Meet The Team
Our team is made up of passionate and engaged guys into guys or allies, working as directors, staff or volunteers, contributing to our communities’ health and wellness.
James Demers (He/Him) has worked for 10 years at the Executive Director level in the charitable sector, as well as a diversity, equity and inclusion educator across a variety of sectors including healthcare, social services, tech and government policy development. Active for many years in arts and cultural work, James is also a drag performer, show producer, public speaker, trans advocate and athlete in his spare time.
He has committed his life and career to uplifting LGBTQ voices to build bridges of understanding, eliminate stigma and develop actionable empathy in the communities around him.
Matt is the Community Programs Manager at MAX. Born in Illinois, USA, he became actively involved with 2SLBGTQ+ community in Washington, DC, as a peer support volunteer, when he came out in 1994. Experiencing the coming out process during the height of the AIDS pandemic has informed Matt’s commitment to serving his queer community. In addition to his experiences in the USA, Matt has been fortunate to have lived and worked in Belgium, Hungary and the UK, prior to immigrating to Canada. Matt uses his skills to meet queer folx wherever they find themselves. He’s passionate about friendships, coffee, reading and queer arts.
Ahmed (he/him) is the Manager of Partnerships and Strategic Development. He will be supporting the building of community partnerships and fundraising strategies. Ahmed began his career in community work nearly 12 years ago after arriving in Canada as a refugee claimant. His work has largely focused on newcomers and queer communities, anti-oppression, and sexual health education.
Mat is the Harm Reduction Programs Coordinator at MAX. He is the former Summer Community Outreach Worker from the 2019 Pride season. In his spare time, he likes to write, make art and clothing, and play video games.
Mohamad is the Community Engagement Support Coordinator. Born in Syria, he has been actively involved with LBGTIQ2+ communities in Lebanon, Turkey and Canada since 2016. He has worked with new Canadians at the YMCA-YWCA and uses his translation skills to support queer refugee sponsorship groups. He’s passionate about friendships, running, reading and watching cinema.
Spencer Pecore is the Mental Health Program Coordinator. He cultivated extensive experience in front-line crisis support living in Alberta for several years and is passionate about building personal and community capacity within 2sGBTQ+ guys.
Khaled (He/Him) is the Communications Coordinator. Former Communications Coordinator at the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, he holds a master's degree in criminology and a bachelor's degree in advanced psychology. Khaled volunteers with FrancoQueer and is passionate about French/Francophone poetry.
Josh (He/Him) is the Strategy Support Coordinator for male sex workers. With lived experience in the sex industry, 9 years as a pro Drag Queen and with the title of Miss Capital Pride 2015 under his belt, he brings a unique and intimate peer perspective to the sex work program. He is working to build an intervention to support male sex workers by incorporating the concerns collected through a community needs assessment he built in fall 2019.
George (he/him) is the Sexual Health Program Coordinator. He is a Human Rights activist, a philanthropist with several awards under Lions Clubs International, and currently works at MAX to develop, implement and evaluate interventions that will aim to increase access and uptake of sexual health services within LGBTQ communities. He also helps ensure that our work is rooted in equity and social justice by making proactive efforts to reach out to guys into guys at the intersection of multiple inequities, including newcomers and refugees, Indigenous, racialized, trans, and those living with disabilities.
Dorian Jensen (he/him) is MAX Ottawa's Office Support Coordinator. He is a Two-Spirit Red River Métis person originally from Winnipeg. In addition to his work with 2S and LGBTQ+ organizations such as the MMF's Two-Spirit Local, the MNO's 2S Working Group, and MAX itself, he also freelances as a singer and occasional music reviewer. He reads voraciously and spends far too much time on the internet.
Board of Directors
Brent Bauer, Chair
Brent Bauer has a twenty-five-year history of volunteerism and governance experience in the HIV/AIDS and gay men’s health and wellness sectors. Since 2016, he has served as Board Chair for MAX and currently sits on the Executive of the Ontario HIV/AIDS Treatment Network. In his downtime, he swims with the Rideau Speedeaus, Ottawa’s inclusive swim club.
Nicholas Valela, Vice-Chair
Nick served as a founding director of the Ottawa Gay Men’s Wellness Initiative in 2014, later rebranding as MAX where he serves as vice-chair. He is involved in GayZone, Ottawa’s GBT2Q male friendly clinic and wellness centre and has played a leading role in improving data collection for queer populations by health-care providers.
Allen Chen, Treasurer
Allen is a passionate volunteer for social issues, especially for community building for guys into guys. Previously, he has worked with campus queer student groups at UBC and McGill. Currently, he works as a civil servant with the government during the day, and in his downtime he is a consummate video and board gaming enthusiast.
Stéphane works in the field of international development and environment. He's been involved for many years in the LGBTQ+ community in Montréal, Québec and Gatineau/Ottawa and is particularly interested in the mental health aspects of our community. He plays in the Rainbow Rockers Curling League.
Daniel Daliri (He/Him/His) is a research analyst in the Canadian public service and an M.A. student at the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. He firmly believes in the importance of centering social justice in discussions of public policy, and advocates for intersectional approaches to public problems. Daniel dedicates his time outside of work to volunteering and giving back to the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
Chris Mariano (he, him) is an educator with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. He's been involved for many years with refugee services and the non-profit sector abroad, and in Canada. Chris is currently pursuing a PhD in Education at the University of Ottawa and is passionate about language learning and social justice education. He's an active member of Ottawa's inclusive swim team, The Rideau Speedeaus.
Dr. Roger Scott is a senior Canadian Armed Forces officer and long-time volunteer with many community groups. He received the Canada Pride Citation in 2020 in recognition of the harms associated with the Government of Canada LGBT purge. He is a primary care nurse practitioner and teaches in the Faculty of Health Disciplines at Athabasca University. His research interests are health disparities in sexual minority people. When the weather is nice you will find him roaming the provincial parks hiking and relaxing by a campfire.
Kevin Lunianga is a Senior Analyst at Global Affairs Canada. Prior to joining the public service, Kevin worked as a flight attendant for two years with WestJet Airlines.
Kevin is a graduate of the MA program at the Centre for Criminology and Socio-legal Studies at the University of Toronto where he taught and led discussions on policing in Canada, and the sociology of law.
In his spare time, Kevin likes to travel, meet new people and learn about their experiences, and dance to afrobeats, soca and hip-hop.