Our International Team

Michel Labbé
CEO and General Director

Michel (Mike) Labbé is an Urban and Regional Planning Graduate from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.  He has been involved in the production of affordable housing for 35 years, the first 13 working on subsidized rental projects with Lantana Non-profit Housing Corporation.  

A trip to work in the Townships of Johannesburg, South Africa and the disappearance of government grants contributed to Mike’s shift in focus to cost-effective ownership housing.  

In 1992, Mike founded Options for Homes Non-Profit Corporation.  As President of Options For Homes Non-profit Corporation, Mike has been instrumental in developing a model that can provide mixed income housing to thousands of households without any permanent government subsidy.  Options for Homes has become a leading organisation in the Social Enterprise movement and has provided homes to over 6500 households across Canada.  The Options housing model is now also being adopted abroad in 6 countries across the world to-date.

Options has been honoured with numerous awards and honours over its 20 years of service.  Options has been recognized by CMHC as the winner of a CMHC Housing Award in 2002, as an Earnest C. Manning Innovation Award nominee in 2014, a Tarion Award of Excellence Finalist in the High Rise Builder category in 2011, and as part of the Tides Top Ten Social Enterprises for 2007.  Mike has been honoured for his work through Options as an Affordable Housing Champion by the City of Toronto in 2010, as a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2007, winner of the Canadian Urban Institute Local Hero Award in 2008, and a recipient of a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada in 2016. 

Since 2015, Mike is deepening his involvement in solving housing shortages internationally as the Director General and CEO of Options International.

mlabbe@optionsforhomes.ca

PAULINE PRASEUTH

Development Manager

Pauline Praseuth was introduced to Options for Homes while working towards a diploma in Architectural Technology at George Brown College.  Consulting for Options for Homes during an office redesign, Pauline became interested in the work being done by Options, and in particular, Options International.  

To learn more about Options’ work, Pauline began volunteering at Options and then completed a summer co-op term with the company.  In 2013, she was given the opportunity to travel to Cameroon to meet and work with the Options affiliates she had been working with remotely.  Following the trip, she knew Options’ international work was where she wanted to dedicate her focus.

Pauline has since completed a Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management at George Brown College and is working toward a Bachelor of Technology Education in order to better support her role at Options.  Her work with Options affiliates has taken her to Cameroon, Nicaragua, Rwanda, and Kenya to provide support in various aspects of design and construction in each country.

paulinep@optionsinternational.net

GEMA RODRIGUEZ

Design and Construction Coordinator

Gema Rodriguez was born in Nicaragua. She is a professional civil engineer, certified project Manager PMP, and currently pursuing her license with Professional Engineers of Ontario PEO. Throughout her career, she has worked in planning, design, and implementation of infrastructure projects in complex municipal settings. She gained experience in water management, housing, and planning, allowing her to work with the private, public, and non-profit sector in Nicaragua and Canada. Gema strongly believes that volunteer contributions in communities create significant impact in the development of our nations, and that while acting locally, we are thinking globally. At an early age, she started doing volunteering work and joining cross-cultural educational programs in many countries. She knew about Options for Homes while working with Companeros Inc., a private social enterprise registered in Canada. She offered volunteer contributions in infrastructure projects, and in January 2016, joined the Options International team on a full-time basis.

Jiong Zhang

Marketing Sales Co-ordinator

Jiong Zhang was born in China and came to Canada in 2013. She is a co-op student at Options International and currently pursuing a degree in marketing at York University in Canada. She joined Options International from September 2016.

Jiong Zhang has been involved in several roles with various non-profit organizations in the past. She found her passion in NGO  while she was volunteer with Food Bank Belgrade and helping those flood victims. She strongly believe in Options’ vision and making a difference in the lives of others.