We’re passionate about social impact. Coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences, we love sharing ideas and collaborating to achieve our common goal in this initiative: a better world with equal opportunities for everyone.

Leadership Team


Jotham Ong

Founder, Executive Director

Jotham is a third-year student studying at the Ivey Business School at Western University with a background in political science. Having lived through two different cultures, he is passionate about helping others and inspiring change to create equal opportunities.

Jotham plans to pair business with global humanitarian causes in the future, and has experience leading projects and teams. Jotham enjoys instrumental performance, and plays the piano for various community venues and events such as weddings, art galleries, and museums. In his spare time, he loves to write, discuss world events, and is an avid basketball fan.

Jordan Tepper

Founding Member, Head of Strategy & Partnerships

Jordan is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree and sustainability certificate at the Ivey Business School, after completing two years in political science at Western University. Having spent much of his childhood volunteering with his family at homeless shelters, giving back was always something important to him. Now living away from home, helping start Operation Poverty gave him the opportunity to channel that passion and create tangible good.

Jordan has experience with business development, as well as teaching English and hard skills in Laos. His hobbies include swimming, snowboarding, and travelling.

Hassan Kiani

Head of Youth Development

Hassan is a third-year Health Sciences student at McMaster University, with an interest in epilepsy and the creation of novel care pathways. Having both seen and experienced the effects of inequality of access at a young age, he strives to help uplift less fortunate individuals and communities.

Hassan is currently involved with various initiatives pertaining to health care in Canada and is a Clinical Research Assistant at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. In his spare time, he loves to play basketball and enjoys the music of Lupe Fiasco.

Ola Elsharif

Youth Development

Ola is in her first year of the Health Sciences program at McMaster University. With a passion for science, learning, and helping those in need, Ola hopes to combine those interests to empower others to climb out of the cycle of poverty. 

As someone who genuinely enjoys volunteering, Ola can be found preparing food drive boxes with Mishka Social Services or helping visitors in the ICU of the Juravinski hospital. In her free time, she is often sitting with a book or trying out a new restaurant in the city.

Kristina Smeltzer

Youth Development

Kristina is currently studying at Ivey Business School, after having completed her first two years at King’s University College studying disability and children’s rights. After regularly volunteering with children in low-income areas, Kristina wants to help find a way to equip the next generation with tools to reduce poverty.

Kristina hopes to combine business with social justice to help children in need live better lives. In her free time, she enjoys reading, exploring nature, and solo travelling.

Maheedhar Gummadi

Community Outreach

Maheedhar is currently a first-year business student at Western University with an Advanced Entry Opportunity to the Ivey School of Business. With a passion for entrepreneurship and finance, Maheedhar seeks to find innovative and effective strategies to directly help those in need.

Maheedhar hopes to raise money and develop volunteer projects to aid those in poverty within our own local communities. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music, going out with friends, and reading new books.

Shirley Wu

Marketing & Media

Shirley is a first year Computer Science and Business student with prospects to continue into the HBA program at Ivey Business School. She is currently learning various programming languages and design principles to familiarize herself with front-end and mobile development and extend her knowledge in building applications that align with the world’s current technological needs.

Shirley is excited to apply her experiences in marketing, media, and tech to help Operation Poverty raise awareness and create opportunities for communities in need.

Komal Patel

Strategy

Komal is in her third year of a dual degree program in Medical Sciences and Business at Ivey Business School. She is the founder of The Mentorship Spot, an initiative which connects incoming university students with mentors in their target programs. She is also involved with research in Organic Chemistry and in Organizational Behaviour, and volunteers with Girl Guides of Canada.

Komal hopes to combine her love for science with her education in business to work with organizations such as WHO. In her spare time, she loves to sing, bake and write!

HIGH SCHOOL LIASONS


JEremy Ippolito

Ancaster High

Jeremy is a grade 12 student at Ancaster High school and will be attending Western University for International Relations with Advanced Entry Opportunity to the Ivey School of Business. He is currently Ancaster High’s Student Council Co-President and was a DECA Provincial Champion for his community awareness project aimed at educating residents of the homelessness crisis in Hamilton.

Juvana Abou Agina

Ancaster High

Juvana is a grade 12 student at Ancaster High School and will be attending McMaster University for their Integrated Business and Humanities program. She is currently the president of HOPE club, a school-based volunteering program to create volunteer opportunities within the community for students. Along with a passion to help and uplift others, she plans to advance her knowledge on business aspects and pair that with aiding in social issues.