Board of Directors
NYWC is a not-for-profit corporation governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board is made up of carefully selected individuals who bring with them a wide array of skills and experience. Board members are elected by the corporation’s members.
The Board plays a very important role in governing the organization and ensuring that its work benefits the community. The Board’s responsibilities are outlined in it Terms of Reference.
Maribeth Christensen, Chair. Maribeth has been involved with the North York Women’s Centre in various capacities (student, staff and volunteer) since 2005. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University, a Masters of Social Work from the University of Toronto (with a specialization in Social Justice and Diversity) and a Masters of Arts in Political Science (with a collaborative program in Women and Gender Studies) from the University of Toronto. Over the years, Maribeth has volunteered with various other women-centered community organizations and initiatives, such as the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and Equal Voice. She is currently employed as a program analyst for the Ontario government, where she assists in the management of a province-wide program for families experiencing high conflict separation/divorce. 2011-12 marks Maribeth’s third year on the NYWC Board and her second in the position of Chair, where she remains privileged to work with such a great team of women and honoured to work towards opening doors for all women, everywhere.
Elissa Hermolin, Vice Chair. Elissa is continuing her work with the North York Women’s Centre Board of Directors for her second term. She brings more than 15 years of experience within the non-profit and social service sector both as a volunteer and staff member. In her work, Elissa has been responsible for event management, fundraising, administration, volunteer management and data coordination and has served as a board member for a girl’s hockey league. She has worked with a range of organizations dealing with the advancement of women and girls, community health, disease prevention, environment, and culturally based organizations. Presently, Elissa is operating her own Event Planning business called Common Sense Events. She and her family live in North York.
Patty Anasco, Secretary. A social media enthusiast and design practitioner, Patty’s most recent contribution to the Centre was the logo revamp and the relaunched NYWC website. Currently on the Harlequin.com digital team, she’s also had previous experience in change management, internal communications and intranet user experience as a member of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Knowledge Management group. Patty’s involvement with the Centre started in 2008 as a group participant and soon evolved into a fulfilling role as a group facilitator. She’s also had extensive volunteer experience with environmental and leadership groups as a student in the Philippines.
Alexandra Finkel, Treasurer. Alexandra is a Chartered Accountant, currently working at the Head Office of the Canadian Tire Corporation. Although her main line of work is in the private sector, she strongly believes in giving back to the community and is enjoying her time serving on the Board of North York Women’s Centre. Previously, Alexandra has worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche, and the City of Toronto. She has diverse experience in auditing various non-profit organizations as well as private companies in different industries. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys world travel, yoga, participating in 5K and 10K races, and photography.
Agatha Doerffer, Director. Since completing, her MBA at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Agatha has focused her career in corporate finance at PepsiCo Foods Canada. She has held several roles, ranging from supply chain and purchasing finance to most recently pricing finance, where she sets pricing strategy across all brands. Prior to her MBA, Agatha worked as a consultant at Deloitte Consulting in Ottawa. She specialized in change management and business transformation. She has industry experience ranging from the public sector to financial services in both Canada and the United States.
Rubaiyat Karim, Director. Rubaiyat joined the Board of the North York Women’s Centre in 2008. Rubaiyat has her B.S. in Marketing and Psychology. She commenced her career at NOW Legal Defense and Education Fun in Washington D.C. as a policy intern, where she tracked and lobbied Congressional staff on related immigration legislation. In 2004, Rubaiyat conducted research on violence directed towards the South Asian, Muslim and Arab communities in the post 9-11 era and co-authored the book Voices of Pain, Voices of Hope. Rubaiyat’s increasing involvement with the anti-violence movement led to her position as a Program Manager for South Asian Network, where she developed skills to prevent and intervene in the areas of Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking. She is currently Community Programs Manager at Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region, Inc. serving women and girls to enhance their safety and empowerment. Rubaiyat, co-founder of a girl’s school in Dhaka, Bangladesh, funds the recruitment of 8-12 slum girls each semester, providing support to enhance their learning through intensive tutoring and transition them into public schools. Since 2010, she has served as a member of the Womenatthecentre Liaison Committee, a group of service providers to assist in research initiatives and special projects. She is also a Board Member at Moving Forward Foundation.
Shannon Persaud Tolnay, Director. Shannon Persaud Tolnay is currently the National Director of Fundraising at the Canadian Liver Foundation. Not new to the world of fundraising, Shannon has over 13 years of experience in the education, healthcare and social services sectors of fundraising. She has experience in a number of fundraising programs, from annual fund and special events, to capital campaigns and major gifts. Shannon has served one term on the North York Women’s Centre board and is looking to continue her contributions for the growth and success of the NYWC. She has previously worked for the University of Toronto, The Scarborough Hospital Foundation and YWCA Toronto.
Paulett Ramsey, CFRE. Paulett is a certified fundraising professional with several years of progressive experience in senior management roles with some major healthcare and social services charities in Toronto, helping them raise several million dollars. With a strong background in annual and leadership giving including direct marketing, she is a major contributor to organizational success. Paulett has demonstrated key strengths in areas that include: relationship fundraising, strategic planning, program development, budget management, and team leadership. Paulett has been an active volunteer throughout her career. She has served as a NYWC Board member since 2006.
Ewa Szumowski, Director. Ewa has been one of NYWC’s most reliable volunteers since 2004. After several years of volunteering at a direct service level, she now brings her perspective and experience to the board table. Ewa graduated with an honours BA from York University, majoring in Psychology and Sociology, and studied Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Management at Ryerson University. She lived and attended school in North York until recently moving to Mississauga. Currently, Ewa works as a property manager in Toronto.