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.
2018/2019 YWCA NIAGARA REGION BOARD OF DIRECTORSLaurie Andrews (President)
Laurie retired from General Motors in 2016 after spending 36 years working in finance and manufacturing around the world including Oshawa, London, Buffalo, St. Catharines, Korea and California. She has an undergraduate degree from Western and an MBA from York University. She and her husband love the Niagara Region and have settled in Welland. She is a past board member of the United Way of St. Catharines and District.
Julie is a lifelong Niagara resident, Brock University graduate, and she is proud to serve her community at the City of St. Catharines working on strategic priorities, policy, communications and government relations. Since 2014 she has led the Niagara Leadership Summit for Women, an annual event to celebrate women in leadership and inspire the next generation of young women and leaders. In 2016 Julie was a delegate at the UN Conference on the Status of Women with YWCA Canada. Julie is passionate about community development and is excited about the positive future of her hometown being led through the creative and dynamic talent of emerging leaders.
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.
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 she has 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 as Vice Chair 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.
She was appointed to the Niagara Early Years Steering Committee by Provincial Parliament. The Early Years Committee was responsible to create and oversee Early Years infrastructure and champion local early years parenting initiatives. This committee worked with the Ministry of Community and Social Services to assist in reviewing and assessing the Early Years Challenge Fund submissions and make recommendations.
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.
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 a Communications Specialist at Niagara Casinos where she helps manage social media platforms and media relations for performing artists coming to the Avalon Theatre. 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 is digital strategist and 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 the Owner and Founder of The Centre for Leading and Living – a Leadership Development Coaching and Consulting Company. As a Certified Executive and Leadership Coach, Louise’s priority is to help her clients establish a clear purpose and apply creative approaches to build business, develop accountability and achieve strategic goals. Her success is founded on enhancing individual and team performance, productivity and bottom-line results. Areas of expertise include: leadership development, strategic planning and visioning, career development and transition, change management, and personal development for executives, business owners, not-for-profits, emerging leaders and mid-managers along with workshop design, development and facilitation.
Louise brings more than 30 years experience in leadership roles both in the corporate and entrepreneurial world. She is professionally trained through CTI (Coaches Training Institute) with over 1,500 coaching hours, is certified to offer 360 individual and team assessments with the Leadership Circle and is also a Certified Mastermind Facilitator.
Louise is a strong community advocate in the areas of mental health, physical activity and wellness. In addition to being a Board Member with the YWCA, Louise is also serving as a volunteer committee member for the Niagara Community Foundation Grants Review Committee. 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 reside in Fonthill.
Madi Fuller is the Project Manager of ncTakeOff, Niagara College’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub for students. She is a graduate from Brock University in political science and is a proud Niagara implant as she has decided to make the region her home after graduating. Madi loves to get involved in her community and she is currently the chair of the St. Catharines Youth Advisory Committee along with member of the YWCA Leadership Summit for Women Planning Committee. In her spare time, Madi likes to read, hike all of Niagara’s trails, and speak to people about women empowerment and youth involvement.
A Ruby Award Nominee 2015, and a recipient of the Diversity Network Toronto’s Black Role Model Award, November 2017 and The Niagara Centre Canada 150 Business Leadership Award, February 2018, Nyarayi is a multi-lingual communicator, community leader, entrepreneur and world changer at heart. She has a BEd, a B A Honours French and a Masters Degree in Business Administration and since her arrival in Canada six years ago, Nyarayi worked for Niagara College and Ontario Office Works, before founding TOES Niagara in 2013 which now has branches in South Africa and Zimbabwe. TOES Niagara is an organization that works with women from diverse communities and backgrounds, giving them the Tools of Empowerment for Success. TOES Niagara’s mission is empowering immigrant and marginalized women through multi-lens educational workshops, programs and other support services to enable, assist and inspire these women to believe in their abilities as a means of ensuring that their conditions in life are improved.
Nyarayi is a Pan Africanist, Afro- Feminist and Activist who has taught, delivered papers and facilitated workshops on Women’s empowerment, Women’s rights, Gender equity, Race, Privilege and Oppression and Innovative Community Development on many platforms. She has an International Development background which gave her extensive work experience working with marginalized and disadvantaged communities using participatory approaches
Nyarayi is also the founder (2017) of the ABEAN (Advocating for Black Excellence Awards of Niagara) a Wilma Morrison scholarship fundraiser whose proceeds are used to empower black youth to access post- secondary education in a bid to increase their employability chances. She is also the creator of #RecognizeOwnandWalkinYourMagnificence, a series of talks and workshops designed to help marginalized girls and women, victims of abuse and those experiencing low self-esteem, to dismantle the voices of the oppressor (whatever their oppressors maybe) and reconnect with and use their untapped voices.
A teacher at heart, having taught at both high school and university, Nyarayi’s passion is providing training and education to enhance the economic and social status and the development of leadership skills of women, especially racialized women, in order to improve their prospects. She is a strong believer in Education for Sustainable Development, which allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. Nyarayi is heavily involved in the community and sits on many boards and committees, locally and internationally, in various capacities.
Nyarayi and her husband also own and run LENT WORKS, a multi service organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa, servicing Sun City-Sun International and the Department of Tourism. She is a wife to Tony Forestieri and a mother to an 8 year old daughter Eyrie and a 19 year old son Luke. In her spare time Nyarayi likes to travel, read, listen to music or enjoy good food and wine in the company of loved ones.
Meaghan Rusnell is the Director of Government and Community Engagement at Brock University. Previously she worked as a Senior Consultant at Playbook Communications (since bought by Navigator) and as a Legislative Assistant for a Federal Member of Parliament. Prior to working in government relations, Meaghan worked in social service sector. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Public Policy from Guelph University, Crisis Intervention Certificate from Fanshawe College and is currently enrolled in the Community Engagement, Leadership and Development Certificate at Ryerson.