Founder & CEO
Samer was motivated to create Layla after observing the hassle we go through to find the right mental health support. Before Layla, he was involved in a leadership capacity in healthcare investing and operations at Persistence Capital Partners and MaRS Centre for Impact Investing. He has led projects in community-based hypertension prevention, diabetes prevention and management, corporate wellness, and home health. He is involved as a Senior Adviser to the Heart& Stroke Foundation.
Samer in a former President and current Board Director of the Harvard Business School Club of Toronto, and Board Director of K.I.D.S IQ Project, a charity focused on advancing research on intellectual disability disorders. He completed a Bachelor of Engineering from McGill and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard. As a teenager, he played the bagpipes, and a little basketball. Today, he enjoys watching the latter.
1. Why did you decide to run a screenwriting contest for Layla?
Our mission at Layla is to empower people to take control of their mental health. As part of that, we acknowledge that stigma around mental health continues to be present and negatively impacts individuals and communities. Through our collaboration with Open Screenplay, we wanted to promote more open dialogue around mental health. We wanted to hear and elevate powerful stories from a diverse range of writers.
2. What would you like to convey to writers that are participating in Layla’s Mental Health screenwriting contest?
Thank you! Thank you for channeling your creativity and skills towards this important topic. In reading some of the moving stories you’ve written so far, the care and passion is coming through in spades. You’re taking leadership and doing your part with the mental health conversation in your own unique ways.
3. Why did you start Layla?
It’s too hard to find the right therapist because the system is not designed around the needs of the individual seeking support. There’s a current gap between wanting to get mental health support, and finding the provider that is right for you. We wanted to bridge that gap through a personalized, warm and reliable service that engages people and empowers them to start their healing and growth journey.
4. What is your favorite movie?