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 saving and changing more women’s and children’s lives, and ultimately toward seeing more women and children thriving in our local community.
Director of Philanthropy & Communications
Director of Services
YWCA Board of Directors
Jennifer Harrington, President
After working as an engineer in the Oil & Gas industry, I returned to school to obtain an MBA and refocus my career in community development. This led to a two-year position at the Workforce Development Board where I was able to work with a number of different organizations in Peterborough. I currently work as a consultant with Laridae, a full-service management and consulting firm based in Peterborough. We work only with public sector and non-profit organizations. My previous volunteer experience includes chair of the Peterborough Partnership Council on Immigrant Integration (PPCII), chair of the Peterborough Workplace Integration Centre (PWIC) – both programs of the New Canadian Centre, and a board member of the Peterborough Singers. I want to make a difference in the community I live in and I feel the YWCA is the place I can do this. The YWCA’s mission and values are closely aligned to my own and I value the incredible work the organization does in the community. From a personal perspective, I have met many other amazing women on the board who are dedicated to making our community a safer place to live and I hope to continue to learn from them and grow as a volunteer.
Kemi Akapo, Vice President
For the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve been working at the New Canadians Centre, working with refugees and immigrants to help welcome and facilitate their settlement to Peterborough. I am a firm believer in strong societies and we are only strong when we can lift each other up. Being able to volunteer my time with the YWCA, whose vision is to see all women and children thriving makes sense. I wanted to become part of an organization making a positive, real and lasting change in people’s lives. The YWCA is one such organization.
Neera Jeyabalan, Vice President
My family and I arrived in Canada in the mid 80’s seeking political asylum. We were unable to reside in my native country of Sri-Lanka as it was in the throes of a violent civil war. Shortly after our arrival, my father passed away rather unexpectedly. Thus my mother, brother and I were left to soldier on. Along the way, we had the good fortune to meet many kind and generous people who helped us acclimatize to our new home and become a part of the Canadian fabric. To them, I remain eternally grateful. I now work as a cancer physician at the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. I am also a wife and mother to two young children. My work at the cancer clinic is humbling and daily I am reminded of the many faces of suffering. I now realize that my work does not end at the doors of the hospital – there are many others in our community in need. The work of the YWCA resonates with me as it affirms my belief that the foundation of a thriving healthy community is the absence of violence, poverty and oppression. I have so much to be thankful for, and my involvement with the YWCA is my way of reciprocating all the kindnesses that were bestowed to me in my time of need.
Yvette Peplinskie, Treasurer
I obtained my chartered accountant designation in 2004 and worked in public accounting until 2009 when I joined the County of Peterborough finance department. I have served as the Treasurer of several other not-for-profit organizations over the past 10 years, including the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough, Peterborough Family Resource Centre and Green Communities Foundation. I have been a member of the YWCA finance committee since 2013 and have enjoyed using my professional skills to help the YWCA. I was honoured to be asked to be a part of the Board of Directors. The YWCA provides a valuable service for our community and I am proud to contribute to its success. This is my first year a Board Member for the YWCA and I am excited to be a part of such a successful group of women, working to help other women and their families.
Tina Thornton, Secretary
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, Member-at-Large
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 first year 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. I look forward to becoming more involved with the work of the YWCA.
Alissa Paxton, Member-at-Large
I’ve worked as the Convenor (Events Manager) at Sadlier House for six years, coordinating the tenant offices and event bookings at this not-for-profit student and community facility.I also volunteer on the federal riding association executive for the Peterborough NDP. The work that the YWCA does for women and children in Peterborough is incredible. Providing not only emergency services, but on-going counselling, housing, and food supports helping us all thrive. Entering my second year on the board I have already learned so much from the staff, volunteers, and other board members. It’s a privilege to help direct this organization and act as an ambassador in the community.
Noni Chowdhury, Board Director
I have been in the field of medical research for 8+ years and am currently pursuing an MA in the field of immigration. I have a keen interest in the mental health of immigrants, particularly on resources available and ease of accessibility of those resources. Helping people in vulnerable situations has always been a big part of my life growing up. Being new to Peterborough, I looked for ways to give back to this community and felt that YWCA was a strong organization who gave women a chance to shine. I have gained the mentorship and support of some very talented and smart individuals who are just as passionate about helping others as I am.
Jennifer Fraser, Board Director
I currently work as Manager and Clinical Coordinator of the Kawartha Cardiology Clinic. I am a Registered Nurse by training and began working in the field of Cardiology many years ago in Coronary Care Units and then Intensive Care. Following that work, I took a research assistant position at Toronto General and became fascinated with the field of Cardiac Pacing. I went on to be an advocate for Nursing and Technologist involvement in the field, developing specialized education programs. I was a founding member of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology and received a Distinguished Service Award from the Society. I moved to Peterborough in 1986 and founded the Peterborough Regional Pacemaker Clinic, which I continue to manage. I am married and have two grown daughters who are both pursuing higher education. I have had a blessed life with rewarding work, good educational opportunities, good health, a strong family and good friends. In my working life, the needs of our community are evident to me every day. I am at a time in my life where I want to give beyond what I do in my workday. I am a great believer in the work being done by the YWCA to help women and children to thrive. I have joined the YWCA Board and hope to make a difference in the lives of women in our community.
Nicole Gagliardi, Board Director
I’ve worked in the community development field for the past ten years in Peterborough, Toronto and abroad, with a focus on developing strategies and programs that support community vitality. Currently, I work as Program Coordinator for the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough. It’s an honour to bring my skills and experiences to YWCA Peterborough Haliburton in the role of Board Director. In addition to providing much-needed emergency services to women and children fleeing violence, the YWCA is a leader in building our communities into safe, inclusive places where all people can enjoy a decent quality of life.
Amanda Gray, Board Director
I have worked in post-secondary education for 10+ years. Working first at the Ivey School of Business, Western University and moving to Peterborough in 2012 to work at Fleming College. For the past few years, my focus has been working with international students, providing them with access to resources to help them in their studies at Fleming and in the community. Being new in Peterborough, I was looking for ways to get involved in the community and give back. After learning more about the YWCA and the work they do to support women and children, I realized that many of their values were closely aligned with mine. The work that the YWCA does to support and empower women and children is truly inspirational and I’m very honoured to be a small part of it.
Amber McPhee, Board Director
For the last five years I have been working in public education at the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPR). I started with KPR as the Program Officer and Human Resource Specialist responsible for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in schools and board sites. Most recently, I’ve been working as the Employee and Labour Relations Specialist in Human Resource Services. Prior to my role with KPR, I worked for Peterborough Economic Development and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster as a Program Officer. I have a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Criminology from Brock University and a post-graduate certificate from Ryerson University in Human Resources Management. I originally joined the YWCA Board of Directors in December of 2012 and following the birth of my third child, I resigned from my role as Board Director and Secretary in February of 2015. Since childhood, I have always held issues related to women and children’s rights and protections close to my heart. This passion, and my own feminism, was born out of personal and family experiences in my childhood as well as in part to having an incredibly strong and resilient, single mother as my role model. In university, I volunteered for women and children’s shelters in both Barrie and St. Catharines and also as a Sexual Assault Crisis Counsellor in Niagara. As such, once I settled into my life as a working parent to three very little people, I felt drawn back to my volunteer work with the YWCA. Fortunately for me, the opportunity presented itself and I was able to happily rejoin the Board of Directors in June of 2016. The work being done through YWCA Peterborough Haliburton to support women and children to thrive after inconceivable difficulty, is beyond inspirational. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve such an incredible organization in my own small way.
Kathryn Moore, Board Director
I grew up in Peterborough, graduating from Trent University with a B.Sc., (biology) in 1985. I earned my dental degree (D.D.S.) from the University of Toronto in 1989. After completing a dental internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto I returned to Peterborough to practice as an associate dentist for 11 years in Millbrook, followed by the opening of my dental practice in Peterborough in 2001. I have held hospital privileges at PRHC since 1990 where I provided treatment to pediatric and handicapped patients. I have previously been a volunteer with the Peterborough and District Dental Society, the Peterborough Concert Association, PCVS parent council and the Trent Swim Club. In addition to my work with the YWCA I currently serve on the Board of the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough. I am an avid runner, cyclist and long-time member of the YMCA of Peterborough. I also was one of the dancing participants in the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation’s Dancing with the Docs fundraiser. I live in Peterborough with my husband. I was attracted to become a volunteer, as I was aware of some of the work that the YWCA does in supporting women and children to thrive. The education committee was the first area that I was invited to work with and I was thrilled. I strongly believe that education is a fundamental factor in allowing women and their children to live independent rewarding lives. I have thoroughly enjoyed working as a Director with the YWCA. This experience has opened my eyes to the many needs of women and children in our community. In addition, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with a diverse group of women on the Board who are all excited and eager to share their talents and time to help better the lives of others.
Zebiba Sultan, Board Director
I was born and raised in Ethiopia, and moved to Canada looking for better opportunities. I worked as an office assistant and a customer service representative for a number of years in Vancouver, BC while raising my two wonderful boys. I moved to Peterborough in 2010, a year after my husband was killed in a tragic car accident.
Despite the fact that moving to a new city in my worst time was extremely challenging, it was one of the best decisions I have made for my boys and myself. I have received tremendous supports from my siblings and the people of Peterborough. I went back to school in 2013 and obtained my Accounting/Bookkeeping diploma and Payroll certificate. Currently, I am a bookkeeper in a non-profit organization where immigrants, refugees and other new-comers receive settlement and employment services.
The people who supported me when I needed help have inspired me to volunteer meaningfully in my community, and I truly believe that YWCA is the perfect organization to do this. I am honoured to join this group of amazing women, in the YWCA board of Directors, who are devoted to make our community a safer place to live. I am looking forward to working with them and contributing my time to the organization.
Jane White, Board Director
I have been a nurse for 31 years and have been working at Kawartha Cardiology Clinic in the Pacemaker Clinic for 21 years. I was attracted to the YWCA by their focus on family and children – initiatives that support their safety, well-being ability to thrive. As a new member of the YWCA’s Board of Directors, I am gaining an understanding of the structure of the organization and how the Board functions.