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.

 

 

 

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.

Guillermo Martinez

Guillermo Martinez is a Senior Financial Consultant at IG Private Wealth Management. He is a certified financial planner (CFP) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). Guillermo provides executives and business professionals with comprehensive financial plans designed to help build a safety net and work towards the achievement of financial goals.  Guillermo is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community. He is married and is the proud dad of two daughters.

 

 

Loretta Merritt

Loretta is one of the few lawyers in Ontario who has substantial experience in dealing with abuse and harassment in civil lawsuits and employment cases. She understands and cares about abuse survivors, recognizing that coming forward, being heard and acknowledged as well as gaining a sense of justice and closure, in addition to the amount of a settlement, are what matter to her clients. She has represented hundreds of clients in a variety of historical and recent sexual and physical abuse cases, including abuse by members of the clergy, doctors, police officers, teachers, relatives, and neighbors. Many of Loretta’s cases involve institutions such as school boards (both public and private), churches, children’s clubs, children’s aid societies, boy scouts, big brothers, group homes, and training schools. She represents adults and children, men and women, plaintiffs and defendants. Loretta provides information for victims of sexual assault who are trying to decide whether to sue. See Should I Sue? Loretta’s civil litigation practice also includes traumatic injury litigation (motor vehicle cases, medical malpractice, and product liability). Visit Torkin/Manes Sexual assault site by clicking here

 

Mike Allan

Mike is a Subject Matter Expert on organic search marketing practices with Razorfish Technology Platforms, a digital transformation company. Mike provides data-driven decisions and search marketing insights to Fortune 500 organizations with a focus on connecting brands’ digital content with consumer intent. Besides Mike’s digital work, he is also a passionate individual with a strong commitment to contributing to the volunteer sector.  His experience includes working with The Gatehouse as a Peer Facilitator, and Alcoholics Anonymous General Service in various positions such as Group Rep, District Secretary, Alternate District Committee Manager, and District Committee Manager. Mike is passionate about helping others to discover their full potential, live a purposeful life, and make a difference in the world. He is very excited to join the Board and continue to give back to the community that gave him so much.

Next Gatehouse Board Meeting:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 13th, 2022 on ZOOM

Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

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

-The Gatehouse Team