the Association of Women for Action and Research and Social Change in Action.

Executive Director

Patricia O’Connell is Executive Director of Sistering.
Patricia has been on the feminist front lines for decades, advocating for women’s rights including the right to equal pay for work of equal value; an anti-oppressive workplace free from discrimination and harassment; and reproductive autonomy. She brings 30-plus years of experience in both the public and private sector to Sistering, ensuring that the women who depend on a supportive, welcoming and respectful space, food, clothing, medical care and harm reduction and trauma informed programming find it at Sistering, 24/7.

Community Access Worker

Originally from Fort Albany First Nations, Eva Scott is a Community Access Worker in Sistering’s Peer Support Program. Eva struggled with addictions and spent many years on the streets of Toronto before seeking support and recovery through the Meeting Place. Eva has introduced Healing Circles in the 24/7 Drop In with elder Wanda Whitebird, and provides support and referrals to women in crisis. She shares her story of personal recovery with the women she works with and with the larger community as a conference guest speaker.