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YATI Staff Bios
Sarah Butson
Provincial Manager - Ontario Lung Association’s Youth Advocacy Training Institute (YATI) and Youth Engagement

 Sarah has spent the last 10+ years working with youth in education settings and in Health Promotion and has been part of the YATI team for 7 years. She is passionate about work that YATI does and the importance of empowering young people to be advocates for their own health. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Manchester, England and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario. In her spare time she loves hiking, watching cooking shows but not actually cooking, and spending time with her two adorable girls Madelyn and Ava. 

Kristy Ste Marie
Community Education Specialist

Kristy has over 10 years’ experience teaching and managing in education settings devoted to diverse populations of adults and youth.  Kristy is a certified Ontario teacher who designs educational programs that engage students, both in a classroom setting and in the outdoors; additionally she has mentored students both academically and socially. Kristy has managed and led large staff teams of teachers dedicated to facilitating healthy, safe, and challenging experiences.  She is a graduate of Guelph University (Bachelor of Arts) and University of Ottawa (Bachelor of Education). 


Janna Patrick
Community Education Specialist

 Janna joins the YATI team from the Ontario Respiratory Care Society, a professional organization within the Ontario Lung Association.  Prior to joining the OLA, Janna worked in outdoor education where she developed and implemented curriculum for individuals and school groups, participated in creating train-the-trainer programs, and facilitated courses for camps and private organizations.  She enjoys an active lifestyle and being outdoors.  Janna graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc in Physics.

Liza Beharry
Program Assistant

Liza holds a BA in English from the University of Toronto and a certificate from the Corporate Communications and Public Relations program at Centennial College.   Liza has participated in fundraising for youth based initiatives, volunteered at schools and completed an internship at the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  She has a passion for working with youth and providing them with the tools with which to achieve their highest potential.

Randall Perando
Youth Engagement Support Staff

Randall is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto and has a double major in Global Health and History & Philosophy of Science & Technology. Started as a fundraising and clerical volunteer at the Ontario Lung Association, he was introduced to YATI and became a member in 2014. Since then, he became involved in health promotion and different youth programs. As a YATI videographer and photographer, he is passionate in advocating healthy lifestyle through creating informational graphics and videos. This year he will be taking a new role as part of Youth Engagement Support Staff. Aside from YATI, he currently works as a social media specialist and admin assistant and interns as a podcast and video editor.

Sal Sabila
Youth Engagement Support Staff

Sal’s journey with YATI started almost two years ago. She began working as a YATI volunteer and is now serving as a member of the Youth Engagement Support Staff. Sal is currently a grade 12 student at Monarch Park Collegiate and is very passionate about advocating for youth health and education. Sal hopes to pursue a career in health and to keep advocating for healthy life-styles. This year, she plans to raise awareness about the manipulative tactics used by the tobacco industry in her school and community.

Aside from being a YESS, Sal is also working for the Toronto Police Service as part of the Youth in Policing Initiative. Sal’s strong passion for making a difference in her community has driven her to create her own non-profit organization called “Youth Gravity.” Sal strongly believes that we all have superheroes living within us and that everyone has the power to make a difference. 


Mimosa Kabir
Yati Trainer

Mimosa is a fundraising profession working in special events and sponsorship. She completed the Fundraising Management postgraduate program at Humber College and an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Development Studies and History from Queen's University. She is currently working towards a MA in Communications from the University of Leicester. She is a bookworm, pop culture enthusiast, wannabe globetrotter and sometimes blogger. Her involvement in tobacco control and health promotion initiatives began in high school and her passion for change led to opportunities to work for the Region of Peel Health, Ministry of Health and of course, YATI. Mimosa strongly believes in empowering youth and the ability to create positive social change by working together.

Maryam Shahzad
Yati Trainer


Maryam Shahzad is in her third year at McMaster University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a major in Life Sciences and a double minor in Biology and Psychology. She actively volunteers in her community and is engaged in diverse roles with non-profit organizations and several campaigns. She is passionate about health promotion and has been involved with TobaccOUT Iniative Peel, a workgroup focusing on tobacco prevention and awareness through youth engagement. Maryam believes that empowering youth by providing them with an opportunity to express their voice and take on a leadership role can create great change!

Linda Bui
Yati Trainer

Linda is currently a student in the International Development Studies co-op program at the University of Toronto focusing on policy, gender and health in development. She is passionate about grassroots youth-led advocacy and sustainable policy changes having worked with numerous organizations and projects at the regional, national and international levels. She volunteers with the Peel Public Health unit as member of the Peel Action Team for Health as well as its sub-committee, TobaccOUT Initiative Peel. Linda is very excited to join YATI as a Youth Engagement Support Staff this summer and hopes to be able to contribute to and learn from the team! 

Monica Sarkar
Yati Trainer

Monica Sarkar has been a passionate advocate for tobacco control and youth engagement for over 11 years. She started as a youth advocate & Peer Leader with exposé in Ottawa for 6 years and then joined the Youth Advocacy Training Institute as a Training Convenor and Project Coordinator. Monica was part of the YATI Staff team for the last 5 years and is now part of the YATI team as a Trainer. Monica has a strong background in policy change and advocacy, program consultation & keynote speaking, youth engagement and emerging issues in tobacco control and is a perfect example of someone who is addicted to tobacco control. 

Alyssa Higginson
YATI Trainer


Alyssa has a Masters degree in Health Sciences with a specialization in Community Health. She is passionate about promoting youth empowerment and engaging youth to become agents of change for the issues that most affect them. She is excited to be working with YATI to promote Tobacco awareness and Industry denormalization. In her spare time she loves running, reading, going to the movies and travelling. She is also a Health Promotion Specialist for the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program. She loves working with people to raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening through community engagement and health promotion strategies.

Emily Butko
Yati Trainer


Emily has been involved in tobacco advocacy for the past 9 years. Emily is also the owner of a small business, Garden City Creative, where she works with organizations and businesses to develop graphics, videos, photography and content for the promotion of positive social and environmental change. She is passionate about community development and health, youth engagement and tobacco control. She enjoys playing guitar, traveling and camping, and hiking with her dogs.


Renata Faber
YATI Trainer

Renata started her career as a high school teacher and after 5 years decided she wanted to do something a little more out of the box. Since then Renata has worked at Niagara Region Public Health as a leader in youth engagement and works directly with the REACT Peer Leaders. Renata has a BSc, BEd, and MEd in Curriculum Studies all from Brock University, as well as a postgraduate certificate in Public Relations from Niagara College. Ren and her husband have 2 young boys who are fast, loud, gross, and her most favourite people in the entire world.

Heather McCully
YATI Trainer

 Heather McCully always strives to work with young people as meaningful participants, valued leaders and equal partners. She holds an honours bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from McMaster University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Waterloo. Heather has been in the Youth Engagement Coordinator role with the City of Hamilton Public Health Services since 2005. In addition, Heather's previous role as the Student Health Education Coordinator for McMaster University provides her with a solid foundation in a wide range of issues affecting youth and young adults. Her work has earned her the Week of the Child and Youth Award (2009), the McMaster Arch Award (2013), and PHE Canada's Dr. Andy Anderson Young Professional Award (2013). 

Nathan Wilcox
YATI Trainer

Nathan has a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and comes to us with an extensive back ground in youth program development.  Previous to working with YATI, Nathan has had experiences in youth centers, coaching and workshop facilitation.  Nathan always brings his unique style and passion to everything he does and is excited to work with so many outstanding youth and youth champions.   

Vicki Poulios
Yati Trainer

Vicki has over 15 years of experience in education, health promotion, and youth engagement.  She has been working with YATI since 2011 in multiple roles, and has also worked as a high school teacher, a student services manager, and as a manager of a tobacco control program.  She is passionate about partnering with young people to build healthier and more civically active communities. Vicki is currently the Senior Manager of Community and Youth Engagement at Kids Help Phone.   

Cara Kane
Yati Trainer

 Cara has been connected with YATI on and off for years, as both a participant in the early years, to  trainer. She’s been involved in tobacco prevention/control and youth engagement for over 10 years, and currently works as a counsellor for youth in the field of addictions and mental health. She is passionate about youth engagement and supporting young people in reaching their full and awesome potential. She enjoys the spending time outdoors, travelling, hiking with her dog and getting covered in cat hair.

Stephanie Talsma
Yati Trainer

Stephanie joined the YATI team in 2013. She is a passionate health educator and loves all things active. She has a background in Kinesiology and Education and completed her master’s in Physical  and Health Education at McGill. Prior to joining YATI, Stephanie began her career teaching physical education and coaching youth sports in the arctic. Before leaving the North, she co-founded Proud Reunions, a leadership training and summer camp program for Inuit children and youth. Currently, Stephanie is a Program Manager at Physical and Health Education Canada - a national non-profit organization committed to supporting physical and health educators through quality programs and resources. When she’s not having fun at work, she’s enjoying the outdoors with her dog, Miku.