Board of Directors

Term:  June 2, 2018 – June 2, 2019

Rita Grenci, Chair

Rita has been an employee of Royal Bank of Canada for the past 27 years. During that time she has managed, coached and counseled teams of up to 21 employees. In her current role as Sr. Manager of Residential Mortgages she plays a strategic role in helping clients to achieve their objective by providing expert advice and service on home financing. She is a co-owner and Chief Financial Officer of an Adult Assisted Living Home facility offering adults with disabilities a safe and secure place to live. Rita is very active in the community, volunteering her time in numerous committees and fundraisers. In her recent accomplishments, she was involved in the design and implementation of several projects which she personally over looked from the start of construction to final completion. In her spare time, Rita enjoys living a healthy lifestyle with proper eating and exercising.

Mary Grogan Ed.D., Co-Chair

Dr. Mary Grogan is a passionate educator, and student advocate committed to continuous learning, social justice and social change.  She has served students and families with diverse backgrounds and histories, e.g. socio-economic, cultural, and traumatic due to abuse, neglect, loss, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, war etc.   as a teacher, guidance counselor and principal within the Toronto Catholic District School Board.  Throughout her career, she has designed and delivered professional development programs at the local, school, board, provincial, and international level in the Caribbean and Europe and has taught within the education faculties at U of T, York U, and Nipissing U.  As a continuous learner, she completed a B.A. (Sociology), a M.Ed. (Applied Psychology) at U of T, and certificates in family therapy, mediation, and restorative justice and coaching.  Recently, while she was a principal and behavioral science instructor, at Ross School of Medicine, Dominica West Indies she completed a doctorate in Educational Leadership for Teaching and Learning, and returned home to begin her own educational consulting practice.

Stefan Horodeckyj, Secretary

Stefan is a lawyer who has worked and volunteered in the criminal justice system for over 30 years, and in particular in Corrections. He has been volunteering with The Gatehouse for the last 6 years in different capacities, including Chairman of the Fundraising Committee. Stefan is a recipient of the Governor General of Canada’s ‘The Corrections Exemplary Service Medal’ and the “Minister’s Award for Exceptional Humanitarian Service” as a result of his extensive volunteer work. He strongly believes in the principles of restorative justice, in particular as it relates to addressing social justice initiatives.

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.

Carol Tarasio, Director

Carol’s legacy in the Financial Services Industry stretches over 30 years and she has been instrumental in helping shape the mortgage lending industry as we know it today.  She has influenced and mentored hundreds of mortgage experts to achieve their personal best and to be some of the mentors we look towards today. She continued to contribute to her industry and community as a previous member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Toronto Homes Builder’s Association where she helped shape the development of the new home builder’s industry. Carol is currently the National Director of Alternate Lending with RBC Royal Bank where, for the past 15 years, has championed a business, and leads a team of 32 Sales Professionals towards their business and personal goals. It’s a busy life, but she finds time to also volunteer as a Program Facilitator for The Gatehouse, a not for profit organization that provides support, community and resources for people impacted by childhood abuse.  Carol understands that every challenge is unique by virtue of the person experiencing it, therefore her leadership approach is to first acknowledge challenges from their perspective, and then help them find their own path and their own solution to move forward.   The Gate House gives Carol the privilege to help others overcome their traumas and see them grow upwards and outwards from their biggest life challenges, towards realizing their own try magnificence.

Sabra Desai, Director

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.

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.

Advisory Team

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.

Simona Jellinek, Advisor

Simona T. Jellinek was called to the bar of Ontario in 1996. Her practice is restricted to plaintiff side catastrophic personal injury litigation with a focus on representing survivors of sexual assault. Her experience includes representing plaintiffs in civil sexual assault cases including plaintiffs in the Maple Leaf Garden sexual abuse cases, cases involving the Crown, Childrens’ Aid Societies, many Religious Institutions and School Boards. She also represented claimants from Walpole Island First Nations in the Independent Assessment Process for survivors of Aboriginal Residential Schools.

Recently, Simona co-drafted the Law Society’s Sexual Abuse Guidelines applicable to all Ontario Lawyers.

Simona has served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers (OTLA) Association from 2004 through to 2013 and was on the executive committee for 6 years of those years. She twice co-chaired OTLA Spring and Fall Conferences and twice co-chaired the Canadian Institutes’ National Summit on Sexual Assault Litigation. She has presented at the AAJ in New York, various CPD programs for Osgoode Hall, LSUC, CBA and OBA.

Simona also has been an instructor at Osgoode Hall’s legal clinic for ten years teaching advocacy skills and ethics. She has guest lectured at Queens University Faculty of Law. She has been a member of the Sexual Assault Advisory Committee of the Toronto Police Services for the last seven years.


Next Gatehouse Board Meeting:

Date: Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: The location information will be announced in the near future on this page.  Thank you for your anticipated patience. Questions, please call 416-255-5900

-The Gatehouse Team