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Board of Directors 2021-2022

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Natalie Barber 

Chair

The Women's Centre board and staff appreciate being able to count on community stakeholders who have been so supportive of the women and families that need our love and guidance.

Born and raised in Collingwood, my son and I moved to Owen Sound in 2017 to be closer to my fiancé and his two sons. I am a big sports fan, and I especially enjoy playing golf and baseball.

I've been in the financial industry for nearly 20 years where I've had the opportunity to be involved in many great community projects. I'm currently a Director with the Chamber of Commerce and the role allows me to meet even more people and support many local initiatives.

 

I'm looking forward to my upcoming term as Chair of The Women's Centre where I'll be working with staff, volunteers, and donors in continuing to provide support and guidance to women and their children who need our services.

 
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Alissa Angel

Vice Chair

I left a relationship once, and thankfully, I had family that welcomed me and gave me a temporary space to stay. Some women aren't so lucky, so creating awareness of the shelter's services may help a woman who is struggling leave an abusive relationship. TWC gives women time to get their lives together and look toward the future.

I volunteer on the board because it's important to have a safer place for women and children, and I want to make sure The Women's Centre is supported by our community.

 

In 2020, I cleaned-up the shelter gardens and hosted a birthday fundraiser to purchase trees, so the women and children could enjoy the outdoor space. I've been helping with yard work since, and recently, my son started helping as well. I also support TWC's financial literacy program by working with clients to identify and meet financial goals.

When I'm not volunteering, I'm spending time with my son and fiancé, playing with plants in my own garden, walking my dogs, and working with my clients. Having a resource and safe space for women and children to go is important.

 
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Lingzi Layman

Treasurer

I believe in second chances and fresh beginnings - not only for women leaving a relationship, but also their children so that they have an opportunity to learn what a healthy relationship should look like.

Outside of volunteering with TWC, my husband and I recently welcomed our second child, so I have been spending a lot of my time enjoying our growing family.

I think as a community, we have a responsibility to provide a safety net for those who have none. TWC offers a safe and welcoming space for women, children, and pets when they need a fresh start. Anyone can be caught in a bad relationship - it can be our mothers, sisters, or ourselves. When that happens, we need someone to tell us it's not our fault and to help us get back on our feet. We have the responsibility to take care of our women and children when they are most vulnerable.

 
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Heather Sheldrick

Executive Director/Secretary

Before joining The Women’s Centre as Executive Director in 2018, I accumulated 25 years of leadership experience.

I believe my previous experience has helped the team and I shape TWC into the organization it is today and am incredibly grateful for the hard work of everyone involved that has led to the Organization’s growth over the years. 
 

After learning that nearly 60% of abused women with pet's delay leaving out of concern for their animals, I converted our shelter to a pet-friendly facility. I also oversaw the Adopt-a-Room campaign that allowed us to update all eight bedrooms and most common areas in the shelter. Since my start, the team has grown to include a cook, clinical counsellor, and several anti-human trafficking staff in the newly launched Anti-Human Trafficking Youth program.

I am motivated to cultivate a passionate and energetic team to continue to help serve women in the community. 
 

Outside of work I love to cook, garden, run marathons, and dabble in karaoke. Currently, my family is raising our fifteenth guide dog puppy for Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind. 

 
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Amy Deschamps

Director

As someone with lived experience of family violence, I was directly and positively impacted by the support of TWC when my family was in need as a young person. Through my own experience, I see the possibility and potential that exists when you create resiliency in women, children, and communities when you invest in their safety and

well-being.

In my work life, I manage programs for women experiencing homelessness and violence. I am kept on my toes by my husband, two children, and a houseful of animals. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, reading, and yoga, as well as sharing laughs with friends and family.

 

Joining the board was a big accomplishment as I'd wanted to support and champion TWC initiatives and staff for some time. We support in developing and carrying out strategic planning through an intersectional anti-racist lens.

TWC understands the needs and priorities of the community and seeks to respond in meaningful ways. It has a trusted reputation and has strong and dedicated leadership which provide many different ways for community to feel engaged and connected.

 
 
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Mary Lynne Kennedy-McGregor

Director

I learned about women's shelters, working in emergency nursing for several years. I joined the board because I wanted to learn more about the important work that The Women's Centre does locally.

I may be retired, but I keep busy! I'm currently taking an Indigenous History course through the University of Alberta. In addition to my board work with TWC, I sit on a variety of committees concerned with politics and conservation, and I am still involved with my nursing organization.

 

Outside of my course and volunteering, I enjoy spending time at my cottage and tending to my home garden which attracts loads of hummingbirds. I'm also my grandkids' biggest fan at their baseball, hockey, and lacrosse games!

This summer, I helped implement a COVID-19 rapid antigen testing program on-site at TWC, and saw first-hand, how valuable its services are in the community to women and children who are fleeing violence and abuse.

 
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Kate Vanderwielen

Director

I recently started volunteering with The Women’s Centre on its Board of Directors. I look forward to supporting women and children in our by working with other members to set the strategic direction and help develop and approve policies.

 

I learned of the organization after a client organized a fundraising event where each of her 50 guests included a hand-written note with a gift card for women and kids staying in the shelter. It was wonderful for this large group of women to come together and support The Women’s Centre.

 

Outside of my board work, I'm busy with my three children and husband. I'm a Real Estate Broker and love working with buyers and sellers. I'm active in the community and volunteer delivering Meals on Wheels, at my children's school, and with the Optimist Club. I love hanging out in nature and drinking lots of tea!

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Erica Weppler

Director

As a parent to two young girls who are heading into high school and college in the near future, I want to be involved with a woman-centred organization.

 

When I'm not working as a Parent Support Worker with the Grey Bruce Health Unit, I'm spending time with my husband and two daughters. We enjoy hiking, running, camping, and caring for our two hedgehogs.

I volunteered for a sexual assault crisis hotline during high school and it motivated me to attend college to complete my Social Service Worker diploma. I later completed a co-op placement with the Interval House of Hamilton so I'm looking forward to bringing my understanding of gender-based violence to The Women's Centre board of directors.

 

We've been helping women and children flee abuse and violence for nearly forty years. I'm proud to be involved with such a well-respected community agency.

 
 
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Krystal Stukas

Fund Development and Communications Manager

I always knew I would find myself in a position where I am able to produce meaningful work. Formally, my background is in Communications, and I believe that relationship building, and storytelling is integral for navigating the world today, in any industry. My previous roles have been at Public Relations agencies, and in marketing and communications roles at various corporations and non-profit organizations. Before jumping into the working world, I studied Sociology at the University of Guelph and Public Relations at Humber College. 

I am a recent Owen Sound transplant who is excited about building a life in a quaint town full of friendly people, surrounded by water and nature. When I’m not focusing on fundraising for TWC or communicating with our incredibly generous community members, you can find me attempting DIY home renovations, paddle boarding on Georgian Bay, hiking with my two dogs or relaxing with friends on a patio. 

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Mary Thompson

Housing Program and Human Resources Manager

My dream has always been to help support women and children, which is why joining the team at The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce has been a natural next step for me. I have spent years in corporate workplaces, running provincial law firms and being CEO of a large real estate brokerage. It has taught me how crucial it is to have the right people in your corner. I've often found myself in positions where others have come to me for support, and I always make sure I am providing that support by being calm, encouraging and uplifting. Giving back to the community I was raised in is something I am happy and feel grateful to do. 

I previously volunteered for organizations such as, Children’s Aid and Mary’s Place. I’ve even had the incredible privilege to visit Rwanda to volunteer with iTeams Canada, an organization focused on supporting women and children living with AIDS/HIV, and survivors of the genocide. These organizations help shift the entire future of the women and children’s lives who live there and are deeply integral in our communities.  

When I am not Managing TWC’s Second Stage transitional housing program, you will find me hiking the Bruce Trail with my partner, exercising, grabbing a latte from the local coffee shop, or spending the night laughing with friends and family. 

 
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LeeAnn Pilkington

Finance Manager

Working in the violence against women sector is something I have always wanted to do. The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce is an organization that aims to make its community a safer place for women and children, and I’m proud to be able to lend my skill set to an organization that is so important. That’s why stepping into the role as Finance Manager is something I was excited to do.   

Family is very important to me. When I’m not working, you can find me with my daughter and granddaughter, making memories, laughing and enjoying some quality time together. I also love dogs and spend a lot of time with my pup, as well as gardening in my yard during the summer months.  

 
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Joyce Ann Johnston

Team Lead, VAW Shelter

I have worked for The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce for over 20 years in a variety of positions including, Chief Union Steward. 

Day-to-day, I hold the role of Violence Against Women Shelter Team Lead. We have an amazing team of women who work incredibly well together to support the women and children in Grey Bruce. I am extremely proud to lead this amazing team as we work together to promote community awareness to end violence against women and children.  

When I am not working, I am spending time with my incredibly supportive husband, my two wonderful children and my four amazing grandchildren. As an animal lover, I also have an extended “fur” family that includes two dogs, one cat, a bunch of chickens and a fish pond. I love spending time outside in the summer, enjoying the sun, and curled up by the fireplace in the winter. 

 
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Kathie Cole

Team Lead, Anti-Human Trafficking Program for Youth

I joined The Women’s Centre in 1994 and have been very fortunate for the opportunities to work in several different positions, including as a Frontline Shelter Crisis Worker.  As TWC promotes a team environment, recognizes strengths and abilities and encourages advancement, I was able to step into the role as the Team Leader, Anti-Human Trafficking Program for Youth. 

The skills I gained working with our diverse client base at the VAW Shelter, along with my knowledge and understanding of TWC’s values & beliefs, vision and goals assist me greatly in my growth at TWC. I love working with an incredible team; encouraging them to unveil their talents, share and learn from one another as we continue to build this program in Grey and Bruce counties. 

A graduate of George Brown College’s Assaulted Women & Children’s Counselling & Advocacy Program, I am also a Certified Community & Workplace Traumatologist through the Traumatology Institute of Toronto.   

During my down time, I enjoy winter escapes to sun and sand; spring, summer and fall weekends at the trailer; and every season with my three grandchildren.