Chair, Board of Directors
Patricia is a CFA Senior Portfolio Manager. Currently, a private impact investor and a philanthropist She was most recently associated with Westwood Holdings Group, where she led its Emerging Markets and Global strategies. Prior to that, Ms. Perez-Coutts managed emerging markets portfolios for eleven years for AGF Investments Inc. Prior to 2001, she served as Vice President and Portfolio Manager for another Canadian investment management firm, Vice President of Research for a Canadian private merchant bank and Economist for Peru’s Institute of Foreign Trade. Ms. Perez-Coutts earned an Honours BA in Economics from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Perú and a BA in Mathematics for Commerce from York University. She is a member of the CFA Institute and the Toronto Society of Financial Analysis.
Vice-Chair, Chair of the Program Committee
Lynn Graham is a former Cuso Ghana volunteer and Cuso Ottawa staff member. She has extensive governance experience, primarily in the education, health, and social service sectors. She served three years as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and four years as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Champlain Community Care Access Centre. She is a member of the Council of the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, and on the Board of Youturn-Youth Support Services, Eastern Ontario’s youth justice agency. Lynn has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario and a Master of Social Work (Community Development) from Waterloo Lutheran University. She is a recipient of several public service awards, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Chair, Finance and Audit Committee
Justin is a Canadian chartered professional accountant with prior experience in both Board and management roles in the private, non-profit, and charitable sectors. He has led teams, departments, and organizations through periods of change to deliver improved financial stability, enhanced internal controls and effective risk management. Justin is currently on the senior management team at an Ottawa software company. Prior to this, he served as the Director of Finance and Operations at Cuso International and was a senior finance manager with the Micronutrient Initiative. He has held Board and committee roles with Youth Ottawa and Habitat for Humanity (National Capital). Justin is a mentor through programs at the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University, of which he is an alumnus.
Chair, Resource Development Committee
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’s 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™ in Canada, Best Workplaces™ for Women, and Best Workplaces™ for Inclusion.
He was formerly the CEO and President of Intuit Canada, leading the growth of Intuit’s TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint brands since 2011. During his tenure, the company was named a top “Great Place to Work” 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.
Chair, Nomination and Governance, Member Finance and Audit Committee
Wayne Robertson, now retired, was the former Executive Director of the Law Foundation of British Columbia, where he oversaw over 80 legal aid, law reform, and public legal education programs and 50+ law-related projects throughout the province. He began his career as a child welfare social worker for the Alberta Social Services in Calgary, moved on to a social worker with the Services for the Handicapped in Edmonton, Director at St. Paul Community Legal Services, and as a volunteer with Crossroads International in Gambia, West Africa, where he organized a Juvenile Probation Unit and researched proposed amendments to the country’s Family Laws. He joined North Shore Neighborhood Legal Clinic in North Vancouver after passing the Bar and became a partner in General Litigation with Lindsay Kenney in Vancouver. Prior to the Law Foundation, Wayne worked as a lawyer and Client Services Manager with the Legal Services Society. He has extensive volunteer experience with several not-for-profit associations, including trustee, member, and Canadian representative with the National Association of Interest on Lawyers Trust Account (IOLTA) Programs from 2009 to 2012. He is the recipient of numerous distinguished service awards and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009. Wayne received a B.A. in English/Psychology from Carleton University in 1974, a B.S.W. in Community Development from the University of Calgary in 1977, and an LL.B. from the University of Alberta in 1981. He was called to the Board of British Columbia in 1983.
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 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 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.
Germaine Dechant’s career in health care has spanned five decades, with accomplishments in bedside nursing, teaching, research, consulting, management, administration, coaching, and governance. She served as chief executive officer of Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health in Edmonton, Alberta, from 1996 to 2013 and taught in the Health Care Management Program at Grant MacEwan University from 1994 to 2000. Certified with the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors, Germaine has significant governance experience directly as a board member at several organizations and through over 25 years in executive positions. She supports many professionals through executive coaching and is a published author. Germaine served on the Cuso Board of Directors for a seven-year term ending in 2017.
In her 34-year career with Global Affairs Canada as Chief Strategist, Lucie Edwards worked to integrate foreign policy and program delivery. To mark her retirement, she was awarded the Department’s Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence for 2009. She had previously served in Ottawa as Assistant Deputy Minister for Corporate Services. Overseas, she served as Canadian High Commissioner to India, South Africa, and Kenya. Throughout her career Lucie has specialized in international development, with a particular interest in food security, and rural poverty in Africa and Asia. Today Lucie serves as a Senior Mentor in the National Security Program of the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. She previously taught International Relations and Public Policy in the Political Science Departments at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier, and Trent University.
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.
Darrell Louise Gregersen
Board Member, Mus.Bac, FAHP, ICD.D
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 of $100M and $200M. 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.
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.
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 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.