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Announcement Details


COSTI’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Samina Sami as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 11, 2022. Samina has a proven track record of dynamic and visionary leadership of more than 26 years in the public sector. Her diverse career includes working in government, higher education, and community services, on a range of initiatives, including strategy-setting, transformation, service and program delivery, grant funding management, policy, and public affairs, including working with the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration, and International Trade. Samina is driven by a passion for collaboration and innovation and enjoys working with diverse communities on issues of justice, public policy, and social development, using an equitable and inclusive lens. Her sectoral experience spans justice, human rights, gender-based violence, public safety, education, innovation, and economic development.

Recently, Samina has held leadership roles at York University, including Executive Director and Executive Lead of an equity-driven service delivery transformation. She is a well-respected leader and her contributions have been significant, especially in the establishment of the community-driven strategy-Safer Together, and her leadership skills and operational experience were instrumental in updating the university’s critical incident, emergency, and operational plans, including leading the response to COVID-19.  

Samina has a personal connection to settlement services as a child of immigrants, and she began her career in the settlement sector, establishing the HOST program in Peel Region. Samina is committed to giving back to the community and has personally focused on access to education and employment for diverse communities. She has also served as a part-time Faculty Member of the Social Services Worker Diploma Program – Immigrants and Refugees at Seneca College.

A creative and results oriented professional with an enthusiasm for people, organizational change, and innovation, Samina has led diverse teams who have achieved awards for innovation, teamwork, and excellence. In 2019, her team earned a York presidential team award and a commendation from the City of Toronto and the Red Cross, for leading relief efforts for residents of the Gosford Tower Fire. In 2016, her teams won the provincial government’s Amethyst Award for leading the development of a gender-based violence prevention campaign, and she has won awards for grant financial administration, service delivery, and innovation.

Samina holds an M.Ed. from the University of Toronto, an Executive MBA from the Schulich School of Business, York University and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. She is currently a PhD student, with a focus on leadership, equity, and public administration.

“COSTI looks forward to building on the commitment and passion of our staff and our volunteers, while continuing our strong relationship with funders and partners in order to continue to make a difference in the lives of newcomers. We conducted an extensive search to find our next leader and are very excited about what Samina brings to the table and her alignment with our vision and values," said Pina Alberelli-Arone, Chair of COSTI’s Board of Directors. “As we move forward with implementing COSTI’s four-year Strategic Plan and our vision of building a stronger Canada, we believe Samina is the best person to lead our organization.”

“Samina Sami will bring a wealth of expertise to COSTI’s work, and I am delighted to hand over to someone with her knowledge, experience, and commitment to newcomers and equity,” said Executive Director, Mario J. Calla. “I have no doubt that COSTI will be in capable hands under her leadership. I look forward to working with Samina and continuing my involvement with COSTI in my capacity as an advisor on key initiatives.”

Samina Sami will assume her new function on July 11, 2022. She will be leading an organization with a 70-year history and with 450 employees who speak 68 different languages.

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