Download our annual reports and Strategic Plan below.
GP Board of Directors
Meet our 2021-2022 Board of Directors.
An independent financial planner since 2006, Jennifer Wallace works with individuals, small business owners, and their families to develop and implement a plan for their long-term and sustainable financial independence. In 2012 she introduced business consulting services to the micro and small business community throughout Niagara, helping businesses grow from a well-managed foundation. As founder and organizer of the Growing Women Entrepreneurs (GWEn) Conference, Jennifer is able to further support the success of entrepreneurs by presenting professional development through events. When not working with her clients, she is passionate about her community, dedicating her time to the Gillian’s Place Board of Directors, as well as volunteering in the arts & culture sector of Niagara as Chairperson of the City of St. Catharines' Arts & Culture Advisory Committee. In 2014 Jennifer received a Forty under 40 award.
Janet Allan is a Partner with KPMG LLP. She holds a professional designation as a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant, with over thirty-five years’ experience working in public accounting with not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and owner-managed businesses. Janet is also the National Leader for KPMG related to not-for-profit accounting which includes an annual update related to accounting standards for these organizations and presentations on behalf of Imagine Canada on the ten to-dos for Audit Committees of NPOs. Janet is currently the Treasurer of the Rotary Club of St. Catharines Lakeshore in addition to her work at Gillian’s Place. Past community involvement includes representation on the Boards of the United Way of St. Catharines and District, Niagara Health System, Niagara Peninsula Rehabilitation Centre, YWCA of St. Catharines, and the Canadian Federation of University Women: St. Catharines.
Samah Marei comes to Gillian’s Place from a background in education. She earned her degree in History from UCLA and is currently completing post-grad work at Oxford. She has taught locally at the elementary level as well as at Niagara College and is a teacher of Arabic at the Qasid Institute. In addition to teaching history and sociology, Samah has spent the last 15 years presenting workshops on Diversity and Inclusion in both the workforce and the community. Samah’s work on Multiculturalism and Religious Pluralism has become part of a college textbook on diversity. Samah began volunteering with Gillian’s Place in 2016 and hopes to bring awareness of the shelter and its various programs and services to the broader Niagara Region.
Darryl Andree is the Director of Business Development at BAMKO, one of the largest promotional merchandise companies in North America. Since planting his roots in St. Catharines after graduating from Niagara College, Darryl is a big fan of giving back to his community. Having been a part of many boards and committees, such as the City of St. Catharines Summer Company Program and the Lincoln County Humane Society, he brings a wealth of knowledge to Gillian’s Place. He has also participated in "Walk a Mile in HER Shoes" for several years. Darryl’s enthusiasm is magnetic and he loves to share a laugh with those around him. In his spare time, he loves to enjoy local wines and events, and is also quite the singer!
Judith Atwood comes to Gillian’s Place from a background in the legal profession. She spent ten years with a preeminent Canadian law firm; first as a practising business lawyer, and then in law firm management, where she focused on managing and developing legal talent. Judith is also an Executive Coach and runs her own coaching and consulting business. Judith brings her expertise and skills, and passion for leadership and women’s empowerment principles to her work at Gillian’s Place.
Tim Empringham holds an MBA from Brock University with focus on Marketing, Operations Management, and Entrepreneurship. He is currently employed as the Chief Information and Innovation Officer for The Central Group in Mississauga and provides Innovation and Leadership Consulting through his own Niagara-based company, Succeed Sooner Consulting. Tim has lived in the Niagara Region for most of his life, growing up in Niagara-on-the-Lake and later moving to St. Catharines. He is currently an active member of the Port Dalhousie community. Tim has received a Forty Under 40 Award in 2005, was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honour Society in 2009, and was recognized internationally for his innovation efforts by the InnoCentive challenge in 2016. Serving on the board at Gillian’s Place offers Tim the opportunity to have hands-on involvement in a cause that is close to his heart.
An accomplished Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL), Rachel has spent the past decade working in both the private and public sector supporting business owners and leaders in the alignment of an organization’s strategy with its best asset: its people. Now working towards her Master of Business Administration (MBA), Rachel’s business acumen and ability to connect with and support leaders make her a valued partner in both diagnosing and creatively resolving an organization’s human resource needs. Rachel has developed expertise in human resource strategy, recruitment and selection, organizational development, compensation and performance management by working with organizations spanning various industries including manufacturing, education, healthcare, engineering and government. Rachel loves engaging in community work, staying active and spending quality time with her high school sweetheart, Drew, and their two kiddos.
Tanja Loeb is an established not-for-proﬁt and charitable sector leader, who joined Gillian’s Place as Executive Director in November of 2015. Tanja has over 20 years of experience and expertise in operational development and management, program creation and implementation, and stakeholder relations. Throughout her tenure as Executive Director, Tanja has worked to expand programs and services to better meet the unique and complex needs of survivors.
In 2018, Tanja led the amalgamation of Gillian’s Place with West Niagara Second Stage Housing & Counselling Inc., and in 2020, the development of a new Second Stage housing program. Tanja’s success also includes providing additional resources dedicated to violence prevention programs, developing an employee wellness pro-
gram, and creating an inspiring vision for future expansion, all with a view to ensuring sustainable programs and services to meet the growing demand for effective and responsive support for survivors of violence.
Carolyn Mullins has had a very successful career working for the largest financial institution in Canada. She has held a variety of senior management roles in branch operations, procurement, strategic planning and credit risk assessment. She has been a Branch Manager, and held positions in Finance and Human Resources.
Carolyn was an Alderman in the Town of Grimsby for 8 years and was Chair of Finance from 2014 to 2018, playing a key role in developing the annual budget. Her goal was to keep tax increases low and justifiable. She has an HBA from Richard Ivey School of Business.
Carolyn has lived in Grimsby for more than 20 years, is actively involved in the community, sitting on the Grimsby Museum Board, Nelles Manor Board, Albright Manor Board, West Lincoln Hospital Board and Trinity United Church Board (Finance Chair). She has 4 children and 4 grandchildren, is an active curler and enjoys hiking and travelling.
With long professional experience in human resource management, Mary brings understanding from 30 years working in HR in the high tech, business, and financial sectors. Specializing in leadership development, Mary is currently working for Harvard Business Publishing growing global leadership teams with Fortune 500 companies and international consortia.
Devoted to community service since graduating from the University of Guelph, Mary and her family have volunteered in the Niagara Peninsula for decades; she and her husband have two grown children.
Working with the dynamic group at Gillian’s Place, Mary hopes to advance the awareness of the shelter and its various programs and services to the broader Niagara region, particularly in the rapidly growing “rural” communities we serve.
Franca Vavaroutsos is a Certified Public Accountant with over 25 years of progressive experience working in public accounting and in complex profit and not-for-profit businesses, the majority of which has been dedicated to the health care sector. Franca is currently the Chief Financial Officer of St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.
Franca’s breadth of expertise covers a wide area of strategic responsibility. She has extensive experience identifying and implementing effective strategies and services related to financial management and reporting, budgeting and forecasting, cost management and controls, risk management, regulatory compliance, training and development, performance management, business solutions and change leadership. She has a proven track record of building strong internal and external relationships that have supported strategic planning development and implementation.
Franca lives in Grimsby where she enjoys staying active and spending time with her husband and two daughters.