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
Director of Services
Director of Philanthropy & Communications
YWCA Board of Directors
Neera Jeyabalan, 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.
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.
Tina Thornton, Vice 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.
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.
Noni Chowdhury, Secretary
I was born in Bangladesh and grew up in Saudi Arabia. I moved to Newfoundland, Canada for education and completed my BSc in Biology and BSc Hons in Psychology. I completed a MA in Immigration and Settlement Studies from Ryerson University. I have been in the field of medical research for 8+ years. 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. Since making Peterborough my home, I looked for ways to give back to this community and felt that YWCA was a strong organization who gave women a chance to thrive. Through my involvement at the YWCA, 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. I hope to provide the same kind of guidance to the newer board members.
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.
Tia Cavanagh, Board Director
As a grad student, I spent my first two years in the GTA. I have since been hired as an instructor at Trent University and am also a professional Artist working with themes of Indigenous activism, gender and identity. A couple of my friends, as well as my step mom, have been YWCA Board Members. Alongside their positive experience, I had heard wonderful things of Lynn Zimmer and I wanted an opportunity to engage alongside her. I’m an intersectional feminist and I am interested in learning more about the YWCA’s methodology towards engaging Indigenous women and two-spirit needs in and around the area. As a new Board Member, I am learning a lot about how boards function and I’m seeing firsthand how they can become a united voice where respectful, open dialogue can occur.
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
Krista Koekkoek, Board Director
Kristen Larocque, Board Director
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.
Kathryn Moore, Board Director
I have been a dentist in our Peterborough community for more than 30 years. Our practice, 2032 Dentistry For Life, provides general dental care to all ages. In addition, we have a special focus on pediatric dentistry and sleep apnea treatment. As one of only 4 dentists in Peterborough with hospital privileges, I provide care one day a week at Peterborough Regional Health Centre to children and adults with disabilities who require general anesthesia or hospital care for treatment. The reputation of the YWCA for excellence in providing help and support to women and children fleeing domestic violence was what attracted me to join the Board in 2015. I was excited by the opportunity to work with such a dedicated group of women on the YWCA Board. Through my work as a Board Director, I have gained invaluable insight into the complexities and challenges of providing this valuable service. In addition, stories of success and gratitude from the women we serve are truly inspirational.
Rachel Pott, Board Director
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.
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.
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.