We are a small team of heritage lovers and professionals with a wide range of skills and experience.

Irene Galea, Chair

Irene holds the Journalism Medal from Carleton University, and has worked and volunteered for heritage organizations at the local, provincial and national levels. In addition to leading NextGen, she is an Emerging Historian with Heritage Toronto, and sits on the Millennial Advisory Board for the National Trust for Canada. Her writing and documentary work has been featured by CBC, the Financial Post, the National Post, the Canadian Museums Association and others.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Katerina Bong, Vice Chair

Katerina is a PhD student at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design in the University of Toronto (U of T). She also completed her Hons. BA at U of T with a specialist in art history and a MA at the University of Pennsylvania with a thesis on the Sistine Chapel and its structure seen through Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes. Her research focuses on early modern architecture (especially in Italy), with an emphasis on the concept of failure and its significance during that period. She is also very invested in the field of heritage preservation and conservation, having worked at the ACO.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Louisa Simmons, Director of Outreach

Louisa is currently pursuing a Master of Museum Studies degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University and a Master of Arts degree from Queen’s University. She developed an interest in historic architecture and landscape conservation after working for the federal government at Canada’s two preserved First World War battlefields in France. She has had the honour of participating in numerous foreign commemorative ceremonies, as well as being featured as a Historic Interpreter in General Rick Hillier’s memorial documentary Forged in Stone.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Alex Sostar, Director of Programs and Events

Alex holds a Bachelor of Design in Environmental Design from OCAD University. She has since completed two certificates through the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education in Advanced Architecture, and Architectural Preservation & Conservation. She hopes to focus her future practice on adaptive reuse and heritage preservation. In her free time she often finds herself delving down rabbit holes in the City of Toronto Archives. Alex is also an avid indoor gardener and a long suffering Blue Jays fan.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Sara Shemirani, Executive Liaison

Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Ryerson University, and currently works at Giaimo as an architectural designer. Sara previously volunteered with ACO as an Architectural Research Assistant. Now, in addition to liaising between NextGen and ACO’s various committees and branches, she sits on the Ontario Place Sub-Committee advising on the preservation of Ontario’s modernist landmark.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Open: Director of Social Media, Event Coordinator

We are currently seeking student or emerging professionals to join us on the board. If you are interested in learning more, please use our contact form to inquire.


Past Chair, Executive Secretary

Jocelyn previously served as NextGen Chair for four years, and Elizabeth and Stephanie previously sat on NextGen’s executive board. They now support the group in Senior Advisory roles.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Stephanie Mah, ACO Toronto VP

Stephanie is the Creative Strategist at DTAH, a Toronto-based architecture, landscape and urban design firm. Over the last five years she has held several positions at ACO, including her current position as VP of ACO Toronto, and is the recipient of the 2018 Mary Millard Award. She holds an Honours BA in History and Theory of Architecture and is pursuing a certificate in Digital Media at OCAD University.

Find her on LinkedIn.

Want to volunteer with us?

There are always ways to get involved with ACO NextGen in a volunteer capacity: write for our blog, contribute to our social media channels, sit on an ACO committee or lead an event or initiative of your own! Contact us to learn more about these opportunities.