Board of Directors

Sabra Desai, Co-Chair

Sabra Desai, MSW, RSW is a Kellogg Fellow, counsellor therapist, and an educator.  A former faculty member at the School of Social and Community Services and she is currently the Manager of Community Partnership at Humber College.  Anchored in the values of Adult Learning, and Transformational Leadership she has provided leadership in the areas of inclusive education and access to post-secondary education for marginalized and vulnerable populations including Aboriginal youth. Sabra laid the foundation for the Humber College Centre of Human Rights, Equity and Diversity.  As well, she initiated the Aboriginal Student Resource Centre by submitting a successful grant application with Elder Shelley Charles.  She is skilled in community engagement and capacity building and is a respected leader who has pioneered organizational and social innovation.  In the early 1980s, Sabra worked with a group of women to advocate for a shelter for women and children survivors of family violence which led to the establishment of Interim Place, the first such shelter in Peel Region. Sabra has also worked internationally on issues related to human rights, health and mental health. She is also the recipient of several awards including the 2015 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Education.

Jeanette Emery, Secretary 

Jeanette Emery is Vice President, Global Public Affairs for Citi in Canada. In this role, she is responsible for the strategy and execution of Citi’s corporate citizenship efforts in Canada, including Citi Foundation grant programming, charitable contributions, volunteerism, and the PR campaigns to support these activities.  She is also responsible for internal communications and content management on Citi’s digital channels for Canada. Jeanette works with internal stakeholders to develop and execute marquee franchise-wide internal and external events. She also leads the efforts of the Citi Canada Alumni Network in Canada. Jeanette joined Citi in March 2012 supporting the CCO’s office and corporate and investment banking groups prior to joining the Public Affairs team in 2013.  She is a passionate supporter of employee culture and engagement and is a member of the Citi Women’s Network Toronto steering committee, the United Way committee and the Diversity and Inclusion committee.  Most recently, she has spearheaded efforts to launch the Citi Pride Network in Canada and has been elected Co-chair.  Jeanette believes strongly in supporting her local community and volunteers regularly as a youth coach and mentor with Rise Asset Development and Youth Employment Services.  She is also a member of the Board of Directors for The Gatehouse. Prior to Citi, Jeanette held roles in project management and event planning at corporations in the finance and entertainment industries in Canada, Australia and Japan. Jeanette holds a Bachelor of Health Science from Western University, and post-degree certificates in Strategic Public Relations and Marketing Communications from the University of Toronto.

Gigi D’Souza, Treasurer

Gigi D’Souza is a Chartered Professional Accountant with several years of experience in the accounting, auditing and financial consulting industries. Gigi currently works in business valuations for the purpose of litigations and arbitration. Prior to this, she ‎worked in at one of the big four public accounting firms, managing audit engagements for financial institutions. In her spare time, Gigi enjoys watching and playing sports, reading and volunteering. She also serves on the finance council at a local church. Gigi graduated with honours from the Masters of Accounting program at the University of Waterloo in 2013 and qualified as a CPA,CA in 2015.

Nilmini Perera, Director

Nilmini Perera is an experienced Human Resources Executive, with progressive Canadian and International experience across a broad range of industries. She is a thought leader with strong influencing and communication skills and a proven track record of effectively working with all organizational levels. Nilmini graduated with a Master of Arts, in Psychology. She started her corporate career in Toronto and then moved to Asia in 2006 to take on several International Leadership positions. Her career has led to broad exposure in retail, finance, hi-tech and the life sciences market sectors.  Besides her corporate contributions, she is also a passionate individual with a strong commitment to contributing in the volunteer sector.  Her experience includes working with organizations such as Meals on Wheels, March of Dimes, Easter Seals as well as Boards related to the Creative Arts, Women, Diversity, and New Immigrants.

Since returning home to Canada in 2018, Nilmini continues her own journey of transformation to an independent Executive Coach and Organizational Transformation/Innovation Consultant.  She is a Certified Executive Coach with the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC)and International Coaching Federation (ICF).  Nilmini is passionate about helping others to achieve their full potential, pursue their dreams, and make a difference in society. She continues to be active in the voluntary sector, where she participates in several Boards in Ottawa and Toronto. She loves traveling, classical music, ballet, the arts, history and most of all, is the proud mother of 2 children.

Lisa Crooker, Director

Carol Smith, Director

Mark Davidson, Director

Advisory Team

Dr. Mary Grogan, Advisor

As a passionate educator, Mary Grogan has spent a lifetime inspiring, and supporting students, teachers, families, and a variety of professionals to realize their potential and dreams.  Committed to values of social justice and a humanistic leadership style, she has led inclusive, collaborative and innovative learning communities, and delivered professional development initiatives at local, national and international conferences.  As a curious learner, she juggled a career with raising 2 children while completing a Sociology degree, a M.Ed. in Applied Psychology and certificates in Family Therapy, and Mediation, and Cognitive Coaching.  While working as a Principal and a part-time behavior instructor on a medical school campus in Dominica, she completed a doctorate (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Teaching and Learning.  Mary previously served on the Board of The Gatehouse for more than 4 years in the roles of Director and Chair of the Fundraising Committee.

Bruce Burchart, Advisor

Bruce has been an Associate Portfolio Manager at RBC Dominion Securities since 1995, where he provides wealth management solutions for individuals and corporations. He is a founding director of CHX Technologies, a dental pharmaceutical research company based in Toronto and Dublin, Ireland. Bruce was trained as an engineer and spent part of his early career on mapping projects in the Middle East based in Cairo, Egypt. As a long time resident of Western Toronto, he has been a volunteer in a number of local charities.

Al Page, Advisor

Al Page has been with The Gatehouse since it’s inception in 1998.  He has previously chaired the fundraising committee and this is his second term as a Board of Directors member.  He also lead facilitator in the men’s groups at The Gatehouse. Al retired recently as the sales manager of a firm of consulting engineers and was also part of the Board of Directors for the Etobicoke Olympium Sports Centre.

Next Gatehouse Board Meeting:

Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 on ZOOM

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: ONLINE via Zoom. Questions, please email mbarcelos@thegatehouse.org 

-The Gatehouse Team