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.
2016/2017 YWCA NIAGARA REGION BOARD OF DIRECTORSJennifer Bonato (President)
Jennifer is a life-long Niagara resident and current Master of Critical Sociology student. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Brock University in 2013, and a graduate certificate in Public Relations at Niagara College in 2014. Jennifer’s academic history and current research is based in women’s and gender studies and feminist theories, and she is passionate about social justice-based advocacy. You can follow Jennifer on Twitter at @jenniferbonato.
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.
Liz Isaak (Treasurer)
Liz is a senior manager in the Private Client Service group of the Assurance and Advisory team located in the Niagara office. Liz’s focus is on assisting clients with their accounting, tax and government programs planning and compliance needs. Liz assists clients in all industries specializing in the Ag sector, and has extensive expertise in the needs of small and medium sized companies. Liz is the leader of the Deloitte South Western Ontario Agriculture practice and a member of our National Agriculture practice. Liz’s experience includes being a former board member of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, and the current treasurer of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. When not at work she enjoys travel, cycling and relaxing at the cottage with family and friends.
Misette Critelli (Secretary)
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. Catharine’s 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.
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.
In 2015 and 2016 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 serves on the Capital Campaign Cabinet for Pathstone Mental Health which has raised over $5 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.
Originally from Venezuela, Josefina immigrated to Canada in January 2001 and became a Canadian citizen in May 2005. An Economist and Lawyer from her native country, where she worked as Financial Analyst at the Central Bank and as a research assistant at the national Central University. Since in Canada, she worked as a telemarketer and also as an administrative assistant. Josefina currently works as Community Connections Coordinator for Newcomers to Canada at the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre. She volunteers at Hospice Niagara with the friendly visit program whenever there is a request of services in Spanish. She is a member of the Passages to Canada Speakers’ Bureau, a national storytelling initiative that provides Canadians with a greater understanding and appreciation of the contributions that immigrants and refugees make to Canada.
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. Over the years, she has found herself in several far-reaching library leadership roles at the local, provincial and national levels and honed her skills in policy-making, strategic planning and advocacy. Today, she is a consultant with Building Strong Boards, a small firm dedicated to nurturing and enabling not-for-profit boards to govern effectively and creatively. In November 2010, Margaret completed her second term as a municipal councillor in the Town of Lincoln. She won her first election in 2003 and re-election in 2006. Most recently, 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. In that role, she was honoured to share the Business Education Council of Niagara’s Community Partner Award with Dr. Robin Williams in 2008.
Enabling connections and capacity for building community is both a passion and pursuit for Margaret. In her opportunity as a YWCA board member, she recognizes the ever growing need to ensure that Niagara’s vulnerable 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. To help grow and strengthen the YWCA in its leadership and service role is paramount in this context.
Margaret and her husband, Philip Andrewes, reside on their family farm in Beamsville.
Nicole is a senior manager and lawyer practicing in the area of municipal and land use planning law. After practicing in the private sector in Toronto for nearly a decade, Nicole is now a Director with the City of St. Catharines. Nicole’s experience includes publishing several articles and presenting at industry conferences, as well as co-authoring a municipal law textbook. Nicole has previously volunteered on the Board of the municipal law section of the Ontario Bar Association and for local charities in the community. When not at work, Nicole enjoys being active outdoors with family and friends, including canoeing, hiking and cycling.
Joanne is an Instructor in the Department of Political Science at Brock University where she teaches public policy, public administration and political theory. Her PhD is in Comparative Public Policy and her research interests include the political representation of marginalized minorities, urban Aboriginal peoples in Canada and urban politics. Joanne formerly was the Merritt Branch Librarian at the St Catharines Public Library where she enjoyed supervising branch staff in addition to facilitating programs that included computer instruction courses, adult book clubs and children’s programs. Her experience includes membership on the board of St Thomas Day Care and an Out of the Cold volunteer.
Julie is a lifelong Niagara resident, big sister, active auntie and next generation enthusiast. Julie received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science from Brock University in 2010 and Masters Degree from McMaster University in 2011. Julie now works in municipal government with experience in public policy, communications and government relations areas, which has helped her to understand local services, governance and community needs. Together with a team of community volunteers Julie has lead in the organization of YWCA Niagara Region’s Niagara Leadership Summit for Women. Julie is dedicated to public service and community development and is passionate about supporting and promoting young leaders in our community.
Kelly Snow is a recent 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.
Yuware Usuanlele is a student at Brock University currently in her second year. She is in the Political Science co-op 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.
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 Ways of Niagara Falls and 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.
Cindi resides in St. Catharines and is the District Commander at the Niagara Regional Police Services in St. Catharines. She brings experience in policy and program development, as well as an understanding of the community in which she lives and works. Cindi will add her analytical and detail oriented skills to the YWCA Board of Directors.