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.

Colin Tilbrook, Director of Programs and Events

Colin graduated from Fanshawe College with an HBA of Environmental Design Planning and a diploma in Landscape Design. Growing up and working in Toronto has greatly influenced his love of heritage preservation and passion for built and natural environments. Always exploring new creative outlets, Colin participated in and won two ACONextGen Charrettes alongside a team of other young professionals. He assisted in Charrette planning in 2019, and in 2020, he will oversee events as Director of Programs and Events.

Find him on LinkedIn.

Alex Sostar, Programs and Events Coordinator

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.

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.

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.

Patrick Handrigan, Executive Liaison

Patrick will be joining the ACO NextGen team as an intern for the summer through the Faculty of Art History at the University of Toronto. He is going into his fourth and final year of undergraduate studies in Architecture at the University of Toronto and has experience working on architectural heritage related projects in his home province of Newfoundland & Labrador. He enjoys hiking, cycling, long-term travel, and aviation. He looks forward to further exploring Ontario’s built heritage for the next few months! 


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.

Elizabeth Birks, ACO NextGen Advisor

Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Toronto, with a BA in Art History and Environmental Geography, and of Guelph University with a Masters of Landscape Architecture. She now works full time at a Toronto-based landscape architecture and design firm, while also volunteering with Evergreen Brickworks.

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.