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.
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.
Ali Al Jyar
Ali is an Infrastructure Engineering Designer and is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa. He is the Ottawa-based poet Infinite Mind and uses the art of wordsmithing to advocate for mental health awareness and the queer community. Since 2015, he’s been a member of Ottawa’s Urban Legends team and uses poetry/spoken word to fill a gap in Queer Arab discourse.
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.
Matthew Harding is the Community Programs Manager & the Acting Executive Director at MAX. Born and raised in New Brunswick, he moved to Ottawa to pursue post-secondary education. He enjoys pizza and dogs.
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.
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.
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.
George Phiri has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Masters of Science in Business Management, Executive Diploma in Business Management and Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources. He has also applied for PhD and intends to research HIV/AIDs Prevention and Interventions among Inmates in Prison. He has also Diploma in IT, Leadership, Proposal Development, Report Writing, First Aid, Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Project Financial Budgeting and Healthy and Safety at work.
George Phiri has worked as a Newcomer facilitator, University Professor, Director of Programs, Project Manager, Human Resources Manager, Counsellor, Credit Advisor and Consultant. He has received 5 awards from Lions Clubs International as a humanitarian. Lastly, he is a creative and enthusiastic professional with strong and effective organizational and interpersonal skills and a good team player.
Matt is the Community Programs Manager. Born in Illinois, USA, he became actively involved with LBGTIQ2+ 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.
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.
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.