Board of Directors

Claire CrooksClaire Crooks

Associate Director of the CAMH Centre for Prevention Science,  Assistant Professor (Faculty of Education), University of Western Ontario.
London, ON

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”
Jack Layton

Dr. Claire Crooks is one of the lead developers and researchers of the Fourth R, a relationship-based program aimed at preventing violence and related risk behaviours in adolescents. The Fourth R has been implemented in over 1000 schools in Canada and the United States and is identified as a best practice program by the Public Health Agency of Canada. She is particularly interested in the development and evaluation of strategies that meet the unique needs of Aboriginal youth, and is the lead author of Engaging Aboriginal Youth: A toolkit for service providers (2010, Trafford).  Claire is also a co-founder of the Caring Dads program, a parenting intervention for men who have maltreated their children. In addition to being an author of the program manual, she has been involved with training, consultation, and research on the Caring Dads project.

Claire is co-author of more than 40 articles, chapters, and books on topics including children’s exposure to domestic violence, child custody and access, child maltreatment, adolescent dating violence and risk behavior, intervening with fathers who maltreat their children, strength-based programming for Aboriginal youth, and trauma. She is a co-author of Adolescent Risk Behaviors: Why teens experiment and strategies to keep them safe (2006, Yale University Press). She is on the editorial board of the Violence Against Women journal.

Claire is actively involved with training judges, lawyers, and other court personnel through her work as a faculty member for both the U.S. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence. She conducts training in the areas of custody and access evaluations, violence prevention, bullying, media violence, vicarious trauma, and self-harm among adolescents. She has testified before the Canadian Senate Committee on Human Rights about the intersection between domestic violence and child custody as a children’s rights issue.

Claire received her undergraduate education at Princeton University in New Jersey and obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. from Queen’s University in Ontario. She lives in London, Ontario with her husband George and their three young children.

Margot Franssen

Philanthropist
Toronto, ON

"Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says “Oh shit…she’s awake”. 
- Author unknown

Margot Franssen has passionately and effectively brought women’s issues to the forefront of the Canadian public consciousness.  Believing we are all responsible for driving social change, not merely responding to it, fighting for women is integral to her.

In 1980 Margot founded The Body Shop Canada creating a company recognized for its ethical business practices.   From 1994 until 2004 she used her company to campaign to Stop Violence Against Women.  $1.3 million was raised for prevention and recovery programs, 192,000 hours of community work were performed in women’s shelters at the company’s expense.

A leading voice on the issues of social justice and women’s rights, Margot received the United Nations Grand Award for addressing an issue of vital concern to the UN and was their guest speaker at the World Conference of Women in Beijing.

In 2002 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour.  And she has received the Outstanding Achievement in the Advancement of Women Award from UNIFEM.

In 2004 Margot sold her company and devoted herself to the advancement of women and girls in Canada.  She served as the Canadian Women’s Foundation Co-Chair for 6 years.  She also served on the board of Women’s College Hospital, Women’s Funding Network, CIBC bank and many other boards and is an honorary director of York University.  Margot is on the board of the Canadian Women's Foundation and co-chairs the Endowment Campaign.  She is a Founding Board Member of Women Moving Millions, a visionary philanthropic effort to raise millions for women and girls globally.

She has been with her husband for 40 years, has three children and still maintains a sense of humour.

Julie GeorgeJulie George

Co-chair, Canadian Women's Foundation
Calgary, AB

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Julie George, presently Canadian Women's Foundation Board co-chair, has been a philanthropist and committed volunteer in the non-profit sector for over 25 yrs.  As a proud dual citizen, Julie feels a responsibility to help drive social change in Canada. She helped develop Juno House,  a center of excellence for adolescent girls and their families in Calgary and subsequently created the Juno House Foundation to build capacity and support those in need of its services.   She is also a member of the board at Women Moving Millions.

Julie is a member of the William Roper Hull Foundation Board after being chair of Hull Child & Family Services for 5 yrs. She is a past volunteer of Kids Help Phone and was President of the International School Parents Forum in London (TASIS) while living overseas. She took various leadership roles on school councils where her children attended school, among those Western Canada and St. Mildred's Lightbourn School in Ontario. 

In the 70's, Julie taught in an inner city high school in Houston, Texas which she credits as being a defining introduction to the importance of making change happen.

She and is the proud parent of three grown children, 3 grandchildren, and has been married for 39 yrs. The family is very active in skiing hiking, biking, golfing, and exploring new places together.
 

Jessica Houssian

Women Moving Millions
New York, NY and Vancouver, BC

Born in Vancouver, Jessica fell in love with feminism as a little girl and has been stomping her feet for women's equality ever since. With a B.A. in Women & Gender Studies (Bates College) and an M.Sc. in Fundraising & Grantmaking (New York University), Jessica loves living and working at the intersection of women and philanthropy - and is inspired by the power it has to transform the world. Prior to her work with Women Moving Millions, Jessica worked with Inspired Philanthropy Group - a boutique consulting firm supporting individuals and corporations to help create authentic, effective impact. In another life, she served as Associate Features Editor
at Harper's Bazaar magazine, where she learned to write, edit, and treat deadlines with respect. Jessica currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Women's Foundation and RefugePoint, a U.S. and Kenyan-based NGO that  provides lasting solutions for the world's most vulnerable refugees. She is a trustee of the Houssian Family Foundation and is a member of Resource Generation and Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP). Jessica is based in New York City.

 

Crystal LaboreroCrystal Laborero

Consultant
Winnipeg, MB

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou

Crystal Laborero is a band member of Sapotewayak Cree Nation and is presently self employed as a Consultant. Crystal is the former Director, Human Resources with Tribal Wi-Chi-Way-Win Capital Corporation (TWCC). She is the founding CEO of TWCC’s wholly owned subsidiary, Aski Financial. Crystal has extensive experience in Aboriginal human resource issues as well as community development. In a previous role, Crystal was Director of Aboriginal Relations for United Way of Winnipeg where she was charged with the responsibility to develop a first of its kind strategy that builds and enhances relationships with the Aboriginal community.

Crystal was also pivotal in the development of the Aboriginal Employment Initiative with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of Manitoba. This initiative was the first of it kind in Canada as it brought together two major business groups, two levels of government and representation from a national Aboriginal organization. Crystal also spent 10 years working with Royal Bank Financial Group in many capacities ranging from management to human resources where she specialized in the Recruitment & Retention of Aboriginal employees. She was also part of the team to open the first on-reserve branch for the bank in Manitoba located at Peguis First Nation.

Crystal is the first Aboriginal woman in Manitoba to be appointed the Chair of the Manitoba Women's Advisory Council, reporting to the Minister responsible for the Status of Women. Crystal is married and has four daughters.  

Ildiko MarshallIldiko Marshall

President Marshall-Evans Marketing, Formerly VP Rogers Publishing, Group Publisher Today's Parent Group, Toronto, ON

"Belief creates the actual fact." 
- William James

Ildiko Marshall has been involved with the Canadian Women's Foundation for over seven years and has served on the board for close to three years. She is deeply committed to the work and strongly believes in the organization's mission statement of "investing in the power of women and the dreams of girls". Former VP and Group Publisher at Rogers Publishing, she became involved with the Canadian Women's Foundation while VP and Associate Publisher of Chatelaine magazine. She  continued to support us personally and also through her work as VP and Group Publisher at the Today's Parent Group. She is a major champion of the Shelter from the Storm fund raising, an initiative that has raised over $7M, in the past seven years, with the aid of Winners, BMO and Rogers.  The Girls' Fund is extremely close to her heart as helping girls to become strong and independent women is what she believes breaks down walls and opens doors to a successful future.

Ildiko brings to the board a strong background in publishing, marketing, public relations and sales. 

She believes in giving back to the community and serves on the Boards of the Ontario Media Development Corporation and The Cardiac Health Foundation.
 

Sheila O'BrienSheila O'Brien

President, Belvedere1 Investments
Calgary, AB

"Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers "Grow, Grow"
- The Talmud

Sheila O’Brien, President of Belvedere1 Investments, is a corporate director and business consultant specializing in workforce and leadership capacity with over 30 years of experience in the oil and gas, pipeline and petrochemical sectors in Canada, USA, South America and Europe. She has held executive positions in the areas of human resources, investor relations, public affairs and government relations with Amoco International, Petro-Canada and NOVA Corporation.  She created and implemented an innovative workforce restructuring program, based on the dignity of the employee, which was designated a Worldwide Best Practice by Watson Wyatt International Consultancy.

Ms. O’Brien has been active in the not-for-profit sector, having served on over 25 Boards of Directors dealing primarily with human rights, women’s rights and giving voice to marginalized members of society. She is the founder of several enduring community events celebrating the accomplishments of women and she has received numerous awards for her work in the advancement of women. In 1998 she was invested in the Order of Canada.

Ms. O’Brien currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Gildan, a publicly traded, vertically-integrated marketer and apparel manufacturer based in Montreal; Advantage Oil and Gas Company, a Calgary-based, publicly traded corporation; MaRS, a biotechnology accelerator based in Toronto; is a member of the Board of Governors of Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary; The Canadian Women’s Foundation in Toronto; and as Executive in Residence at Canada West Foundation in Calgary where she co-authored, “An Extraordinary West: A Narrative Exploration of Western Canada’s Future”, published in November 2010 and“Catching a Rising Tide: A Western Vision for Energy in Canada”,published in October 2011.

In 2006 and 2007 Ms. O’Brien served on the Board of Directors of TransForce Income Fund, Canada’s largest trucking enterprise, publicly traded and headquartered in Montreal, and in 2007 to August 2008 on the Board of Directors of Skye Resources, a Vancouver-based, publicly traded nickel mining company.  From 1998 to 2003 Ms. O’Brien served as a member of the Board of Directors of CFM Majestic, a Canadian, publicly traded company.

Patricia RossiPatricia Rossi

Co-chair, Canadian Women's Foundation
Director of Philanthropy, Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation
Montréal, QC

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
- Maya Angelou

Since August 2011, Patricia Rossi is the Director of Philanthropy at the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation whose mission is the prevention of poverty.  This work is done primarily by working on educational success of children from conception to age 17 and their parents.  Between March 2009 and July 2011, Patricia Rossi was the Executive Director of Autonomie Jeunes Familles, an organization supporting first-time parents, mostly mothers, who survived traumatic events in their lives. From 2001 to 2009, she was the Executive Director of the Tyndale St-Georges Community Centre, located in Montreal’s Little Burgundy area, amongst the largest concentration of low cost housing for families in Quebec. Programs ranging from early childhood to employability were offered.  Between 1983 and 2000, she was the Director of Le Parados, in Lachine, a shelter for abused women with children.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in women’s studies from McGill University and a Master’s degree in management and development of organizations at Université Laval. 

Patricia is very involved in social issues (violence against women and children, poverty, gender equality, low cost housing etc.) and has been on numerous Boards committees, round tables etc.

Beth SummersBeth Summers

Chief Financial Officer, Just Energy Group Inc
Toronto, ON

"Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons. Love yourself, trust your choices, and everything is possible."
- Cherie Carter-Scott

Beth Summers is the Chief Financial Officer of the Just Energy Group Inc. Just Energy’s business involves the sales of natural gas and electricity to residential and commercial customers under variable and fixed rate long term contracts. Just Energy operates across North America in 5 Provinces and 11 States. Prior to joining  Just Energy, Beth was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Hydro One Inc.

Beth was a member of the national committee for the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Girls’ Growth Fund campaign and joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2008.

Shannon L. ValliantShannon L. Valliant

Vice President, Device Management & Experience
Toronto, ON

Shannon Valliant was appointed Vice President, Financial Operations in 2007 for Rogers Media, a division of Rogers Communications Inc.  

In this role Shannon oversees financial operations for the business which generates over $1.6 billion in revenue annually.  Her responsibilities include strategic planning, competitive analysis, mergers and acquisitions, investment monitoring, forecasting, and financial and new business analysis.

With over 20 years of experience, she has held senior executive positions with both global firms and start-up organizations.  She has proven expertise in corporate and operational finance, restructuring, and raising capital in private equity markets.    

Shannongraduated on the Dean’s List from the Honours Bachelor of Commerce program at Queen’s University at Kingston, is a Chartered Accountant, and was a Chartered Insolvency and Restructuring Professional. 

She is passionate about fitness and travel and incorporated both when she and her husband took a year-long break from the “real world” mid-way through their careers to backpack through 20 countries and explore the actual real world.  Shannon and her husband live in Toronto with their three young children who are her proudest achievement to date.