Our Team - The FOLD

Our Team

The FOLD Foundation relies on a strong team of staff and volunteers to carry out its year-round mission.

The Board of Directors

The Board of Directors works year-round to strengthen the reach and impact of the FOLD Foundation.

The board is a team of passionate individuals who hail from the publishing, business, and financial sectors in Brampton and throughout the GTA. They meet bi-monthly to ensure the FOLD Foundation’s sustainability and to support the FOLD’s successful and strategic growth.

Felicia Quon
Felicia Quon
Director, Sponsorships and Special Projects
Teri Vlassopoulos
Teri Vlassopoulos
Treasurer
Ashish Seth
Ashish Seth
Secretary
Mark Richardson
Mark Richardson
Director, Board Governance
Karen
Karen Mason
Director, Kids Programming
East Asian woman standing before mountains covered in snow smiling.
Monica Tang
Director, Adult Programming
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Cynthia Innes
Director, Human Resources
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Lavanya Narasimhan
Board of Directors Lead
Felicia Quon

Felicia Quon

Director, Sponsorships and Special Projects

Felicia Quon is Vice President Marketing & Publicity at Simon & Schuster Canada. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, Felicia is a regular lecturer at the Creative Book Publishing program at The Humber School of Creative and Performing Arts, and at Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing Program. Prior to joining The Fold, she was on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

Teri Vlassopoulos

Teri Vlassopoulos

Treasurer

Teri Vlassopoulos is a CA, CPA, with over 15 years of experience in finance, specializing in tech. She is currently the Director of Finance and Controller at FreshBooks. She is also the author of a novel, Escape Plans (Invisible Publishing) and a collection of short stories, Bats or Swallows (Invisible Publishing), which was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best first collection of short fiction. She works and writes in Toronto

Ashish Seth

Ashish Seth

Secretary

Ashish Seth is a writer and educator from Brampton, Ontario. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Professional Writing and Communication program and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. In 2009, Seth published Come on Baby Take a Chance with Us: Issues in Psilocybin Mushroom Use, a collection of essays on the scientific study of psilocybin mushrooms. It was published by Life Rattle Press. His piece “Paul the Fox: A Biographical Portrait” won runner up in Epiphany Literary Journal’s 2017 Creative Nonfiction contest in New York. He is currently working on his first novel.

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson

Director, Board Governance

Mark Richardson is a realtor and one of the founding members of the FOLD Foundation Board of Directors. He lives in Brampton, Ontario.

Karen

Karen Mason

Director, Kids Programming

Karen is a founding member of the FOLD Board of Directors. She is a graduate of McGill University and the University of King’s College, with degrees in political science and journalism. Her love for arts and media have married several times over with stints in radio, film, television, print, and arts administration, with a focus on fostering opportunities of under-represented voices. She is a co-editor of T-Dot Griots: An Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers with Steven Green. Karen is a seasoned performance poet and mother of two who makes her home in Brampton, Ontario.

East Asian woman standing before mountains covered in snow smiling.

Monica Tang

Director, Adult Programming

Monica Tang (she/her) is an educator and scholar from Brampton, Ontario. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Education at York University, and promotes diverse Canadian books and literature as a content creator on Instagram (@goldfishreads).

A young white woman with souhlder-length brown hair stands against a subdued textured stone background. She wears a dark long-sleeved dress and a gold necklace.

Cynthia Innes

Director, Human Resources

Cynthia Innes is a corporate strategist with 15 years of experience helping organizations bring their strategies to life through the design of impactful programs, building inclusive cultures, and communicating stories that unite. Cynthia has a Bachelor of Media Studies from Guelph University, a Diploma in Print and Broadcast Journalism from Humber College, and a Master of Business Administration from Ivey Business School. She resides in Toronto, Ontario.

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Lavanya Narasimhan

Board of Directors Lead

Lavanya is the Director of Special Markets and New Business at Penguin Random House Canada. She was born in India, grew up in China and Hong Kong before moving to the US for her undergraduate studies. She has a Master’s Degree from NYU and has worked in the book publishing industry for thirteen years and counting, which allows her to pursue her passion for sharing, telling, and seeking out stories of all kinds.

The FOLD Staff

The FOLD Staff include founder and Executive Director Jael Richardson, Communications and Development Coordinator Amanda Leduc, and FOLD Kids Coordinator Ardo Omer, who execute the day-to-day efforts of running a charitable organization.

Several times a year, the staff hold planning meetings where committed volunteers exchange ideas to improve festival programming, accessibility, sustainability, and hospitality.

A separate planning team devoted to children’s literature was established in May 2019 to plan and prepare for the annual FOLD Kids Book Fest in October.

Headshot of Jael Richardson who is a Black woman with dark curly hair to her shoulders wearing green glasses and a black turtleneck
Jael Richardson
Founder and Executive Director
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Ardo Omer
Kids Coordinator
Headshot of Jonisha Lewinson who is a Black woman with glasses and braids in brown overalls.
Jonisha Lewinson
Interim Communications Coordinator
Headshot of Samantha Clarke who is a black woman in a white shirt and dark curly hair to her shoulder
Samantha Clarke
Volunteer and Audience Engagement Coordinator
Amanda Leduc
Amanda Leduc
Communications and Development Coordinator
Headshot of Jael Richardson who is a Black woman with dark curly hair to her shoulders wearing green glasses and a black turtleneck

Jael Richardson

Founder and Executive Director

Jael Richardson is the author of The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life, a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The Stone Thrower was adapted into a children’s book in 2016 and was shortlisted for a Canadian picture book award.

Richardson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and lives in Brampton, Ontario, where she founded and serves as the Executive Director for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD). Her debut novel, Gutter Child, was published in January 2021 by HarperCollins Canada.

Contact

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Ardo Omer

Kids Coordinator

Ardo Omer has written for online platforms as a reviewer and critic for almost a decade. She’s been a judge for a few kids comics awards and is an advisor at the Canadian Comics Open Library.

Omer lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she serves as the FOLD Kids Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

Contact

Headshot of Jonisha Lewinson who is a Black woman with glasses and braids in brown overalls.

Jonisha Lewinson

Interim Communications Coordinator

Jonisha Lewinson has written several blogs about social justice issues and identity. She has also participated in a research study about the lives of Black Canadians and has written an anti-racism curriculum for youth (AR4YT).

Lewinson is a graduate from Sheridan College’s bachelor’s degree Creative Writing and Publishing program. She lives in Brampton, Ontario, where she serves as the Communications Coordinator at the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

Contact

Headshot of Samantha Clarke who is a black woman in a white shirt and dark curly hair to her shoulder

Samantha Clarke

Volunteer and Audience Engagement Coordinator

Samantha Clarke is an arts and cultural worker with a passion for community building, culture and access to public programming. Successfully balancing her love for the arts, she also volunteers with local arts organization and museums where her interest for creation and freedom of expression can flourish. 

Samantha lives in Brampton, Ontario where she serves as the Volunteer and Audience Engagement Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

Contact

Amanda Leduc

Amanda Leduc

Communications and Development Coordinator

Amanda Leduc is the author of the nonfiction book Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability and Making Space, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Governor General’s Award in Nonfiction, and the novels The Centaur’s Wife and The Miracles of Ordinary Men. Her new novel, Wild Life, is forthcoming with Random House Canada in 2025.

Amanda has an MFA in Writing from the University of St. Andrews, UK. She has cerebral palsy and lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where she serves as the Communications and Development Coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD).

Amanda will be on a leave of absence from July 2023 – August 2024 to dedicate some time to her writing.

Multi-coloured logo that says THE FOLD

FOLD 2023 Planning Advisory Team

  • Louisa Onomé
  • David Burga
  • Kristen Johnston
  • Shoilee Khan
  • Amanda Leduc
  • Karen Mason
  • Natasha Ramoutar
  • Jael Richardson
  • Fiona Ross
  • Lamoi Simmonds
  • Monika Trzeciakowski
  • Meg Wheeler
  • Ardo Omer
  • Emmy Nordstrom-Higdon
  • Monica Nathan
  • Alexandra Yeboah
  • Calyssa Erb
  • Yeli Cruz
  • Toni Duval
  • Sarasvathi Kannan
  • Jonisha Lewinson
  • Lavanya Narasimhan
  • Ramona Porter
  • Anita Ragunathan
  • Natasha Shaikh
  • Alya Somar
  • Monica Tang
fold-kids-logo

FOLD Kids Advisory Committee

  • Karen Mason
  • Rabia Khokhar
  • Rahma Shere
  • Toni Duval
  • Meena Johal
  • Arathy Sivasubramaniam
  • Fiona Ross

Accessibility Advisory Committee 2019

The Accessibility Advisory Committee works year-round to ensure the FOLD effectively supports and advocates for authors and guests with disabilities. Through regular surveys, the committee provides advice and on-going feedback on programming and production matters that improve the work of the FOLD.

  • Bronwyn Berg
  • Rhonda-Lee Dynes
  • Dorothy Ellen Palmer
  • Adam Pottle
  • Fiona Ross
  • Rahma Shere
  • Rasiqra Revulva
  • Amie Gaudet

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