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The New Canadians Centre is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Board members are elected at the Annual General Meeting where the NCC shares its Annual Report. Any inquiries for the board can be emailed to board@nccpeterborough.ca.

Board members for 2017-2018:

jason dennisonJason Dennison graduated from the University of Ottawa with a BSc. in Human Kinetics before moving to Taiwan where he spend the next 10 years as an ESL teacher, MBA and PhD student in international management, and a habitual traveler and cultural enthusiast.  Since returning to Canada, Jason served as outreach coordinator for the Canada China Business Council, and he currently holds the position of project officer with the Workforce Development Board.  Jason brings to the NCC Board a wealth of experience in international relations, project management, and community outreach.


robhowardWhen Rob Howard (Chair) relocated to Peterborough in 2013, he set a personal goal to explore the city’s many volunteer opportunities.  On a professional level, Rob is an IT Project Manager, specializing in large scale information systems projects.  He is also a former ESL instructor and has taught in a variety of settings including the International Education Centre at Georgian College, the Department of National Defence, newcomer programs and the Kyoto International School.  In more recent years, Rob has taken an active interest in community development.  He was a founding member of the Elmvale BIA, a Director in the Springwater Guild of Artists and Artisans and served on the local Township’s Heritage Committee.  In addition to the NCC, Rob volunteers with the Mount Community Centre (TMCC) and was recently appointed to the Board of the Committee Opportunity and Innovation Network (COIN).


Janet Hunter is a member of the NCC’s Fundraising and Outreach Committee and the PPCII’s Resource Development Committee.  She has lived and worked in France, Germany, and Thailand, and taught adult English as a Second Language learners here in Canada.  She designs resources for people working with newcomers to Canada, as well as providing research and evaluation services.  Janet believes that everyone benefits when newcomers find their place in Canadian society, and that we can all play a role in opening doors and breaking down barriers.


 anna leeAnna Lee is a first generation Canadian born to a Chinese father and Australian mother.  After a brief beginning in Australia, she grew up in Toronto where diversity was the norm.  Anna has been connected to Peterborough for almost 25 years, having completed a B.Sc. at Trent and living the past 15 years in Warsaw, ON just outside of Peterborough.  She has benefited from a diverse range of experiences including Outdoor Experiential Education, running her own Graphic Design and Illustration business, and community development work with individuals who experience barriers to inclusion.  Most recently she has been focused on fund development working with a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations.  Anna is happiest walking in the woods and sharing time with interesting people – including her husband and 2 teenage kids.


jeff westlakeJeff Westlake has served in various capacities with the NCC. A Board member since 2014, Jeff taps into his background in teaching and in community development work with the Federal Government in order to advance the mandate and objectives of the NCC. Jeff holds an Honours B.A. from Trent University, B.Ed. from Queen’s University, and M.Ed. from Western University and counts it a tremendous privilege to be able to volunteer with such an outstanding organization as the NCC.


Gabriele Zeh-Abramsky (Treasurer) has been on the Board of Directors since 2010. She has an Executive MBA from Queen’s University, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Spanish from Trent University, and a degree in Commerce from Industrie und Handelskammer in Germany. She has been a business consultant for the Peterborough DNA cluster, an owner of a real estate and property management company, a co-owner of Charlotte Jewelers, and Director of Business Development at Vectorsoft limited in Lindsay.  As a volunteer she has been on the Underwriting Committee for the Festival of Trees, and the funding review committee of United Way as well as the local president and national Board member of Hadassah WIZO, and the Kawartha Montessori School. She hopes to lend her financial expertise to the NCC Board. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the Peterborough YWCA and is a past Director of The Board of Directors for Hospice Peterborough. As an immigrant herself, Gabriele knows what it is like to make a new start in a new country with no support system and a foreign language.


Catia SkinnerCatia Skinner is a senior marketing executive with international experience and is well versed in all aspects of marketing.  Catia is the CEO at Kawartha Entertainment Group Inc., that owns The Venue and Dolcé Vita. She brings expertise in developing and implementing successful multi-channel marketing and business development strategies.  Catia is also co-owner and Strategic Planning Director at Mega Experience, a full-service marketing agency that specializes in brand experience.  Mega’s creative and innovative methodology connects remarkable experiences between brands and consumers.


marie-lummissMarie Lummiss is a Peterborough born and raised community member who obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration, specializing in Human Resources Management from Trent University. She has developed a strong skill set through her experience working in finance, human resources, administration, and program management.  She has worked for not-for-profits, public sector, and private sector organizations. She is currently the Operations Coordinator for Kawarthas Northumberland where she manages a tourism funding program. Marie comes to the NCC Board with a passion for people, processes, and a definitive desire to make the world a better place. She has volunteered with vulnerable and at-risk individuals with the Warming Room Community Ministries and believes that relationship building has the power to transform lives.


liezelLiezel Ann Grijaldo Cancer is a professional in the financial sector, having taken early retirement from an insurance company executive position at Philam Life in her native Philippines before emigrating to Canada two years ago, where she is now happily married. Liezel has travelled most of Asia in her professional life, making contacts in business, finance, and government. She is fluent in English, Tagalog, and other Philippine dialects, as well as conversant in Spanish, Cantonese, and Japanese. As a proponent of life-long education, Liezel graduated with a B.Sc in Accounting from Notre Dame Dadiangas University, earned four LOMA professional designations, including Fellow Life Management Institute (FLMI), Associate Financial Services Institute (AFSI), Professional Customer Service (PCS), and Associate Reinsurance Administration (ARA), and is an alumnus of ASEAN School for Young Insurance Managers. Among her many accomplishments in the financial services industry, she was the Philam Life Branch Operations Area Head for Manila and several other regions in the Philippines, and most recently was head of the company’s national transformation initiative, which focused on systems, process improvement, training, and people development. Liezel brings her corporate expertise to the NCC, along with a compassion for its clients. She considers her volunteer work with the NCC a privilege, being a new immigrant herself.


ribatRibat Chowdhury came to Canada 4 years ago as an international student from Dubai. Being born in Bangladesh & growing up in Dubai exposed him to cultural diversity and instilled in him the curiosity and enthusiasm to learn and understand different cultures.  Ribat’s curiosity and interest in international affairs motivated him to write a book, Dear United Nations, that discusses world issues faced by people from around the world.  He has applied his international experience to his passion for marketing & technology as a strategy consultant for Lang Marketing in Toronto. Ribat is also co-founder of the much loved Peterborough Start-up, ribbet, which connects local businesses to today’s mobile say consumers. Ribat graduated from Trent University with a specialization in Business in 2015 and joins the NCC board to contribute to the growth of Peterborough – socially, culturally and economically.


steve-kirton-photoSteve Kirton is a native of Sarnia, Ontario  but has a lifelong connection with the Kawartha Lakes region through their family cottage near Apsley.  He has a B.Sc from the University of Waterloo and 34 years’ experience in the international upstream petroleum sector.  He began his career in Calgary and since 1991 has been working on oilfield development projects in Russia, Kazakhstan and elsewhere within the states of the Former Soviet Union.  He has many years of exposure to executing and managing projects under difficult and remote conditions and across cultural and linguistic divides, but it’s made him a better person with enhanced awareness of the challenges of living and working in a foreign country.   He understands and empathizes with people who are forced to flee their homelands, or who otherwise seek a better life.  In 2015 he returned home to Bridgenorth and began looking at ways to get involved in the local community.  At the NCC he hopes to apply his knowledge of foreign cultures in helping newcomers adapt to their new surroundings.  Steve is happily married for 34 years and has 4 grown children.


liz-3Peterborough Immigration Partnership Nominee: Elizabeth Rahman

Elizabeth Lee Rahman was born in Cornwall, England and is a Certified Translator by profession. She and her late husband (who was from India) immigrated to Canada shortly after they were married because of the discrimination and racism they encountered in England. Aside from working as a Translator, Elizabeth has taught English as a Second Language, as well as French as a Second Language. She also speaks passable Urdu. Elizabeth was among the founding members of the Kawartha Muslim Association 30 years ago, and is a former vice-president of the association. She suggested the name of the mosque (Masjid Al-Salaam, the Peace Mosque) rather than more traditional names, to send a message of peace to the wider community.  Elizabeth is co-founder of the Abraham Festival in Peterborough (which brings together Jews, Christians & Muslims and is now in its 15th year), and a founding member of the Multifaith Network formed in Peterborough after 911.

She is past Chair of the Kawartha/Lakeshore Regional Multifaith Committee (a sub-committee of the Canadian Multifaith Federation), which supports chaplains in government institutions such as prisons & hospitals; Secretary of the Spiritual & Religious Care Partnership Council at Peterborough Regional Health Centre; and a member of the Ethics Committee at St. Josephs at Fleming Nursing Home.

Elizabeth’s passion is promoting understanding and acceptance among people of different faiths and different cultures.


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