CIC Toronto Branch Leadership Biographies

Aaron Bains

President (2021 - Present)

Aaron is a partner at Aird & Berlis LLP practicing primarily in corporate finance and corporate-corporate finance and corporate-commercial law.  In the past he has been a volunteer report writer for the Canadian Senate’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes. He holds a Master of Laws in European and International Business Law from Université Lyon III Jean Moulin, a Juris Doctor degree from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Political Science from the University of British Columbia. He has also studied international business law at the Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in the UK and international relations theory at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris in France.

Joshua Gold

Vice President

Josh is Vice President of the Toronto Branch of the Canadian International Council. Josh has been a member of the Toronto Branch executive since 2016 and is also a visiting fellow at the CIC. Josh is interested in international security and defence issues, with a focus on cyber-conflict. Josh has research and policymaking experience in international cyber defence, including from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. Josh is an active member of the Estonian-Canadian community.

Anthony Ilukwe

Past President

Anthony is a software engineer and technology executive. His areas of expertise and interest include product development, complex systems, data, and health tech. Anthony believes in the power of science and technology to improve society. He’s a past President of the CIC Toronto branch (2020-21), and past Vice President of Technology (2017-20).

Michael Chen

Programming Chair

Michael is an impact investment analyst at Genus Capital Management, working in the field of ESG and Sustainable finance. He joined the CIC National office in 2020 as a junior research fellow and later joined the Toronto branch. Michael holds a Masters of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto (Munk School) and an Honours BA in Political Science and Psychology from McGill University.

Tina Sweeney

Memberships Chair

For the past 7 years, Tina has been part of Cuso International’s communications and marketing team. She creates spaces to strengthen global citizenship and social inclusion while amplifying the voices and stories of those around the world. Tina is an executive board member of the Canadian International Council (CIC) Toronto branch and a member of The Program Advisory Committee for the International Development program at Centennial College. In 2019 Tina was awarded Canada’s 100 Black Women to Watch by the Canada International Black Women Event.

Ana Tasic

Digital Lead

Ana is a former Team Canada athlete in Rhythmic Gymnastics. She is a polyglot with experience in Health Sciences, Pharmaceuticals and Purpose Driven Technology. Ana’s areas of interest include sustainability, innovation, arts, culture and health. She is passionate about helping others maximize their impact on the triple bottom line: People, Planet & Profit.

Shaina Chawla


Shaina is the senior director of tax at Wittington Investments, Limited, a private investment company. Prior to that, she worked at EY for a number of years and specialized in international taxation. She holds a Masters of Accounting from the University of Waterloo and is a CPA, CA. She also received her Bachelors of Accounting and Financial Management from the University of Waterloo.

Tannishtha Pramanick


Tannishtha is the current Vice President, Digital Media, and Communications at CIC’s Young Professionals Network, and works as a researcher in infectious diseases at Boston Medical Center. She has a passion for data and communications work, with an emphasis on international affairs, health economics, and public policy. She previously worked in Toronto’s fintech/cryptocurrency industry and as a research associate at Boston Children’s Hospital. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BA in economics in 2019.

Henry Lotin


Henry Lotin is a recently retired Foreign Service Officer of the Department of Global Affairs Canada (now DFATD), who also served the Federal Departments of Industry Canada and Indian Affairs and Northern Development over a 30+ years Public Service Career. Assignments have spanned Trade Promotion, Trade and Economics Policy (including G7 Summitry), Innovation and Commercialization (secondments with Industry Canada), Reconstruction and Human Rights. Foreign assignments included UN New York, New Delhi and the Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Vienna. Henry obtained a Bachelor and Masters Degree from the University of Toronto.(BA Administration Coop.MA Public Administratio‎n and Economics). Mid-career he also received a Masters Certificate in European Institutions from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Henry has been active with both the Atlantic Council of Canada and Canadian International Council since being an Undergraduate. He has also been active with the Couchiching Institute of Public Affairs.

Danielle Paroyan


Danielle is Founder and Principal at POWER Public Affairs and brings over twelve years of experience in strategic communications, government and public affairs, having served diverse clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Passionate about social impact, Danielle has provided strategic counsel and created integrated communications and advocacy campaigns in Canada and internationally for leading organizations across various sectors and industries.

Renee van Kessel


Renee van Kessel is the principal of van Kessel Law, and an Honorary Colonel with the Royal Canadian Air Force. She has over 25 years experience in both private practice and as in-house counsel to some of Canada’s most recognized brands, including the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), Owl Magazine and the AIR MILES® Reward Program. Her expertise is in corporate commercial law, real estate and mortgage regulatory compliance, leasing, marketing, privacy, employment and procurement law. Renee holds an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School, B.A.(Hon) in Political Studies from Queen’s University, and since 2015, her Masters in Public Administration (National Security and Defence Policy) from the Canadian Forces College.

Renee volunteers, advises and sits on the boards of various not-for-profit organizations supporting her long-standing interest in international affairs, peace- building and conflict resolution, including the Canadian Forces College Foundation, Canada Company, the RCAF Foundation, and for over 18 years, as part of the leadership of CIC Toronto.

Kristian Kennedy


A longtime CIC member, Kristian is the manager of government relations at the Technical Standards and Safety Authority. He holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics.

Ilyes Saidani

Member at Large

Ilyes Saidani is a broker with Solar Brokers Canada in addition to completing his Honours BA at the University of Toronto (Victoria College) in Ethics, Society, and Law. As a renewable energy broker Ilyes has contributed to the fight against climate change by assisting in the completion of numerous investments in solar energy.

Jo-Ann Davis

Past President

Jo-Ann has led successful strategic change initiatives for 15 years for some of Canada’s largest corporations, as well as provincial ministries and agencies. Jo-Ann is former Chair of the Board, and elected trustee for the Toronto Catholic District School Board (2010 – 2018). In addition to her volunteer role at The CIC, she is currently on the Board of Directors of Young People’s Theatre and Space Place Planetarium Canada. Jo-Ann studied at St Michael’s College, University of Toronto; the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the London School of Economics, University of London.

Fraser Mann

Past President

Fraser Mann is a founding partner of Mann Symons LLP, and was previously a partner at several prominent Canadian law firms. He practices primarily in the areas of technology, procurement, e-health and intellectual property law. He acts for various clients in the public sector, including government ministries and agencies, crown corporations, municipalities, hospitals, colleges and other institutions. He also represents various suppliers and users of technology products and services in the private sector. He represents clients at all stages of the procurement cycle, with a particular focus on large outsourcing agreements, IT service agreements (including cloud-based agreements), software licenses and software development agreements.

Fraser is Past President of the Canadian Information Technology Law Association (IT.Can). He has served as Chair of the International Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association, Co-Chair of the Technology Law Committee of the International Bar Association and director of York Technology Association. He is the author of Computer Technology and the Law in Canada, co-author of Internet Law, and co-editor of Electronic Commerce: A Practitioner’s Guide and of Mann’s Technology Law News.

Fraser has been recognized as a leading lawyer in technology law by various national and international publications, including Chambers Global Guide (where he has been ranked in Tier 1 of Technology lawyers in Canada), LEXPERT, the International Who’s Who of Internet and e-Commerce Lawyers and Best Lawyers in Canada.