Board of Directors

Sabra Desai, Chair, MSW, RSW

Sabra Desai is a Kellogg Fellow, registered social worker, psychotherapist and transformational educator consultant specializing in working with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds using culturally appropriate approaches and understandings of mental health and well-being to personalize therapy.  She works with individuals and/ or couples to process through their difficulties by integrating Emotion-Focused, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and mindfulness.  Her approach is multidisciplinary and anchored in the values of a strength-based client-centered framework.   Sabra strongly believes that every person has the ability and strength to work through difficulties with help. Her international work included providing therapy to couples and individuals living with HIV/AIDS focusing on guilt, shame, and betrayal.  She also provided organizational training and community capacity building on issues related to human rights, newcomer integration, health and mental health.  Sabra had a long academic career which has included teaching social work part-time at both York University, Ryerson University and most recently as a former faculty in the School of Social and Community Services at Humber College.  Her publications include writings in the areas of youth issues, violence against women, diversity, and inclusion.  In her community work, she collaborated 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 shelter in Peel Region. Most recently, in collaboration with Humber College and community-based partnerships, she  initiated a Mental Health Community of Practice for staff working with youth to enhance support, knowledge, skills and provide networking opportunities. She has received several awards for advocacy, social justice and education including the 2015 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Education.

Lisa Crooker, Co-Chair 

Lisa is an experienced Inspector with a demonstrated history of working in the law enforcement industry. Lisa is skilled in Public Safety, Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and Physical Security. Lisa is a strong military and protective services professional with a Bachelor’s degree focused in Criminal Justice/Safety Studies from University of Guelph-Humber.




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, Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) and a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) with several years of experience in the accounting, auditing and financial consulting fields. Gigi currently works in business valuations for the purpose of litigation and international arbitration and is based in New York, USA. Prior to this, she ‎worked at a large financial consulting firm and at one of the big four public accounting firms in Toronto, Ontario. In her spare time, Gigi enjoys travelling, reading, volunteering and spending time with family. 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 and as a CBV in 2016.  


Copyrighted Kayla Hannaford

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.

Carol Smith, Director

Carol Smith is a Financial Advisor in partnership with Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network. She has been providing financial services to her clients who are individuals or business owners since 2004. Carol’s expertise is in socially responsible investments and she is certified through the RIA (Responsible Investment Association).   She is also the host of Green Drinks Mississauga, an environmentally focused monthly networking event for people who are passionate about sustainability.  In her spare time, Carol enjoys music and plays several instruments.  She is excited to be on the Board of the Gatehouse as she believes the work being done is important and looks forward to learning and contributing in this role.


Sareena Khatkur, Director

Sareena Khatkur has been working in adult learning and development in the legal and corporate governance sectors, for the past ten years.  Prior to that, Sareena practiced litigation in the GTA for a number of years.  She has volunteered with various organizations that work towards helping survivors of violence, find their voice.  As a trained facilitator of restorative justice circles, Sareena believes in the power of community based responses to help repair the harm experienced by survivors.  In her spare time, Sareena enjoys traveling, photographing children and families, and trying to keep up with her two young children.

Next Gatehouse Board Meeting:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 14th, 2021 on ZOOM

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: ONLINE via Zoom. Questions, please email 

-The Gatehouse Team