We take pride in ensuring we’re always improving, always being as efficient as possible and always taking responsibility to manage ourselves prudently to ensure the support we receive does the good it was intended.
That’s why we take great care to build and maintain a robust, talented Leadership Team and Board of Directors. This team of professionals works with our dedicated supervisors and front-line staff to lead the YWCA toward changing more women’s and children’s lives, and ultimately toward seeing more women and children thriving in our local community.
Director of Operations
YWCA Board of Directors
Tina Thornton, President
I work as Manager of Special Assignments with Nexicom. I began as their Internet Helpdesk Supervisor six years ago and was promoted to Supervisor of Customer Service before taking on my current role. I have a Diploma in Computer Programming and Business Administration and recently completed a Certificate in Project Management, skills which help me in my current role. At an early age I found myself in a situation where I needed services provided by the YWCA. This experience both changed and saved my life. Now that I have completed my education and have developed professional skills, I want to give back to this amazing organization and the people it supports. I have volunteered for years but never had this level of fulfilment. I truly feel like my contribution is making a difference.
Wendy Hicks, Vice President
I have been a lawyer, a business owner, a government policy analyst, an editor, a graduate student, and now a university instructor. I teach courses in Politics, International Development, and Environmental Studies at Trent University. I am also an artist and photographer, with a passion for the beauty of our natural world. The work of the YWCA is deeply meaningful to me. As a family lawyer I met many women who were struggling to provide a safe and healthy life for themselves and their children. I thought that it could never happen to me, but when I found myself in an abusive relationship I was grateful to be able to turn to the YWCA for help. I joined the Board of Directors as a way of giving back to the organization that saved my life, helped me to understand the cycle of abuse, and gave me the tools to become a whole and healthy woman. I am committed to doing what I can to ensure that the YWCA will continue to provide life-saving and life-changing services for women and children. During my years on the Board, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the scope of YWCA programming, and to work with an incredible group of women. I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to an organization that provides such crucial supports to women and children in our community.
Rachel Pott, Vice-President
Michelle Stewart, Treasurer
Kristen Larocque, Secretary
Since earning my Honours B.A. in French Literature and Media Studies from Trent University in June 2017, I have enjoyed the opportunity to work for the Workforce Development Board/Local Employment Planning Council as Project Manager. This multidisciplinary position has allowed me to expand my knowledge in other areas and broaden my perspectives. Working with local social services, employment agencies, business owners and job seekers, I have developed a strong awareness of the needs of the community, not only those that are tied to employment but beyond this as well. This exposure was instrumental in helping me realize my desire to become involved with the YWCA and begin making a difference in the lives of other women. I am grateful to be part of such a meaningful organization that cultivates a safe and supportive community where women and children can thrive and achieve their full potential.
Olivia James, Member-at-Large
I am a retired teacher who taught mathematics at Adam Scott Collegiate Vocational Institute for over 30 years. I was involved with student council, peer tutoring and some coaching as well. I was also on the local negotiating team for the Teachers’ Union. After retiring, I volunteered as a math tutor for the School for Young Moms and was a YWCA Board Director for 6 years. I was first introduced to the good work of the YWCA when my husband and I were asked to join the campaign to raise funds for the building of our current Crossroads Shelter. When I was approached to be on the Board, I knew it was something I could support whole-heartedly. The second time I was approached, my feelings were exactly the same. Being part of an organization that does so much for abused women fills me with gratitude and pride. I am grateful to help in any small way and am very proud of the work the YWCA does. It is also wonderful to meet and grow to know other women who value the YWCA.
Reem Ali, Board Director
I am the current Workplace Integration Liaison with the New Canadians Centre and have 10+ years experience in the not-for-profit sector working internationally and locally with vulnerable children and women. I am the recipient of the inaugural Women’s Leadership Award by the Peterborough-Kawarthas Office of the MP and the Chamber of Commerce’s 4 Under 40 Award for Community Impact. I previously served on local granting committees and currently serve on multiple not-for-profit boards. I have always looked up to the YWCA as the model for a women-led organization serving vulnerable women in our community. As such, it is important for me that ALL women are welcomed and included at all levels of the organization in a way that goes beyond symbolic representation and provides substantive decision making power. As a Board Director, I hope to support the YWCA in continuing to make this possible.
Sylvia Davies, Board Director
For over 30 years I worked in the not-for-profit sector spending most of my time in management and consulting positions. I worked with the YWCA a number of years ago and have always felt there is value and importance in the work the agency does for the Peterborough Haliburton community and surrounding area.
Laura Elliott, Board Director
I am a guidance counsellor, teacher and academic. Before moving back to Peterborough, I was a physical education teacher and curriculum leader in student success with the Toronto District School Board for over a decade. My research outside of the classroom is focused on girls, body perception and breaking down gender barriers in physical education and social media. Working in inner-city Toronto opened my eyes to the daily challenges women, especially mothers, face as they navigate the many responsibilities associated with striving to maintain a good life for their families and themselves. The mothers of the students I taught persevered in the face of poverty, political tensions, and sadly, violence. Seeing the good work done by the organizations in that community to help these women sparked my passion to give back outside of the classroom and I began work with Women’s College Hospital to raise money and awareness for women’s health. I knew I wanted to continue this work in some capacity when I returned home to Peterborough. I feel so fortunate to offer my support to the YWCA. I am inspired by Crossroads Shelter and the many programs that support women and children in our community.
Krista Kermer, Board Director
I began my career at the University of Guelph and hopped around to York University, Ontario Tech before settling at Trent in 2012. My focus in student services is creating or supporting programming to assist equity seeking groups overcome transitional barriers to post-secondary education including a variety of mentorship programs. I was very interested in branching out beyond the post-secondary community bubble that I have in Peterborough. As a student, I was a member of a lot of boards and I always enjoyed the problem solving and innovation that could happen at the board level. As a YWCA Board Director, I have been able to enhance my knowledge of the community I live in, and also connect with different (amazing) women who are passionate about social justice and local activism.
Krista Koekkoek, Board Director
Since graduating from university, I have spent time in the classroom teaching French and History, in Special Education and now more recently in Guidance, having completed my Masters in Counselling Psychology. I am delighted to be serving the YWCA as a Board Director. I believe strongly in giving back to a community that has given me so much. I am especially interested in the wrap around support of women and children. I feel privileged to be a part of a Board comprised of smart, committed and thoughtful individuals, working for an organization whose staff passionately and tirelessly gives to clients and educates our community as a whole. I continue to learn and be in awe.
Darby Ness, Board Director
I am a Registered Social Worker, currently working in the field of mental health. Prior to taking on my current role as Crisis Intervention Worker with the Canadian Mental Health Association, I worked with children in foster care to support their placements, mental health and development. I am currently working on my Master of Social Work degree, with aspirations to become involved in trauma work. I was attracted to becoming a Board Director with the YWCA mostly as a result of my passion for reducing the violence that women continue to experience, as well as my unwavering belief in the programs that the YWCA offers. Raising awareness is an integral part to ending violence against women, and I stand as an advocate alongside them. I have already been amazed by the powerful women that I am surrounded by. We come from diverse backgrounds and many different walks of life, but the passion and determination to create change is undoubted.
Elaine Sackville, Board Director
As an Excise Tax Auditor, I audit medium/large businesses to confirm and enforce compliance with the statutes administered by the Canada Revenue Agency for GST/HST. I was a YWCA Peterborough Haliburton Board Director in the past and enjoyed the experience. I would like to give back to the community now that my children are grown. I am passionate about the YWCA and the violence against women programs that it offers.
Dayna Taylor, Board Director
I am a teacher at Lakefield College School. As a new Board Member, I am eager to learn more about how my skills can best support the YWCA. I look forward to making deeper connections within the community.
Sarah Thompson, Board Director
I have worked as a French, English and Spanish teacher for seven years. After teaching English in France, then Chile, I returned to Canada in 2014 to start teaching and coaching at Lakefield College School (LCS). Several women I’ve worked with at LCS have served on the Board of Directors and their stories of the positive impact that the YWCA has had on the lives of women and children inspired me to get involved. Having volunteered for various organizations, I was eager to learn more about the governance of not-for-profit organizations as well as continue to give back to the community I grew up in. The work the YWCA does in Peterborough is crucial and I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of it. Being a new board member, I have learned the importance of working alongside others with different backgrounds and opinions. Despite our varying opinions, we all work toward the common goal: to see all women and children thriving. At every board meeting I am in awe of the strength and leadership of the women sitting around the table.
Kelly Zatorski, Board Director
I have been a dedicated member of the Trent University community since 2013, working in a range of positions that contribute to the success of both the students and the institution as a whole. I currently hold the position of Manager, Careers & Experiential Education in which I am responsible for expanding a variety of experiential learning opportunities and supporting career education. Prior to entering the public sector, I worked as a project manager and consultant for an online business technology firm. The overarching appeal of becoming involved in the YWCA Board is the exposure to so many different facets of the organization and the opportunity to be a part of discussions that might open up other opportunities for personal growth and development. My hope is that I can then take that progress and translate it back into the organization, and overall community, as a more significant contribution. There are issues towards which I feel a profound connection to and am drawn to contribute in a way that gives back to a community that I truly believe has given me so much. Being a part of a team with a shared goal, varying perspectives and diverse backgrounds is inspiring and I am drawn to this opportunity to become engaged in something of such significance.