Who We Are

We are about empowering women to develop themselves professionally and personally. We represent women at the various stages of life and bring networking and learning to the community in which you live and work.

As a member of Avanti Women you will have access to our three core services:

  • 1 We host and organize networking events for women to connect and network.
  • 2 We provide women the gift of giving back and bridge inspiring women to collaborate and mentor together.
  • 3 We offer the opportunity to cultivate and learn via online learning through Harvard Business Publishing and attend in-person workshops in the community in which you live and work.

What We Do

Avanti Women’s vision is to empower women to move forward professionally and personally. That is why we have made the membership gratis (that’s right - complimentary) and you only pay for the services you want.

Our mission is to empower women to move forward in their professional and personal development through networking, mentoring and learning.

Our pay as you go service format is flexible and provides resources for women who are determined to move ahead!

The unique difference about Avanti Women is that is offers various topics for women who are at different stages in their professional and personal life. You may choose one or select them all. Our three core services include:

Connect and Network
We host and organize networking events for women that promote meeting and learning from other great women within your industry.
Collaborate and Mentor
Through our customized one-on-one mentoring program.
Cultivate and Learn
Personal and professional learning via online and/or in-person.

Become a member and register for free to apply the recipe of success for YOU, today!

Our Team

Dina Barazza

Founder
(416) 817-3347
(416) 817-3347
dina@avantiwomen.com
Toronto

Dina Barazza is the founder of Avanti Women, a membership based association that empowers women to move forward professionally and personally in their development through networking events, mentoring programs and virtual soft skills training workshops. She is also the founder of The Talent Consortium, a consulting practice specializing in human resources. Mrs. Barazza brings creative human resources and learning solutions to enhance people, process and performance. She is an energetic, results-orientated and strategic in her approach with more than 20 years experience in organizational effectiveness, learning, education, sales and marketing and human resources. She is exceptional facilitator who engages her participants in understanding key concepts and applying them in a work and team environment.

Dina’s academic background includes a degree in Business Management, a diploma in Human Resources Administration and a certificate in Training and Development. She is certified as an Achieve Global Trainer and graduated from the Disney Institute with Business and Management Effectiveness. She has held various Board positions with the AMA – American Marketing Association, Toronto Chapter as their VP of Talent and currently is a Board Member with the Canadian Community of Corporate Educators and The Coalition for Persons with Disabilities.

Fun Facts

In her spare time, Dina is a Canadian Cancer volunteer where she dedicates her time canvassing communities since 1998 and fosters homeless dogs.

Tracey Johnson

Core Management- Special Projects Manager
(416) 993-3989
(416) 993-3989
tracey@avantiwomen.com
Toronto

Tracey is a passionate and purposeful Learning and Development professional who thrives on designing impactful learning solutions to maximize employee potential. She partners with business leaders to define performance goals challenge the status quo and strive for personal excellence. Tracey’s comprehensive work experience spans human resources and learning functions to approach projects with a multidisciplinary perspective. As an employee advocate, Tracey’s innate ability to listen, support and guide individuals as they navigate through professional and personal transitional situations.

Here's a snapshot of some of my experience:

Creation of blended sales product training materials (facilitator’s guide, participant workbooks and learning assessments)

Facilitation of employee productivity lunch learn curriculum for a leading EAP provider

Design training presentations on how to attract, recruit and onboard new employees

Assumed the role of dean for a managerial leadership academy

Managed the national launch of an employee feedback survey process

Wore the editor’s hat for a corporate newsletter

Overall administration and marketing of a corporate employee and family assistance program...I’ve had a great ride!

Fun Facts

Has participated in a 5K Run for the Cure

Love to shop, draw, dance, travel and entertain

Aspires to run a B&B down south

Lana Kharlip

Core Management- York Regional Manager
lana@avantiwomen.com
York Region

Lana is a public relations and logistics expert who spent many years stationed abroad while executing international projects.  Today, Lana keeps herself busy with a few active positions.  Primarily she is the Centre Coordinator of the Hennick Centre for Business and Law at York University (a joint initiative of Osgoode Hall Law School & Schulich School of Business) where she is responsible for the development and coordination of programs, operational activities, communication, public relations, branding, and planning of the Centre’s various activities and initiatives.  She is also Project Coordinator of the NATO Paxbuild Economic Platform, and Director of Public Relations at Green Earth Solutions Group of Companies. 

 

Formerly, her postings included such roles as Executive PR & Events Director with the NATO Council of Canada, Executive Director of the Canadian Turkish Business Council, and Project Coordinator of the NATO office in Moscow, Russian Federation. She is an expert in project management logistics, with many years of experience in high-level professional national/international event management, communication strategies, government and business stakeholder relations, and extensive working knowledge of academia, business, government, and non-profit industries through public diplomacy standards. Please connect with her through Linkedin or by email.

Fun Facts

Definition of a perfect day in Lana’s world is waking up in a brand new place anywhere on the globe and exploring new history, culture, tradition, cuisine, and architecture!


Donna Sobers

Core Management - Durham Regional Manager
donna@avantiwomen.com

For the past 10 years, Donna has been able to combine her passion and skills for learning technology and event marketing, working in Learning & Development environments. She specializes in implementing learning technologies that are cost effective, to meet educational deliverables for organizations. She also has experience as an Education Consultant, supporting in the educational placement of international students of high level corporate clients relocating to Ontario.

Presently Donna is an entrepreneur who promotes health and wellness products and provides grant consulting services to non-profit and small businesses.

Donna’s educational portfolio consists of Bachelor of Arts, Project Management & Adult Learning Principles.

Mandy Kaur

Marketing & Events Manager
mandy@avantiwomen.com
North York

Mandy Kaur graduated from the Schulich School of Business with a specialization in Organizational Behaviour, Marketing and Strategic Management. She supplemented her passion for Human Resources by obtaining a certification in Human Resources Management. Mandy’s experience is within the technology and retail industry, where she has held various roles in business development, human resources, contract management, marketing and strategy.

Mandy’s passion is to empower women by helping them become the BEST versions of themselves. That means being your best mentally, emotionally and physically so you can shine in both your professional and personal life. The Avanti Women organization is an opportunity to create programs for women that align with her passion.

Some of her hobbies include fitness, dancing, traveling, cooking, reading, self-development, and spending quality time with loved ones

Fun Facts

  • The Duke of Edinburg presented Mandy Kaur with an award of excellence.
  • Enjoys creating artistic 3D custom cakes

Jia Hui Yan

Core Management- Marketing & Social Media
Jia@avantiwomen.com

Jia lives by the words “the time will pass anyway, so might as well do something worthwhile”.  Coming from an MBA and BA Psychology background, she hustles as a management consultant by profession and dedicates a portion of her time to a health care services provider as an executive board member.  Jia is passionate about women in leadership and empowerment, she believes in giving back and paving it forward as much as she can.  Feel free to reach out to her if you would like to chat about: travel, fitness, luxury fashion industry, financial services industry, mentorship, or philosophy.

Fun Facts

  • Jia loves to eat spicy food and she has yet to eat something that is too spicy for her!

Natasha Royal

Core Management- Toronto Regional Manager
natasha@avantiwomen.com
Downtown Toronto

Coming soon.

Kar-Yan Choy

Advisory Board
(647) 638-2858
(647) 638-2858
karyanc21@gmail.com
Markham

Kar-Yan graduated from the International Bachelor of Business Administration program at the Schulich School of Business, specializing in international business and accounting. She is passionate about international business, having completed an exchange term in the Faculty of Business at the University of Hong Kong and a summer internship with KPMG Hong Kong. Currently, Kar-Yan is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and works as a Tax Manager in the Consumer and Industrial Markets group at KPMG Toronto.

Kar-Yan is passionate about learning new languages. Kar-Yan is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and conversational in French. The next language on her learning list? – Korean!

Kar-Yan loves stay active in her community in many ways -- participating in various sporting events throughout the city, climbing the CN Tower, and working with various organizations for social causes that she cares deeply about.

Fun Facts:

Accountant by day, passionate volunteer by night!

Deborah Laracy

Core Management
(416) 278-9301
(416) 278-9301
deborah@avantiwomen.com
Pickering

I have been involved with Avanti Women for more than three years, in the beginning a support to Dina as she worked to make her dream a reality.  I am so excited to be a part of the team inspiring women across the GTA to move forward in their professional and personal careers through Avanti Women.  I am so proud of Dina and our team, on what has been accomplished to date.  And there’s a lot more to come!

I have been very blessed in my professional career in that I have worked with a small number of great companies, and learned from some amazing leaders and colleagues.  My experience ranges from accounting, human resources, and administration to events and meeting management.   I currently work for a Consulting firm with a fantastic group of fun, smart and inspiring individuals.

I have been a volunteer with Special Olympics Toronto for more than 13 years.   After attending 

Fun Facts: 

I attended the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver! My two spoiled dogs are Millie and Blu. My dream trip over the next two years is to take the train across Canada – I love to promote travel across this amazing country of ours.


Armin Sethi

Regional Manager: Peel
(647) 965-7760
(647) 965-7760
arminsethi@gmail.com
Peel

Sethi is a Barrister and Solicitor, currently working as an Assistant Crown Attorney for the Province of Ontario. She also tries on her creative side on a bi-monthly basis as the Editor-in-Chief of Bollywood Film-Fame Canada magazine. In her role with the magazine,she interviews Bollywood celebrities and reviews some of the latest films. In her spare time, she teaches dance, coaches soccer, spends time with family and friends, and plays sports. Sethi’s goal is to ensure women progress in a way that makes them happy.

Jasmine Jhutty

Core Management
jasminejhutty07@gmail.com
York

Jasmine Jhutty is University graduate with a degree in Business Management along with a Human Resource Certificate. She is working towards completing her CHRP, and is seeking to expand her knowledge base towards all things HR. 

She has experience in recruitment, but is looking to dominate and explore other streams of HR. 

She has lots of experience in customer relations and is looking towards applying that to building a career in HR for herself. She is particularly interested in performance management, training and development, and building a better and more confident version of herself by taking advantage of all opportunities presented to her.

Jasmine has a passion for creative arts, and holds a special place in her heart for acting. She enjoys the thrill of being on stage, and playing different characters. When not pursuing HR related career goals she has started a Volunteer Blog called ChangeRoom2, and is continuously looking for volunteer opportunities to give back to the community and have fun. This blog was the inspiration to participate in a Toy Drive where she collected 48 toys, and she looks forward to making this an annual initiative.

Fun Facts:

Enjoys doing different kind of runs. Has participated in the Color Me Rad, Terry Fox and hopefully CN Tower climb soon.

Loves to collect the I am Here Starbucks mugs, and hopes to eventually travel to all the places in her collection.


Priya Amin

Mentorship Consultant

Priya is a seasoned and extremely passionate Educator whose nearly two decades of private school experience include teaching, mentoring, policy, procedure, and project management, as well as Senior Leadership/Management positions.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Priya excels in advocating for children’s rights, social change, and empowering family, friends, colleagues, and strangers alike in problem solving and in being the best version of themselves.  Throughout her career, she has also lived and worked in The USA and the Cayman Islands.  

One of her goals is to own her own independent school and is very ecstatic at the opportunity to network with other women as she truly enjoys meeting new people, acquiring new skills and knowledge, and welcomes new opportunities.  ‘Change is inevitable, Growth is optional’ is a tag line that truly resonates with Priya!

Fun Facts:

She may look tiny, but is often referred to ‘She-RA’ by those who know her best. She’s a woman of tremendous strength! Priya successfully completed the Mississauga Half-Marathon in 2013, two 30 mile Bike MS challenges in New York City in 2009 and 2010. 

Amin was a 2015 Pan Am Games volunteer in Toronto.

Amin enjoys traveling, tennis, beach volleyball, and is a Level 1&2 Certified Reiki Practitioner.


Rene McKeown

Core Management - Special Projects
(647) 502-1693
(647) 502-1693
renem@avantiwomen.com
Beeton

After graduating from Centennial College’s Human Resources Certificate program in 2000, Rene McKeown has worked within the field of Human Resources Management. Her day to day activities focus on planning, directing and implementing activities designed to maximize her organization's workforce. Her responsibilities have included recruiting, hiring and training staff; strategizing and planning for future needs; creating and enforcing policies and procedures; overseeing benefits management; as well as attracting and retaining workers according to her organization's requirements.

On a personal level Rene considers herself a “survivor”. She is very passionate about helping others both professionally and personally. She believes that everyone has a story to tell and for every story teller there should always be someone there to listen.

In 2014, she became a Certified Professional Mentor. Her goal is to use her personal experiences, career experiences and knowledge learned from her mentoring program to give back to her community by supporting others any way that she can.

Fun Facts

When I am not working on my career or volunteering my time with Avanti Women, I enjoy living up in the country where I spend my time with my partner, pooch and 3 children.

I also love visiting Ontario Wineries for taste testing and sampling. When asked how I like my wine…my usual response is “in a glass and accompanied with friends”.

Maha ElHindawy

Core Management- Director of Mentorship

Coming soon.

Regions

Today, we are in following Communities in the GTA:

  • Toronto
  • Durham
  • York
  • Halton
  • Peel

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