Skip links

About NEW

Our History

Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto was founded by a group of Latin American refugees in 1983. For the past 30 years, we’ve been helping immigrant women and men from all around the world to become part of the wider community.

With the help of volunteers and community partners, our friendly staff provides employment and settlement services, skills development, and language training, completely free of charge. There are also programs for children, including childcare for kids between 19 months and 6 years of age.

Our services are free, thanks to our funders and partners. NEW provides a safe, welcoming environment for newcomer women and their families. For many of the staff and participants, we are like a second home and there’s always room for more!

Board Members 2019-2020

Thulasi Thedchanamoorthy

Thulasi is a Senior Manager in Finance at TMX Group Ltd where she leads the planning, reporting, and management of expense and revenue budgets of over $100 million.  She has an undergraduate degree in Commerce from York University and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). As an immigrant herself and as someone who has spent time volunteering in immigrant communities, she has seen first hand the positive impact organizations like Newcomer Women’s Services have in helping immigrant families thrive in Canada.  Thulasi is excited to be working with NEW and to support its mission to empower immigrant women and their families in Canada.

Juneeja Varghese

Juneeja is the Manager of Neighbourhoods at United Way Greater Toronto, supporting empowerment of local communities to collectively address issues of poverty. She has her Masters in Science and Technology Policy, where her research focused on food security. Having migrated to Canada in 2011, she was able to take her newcomer journey as well as her research work and connect it to opportunities that strive to promote economic opportunities, neighbourhood infrastructure and social wellbeing. Bringing over 7 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Juneeja is excited to join the NEW Board in supporting its mission to ensure newcomer women and their families have a safe and supportive space to thrive and reach their full potential.


Dilya Niezova

Dilya is a Project Lead with Employment and Social Services at the City of Toronto. She has an undergraduate degree in International Development and a Masters in Urban Planning. She has experience working in Canada, South Korea, Bolivia, Mexico and Nicaragua in the areas of economics, poverty reduction, education, employment and food security. She is looking forward to supporting the mission of Newcomer Women’s Services to empower women, and their families thrive in their communities.

Sarah Stothart

Sarah is a lawyer practicing corporate/commercial litigation at Goodmans LLP. She has a law degree from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree in Political Studies and Gender Studies from Queen’s University. Passionate about women’s issues and human rights issues, Sarah is involved with initiatives that promote the professional development and mentorship of women in the workplace and has previously volunteered with victims of physical and sexual abuse. Sarah is enthusiastic about the opportunity to support the work Newcomer Women’s Services does to empower immigrant women in their Toronto and Canadian communities.

Zinejda Rita

Zinejda is a commercial litigation lawyer. She has previously worked for the Ministry of the Attorney General, the International Development Research Centre and as a legal researcher with the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators.  Prior to beginning her law practice, Zinejda worked for RBC Dominion Securities, the Ontario Legislature, served as Director of Policy and Regional Media and ran candidate recruitment for one of Ontario’s political parties.

Zinejda holds a BA, Joint Specialist in History and Political Science, from the University of Toronto, an MA in International Relations from the Munk School for Global Affairs and a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School. She is fluent in Italian, Albanian and French.

 Zinejda is passionate about women’s issues and international development and is looking forward to her term on the NEW Board.

Reizel Lagason

Reizel is an Investment Counsel Compliance Manager at 1832 Asset Management L.P. (Dynamic Funds and Scotia Funds). She has over six years of experience in the asset management industry and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto. In addition, Reizel has previously volunteered her time with Ronald Mcdonald House Charities Toronto and West Neighbourhood House. She is excited to sit on the Board of Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto and support its mandate in helping to provide a safe and welcoming space for newcomer women and their families.

Olga Bezrokov

Olga is a Portfolio Analyst at Russell Investments. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University, is a CFA Charterholder and holds a Financial Risk Manager (FRM) designation. Olga has previously worked at RBC Dominion Securities in Montreal and has managed a restaurant before her career in finance. She is passionate about women’s issues and LGBT rights and is looking forward to being involved in the local community after her recent move to Toronto. Olga is excited to be involved with Newcomer Women’s Services and to support its mission of empowering newcomer women and their families.

Charlene Olutunde

Charlene Olatunde is a Senior Human Resources Manager at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). She has several years of extensive experience in the human resources field, primarily with a strong focus on strategic management, leadership coaching and empowerment, employment law and legal risk consultation. Charlene has worked in unionized and non-unionized environments within the telecommunications, media, airline, pharmaceutical, not-for-profit, food manufacturing and entertainment industries in both the private and public sectors. She is excited to support the mission of Newcomer Women’s Services as she is passionate about the empowerment of newcomer women and their families.

Emma Grand

Emma is a Global Product Director at Ipsos, one of the world’s largest market research agencies, where she leads the development of a new advisory service that leverages a cutting-edge technology platform. After completing a Bachelor of Business Administration at Wilfrid Laurier University, she gained experience on both the client and agency side leading market research projects and initiatives and has trained researchers from over 80 countries. She’s passionate about women’s issues and is thrilled to join Newcomer Women’s Services in its mission to support newcomer women and their families.

Lumi Pungea

Lumi has a law degree from the Western Law and graduate degrees in Political Studies from universities in Europe and North America. Having moved to Canada as an adult, she has first-hand newcomer experience. She has had to navigate an intimidating system of new rules and the networking and resources available to her through non-profits were invaluable. Acknowledging the privilege that comes with her education and experience, she is excited to contribute to NEW’s mission of empowering newcomer women and their families to settle in Toronto and reach their potential here.


Judy Fantham

Executive Director

Judy joined NEW in November 2018. She is always in pursuit of the story having graduated with a journalism degree from Carleton University. Judy worked for 26 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a television reporter, producer, Regional Director for Alberta and Saskatchewan Television and finally as Director of the national Learning & Development department. A Masters in Leadership & Training opened up a new pathway to organizational development and strategic planning. She was most recently the Senior Executive Officer for the Ontario Nurses’ Association before joining NEW. Judy is an avid volunteer for a variety of causes.

Meet Amy: An Inspiring Success Story in 132 Seconds | Steps to Meaningful Employment