Lucie Edwards


During her 34-year career in the Canadian Foreign Service, Lucie specialized in human rights and in international development. At the beginning of her career, she was assigned both to the Occupied Territories and to the townships in Apartheid South Africa. She won the Public Service Award of Excellence for her humanitarian work during the Genocide in Rwanda in 1994. Lucie has a special interest in food security, and global public health. She has played an active leadership role in the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), notably serving as Chair of the World Agroforestry Centre, co-Chair of the Gender and Development Program of the CGIAR, and Chair of the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR). She recently stepped down as Chair of Partners in Health Canada. As Canada’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Program, Lucie led Canadian teams at negotiations on climate change, forestry, and the creation of the Arctic Council. She served as Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and India, and at Headquarters she was appointed Director General for Global Issues, Assistant Deputy Minister for Corporate Services, and as the Department’s first Chief Strategist.

To mark her retirement, she was awarded the Department’s Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence. Since her retirement, in 2009, she has taught International Relations and Public Policy at a number of Canadian universities.

Darrell Louise Gregersen


Darrell Louise Gregersen is an experienced fundraising professional who has earned an outstanding reputation in Canada leading major organizations to transformational fundraising results over the last 30+ years. In 2018 Darrell retired from her role as President and CEO with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation and is now a strategic advisor in fund development to a variety of Canadian charitable organizations in health, the arts, and global issues. While at CAMH she led two highly successful back-to-back campaigns raising over $400M for the hospital and it’s research institute. Darrell has held senior leadership positions at the Hospital for Sick Children and the National Arts Centre. She is a Fellow of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and a recent recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Toronto Chapter Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award.

Denise Amyot


Denise worked for over 10 years as CEO of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), the largest national post-secondary association in the country and a global leader in education for employment in more than 25 countries. At the international level, CICan works in particular on the empowerment of women and the issues of sustainable development, equity and indigenous education. 

The organizations she has chaired have all been named ‚ÄúEmployer of Choice‚ÄĚ and won awards for diversity and inclusion as well as for work related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).¬†

She was CEO of a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada and worked for nearly 30 years at the federal level, including as assistant deputy minister at the federal level three times. She has worked in the areas of policy and program management, human resources and talent management and public affairs in the social, scientific, economic and cultural fields in Ottawa and the region as part of her duties in several federal ministries and two central agencies. 

Denise has worked several times in her career with equity groups: in the Northwest Territories, in Indigenous Affairs, at Canadian Heritage (multiculturalism, race relations), and at ESDC (people with disabilities and vulnerable groups). Denise has extensive experience in leadership development. She is certified in professional coaching and has led, for over 10 years, the leadership institutes for Presidents and Vice-Presidents offered by Colleges Institutes Canada and at the federal level, at different levels. She does a lot of mentoring and coaching with the next generation in Canada and on the international scene. Over the past year, Denise has completed leadership and coaching training in Canada, Tunisia and Senegal. 

Denise serves on several boards, including the Qatar Foundation, the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics and the Forum for International Business Education. 

Jeff Cates


Jeff Cates serves as CEO and President of Achievers, an industry-leading employee voice and recognition solution that accelerates a culture of performance. After being named CEO in April 2019, Jeff quickly led Achievers to new product and global growth. Jeff‚Äôs passion for creating environments where employees can do the best work of their lives has helped Achievers receive multiple¬†employer awards: Top 50 Best Workplaces‚ĄĘ in Canada, Best Workplaces‚ĄĘ for Women, and Best Workplaces‚ĄĘ for Inclusion.

He was formerly the CEO and President of Intuit Canada, leading the growth of Intuit‚Äôs TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint brands since 2011. During his tenure, the company was named a top ‚ÄúGreat Place to Work‚ÄĚ in Canada year after year, and was also recognized as a top employer for women and millennials leading in diversity initiatives.

Jeff’s background includes innovative marketing, product leadership and entrepreneurship. Prior to Intuit, Jeff worked at Apple Canada leading their enterprise business, and Hewlett Packard as vice president of their consumer division. He earned an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University.

Grant Curtis


Grant Curtis is the Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Security and Development at Dalhousie University. He began his career in international development as Cuso International Field Staff in Nigeria (1982-84). Over the next thirty years he held a number of field-based assignments in several countries in Africa and Asia with United Nations system agencies, international NGOs, and the Asian Development Bank, working largely in post-conflict reconstruction and development. Most recently Grant served as a Cuso International volunteer in Myanmar (2016-2017). He has served on the Board of Capital Health (Nova Scotia’s then-largest health district) and is a volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Zahra Esmail


Currently the CEO at Vantage Point, Zahra has more than 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in globalization and international development from the University of Ottawa. In 2018, she completed a development leadership fellowship program with United Way of British Columbia. Zahra has previous experience as a board member with multiple organizations, is a mentor with Dress for Success in Vancouver, and has volunteered at Woodgreen Community Services in Toronto. Aside from the work she has done in Canada, Zahra also has community development experience working in Haiti and India.

Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams


A distinguished lawyer in both Jamaica and Canada, Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams completed her first law degree at the University of the West Indies and later in Canada where she was called to the Ontario Bar in 1985. She has served as legal counsel for numerous organizations and received a master’s degree in Administrative Law from Osgoode Hall Law School. Specializing in human rights law, Sharon was legal counsel for the Ontario Human Rights Commission for over 18 years, following which she was a member of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Sharon served as a Member of Parliament and Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce in Jamaica.

Alejandro Jose Terrones


Alejandro has more than 18 years’ experience in international development and humanitarian aid. He is a proud volunteer of Cuso International. Between 2006 and 2009, Alejandro volunteered with Cuso International in Bolivia as a youth socioeconomic development program officer. In his current role with the Canadian Red Cross, he is focused on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives for Indigenous and other under-served communities. Previous work in Canada includes advocating for the needs and rights of those affected by conflict, disasters, and inequalities. Internationally, he has worked in Nepal, Malawi, Haiti, Turkey, Liberia an El Salvador, running programs focused on food security, livelihoods, protection, and the empowerment of youth and women. Alejandro holds an honours Bachelor of Science in anthropology and zoology from the University of Toronto, a professional certificate in emergency management from George Brown College and a postgraduate certificate in infrastructure in emergencies from Loughborough University.

Rosemary McCarney


An award-winning humanitarian, recognized international development expert, business leader, public speaker and author, Rosemary McCarney is the 2020-2021 Senior Fellow in Foreign and Defence Policy at Massey College, University of Toronto. She currently teaches Multilateral Diplomacy and Global Governance at Trinity College, University of Toronto where she was appointed the inaugural 2020 Pearson Sabia Distinguished Visiting Professor in International Relations. She is an award-winning author of several children’s books, bringing to life human rights and responsibilities to a new generation of human rights activists. From September 2015 to September 2019, Rosemary served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the Office of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament based in Geneva, Switzerland. Immediately prior to this appointment, she successfully led Plan International Canada as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Robert McGuire


Robert McGuire recently retired as Managing Director and Global Market Manager for Citi Private Bank Canada where he served as Chairman of the Board of Citibank Canada Investment Funds Limited and also as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Citigroup Global Markets Canada Inc. 

Prior to joining Citi, Robert was a Senior Banker with Société Générale in Paris, France and had previously led Société Générale’s Corporate and Investment Banking Group in Canada. Earlier career positions include senior marketing roles with Bank of America and Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto as well as an early career position as an economist with the Bank of Canada in Ottawa. 

Robert holds an MBA from The University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business, a B.Sc. (Economics) from l’Université de Montréal and completed the Institute of Corporate Directors Education Program at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto (obtained ICD.D designation). Robert is a registered Investment Counselor/Portfolio Manager with Provincial Securities Regulators across Canada. 

Robert is fluently bilingual (French and English) and holds dual citizenships (France/Canada). He has served on the Board of Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital), one of Canada’s leading community teaching hospitals. He is past Chair of the Board of Rise Asset Development, a not-for-profit entity that provides micro financing to individuals with mental health and/or addiction issues. He previously served on the Executive Committee of the Board and was Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee of the Toronto French School (one of Canada’s largest private schools). He is past Co-Chair of Citibank Canada’s United Way Campaign (2010). 

Christian Paradis, C.P., LL. B.


A member of the Quebec Bar since 1997 and recognized as results-oriented, Christian Paradis was Federal Member of Parliament for M√©gantic-L'√Črable from 2006 to 2015 and Federal Minister, from 2008 to 2015, of Public Works and Government Services, Natural Resources, Industry and International Development and the Francophonie.¬†

During his years in government, he left his mark on important issues in Canada. He has worked closely with stakeholders in the agri-food, energy and mining, telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical and investment sectors. Internationally, he has demonstrated leadership in the development and advancement of blended finance for international development and has significantly reformed the federal government's policy towards civil society. 

Before his years in government, he practiced law for 9 years with a specialization in corporate law. 

Having not sought a fourth mandate, Christian Paradis joined the multinational GardaWorld for 4 years, as Senior Vice-President, Strategic Development, Protective Services. During his mandate, he worked closely with the police sector and police services boards across Canada, the military sector as well as with Indigenous communities. He collaborated at a very high level within the International League of Surveillance Societies. 

Currently a senior advisor and board member, he founded the firm Paradis Solutions et Associés which focuses on business and corporate development and of which he is currently president. 

He graduated from the University of Sherbrooke in civil law and holds a graduate degree in business law from Laval University. 

Christian Paradis has been a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada since 2007. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). 

Gabriela Polanco-Sorto


Gabriela’s work in sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and diversity, equity and inclusion spans over 15 years. Originally from El Salvador, Gabriela is passionate about eliminating barriers faced by immigrants and refugees. Her career has spanned various global roles including at Scotiabank and

Manulife Financial. Now she is the VP and head of purpose and sustainability at Gore Mutual Insurance. She also lectures at the University of St. Michael’s College for the corporate social responsibility and sustainability graduate diploma program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of British Columbia in 2002, before obtaining a graduate diploma in business administration from Simon Fraser University in 2004. In 2006, she completed her master’s in business administration at the Schulich School of Business. She comes to Cuso International’s board with previous experience as a board member with Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto and Sojourn House.

Lori Spadorcia


Lori is the Executive Vice-President of Public Affairs and Partnerships and Chief Strategy Officer at CAMH. A passionate advocate, Lori is changing the conversation about mental health, improving awareness, and understanding of mental illness and working with governments and communities to improve health systems and policy. She supports the alignment of mission critical activities designed to be responsive to CAMH’s many stakeholders and is engaging partners and resources to better position the hospital to make a sustainable system contribution to mental health. As a former senior political advisor, Lori has advanced public policy in areas such as early learning, childcare, skills, and innovation. She is devoted to building healthy communities and driving social change.

Rob Turpin


Rob Turpin is a senior business leader with extensive executive and financial management experience in a wide range of fields, including technology, hospitality, airport management, and international development. Currently Vice-President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer with the Ottawa International Airport Authority, Rob is a skilled executive with substantial background in mergers and acquisitions, financing, transformation leadership, strategy, growth initiatives, legal and risk management, and human resources. Rob spent several years at Plan International Canada Inc. as executive vice-president, finance and operations, as well as more than a decade at IBM in various senior leadership roles.