Chief Executive Officer
Born and educated in Hamilton, Elizabeth obtained her B.A (Hons) in Political Science from McMaster University and a Master's in Public Administration from Queen's University. She received a diploma in Human Resource Management through the University of Toronto and the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario. She also holds a Local Government Leadership Coaching designation through the Banff School of Management and the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators and a Certified Municipal Manager III (HR Professional) designation from the Ontario Municipal Management Institute.
She began her public sector career with the Alberta Government involved in manpower planning for resource industries; supporting the Minister’s Committee on Science and Technology and a Deputy Minister's Council on College Affairs. During her tenure in theSaskatchewanpublic service she first served in Intergovernmental Affairs, then moved in the Legislative Assembly Office, where she managed the administrative affairs of the Legislature.
In the mid '80's Elizabeth and her family returned toHamiltonwhen she joined the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth as the Business Administrator for the Public Health Department and assisted in the development of one of the first Teaching Health Units inOntario. Moving to the City ofHamilton’s Human Resources Department in the late ‘80’s, she held a variety of leadership roles, lastly as the Director, Organizational Development and Client Services, where she was instrumental in designing a leadership development program.
Elizabeth retired from the position of Director, Human Resources for the Town of Oakville in October, 2015. In that role, she planned, designed and recommended strategic corporate HR policies that enhanced the effectiveness of individuals and groups in the organization. Her staff supported management and employees in labour relations; recruitment and selection; learning, coaching and organizational development; conflict resolution and health, safety and wellness.
Elizabeth is a Past President of YWCA Canada. While on the Board she has chaired the AMM Steering Committee, the CEO Performance Review Committee and the CEO Selection Committee and attended the Nairobi World Council as well as several YWCA USA annual meetings. She coordinated the Capacity Assessment Review, developed a Linkages programme for the National Board and co-chaired the Strategic Directions Task Force. Elizabeth served as President of the YWCA Hamilton (1999-2001) where she was involved in advocacy work for the developmentally challenged.
Prior to her commitment to the YWCA, Elizabeth served as President, Brain Injury Services of Hamilton and as a Vice-President of the Burlington, Hamilton-Wentworth United Way. Elizabeth also served as a member of the United Way of Oakville’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
Currently, she is the past President of the Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association. She is a recipient of YWCA Hamilton’s Centennial Medal, two Queen’s Jubilee Medals and YWCA Canada’s Bertha Wright Award.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy
Director of Advocacy and Public Policy, Ann Decter leads national campaigns, issue advocacy, research and policy development for YWCA Canada. A feminist and equity advocate, Ann initiated the Homes for Women Campaign to end the homelessness of women and girls in Canada and wrote Educated, Employed and Equal: The Economic Prosperity Case for National Child Care as well as When There’s No Place Like Home: A Snapshot of Women’s Homelessness in Canada. Previous advocacy roles include anti-poverty work at Sistering, an award-winning women’s agency, and Campaign 2000, Canada’s national coalition to end child and family poverty. The author of Lost in the Shuffle: The Impact of Homelessness on Children’s Education, Ann spent many years in feminist publishing, developing ground-breaking titles and representing Canada internationally. The author of four books, she is a member of The Writers Union of Canada.
Director of Member Services & Development
Raine Liliefeldt is a communications professional and relationship builder with over 12 years in the nonprofit sector built on a solid background of event planning and sales in the corporate sector. A creative organizer, educator, project manager and event planner, she has extensive experience in program planning, organizing grassroots initiatives, youth conferences, producing concerts and cultural festivals.
As the Director of Member Services and Development at YWCA Canada, Raine is responsible for a number of mission impact projects including a Knowledge Exchange Project On Ending Cyberviolence against Young Women And Girls, Think Big.Start Small, a civic engagement and leadership program for young women and Think Big.Lead Now a national young women’s leadership summit and mentorship program. She also coordinates national organizational meetings, capacity building and training events.
Communications & Marketing Manager
Laura Tilley is the Manager of Communications and Marketing at YWCA Canada, where she is responsible for all YWCA Canada communications, media, web and marketing projects. Laura has over a decade of experience as a communications professional and manages all content for ywcacanada.ca, notokay.ca, rosecampaign.ca, thinkbig-startsmall.ca; and directs all social media content representing YWCA Canada including Facebook and Twitter. Laura was a part of the development team for the award-winning YWCA Safety Siren app. Prior to joining the National Office, Laura worked in Marketing and Communications for Hasbro Canada and Canada NewsWire/CNW Group. She holds an Honours degree in Political Science and is active in several volunteer initiatives regarding children with special needs, adult and child literacy, and youth advocacy.
Fund Development Manager
Deborah Barretto joined the YWCA Canada team in June 2010. Previously, she worked at Sistering, a Drop-In Centre for homeless women in downtown Toronto, where she was Manager of Communications and Special Events. She has worked for many community and women’s organizations over the years including The South Asian Women’s Group (SAWG), Women’s Press, United Way of Greater Toronto, Media Watch and the Ontario Nurses’ Association.
She has served on the boards of Rasik Arts and Small World Music Festival, and is a member of the Masala Trois editorial collective. They have previously anthologized two collections of writings by South Asians in the diaspora, and are currently working on a third, Adventures in Desiland.
Manager of Programs & Projects
Jacqueline Hall is the Manager of Programs and Projects at YWCA Canada where she is responsible for managing all membership development and advocacy and public policy national programs and projects. Originally from Montréal, Jacqueline moved to Toronto in 2010 to pursue a Master’s degree in Immigration and Settlement Studies. For over 15 years she has been an advocate for social justice, equity and inclusion in the not-for-profit and governmental sectors through program management and policy work. Jackie, as known to her friends and colleagues, spends her free time as a volunteer community organizer and political activist.
Programs & Projects Coordinator
Aldeli Albán Reyna is a young afro-Peruvian and mestiza writer, poet and storyteller from Montréal. She is an artist with a natural talent for using language to bring stories to life coupled with an ability to transform her lived experiences, using English and Spanish narratives. She holds an Honours Bachelors Degree in Women & Gender Studies, Spanish and Italian from the University of Toronto. Her passion for activism, equity and learning stems from a long history of community engagement work, life experiences and a desire for social change. As YWCA Canada’s Public Policy Coordinator, Aldeli organizes violence prevention campaigns like #NOTokay, facilitates reconciliation work between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people through the 4Rs Youth Movement, and manages initiatives for the Latin American diaspora. She is the Outreach Coordinator for the Feminist Art Conference and has moderated panels like Black Exoticism: Fetishization of the black female body. Aldeli sits on the Board of MUJER, a local feminist Latin American organization, and is also on the Steering Committee for the 4Rs Youth Movement.
Administration and Finance Coordinator
Tamara Akopcan supports the Finance and Fundraising departments. Before joining the YWCA, she worked with Tourism Québec/Destination Québec, as Director of Media Relations and office manager for six years. She holds a BA in English philology, a diploma in psychology/social work, a certificate in mediation, and was trained with ACFO-Toronto in leadership for volunteer work in French communities in Ontario. Tamara has a keen interest in issues related to children and mental health, and has volunteer experience in mentoring newcomer women in transition to economic and emotional independence.
Bilingual Executive Assistant
Andrea Dannecker is the Bilingual Executive Assistant to the CEO. She coordinates the Executive Office and supports the Board of Directors, Board committees as well as membership committees and is part of the organizing committee of the Annual Membership Meeting. Andrea also coordinates YWCA Canada’s delegations to UN CSW and YWCA World Council.
Prior to joining the National Office in November 2014, Andrea worked for non-profit organizations in Europe, including the German Olympic Sports Confederation, and for the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. Andrea holds a Master’s degree in education. She has volunteered for organizations supporting children and women with disabilities and is passionate about furthering gender equality and the successful integration of immigrant women into a diverse society.