The YW has a strong volunteer Board of Directors that serve as great ambassadors of the programs and services we offer.
If you are interested in becoming a YWCA Niagara Region Board Member, recruitment begins each year in late June and over the summer months. Once the recruitment process has been completed the Board Development Committee adds potential new Board Members to the Slate of Officers for voting in at the Annual General Meeting held each November.
2017/2018 YWCA NIAGARA REGION BOARD OF DIRECTORSJennifer Bonato (President)
Jennifer is a Canadian feminist and an advocate of women and girls in Niagara and beyond. Jennifer is the co-founder of Cardea AuSet, plant-based & gmo-free beauty and wellness brand, and a graduate of Brock University’s Critical Sociology master’s program. Jennifer’s research explores the social issues of biotechnology in agriculture. This work was presented at the International Rural Sociology Association’s XIV World Congress, and will be featured in a forthcoming book with Canadian Woman Studies and Inanna Publishing.
Laurie Andrews (Vice President)
Laurie recently retired from General Motors. During her 36 years with the company she worked in Oshawa, London, Buffalo, Korea, California and calls St. Catharines home since moving here with her family in 2009. She has an undergrad degree from Western and an MBA from York University. She is looking forward to spending more time with family and friends.
Carolyn Teutenberg (Treasurer)
Carolyn is a partner at Durward Jones Barkwell & Company where she provides accounting, assurance, tax and consulting services to not-for-profit organizations and privately-held, owner-managed businesses, emphasizing a comprehensive, proactive and timely approach to providing professional advice. Carolyn received her Chartered Professional Accountant designation in 2006 after graduating from Brock University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Accounting (Honours) degree with First Class Standing. Carolyn is a lifelong Niagara resident and actively participates in the community by attending various charity events and golf tournaments. She is a past member of The Tourism Partnership of Niagara’s Finance and Audit Committee and has previously served on the United Way of Niagara Falls and Greater Fort Erie Board of Directors and Agency Allocation Review Committee. Carolyn enjoys spending her free time with her husband Dave and their two young daughters, Juliana and Emily.
Kelly Snow (Secretary)
Kelly Snow is a graduate of McMaster University’s Political Science and Labour Studies departments, as well as Niagara College’s post-graduate Public Relations program, where she received President’s Honours. A Fort Erie native, Kelly began her venture into provincial and federal politics through volunteering on numerous political campaigns, including that of current MP Arif Virani, the Hon. Eleanor McMahon in Burlington and Liberal Parkdale-High Park candidate Nancy Leblanc, the latter of which she spearheaded the campaign’s communication and outreach efforts. Kelly has worked in the office of the Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Finance, and currently serves the Niagara and St. Catharines community in her role as an assistant to Member of Parliament Chris Bittle. In this position, she helps her constituents navigate Canada’s various federal responsibilities, including the Canada Revenue Agency, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, as well as Employment Insurance.
Cindi LoForti Lepp (Past President)
Cindi resides in Niagara on the Lake where she owns and operates her interior design business. Employed by the Federal Government as Chairperson of the Employment Insurance Board of Referees for the District of Niagara she directed proceedings during hearings and made decisions on all issues arising from Employment Insurance appeals.
Over the past three years Cindi acted as a delegate for the United Nations traveling to New York, New York to represent Canada on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW.) The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to the empowerment of women and gender equality.
Cindi also served on the Capital Campaign Cabinet for Pathstone Mental Health which has raised over $6 million on behalf of children’s mental health. She currently serves on the Habitat for Humanity Regional Board and has served on the Youth Without Secure Housing Committee, a committee that consists of representatives from various agencies and government officials in the Niagara Region, to address the needs of homeless youth.
Cindi acted as a Niagara Early Years Steering Committee member on behalf of Provincial Parliament. The Early Years Committee was responsible to create and oversee Early Years infrastructure and champion local early years parenting initiatives. They worked with the Ministry of Community and Social Services to assist in reviewing and assessing the Early Years Challenge Fund submissions and make recommendations.
Misette Critelli’s background is deeply rooted in female sports formerly as a basketball player, coach and manager. From her high school days through to the University of Ottawa, she played at the international & national level. Her coaching career began in high school at Denis Morris then later in the OCAA at Algonquin College in Ottawa which brought her back to the region to coach women in the Ontario College Athletic Association for Niagara College. She managed the Women’s Junior National Basketball Team for a summer.
Truly to come full circle in life is where Misette finds herself currently. She is part of a locally, family owned and operated business within the St. Catharines downtown community. Critelli Furniture is celebrating its’ 100th year in business. Misette opened Transitions by Critelli, 13 years ago, their second location which is on St. Paul Street in the downtown core.
Her love for participating in sports has transcended to outdoor recreation which continues to be part of what she does in her spare time. She is married to Brian Cunningham and raised her step daughter Krista, who is currently finishing up at Western University.
Julie is a lifelong Niagara resident and Brock University graduate, now working in local government. Since 2014 Julie has led the Niagara Leadership Summit for Women, an annual YWCA event held in partnership with Brock University to celebrate women in leadership and inspire the next generation of women leaders. Last year, Julie was honoured to represent YWCA Canada at the UN Conference on the Status of Women in spring 2016 and receive a Top 40 Under 40 Award for her work in the community.
Joanne is a resident of St Catharines. She is an Instructor in the Department of Political Science at Brock University where she currently teaches Public Policy and Public Administration. She also teaches courses in Canadian Studies and Political Theory, and has taught at Waterloo and McMaster. Her PhD is in Comparative Public Policy from McMaster University. She has a Masters degree in Political Science from Brock University and a Master of Information Studies degree from the University of Toronto. Research interests focus on representation of marginalized minorities, urban politics and urban Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Joanne formerly was the Merritt Branch Librarian in the St Catharines Public Library system, where she supervised branch activities and facilitated adult and children’s programs. Community volunteer experiences include Canadian Blood Services and Out of the Cold.
Margaret Andrewes has a wealth of community leadership experience garnered from a lifetime of intersecting volunteer and career opportunities. In the 1980s, she began her work with libraries. Since then, she has found herself in several far-reaching library leadership roles at the local, provincial and national levels where she honed her skills in policy-making, strategic planning and advocacy. In November 2010, Margaret completed her second term as a municipal councillor in the Town of Lincoln. In 2013-14, she chaired the capital campaign to raise $4 million for the new library and arena complex in her hometown. She is an active member of the Rotary Club of Lincoln and a Paul Harris Fellow. In the broader Niagara community, Margaret is a founding co-chair of the Niagara Best Start Network. She and her husband, Philip Andrewes, reside on their family farm in Beamsville.
Enabling connections and capacity for building community is both a passion and pursuit for Margaret. And, her dedication to nurturing and enabling not-for-profit boards to govern effectively and creatively is ongoing. In her opportunity as a YWCA board member, she recognizes the ever growing need to ensure that Niagara’s women and their families have a secure support system in place as they grapple with everyday issues that undermine their ability to live full and productive lives.
Yuware Usuanlele is a student at Brock University currently in her third year. She is in the Political Science program with a concentration in Public Law. Yuware is very passionate about social justice, and enjoys taking advantage of volunteer opportunities that allow her to get involved in addressing social issues. Yuware is also an active member of Development and Peace, where she serves as the Youth Representative for South Western Ontario. Her past experiences have allowed her to develop a passion for educating young people on the extent of social issues locally and internationally.
Raised in Port Dalhousie, Kathy spent her first 4 working years with the CIBC, then moved to Toronto to seek new opportunities. She worked her way up through several management roles, rising to Director of Cara Operations’ thirty-five store national retail chain. She then moved on to be Vice President of Loomis Courier East, taking on the volatile and competitive courier business. Following this, she started her own business, Summers & Associates, offering training and development services, along with small business management contracts. She and her husband then relocated to Victoria, BC, where she ultimately secured a position as Executive Director of Craigdarroch Castle, a highly successful designated National Historic Site in Victoria, a non-profit and registered charity. After 15 years in Victoria, Kathy retired from this position and then returned home to St. Catharines. She then secured a position with Ontario Power Generation as an Administrative Analyst with the engineering departments. She recently retired again after 7 years with OPG. Kathy and her husband also operate a travel business, Summers & Seagate Inc. wherein he specializes in Italian and European travel.
Kathy has served on the City of St. Catharines Heritage Committee and Culture Committee and is currently a director with the board of the Port Weller Residents Association. Kathy enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, her family, and old and new friends.
Alex Pedersen is the public relations coordinator at CAA Niagara where she provides marketing communications support for CAA Niagara’s overall corporate strategy and works to develop relations with community-based groups, leaders, and staff to create programs that promote the organization’s community mission. She received her Bachelor of Arts Honours in Sociology from Queen’s University and a post-graduate diploma in Integrated Marketing Communications from Conestoga College.
Alex is passionate about the Niagara community and is always looking for ways to get involved. She actively participates in local community theatre groups, both on stage and behind the scenes, is a mental health advocate and enjoys being involved in the YWCA’s No Fixed Address event.
During her spare time, Alex enjoys exploring the town of Ridgeway, where she and her husband Frank live.
Jennifer currently works as a digital marketing manager and is a graduate of the Niagara College Business Administration program. With experience as an entrepreneur and strategic marketer, she specializes in brand development and helping organizations communicate effectively with their audiences.
Jennifer has been a contributor to the community as a student leader, volunteer, and advocate on poverty reduction, student and women’s issues.
A lifelong Niagara resident, Jennifer lives in St. Catharines with her husband and two sons.
Louise is an accomplished executive and leadership coach, consultant, trainer and facilitator with over 25 years of business experience in both the public and not-for-profit sectors. As a certified coach, she helps business and career professionals open their eyes to their unseen leadership potential and succeeds at enhancing individual and team performance, productivity and bottom-line results. She has often been referred to as a catalyst for change and helping entrepreneurs and executives overcome their fears so they can master their career and life with clarity, confidence and power. Louise is both a speaker and author about leadership development and has led conversations with various groups on the subject. She is a proud member of the International Coaching Federation with a decade of professional coaching experience. She is professionally trained through CTI (Coaches Training Institute) and is also certified to offer 360 individual and team assessments with the Leadership Circle. Areas of expertise include: leadership development (individual and team), career development and transition, change management, fear management, strategic visioning and planning, goal setting and accountability.
Louise is a strong community advocate in the areas of mental health, physical activity and wellness. Currently serving as a board member for Contact Niagara, she is also a volunteer committee member for the Niagara Community Foundation Grants Review Committee as well as Women’s Place South Niagara. She is a past board member of the St. Catharines and District United Way, Halton Women’s Centre and Parks and Recreation Ontario.
Louise and her husband David moved back to the Niagara area in 2016 and reside in Fonthill.