Board of Directors

Meet our Board

Erum Afsar

Erum Afsar is a Civil Engineering graduate from Queen’s University and a seasoned professional engineer who has significantly contributed to infrastructure and community development in Alberta and Saskatchewan. She has predominantly held senior leadership positions and completed two terms as a municipal councillor for the Kananaskis Improvement District (KID). Erum also holds the ICD.D designation, affirming her expertise in board leadership. Community involvement is a cornerstone of Erum’s ethos. She actively participates on various boards and committees, including REACH Edmonton, which focuses on community well-being, and YWCA Edmonton.

Her dedication to community service in Alberta earned her the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal. Additionally, she has received accolades such as Top 40 Under 40, The Next 10, and A Woman Who Inspires and was a finalist for MaxGala Woman of the Year. From Queen’s University, she received the Engineering Excellence: 125th Award for Engineering Alumni. Erum is an alumna of the 2022 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference and has recently completed the Institute of Corporate Directors Program. Erum is a mother to two daughters, with whom she cherishes spending time camping, hiking, and enjoying the mountains.

Clarice Anderson

Clarice Anderson is a proud member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. She holds a Master’s degree in Land Based Education and has worked in the field of education for 21 years in various capacities. Clarice is passionate and committed to building capacity in Indigenous education. As a child of a residential school survivor, she understood at an early age the importance education played in her life and those around her. This understanding became a driving force in her pursuit of higher education and fulfilling care. Clarice is also a former member of the YWCA Edmonton Board of Directors.

Marina Banister

Marina Banister is a government and public relations strategist. Marina has experience in the non-profit, social enterprise, government and private sectors including working as the Policy and Communications Advisor for an Edmonton City Councillor, as a Government Relations Consultant with a national firm, and as in-house GR for a healthcare organization. Marina is an avid volunteer and serves as Chair of the Board of YWCA Canada where she utilizes her advocacy expertise to help women, children, and families. Marina is also a professional makeup artist, earning her certificate in 2019. When Marina is not working or volunteering she enjoys playing with her two border collies and listening to podcasts.

Meghan Cadue

Meghan Cadue is a marketing and strategic communications professional with close to 20 years of experience working in professional services, the not-for-profit, and legal sectors, and currently works at Stewart McKelvey, one of the Atlantic region’s largest law firms. Having worked locally and internationally in communications, program development and project management throughout her career, Meghan’s focus is understanding and developing strategic goals, and helping to build the best partnerships to see them through.

She has volunteered on several boards focused on development for young professionals and community health boards, and first joined the YWCA movement as member of the YWCA Halifax Board of Directors in 2017, later serving a two-year term as Board President.

Meghan holds a certificate in Corporate Communications from Cornell University (online) and a certificate in Leadership & Inclusion from Centennial College and the Canadian Centre for Diversity & Inclusion. She holds a degree in International Relations with a focus on Gender Studies from Mount Allison University, and a Master degree in Political Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Denise Christopherson
Board Chair

Denise Christopherson is a retired non-profit leader and a steadfast advocate for social justice, gender equity, and inclusion. With over twelve years of transformative leadership as CEO of YWCA Hamilton, Denise played a pivotal role in advancing equality for women and girls. Her strategic vision and collaborative approach ensured that critical issues facing women and gender-diverse individuals remained at the forefront of community, provincial and national agendas. During her tenure at YWCA Hamilton, Denise fostered impactful partnerships across the non-profit, corporate, and government sectors, driving meaningful change and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities.

Denise’s commitment to governance excellence is exemplified by her certification as a Corporate Director, reflecting her passion for establishing strong and sustainable non-profit organizations. Beyond her professional roles, Denise is an active volunteer and is currently serving as past Chair on the board of Hamilton Child and Family Supports.

Shifrah Gadamsetti

Shifrah Gadamsetti is a seasoned government relations professional and political strategist who is strongly committed to combating gender-based violence and empowering marginalized communities. Her extensive experience includes pivotal roles in digital campaign communications and non-profit governance, particularly in initiatives that empower women, girls, and gender-diverse people.

Shifrah has leveraged her frontline experience as a former registered nurse to influence public policy and enhance community engagement. Prior to joining YWCA Canada’s Board of Directors, she served as an Executive Advisor to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where she focused on governance and strategic leadership, and Ask Her YYC, emphasizing gender equity in political representation.

She is a recognized leader and fierce advocate for public education, equity, and civic engagement. She served as a delegate at the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women and was an inaugural recipient of the Open Education Global Award for Excellence. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, and a Master of Political Management.

In her spare time, Shifrah enjoys devouring a good book and channeling her creativity into home renovation projects.

Renata Huyghebaert

Renata Huyghebaert grew up in Belgium and Saskatchewan and is a strategic communication specialist and non-profit professional dedicated to community building. She has honed her experience in the health, finance, and non-profit sectors and has a philanthropy, strategic planning, communications, and marketing background. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Renata is currently based in Ottawa and is a Strategic Communications Advisor for the Canadian Medical Protective Association where she works in equity, diversity and inclusion.

She supports her community by volunteering with local organizations and boards and is passionate about improving the lives and opportunities for women and marginalized communities. Renata started volunteering with the YWCA after she was nominated for the Women of Distinction awards in 2017. She served for two years on the Board of Directors at YWCA Saskatoon, and on various YWCA committees, and most recently, the Young Women’s Leadership Engagement Committee for YWCA Canada. In 2021 she was nominated to the YWCA Canada Board of Directors and is looking forward to supporting gender equity in Canada.

Dahlia Jiwan

Dahlia Jiwan is a second generation immigrant entrepreneure. As a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) specialist she dedicates her life to designing inclusive spaces. She co-founded Élance, an organisation providing businesses online training in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to create inclusive spaces.

Dahlia holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a specialization in Feminist Studies from the University of Québec in Montréal, a certificate in Industrial Relations from the University of Montréal and a specialization in Ethics in the Age of Artificial Intelligence from LearnQuest. Furthermore, she is trained for various crisis intervention

Driven by the desire to learn, understand and contribute, Dahlia has five years of hands-on-deck experience as an outreach worker. Her field experience ranges from gender-based violence intervention to harm reduction in party scenes. 

Fae Johnstone

Fae Johnstone (she/they), MSW, is a writer, activist and consultant based on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory (Ottawa, ON). Fae is an experienced community organizer, 2SLGBTQ+ and trans inclusion educator, and non-profit consultant. As a Principal Consultant with Wisdom2Action, she directs 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion and health initiatives, provides non-profit organizations with organizational development and project support, and leads Wisdom2Action’s 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy efforts.

Fae has worked in sectors including in child and youth mental health, 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion, sexual and reproductive health and rights, meaningful community engagement and most recently within the social impact sector. She has worked nationally advocating for trans rights, increased funding for 2SLGBTQ+ community organizations and addressing gender-based violence, and was the 2019 recipient of LGBT YouthLine’s Trans Activism award. Fae is also a leading 2SLGBTQ+ educator who has trained thousands of service providers and employees from diverse sectors on 2SLGBTQ+ and trans inclusive care.

Fae is a regular contributor with Xtra Magazine and has previously published in the Ottawa Citizen and Toronto Star. Fae has a Bachelor and Master of Social Work from Carleton University. Fae has previously served on the board of directors of LGBT YouthLine and the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Outside of her professional and activist work, Fae volunteers with the Ferret Rescue Society of Ottawa.

Chantelle Krish

Chantelle Krish is a seasoned executive with two decades of progressive leadership experience in the social-profit and public sector. Currently serving as CEO of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, she oversees mentorship programs for girls, young women, and gender-diverse youth, aiming to empower the next generation of leaders and drive positive social change. With expertise in governance, fiscal management, strategic communications, fundraising, and government relations, Chantelle has a proven track record of elevating organizational profiles and revenues while fostering cohesive, values-driven Boards and teams.

Having a history with the YWCA Movement, Chantelle led advocacy and communications at YWCA Metro Vancouver, where she spearheaded initiatives that resulted in successful policy changes to remove barriers for women leaving intimate partner relationships and helped to strengthen British Columbia’s efforts toward high quality, universal child care. She launched a Youth Advisory Council to ensure the voices of young people were at the table when designing programs for them. Chantelle was an active member of the YWCA Canada Advocacy Advisory Committee to support the National Office on federal advocacy efforts to advance gender equity across Canada in numerous ways. Chantelle’s unwavering commitment to driving equity for women has been the guiding force throughout her career, shaping her approach to leadership and advocacy.

Lubna Ladak

Lubna Ladak, CPA, CA, MBA, is an accomplished senior finance executive with over 30 years of experience in the energy industry. Lubna employs a pragmatic leadership style to successfully manage complex, multi-stakeholder environments, including governments, regulators, and unions. She has helped guide Ontario Power Generation, one of the largest electricity companies in Canada, through major transformations, including becoming a leader in clean electricity as Canada moves towards a carbon-free future. Lubna was often the only woman or racialized person at the table when key business decisions were being made. Consequently, she became an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and established mentorship programs. Lubna supports the broader community through Board roles and volunteer positions where she can better the lives of women, indigenous communities, and children.

Deborah MacPherson

Deborah MacPherson is a seasoned executive, board director, and CPA based in Calgary, Alberta. With a robust background in finance and tax, Deborah has demonstrated leadership across various executive roles, most notably as a Senior Partner at KPMG Canada, where she led the Tax Business Unit for Regions West and the Family Office practice. Deborah holds extensive governance expertise, demonstrated through her active roles on several boards, including ApartmentLove Inc., Alberta 2030 Commonwealth Games Corp, and Special Olympics Alberta, where she currently serves as Board Chair. She was recently appointed to the board of Telefilm Canada, whose mission is showcasing and promoting Canadian culture through film. Deborah is proud to utilize her strategic acumen and passion for governance and community involvement to serve the YWCA movement.

Marilyn Loewen Mauritz

With over 20+ years of experience as a senior executive and board member, Marilyn Loewen Mauritz has a proven track record of delivering high-impact results and creating sustainable, long-term value for multi-stakeholder organizations. She is passionate about building diverse, inclusive and high-performing teams to deliver strategic outcomes and positive social impact. Currently, Marilyn advises small and medium-sized companies on strategy and governance to scale and expand their businesses. Prior thereto, she was the Chief Organizational Development Officer at Atlas Corp. and held several senior executive positions at Central 1 Credit Union, including interim CEO.

Marilyn is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Powerex Corp. and is a director of YWCA Greater Vancouver (term ends June 2024). She has previously served on the Board of Governors of British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and a number of other public sector and community boards. She obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Calgary and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University. Marilyn is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors, ICD.D.

Delores Mullings

Dr. Mullings is a member of a large extended family, the mother of two living Black queens, sister, friend and second daughter of Maddah Mullings, her original feminist. She an Associate Professor, Interim Associate Dean Undergraduate Programs and a former Chair in Teaching and Learning at Memorial University, School of Social Work. She is also Memorial University’s inaugural Vice Provost Equity Diversity and Inclusion (effective August 2021). She has a demonstrated history and extensive content expertise in equity and inclusion leadership in community-based organizations and academic institutions. Dr. Mullings is a human rights and anti-racist consultant and coach, public speaker and the lead editor of a highly anticipated forthcoming text Afrocentric Social Work.  Her interdisciplinary scholarship explores decolonizing post-secondary education, mothering, mental health and wellness, LGBTQ+ concerns, elders and immigrants using critical pedagogies, in particular, anti-Black racism, Africentric theory and critical race theory.

Candice Waddell-Henowitch

Dr. Candice Waddell-Henowitch was born and raised on the territory of the Anishinaabeg, Dakota Oyate, and the homeland of the Metis Nation. Otherwise known as Winnipeg and Brandon Manitoba. She is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing at Brandon University. Dr. Waddell-Henowitch is committed to work that improves the lives of women and those marginalized by gender. This resonates in her work with the YWCA Westman where she is currently the President of the Board of Directors. Additionally, Dr. Waddell-Henowitch focuses her research portfolio on improving healthcare practice and systems through the lens of feminist, anti-racist, and decolonizing approaches and understanding the perspectives of individuals living with histories of interpersonal and sexual violence.